Archive for the ‘ Mars and Venus ’ Category

Thinking about Moving In? Read this First.


Recently, I’ve have several interactions with readers of this blog where they have been talking about moving in together.  While no one will get any kind of judgement from me and this blog.  What you choose to do is your business.  But for anyone considering it- I would whole heartedly beg them to reconsider until there’s been 2 rings and an I Do in between.  This has nothing to do with religion or moral values.  It’s simply that I have seen this happen many many times and almost every time it ends in heartache.  In fact, only once have I ever known a couple that lived together before marriage stay together.  Just once.  And I’ve known A LOT of couples who have done this.

I think it really has to do with the fact that both people are now acting and living in a state of commitment that neither person has really taken the step to commit to.  And what that does is place unspoken expectations on each other, and generally speaking, if everyone were being perfectly honest- this is just a mechanism for protecting your heart from getting hurt- which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you want to be doing in a relationship. So my advice- Don’t Do It!

To that end, I found this neat infographic from www.BusinessInsider.com  I thought I’d share.  Enjoy

From the Archives: Alone in a Relationship


This is a repost of an older topic that I have encountered a ton recently.  So I thought I’d throw this one back around the look one more time.

Last week I received a message from an old friend asking if we could get together.  She needed some advice from a “man’s perspective.”  We had the opportunity to get together today and caught up on what was going on with each other.  And coming out of that conversation, there are a ton of thoughts swirling around my head, but one stands out above the rest:: I am so thankful for the rich community that Penny and I not only get to live in today, but that we got to go through our season of dating together as well.

As my friend and I talked, she told me how she was absolutely in love with the man that she is with now.  They’ve been together almost a year, and he is so far and above different than any other man she ever been with before, that she couldn’t imagine being with anyone else.  But there was something that has been bothering her over these last couple of months.  Now that all the warm fuzzies of a new relationship have worn off and they find themselves settling into a rhythm, they are finding the rhythm has turned into a rut.  The more we talked, the more what I was hearing her say beyond anything else was that she knows that he loves her, but she doesn’t often feel it.  That, unfortunately, he has stopped pursuing her.  He loves her, he has committed himself to her (but hasn’t put a ring on it yet, so keep it in perspective), and she should know that.  And as a guy, I really get where he is coming from.  But it doesn’t translate well to her heart.  So she pushes in to try to make him understand that she is feeling a gap, hoping that he will respond.  But what she doesn’t see is that he is responding, in a very guy way.  Occasionally, the way he responds does connect to her heart, but usually it only serves to frustrate her more.

As I listened, I thought back to several times in Penny’s and my dating relationship, and even now that we are married, and all the times that we did something that was frustrating or didn’t seem to connect with each other…and at first I couldn’t think of much, but the more I thought, the more I realized that we have had and continue to have the same issues as my friend and her boyfriend.  But in almost every circumstance, I reached back to sitting in the garage of my LifeGroup leader, Michael (who would later be one of my groomsmen), hashing out what was going on, what was confusing and frustrating.  I thought about my ministry team leader at church, Lorelei, who, as a girl, gave me incredibly great insight into the liv

es and hearts of women and decoded a lot for me.  I thought of a great mutual friend that both Penny and I loved and loved us, Rebekah, who had eyes on us as a couple and wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions, as well as encourage us in the things we were doing right.  And Penny had Megan, her own LifeGroup leader, that I knew she was constantly talking to (Megan would also be in our wedding). And I realized something- Penny and I were surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses of people who had nothing to gain from our relationship, they just loved us enough to love us.

So I asked the question to my friend, “Who do you have in your life that is having eyes for you both individually and as a couple?  Who has permission to slap you upside the head when you’re being stupid, and call the best out of you?”  And her answer… “No one,” she whispered as she shook her head.

You see, this guy hadn’t stopped loving my friend.  He just doesn’t have anyone in his life to hit him upside the head and say, “Hey, how about you not hang out with the boys tonight and go hang out with her.”  She doesn’t have anyone in her life to say, “Hey, you know how he said this thing and it frustrated you, do you hear how actually romantic it is.?”  They are doing this relationship alone.  Sure, they have each other, but they don’t have anyone else with them in the middle of it.

Here’s the thing, we were never meant to do any of this life alone.  We aren’t ring-bearers and most of us aren’t named Frodo.  We are designed and meant to do life- to do relationships, in community, with other people around.  It’s what I was talking about in the 10 Things I’ve Learned About Dating :: #7- Date in Community. You don’t have to be alone.  You won’t be better off for it either.  Get people around you.

So how’s it going with you?  I ask you the same question I asked my friend, Do you have anyone in your life that has eyes for you individually and as a couple?  Who has permission to slap you upside the head and cheer you on at the same time?  Leave a comment and let us know.

(PS- Thanks again to Michael, Megan, Lorelei, Rebekah, Todd, Michael R, Ginny, Brad, Jonny, Elijah, Sarah, Harlan, Mike, Teri, and so so many more who were and are part of the community that Penny and I get to do life with.  You guys rock!)

5 Great Valentines Day GDS Posts


It’s Valentines Day in America.  This is the day that so many things will be happening.  There’ll be a lot of first dates, and a lot of last dates.  Some people will be saying, “I love you” for the first time, and a lot of people saying “I love you” for the thousandth time.  There’ll be a lot of engagements, a lot of celebrating, and above all…A LOT OF DATING.  So in honor of the day that honors love, I thought I’d take a moment and repost 5 of our most popular recent posts on Love and Dating.

1) How to Say “I Love You” for the First Time. It’s pretty self explanatory, but for anyone who is thinking that tonight might be the night for those 3 magic words, this one is for you.

2) 5 Ways to Pursue Your Girl Men, this post is for you.  There is something about the way that your girl’s heart is wired that she wants to be pursued.  And whether or not you realize it, or not, your heart is wired to be in pursuit.  Here are 5 tips for making it happen.

3) Navigating the Land Between…in Dating Have you ever found yourself in a place between being just friends and knowing there was something more, but you weren’t sure what?  Read here for tips on how to navigate that trecherous terrain

4) What are You Voting on in Your Relationship There are things in a relationship that require intentionality.  Here are somethings in your Relationship that you need to be super intentional about and make sure that you are both in agreement on.

5) The Fifth Commandment of Dating. It’s easy to commit a lot of  “sins” when it comes to dating.  But this is one of the big one that you really do NOT want to commit.  Remember Your DateNights and Keep Them Holy.

That’s it for now, Happy Dating

5 Things to Remember when saying “I Love You” for the First Time


Several months ago, a good friend of mine came to me and said, “Mulberry, I think I love her.  But I’m not ready to tell her.”  Then, last week, he looked at me and said, “Alright, Mulberry, I’m ready.”  I looked at him with a raised eyebrow, and in full dude-fashion, punched him in the arm, and said, “It’s about dang time!”

Saying “I Love You” for the first time is really a big deal.  There’s a reason that we are cautious of saying it for its time.  You don’t want to say it too early, otherwise you could freak the other person out.  On the TV Show “The Big Bang Theory,” Leonard and Penny wound up breaking up because one of them said it a bit too early for the other’s taste.

So for anyone out there who’s dating and is feeling like its getting close to time to saying those 3 magic words, I have some advice….Click here to read the full article

Weekly Featured Date: Kitchen Witches by The Studio Players


That’s right, the Weekly Featured Date is back!  And I’m excited to have a line up of lots of new and exciting GreatDateSpots around Central Kentucky and the Tri-City area coming at you!  And to kick it off is what Penny and I are doing tonight.

Now, whether or not you live in the Central Kentucky region, one of the best Dates anywhere , and most affordable too, is taking in some local theater.  The great thing is that when you do local theater, you have several options to choose from.  Usually there is a high school play happening somewhere around you.  While the acting may not always be stellar, they certainly have a bit of nostaglia to them.  But I challenge you to look deeper and check out the Community Theater in your town.

I like plays.  I like plays a lot.  I like plays for DateNights even more.  And for several reasons, mostly because its a lot like going to see a movie, but very different at the same time.  Sure, you’re in a theater, with lots of people you don’t know, watching a story unfold before your eyes.  Its great for getting cozy with that special someone.   Rarely will you be in a theater with other people you know, which creates such a great, unique shared experience for the two of you.  But plays can be so much more fun- for one thing, there is a bond that happens between actor and audience, especially in the intimate setting of community theater.  It’s sort of an inside-joke that we all know what we are seeing isn’t real, but we are agreeing to suspend reality and just go with it.  When mistakes happen, we are drawn in even more to see how they will recover, and often add a level of charm that we would never get from a movie. Also, community theater tends to afford us the opportunity to break out of the same ole plays we see over and over again.  Let’s face it, sometimes they suck and there’s a reason this play never hit the big time.  But more often than not, these plays really are unfound gems.

Which is exactly what I’m hoping for tonight as this is exactly what Penny and I will be doing for our DateNight tonight.  We will be heading out tonight to see The Studio Players take on Canadian playwright Caroline Smith’s Kitchen Witches.  The premise is that we have two women, one ambitious, professional and self-promoting and the other a stay-at-home mom with country skillz who both happened to have loved the same man are forced to work together for a local cooking show.  I’m looking forward to what can only mean a lot of quick-witted banter and blows back and forth as these two polar-opposite forces collide.

For anyone around who’s interested, the Studio Players are based out of the Carriage House Theater on the property of the Bell House right off E Main Street.  Shows are at 8:00 and tickets are $16.  Check out the review from Lexgo.com for more info.  And if you do get to go, be sure to come back and leave a comment, let us what you thought of the show!

6 Steps to Kick Off Dating in the New Year



It seems that it’s been a while since any activity has happened here on GreatDateSpot.com.  These past holidays were nuts around the Mulberry House, relatives and travel and parties and cleaning and doing it all over again…unfortunately, it seems that Penny and I haven’t really had much time for dating.  And what do I think of that?  It was no excuse.  We still haven’t mastered the make-up date just yet, but that’s ok…we’re still learning.

You see, its bound to happen…you have a plan, and set DateNight, and things come up every so often that knock you off schedule.  But that’s no excuse not to date.  Not to connect.  And what Penny and I have gotten to practice over these last 3 or 4 weeks is how to connect and keep our own relationship strong in the midst of a lot of busy-ness and family time.  Sometimes we did well, sometimes we didn’t.   It’s part of our growth.  And part of my own growth as the one entrusted to lead this marriage.  It was tricky trying to discern the times when it ok that we fore-go’ed? (fore-went?) our time together for time with the family, and when we really needed to steal away and just have time together.  It’s not really something I have ever had to do before.  But I was fully aware of it the entire time.

All that aside- here we are- back home, back on a regular schedule, and its time to get back to Dating!  We are definitely ready for another season of Dating and learning how to grow in and through relationships.  Today I want to share a thought on Dating in the New Year.

Here’s my big thought- Be Freakin’ Intentional this year.  Be intentional about having regularly scheduled DateNights.  What that doesn’t mean is being laxidasical and waiting until the day of the date to think about what you’re going to do.  When you wait till the last minute, its a recipe for the M word: MONOTONY.  Monotony is the biggest killer of a dating life.  Mostly because it takes all the fun out of it.  But how do you avoid it?  How do you avoid the Rut?  The best way I have found to plan out what you’re going to do is simple.  It’s an old school method. Create a Calendar.

Create a schedule for DateNights.  This was our DateNight schedule from last fall.  Its simple Excel-type spreadsheet.  And below are 6 steps to creating an excellent season of Dating here at the start of 2011.

1) Get a night of the week that will generally be a scheduled night for the two of you.  For Penny and I, it’s Friday nights.  For a lot of my friends, it’s Monday nights.  Maybe its a rotating night.  However it works for you, get a night when you will intend to go out.  Keep in mind, it won’t work every week- things will come up.  But at least it gives you something to shoot for.

2) Go ahead and block out the times when you know things will interfere.  What are the big weeks you know are coming up that will disrupt your dating schedule.  For me, I color code those times.  Orange represents times when I know that Friday Night will not work.  Yellow represents weeks where Friday may work, but other things could creep in and we may have to be flexible (like the Friday after Thanksgiving).  Doing this will allow you to have a heads up and create a back up plan- a make up date night.

3) Plan an activity for each DateNight. This is where the real work and fun comes into planning these things.  You’ll see the times when the same ole thing keeps coming up- and it will allow you to move them around.  Penny and I will often go to Cincinnati or Louisville for our Dates, so for me, this lets me see when we are going out of town several weeks in a row- then lets me adjust it so we aren’t leaving all the time.  This will also allow for you to check the local theaters- what plays or sporting events or concerts are coming that you need to go ahead an get tickets for (and gives you time to get good seats 🙂 )  The key here is variety.  Revisit the old favorites, and get some new things going on as well.  One final tip: Try not to schedule too many movies over the season.  If there are some big movies coming out that you both want to see, then by all means, but otherwise- keep it changed up.

4) Schedule Food for each DateNight. Sharing a meal together is a time-honored tradition, but more than that, it gives you great time to talk.  Scheduling the food will allow you to keep a variety of restaurants on tap.  If you’re like me, you’ll see a restaurant as you’re driving around town…and think, “We should try going there sometime.” But then you never go back… sound familiar?  The Calendar will help make that happen.  And what I think you’ll find is that pairing your restaurant selection with your activity is a bit like pairing a fine wine with just the right cheese.

5) Think through the added bonus. In other words, what makes this DateNight special?  What is something that you’ll both get out of this night that doesn’t happen on too many other nights.  It could be many things: a long drive with lots of talk time.  Homemade meal.  A special surprise or gift.  Time with another couple or loved one.

6) Take Good Notes. This was a lesson I learned after making these calendars our a few times.  Let’s face it– sometimes a well planned DateNight just turns out to be a stinker.  Sometimes its really great.  Sometimes you’ll hear her say something that you want to remember.  Sometimes you’ll want to remember if you two liked a particular restaurant or if there was a lesson learned from a certain experience.  This helps you to grow and get better at creating memorable DateNights.

So go for it!  Kick off 2011 the right way- with a strong season of Dating.  Get it planned out.  I suggest start small- if you’ve never done this before, try from January through March.  As for Penny and I, my calendar this time is planned through the end of May.  We’ll move into Summer after that.

When you do it, come back and leave a message, let us know how your schedule is working out.

Alone in a Relationship


Last week I received a message from an old friend asking if we could get together.  She needed some advice from a “man’s perspective.”  We had the opportunity to get together today and caught up on what was going on with each other.  And coming out of that conversation, there are a ton of thoughts swirling around my head, but one stands out above the rest:: I am so thankful for the rich community that Penny and I not only get to live in today, but that we got to go through our season of dating together as well.

As my friend and I talked, she told me how she was absolutely in love with the man that she is with now.  They’ve been together almost a year, and he is so far and above different than any other man she ever been with before, that she couldn’t imagine being with anyone else.  But there was something that has been bothering her over these last couple of months.  Now that all the warm fuzzies of a new relationship have worn off and they find themselves settling into a rhythm, they are finding the rhythm has turned into a rut.  The more we talked, the more what I was hearing her say beyond anything else was that she knows that he loves her, but she doesn’t often feel it.  That, unfortunately, he has stopped pursuing her.  He loves her, he has committed himself to her (but hasn’t put a ring on it yet, so keep it in perspective), and she should know that.  And as a guy, I really get where he is coming from.  But it doesn’t translate well to her heart.  So she pushes in to try to make him understand that she is feeling a gap, hoping that he will respond.  But what she doesn’t see is that he is responding, in a very guy way.  Occasionally, the way he responds does connect to her heart, but usually it only serves to frustrate her more.

As I listened, I thought back to several times in Penny’s and my dating relationship, and even now that we are married, and all the times that we did something that was frustrating or didn’t seem to connect with each other…and at first I couldn’t think of much, but the more I thought, the more I realized that we have had and continue to have the same issues as my friend and her boyfriend.  But in almost every circumstance, I reached back to sitting in the garage of my LifeGroup leader, Michael (who would later be one of my groomsmen), hashing out what was going on, what was confusing and frustrating.  I thought about my ministry team leader at church, Lorelei, who, as a girl, gave me incredibly great insight into the liv

es and hearts of women and decoded a lot for me.  I thought of a great mutual friend that both Penny and I loved and loved us, Rebekah, who had eyes on us as a couple and wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions, as well as encourage us in the things we were doing right.  And Penny had Megan, her own LifeGroup leader, that I knew she was constantly talking to (Megan would also be in our wedding). And I realized something- Penny and I were surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses of people who had nothing to gain from our relationship, they just loved us enough to love us.

So I asked the question to my friend, “Who do you have in your life that is having eyes for you both individually and as a couple?  Who has permission to slap you upside the head when you’re being stupid, and call the best out of you?”  And her answer… “No one,” she whispered as she shook her head.

You see, this guy hadn’t stopped loving my friend.  He just doesn’t have anyone in his life to hit him upside the head and say, “Hey, how about you not hang out with the boys tonight and go hang out with her.”  She doesn’t have anyone in her life to say, “Hey, you know how he said this thing and it frustrated you, do you hear how actually romantic it is.?”  They are doing this relationship alone.  Sure, they have each other, but they don’t have anyone else with them in the middle of it.

Here’s the thing, we were never meant to do any of this life alone.  We aren’t ring-bearers and most of us aren’t named Frodo.  We are designed and meant to do life- to do relationships, in community, with other people around.  It’s what I was talking about in the 10 Things I’ve Learned About Dating :: #7- Date in Community. You don’t have to be alone.  You won’t be better off for it either.  Get people around you.

So how’s it going with you?  I ask you the same question I asked my friend, Do you have anyone in your life that has eyes for you individually and as a couple?  Who has permission to slap you upside the head and cheer you on at the same time?  Leave a comment and let us know.

(PS- Thanks again to Michael, Megan, Lorelei, Rebekah, Todd, Michael R, Ginny, Brad, Jonny, Elijah, Sarah, Harlan, Mike, Teri, and so so many more who were and are part of the community that Penny and I get to do life with.  You guys rock!)