Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Fifteen Ways to Say "I Love You" in 3 Minutes or Less

by Nancy J. Wasson, Ph.D.

To keep romance alive and nurture the intimacy in your marriage, you'll want to know a number of ways to express your feelings to your spouse. There are certainly times when you'll want to put a significant amount of time and energy into a project that shows your love for your spouse in a major way, such as planning a surprise birthday dinner party that includes family and friends or a new deck that you spend several weekends building.

But it's also important for you to know a number of smaller gestures you can make to convey loving feelings on a frequent basis. Little expressions of love and appreciation add up over time and can help ensure that your relationship will keep its special sparkle and glow.

Here are fifteen ways to say "I love you" that you can easily implement even during a busy work week:

1. Blow your spouse a kiss as you walk through the room. Smile, and let your eyes twinkle mischievously. You might remain silent, or you could say something such as, "Catch!" or "This is for you!"

2. Surprise your spouse by kissing the back of his (or her) neck as he sits in a low-backed chair that gives you easy access to his neck, such as a dining room chair or a computer chair. (For an extra reaction, you might lick his neck one or two strokes with your tongue after you kiss it)

3. Give her (or him) a brief neck and shoulder massage.

4. Leave a sweet message on his (or her) voice mail.

5. Send a short but sweet email. (Don't send your spouse a sexually explicit email at work. Save those for his or her personal email account.)

6. Write a one sentence note that describes a specific trait or quality that you love about your spouse, such as "I love your beautiful blue eyes that remind me of the sea." Or you could write, "I love your fabulous shoulder muscles that make you look so strong and sexy." Put this note in your spouse's purse, lunch, or brief case, or on his (or her) bed pillow.

7. Give your spouse a lingering, wet kiss, accompanied by a full body hug. (Many relationship gurus advocate that couples do this at least once every day.)

8. Hug your spouse and scratch her back at the same time. If you're lucky, your spouse will also scratch your back while you're scratching hers.

9. Give your spouse a compliment. Be specific, such as "You look great in that new pullover--I love how that color looks on you!"

10. Tell your spouse once specific thing you appreciate that he (or she) does. For example, you might say, "I really appreciate how hard you work to bring in extra income," or "You're a great dad--always so patient with the kids!"

11. When you're at the grocery store, pick up something special for your spouse--a favorite candy bar, a choice piece of fruit, a small plant, one long-stemmed rose, a special cheese, a festive balloon, etc. When you get home, say "I bought something special just for you because you're so special." Or wait until later and leave the item with an 'I love you" note for her (or him) to find.

12. Look for some little act or chore you can do for your spouse to make his (or her) life easier. For example, without asking, Lee will often empty the wastebasket in my office for me when he sees that it's full. Or I might offer to make a phone call for him to save him time on a busy day. These types of gestures say "I love you and want to show you that I care."

13. The next time that you have to buy a birthday card for someone, also buy five or six cards that your spouse would like. They might be romantic cards, thinking-of-you cards, or funny cards. Once every week or two, drop one in the mail to your spouse to arrive at the office or home, or leave a card in the car on the driver's seat or some other place for him (or her) to find.

14. When you get "take-home" food containers in a restaurant, later secretly take your spouse's container out of the refrigerator and decorate it. You might draw two hearts linked together with your names on the hearts and write "I love you" on her (or his) box.

15. Look for poems or song lyrics that you can give your spouse to communicate your loving feelings. Check out http://www.romantic-lyrics.com/ to find lyrics to beautiful love songs, love quotes, and romantic poems. You'll also find a great selection of love song lyrics at http://www.theromantic.com/lovesongs/main.htm .Just print out some of your favorites (use special paper to make it more special) and keep them back, ready to pull out and give your spouse with a note that says, "This expresses just how I feel about you."

About the Author
Nancy J. Wasson, Ph.D., is co-author of Keep Your Marriage: What to Do When Your Spouse Says "I don't love you anymore!" This is available at www.KeepYourMarriage.com, where you can sign up for a free weekly marriage advice newsletter. Dr. Wasson offers telephone and email coaching to spouses who want to overcome marriage problems and create a rewarding, loving marriage.

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Attributes of a Healthy Church

by Dr. Larry Taylor
A denominational official recently told me that 80 percent of his denomination’s churches in New England are dying, as indicated by steadily hemorrhaging attendance, an ever-increasing mean age of the members, a perceived lack of relevancy in the secular community at large, and the accompanying financial strain that comes from decline.

On the other hand, I had lunch recently with a pastor whose church is alive, vital, growing and vibrant. What makes the difference between the two? What does a healthy church look like? What are its characteristics and attributes? Just as there are symptoms of disease and decay, there are also symptoms - indications – of health in a church, viz.:

1. A healthy church studies the Bible. The reason God created and redeemed us by His Son’s vicarious death on Calvary’s cross is that we might know Him -- indeed, knowing Him is the primary purpose of life, without which we will never feel satisfied and complete. But we can only know Him through the revelation of His Word, so we study His Book -- all of it, verse by verse -- in order that we might know Him better every day. The primary responsibility of the shepherd, the senior pastor, is to teach the Bible to God’s people. Jesus said “feed my sheep,” and in the Old Testament God said His Word was wheat for our souls. In a healthy church, you will find congregants regularly studying the Bible together because they are deeply hungry to know God.

2. A healthy church is filled with people who pray. Paul said to pray without ceasing; Jesus said people ought always to pray; Samuel thought it a sin against God to not pray; King David cried to God day and night; Martin Luther prayed from 3 to 6 a.m. every morning. Every revival and movement of God in history was under-girded with faithful prayer-warriors who cried out to God day and night. Heaven sits still until earth prays, but where God’s people will call upon Him in earnest, He will answer in power.

3. A healthy church worships in Spirit and in truth. A misunderstanding often exists between those who prefer older hymns and those who prefer more modern choruses to be sung in worship. The fact is that both can be dead and cold, and either can be alive and vibrant. We can use many different kinds of songs in worship -- hymns, choruses, ancient and modern; and we can use all sorts of musical accompaniment -- organs, pianos, keyboards, guitars, drums, bass, brass, woodwinds, to play all different musical styles - folk, rock, jazz, classical, rap, and so on. People often think that if one group prefers choruses and another hymns, we should try to blend them or have different services with different kinds of music.While that may be helpful, eliminating hymns is not the goal -- the goal is heartfelt worship. A healthy church is a church where people pour out their hearts in adoration and praise of God, regardless of what kind of musical accompaniment is used. We do not want to eliminate hymns, we want to eliminate dead worship that does not move the heart and soul, and create a worship atmosphere where people will enter in and adore God fervently, emotionally, lovingly.

4. A healthy church is filled with people who love one another. Jesus said the earmark of discipleship is our love for each other; John said if we do not love each other, we are not truly followers of Christ; the early Christians were known for their reputation of loving each other. Biblical love is not a feeling, not a warm emotion, as we often think of love. Biblical love is action, it is not what we feel, it is what we do. If we feel warm and fuzzy toward someone but never do anything to express love, we do not love them, according to the Bible.

Conversely, if we feel nothing, or even a touch of repulsion toward another, but do practical things to help that person, we love them in the biblical sense. A healthy church is filled with people who care for each other, who surround one another with comfort, who telephone each other just to encourage, who pray for each other, who stop by to wash dishes, who take a shut-in for a drive in the country, who are warm and friendly to all, who fix a single mom’s car for her, read to someone whose eyesight is failing, put up storm windows for a neighbor, paint a house for someone who cannot afford to have it done, give someone a ride to a doctor’s appointment, baby-sit a couple’s children so they can have a date to enrich their marriage, who take strangers to lunch after church on Sunday, and have coffee in the morning with a new member. A healthy church is filled with people who express God’s love in small, everyday, practical, creative ways. When you walk into a healthy church on meeting day, you can feel the love in the air.

5. A healthy church is growing in numbers, not because adding more bodies is a goal, but because a healthy church is filled with people who love God so much that they want to share that love with others, so they are consequently involved in evangelism, outreach, missions and social ministry. A healthy church is filled with people who tell other people about Jesus - not about the church - no one is attracted to an institution, but about Jesus. Everyone needs Him -- not our programs -- Him!

In a healthy church, some people are regularly out on the streets telling passersby of the Savior who loves them, others are calling on old friends and sharing the gospel with them. Others are going on short-term mission trips to take God’s love to developing countries, still others financially support missionaries, while others help out in crusades and evangelistic outreaches of all sorts. Others visit strangers in hospitals and nursing homes to tell them of Christ, while others volunteer in soup kitchens, pregnancy centers, hospices and social service agencies so that they can let needy people know of the God who loves them unconditionally. In a healthy church, everyone has a burden, a burning desire, to see others know Jesus.

A healthy church is a Bible-learning church; a healthy church is a praying church; a healthy church is a worshipping church; a healthy church is a loving church; and a healthy church is an evangelizing church. How healthy would you say your church is? What can you do to make it healthier so it will join the ranks of the vibrant and alive and avoid the fate of the dying?

© 2001 by Lawrence Russell Taylor, Ph.D.

This essay may be reproduced and distributed freely without charge under the condition that it is reproduced and distributed without any changes, in its entirety, including this notice. While we appreciate feedback, we are unable to respond personally to all comments. The views and opinions herein expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual, group or organization. Dr. Taylor is the senior pastor of Calvary Church, located at 60 Hastings Street in Lowell, Massachusetts. Our phone number is: 978-459-9598.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Keeping Your Marriage And Its Blanket Of Love

by Rene Graeber

There is no secret to a perfect marriage. If marriage could give you a glimpse of heaven, it could give you as much of hell. There is even a famous saying where the perfect marriage can only be found between a deaf and a blind couple, because the deaf husband cannot hear the nagging of his wife, while the blind wife cannot see the shortcomings of her husband.

Of course, there are also those couples who are lucky enough to be soul mates. Being truly and deeply in love with each other is more than what most people could ask for in a relationship. But even love is not enough to sustain a relationship. There are other factors that come into play.
Why then do people get married? Is it to have a family? Is it to have someone to grow old with? Is it for wealth and security? All of these count, but there's a bigger reason. Marriage is when you give so much of yourself and yet, you feel whole.

Something as special as marriage should be nurtured forever. So what do couples need to keep it? Trust, love, respect, compassion, and patience are all important. But even the best marriages can run into trouble. This is because couples tend to take the simplest things for granted. Would you like to know some of these things? Then read on.

Proven tips for a happy marriage:

Point 1: Be independent.
Just because you marry, it doesn't mean you must embrace everything about your partner. Sometimes, you forget about how different you two are because you've been together for so long. Don't lose your uniqueness because it's the same thing that attracted both you and your partner in the first place. Try to take on different interests and encourage your partner to do so too.

Point 2: Never be angry at the same time.
When you're angry, you hear nothing else and you don't care about anything else. If you find that both you and your partner are angry, try to have some space. Calm down. Then talk. Be sensitive to each other's ups and downs. Talk through the problem and hear each other out. Abandon the whole world rather than each other. And never go to sleep without settling the argument. Most importantly, never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.

Point 3: If you have to disagree, do it lovingly.
There will be lots of times when you and your spouse won't agree at all in some aspects. Don't make your point sound like a criticism to your partner. It doesn't matter who is wrong or right. Always bear in mind that an argument doesn't need a winner or a loser.

Point 4: Never bring up mistakes of the past.
Whenever something goes wrong, do not rub past issues in. Don't dwell over the past such that you become blind with the wonderful things ahead of your relationship.

Point 5: At least once every day, try to say one thoughtful or complimentary thing to your partner.
When a couple always spends time with each other, they often forget about courtesy. "Take the trash out. Do the laundry." Isn't there something missing in those phrases? Perhaps putting "Please" before each sentence would make it sound so much better. Never take each other for granted.

Showing constantly that you both like each other will help keep your relationship fresh. Even something as simple as complementing on your spouse's looks or buying little unexpected gifts can help. Look for the things that would make your partner feel appreciated.

How do you live by the guidelines stated earlier? Lower your pride. But don't get me wrong. Pride is a good thing. It keeps your head high in public. It's not a bad thing to have pride in someone or something. But in private, when you're with your partner, keep the pride level down; because it becomes a wall your partner would have to overcome.

About the Author
How to Easily Transform a Miserable, Lifeless Marriage Relationship into One Filled With Love, Happiness, and Excitement - Just Visit:

You Can Be Romantic

by Christos Varsamis

Why is it that so many people believe that they don't have time or take the initiative to be romantic? Maybe most people don't believe that they are creative enough to be romantic. Everyone is creative! The definition of being creative is having the ability or power to create. The word create offers a much broader definition than most people accept when it comes to the process of being able to come up with something original or simply well thought out.

Gifts that are considered to be traditionally romantic like candy and flowers are wonderful, but sometimes you need something that goes one step further. If your spouse enjoys flowers, you don't have to settle for roses because they can sometimes become unexciting after a while! Present him or her with something completely original such as a daisy or another flower where petals can be counted. Ask him or her to play the childhood game of 'they love me, they love me not' and watch them pluck the petals as they go. However, don't allow for the possibility of him or her arriving at the 'they love me not'. Count the petals before you present the flower to your spouse and trim it so that there is an odd number of petals for the right outcome!

Arts and crafts used to be a fun break from the monotony of the school day, but believe it or not, it will come in handy when it comes to creative romantic gestures. Instead of promising that you will love him or her forever, show them. Take a piece of paper, ribbon or other material you choose and write "I love you" on both sides from end to end. Twist the paper 180 degrees and connect both ends of the paper until you have mad what looks like the figure eight. Tape or glue to ends together. You can present your love with a symbol that shows them your love for them is an endless love.

Creativity comes in many different forms! Being creative can mean creating an atmosphere. If you want to plan the ultimate romantic evening but funds are low or you simply don't want to have to leave the house, shut down the electricity and imitate a power outage (it's up to you whether or not you tell him or her!). You won't have any distractions or heat, so it is up to both of you to keep the other warm and entertain each other.

Maybe romance is on your mind, but he or she is going out of town. Did you know that people on airplanes are typically hopeless romantics? Any flight attendant would be more than happy to make sure that your spouse receives a special present after the flight has left the ground. Simply approach a crewmember after he or she boards the plane and they are usually more than happy to oblige a hopeless romantic like you! (You might want to make sure that the gift is unwrapped or keep it to a single rose due to heightened security.)

Creativity doesn't have to come in the form of gifts every single time. Gestures like getting up and dancing with your spouse when a special song comes on the radio is quite creative and incredibly romantic! Whenever the mood strikes you, allow your creative juices to flow!

About the Author
Christos Varsamis is a Marketing Consultant at