With Valentine’s Day season upon us, you might wonder how spell L.O.V.E.  In our  book, The First Five Years, we explain how to create a memorable romantic encounter for your spouse no matter how many years you are married. (And we will adapt this for those who are single and dating).  Keep this acrostic for LOVE in mind as you make plans to wow the one you love:

 

Listen

Observe

Vary

Extract

 

Listen

Your spouse will drop hints about the things he or she loves and you can use these hints to create more romance and sizzle in your relationship. For example, if you listen to Bill and me in a casual lunch conversation, you would  discern  that Bill loves things like: Football, fishing, cooking, joke telling, and the Bible.  If you listen to Pam you’d discover she loves travel, biking, swimming, tennis, laughing, and helping women—and the spa!

It doesn’t take much imagination then to know that if I (Pam) give Bill a day of ocean fishing or if he gave me a day at the spa, we would be more interested in each other at the end of that day. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Kayaking is on both our lists, so we have a goal to have a kayak date in every state we travel to for business. Walking and biking are also on both of our lists, so an evening stroll, or a leisurely cycle around a lake near us is apt to also put us in the mood. Bill and I keep a running list of “loves” we discover about one another while listening.

Observe

On the TV show Sherlock (and in the classic books with this character),  Sherlock Holmes wows the audience by his keen detective skills of observation. You can become a detective and easily observe what will bless and ignite your spouse:

  • What raises stress in your partner?—then make a plan to lower it
  • What lifts the spirit?—then make a plan to repeat it
  • What calms the atmosphere?—then recreate it
  • What things are collectible?—then add to it
  • When he or she sighs and relaxes?—then repeat it
  • What draws him/her to you?—then protect it

 Vary

            For married couples, when it comes to intimacy, don’t get in a rut.  Vary the romance. In our book, Red Hot Monogamy, inspired by Song of Songs, we give over 200 Red Hot Romance ideas. The King and the Bride in song of Songs model for couples simple romantic inspirations. And they make time together a priority, “My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away,” {Song pf Songs 2:10)

One of the easiest ways to vary the experience is to keep the five senses in mind. Vary the places you date, mix the style from dressy to down to earth. Or try adding new sounds/music, scents, textures, or tastes.  If you go to dinner each Thursday, next week eat it on the rooftop, or on a blanket at the park. If you usually work out as a couple, then make the next date a payoff- get some new athletic wear and try out a new activity.

Extract

To extract love, take an old idea and give it a new spin. Personalize it, shake it up, add to it. For example, because we are relationship communicators, we are usually pretty busy around Valentine’s Day. Often we have to be at the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) conference. No offense to those in Christian radio, but the NRB isn’t the most romantic place to be around on Valentine’s Day. We have decided, however, to make it romantic the years we need to be there. One year, Bill scanned the covers of all the books we have written and made a series of greeting cards with personal love messages that used the titles as a part of a pun, like “It has been “Pure Pleasure” being marriage to you”.  Every hour all day, he gave me a card with a new message and tiny gift.

 

L.O.V.E: Listen, observe, vary and extract to create a love to look forward to living. It is possible to keep love as red hot as those candy hearts you munch on each Valentine’s Day—it just takes a little creativity and some L.O.V.E.

 

Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship specialists, international speakers and best selling authors of Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti, Red Hot Monogamy and The First Five Years: Make the Love Investment (www.Love-Wise.com) When they are not traveling to speak on marriage or family, you will find them at home on their live aboard boat in Southern California.

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If I am lost in a city, I like to go to a map so I can see the “big picture.” The same thing is true of discerning God’s will. Having an overall general understanding of God’s book, character, actions and words helps us to understand God and to understand how He works.

In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together, I suggest one of these  ideas to layer God’s Word into your life:

  1. Read the Bible through in a year. The One-Year Bible or one of Tyndale’s One Year Bible Devotionals, like Devotions for Women on the Go are options.  You might read a new translation or use a different study tool as you read, but year after year – even if it takes you a few years to read it through – God’s Word will become anchored into your heart.
  2. Study the Bible chronologically. Studying the Bible this way has helped me form my philosophy and methodology of ministry. For example, because I see how God lays foundations, then builds on them, I want to do the same in my ministry.
  3. Study the character of God. By studying who God is, I get to see how He thinks, acts, and relates to people. When I am in a tough spot, especially when I have to make a quick decision, I go back and ask, “What would God’s character have me do?” This year, I had several important decisions on my mind, decisions that would dramatically impact my family, my ministry and my future. I felt compelled to travel back to the place I started my Christian walk more than 30 years ago – in the book of Matthew.
  4. I re-read all the words of Jesus in the gospels, seeking the heart of God on the matter before me.
  5. Dive Deep Into A Topic: For several years, I have been in the psalms. First as one of the writers for Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, then the following few years as a teacher of that study of the Psalms. The benefit of a focused topical study is you move closer to the heartbeat of God in that area of life or scripture.

Other ideas for study are the names of God in the Old Testament, the verses that speak of God as the Father, the names Christ is called in the Old and New Testament, and the names and character of the Holy Spirit. When you layer God’s Word into your life on a daily basis, you gain the ability to see things from God’s perspective. Jesus explains it with the phrase, “You are in me and I in you” (John 14:20, John 17:21-22). The Word of God is the key ingredient in protecting your life: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23).

Pam Farrel is the bestselling author of 46 books including several devotionals: Devotions for Women on the Go;

A Couples’ Journey with God, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, and soon to be released Discovering Joy in Philippians.   The Farrels are the Co-Directors of Love-Wise.

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In my book, Becoming a Brave New Woman, I share one of the moments of exhaustion that we all experience at one time or another:

I had weeks of back-to-back speaking engagements. On a trip to Colorado, I remember thinking, “Wow, this is great! My flight got booked with some breathing space. I’ll get there early, take a nap, shower and feel so refreshed.” I arrived at the Denver airport only to discover that my connecting flight was canceled, and I was stuck in the airport for five hours. I would have to dress for the event in the airport restroom and step off the plane and go immediately to my speaking engagement. My heart sank. How was I ever going to get the rest I needed stranded in an airport?

I walked the terminal and prayed. I spotted an empty gate; one that had a door that opened to the outside with fresh air streaming in. With a little ingenuity, I created my own lounge chair by placing my suitcase under my legs and my purse under my head. I began to read a book by A.W. Tozer about the character of God. The book was packed with verses, and I just devoured it. As I read, some birds hopped into the terminal and began to feed on the crumbs of tourist food. I thought of the verse, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26).

I smiled, read the final page of my book and drifted off to sweet slumber – in the airport! I awoke an hour later, refreshed and thankful that those who wait on the Lord gain renewed strength.

 

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 46 books including Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, Devotions for Women on the Go, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience. She and her husband Bill co-direct Love-Wise, helping people with their most vital relationships. When she is not speaking or writing, you may find her kayaking to get her mail from her home on a live aboard boat in Southern California.

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Several years ago, I was experiencing a season of hardships. The emotional pressure in my life had escalated – facing deadline upon deadline, bad medical news, grief over my father’s death, plus the daily stress of church leadership and family responsibilities. I sat in my doctor’s office in tears. All I wanted to do was escape, and drive to the beach to spend time with God. Only by talking to God, and having Him talk to me through the Word would salve this pain.

I knew that I would be okay if I could just get to the beach and let God’s love wash over me like the waves wash over the sand. So I drove home, told my husband I would be gone for a few hours, and I grabbed my Bible, journal, and a few devotional books. I rushed to the beach, anxious to spend time with God. I read, prayed, journaled, walked, listened – and read some more. Finally, both peace and a plan came.

Today, this is still my path to peace. The Psalmist agrees. “My soul finds rest in God alone!” Find a cozy place with God today, cuddle up with the Word, and let the peace of God wash over you. God’s peace is like the waves that wash over your toes planted in the sands, so faithful to come to shore, wave after wave, God’s peace will come to your heart, verse after verse, from His Word.

Pam Farrel is the bestselling author of 46 books including Discovering Hope in the Psalms, Becoming a Brave New Woman, and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman. With her husband Bill, she runs Love-Wise and helps people with their most vital relationships, with God, in marriage and family, and friendships. Fin hope and help for your family at Living Love-Wise Community 

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One woman who had sat in a Bible-teaching church Sunday after Sunday for over 10 years told me something one day that took my breath away. She had been having an affair with her best friend’s husband! Those in her world had counseled her, confronted her in love, shown her care and compassion – everything possible to help her see the trauma she was causing two families – then one day she eloped with this man! When she arrived back in town, I saw her at one of our children’s sporting events. She was so excited. She was flitting from person to person showing her ring and wedding pictures. When she arrived in front of Bill and I, we were shocked by her flippancy, “Oh, aren’t you excited for me? I just knew it was God’s will that we marry because after the ceremony, I looked up and there was a ring around the moon!”

“A ring around the moon!” my heart screamed with sadness. Her heart had drifted so far from God’s Word that her decision-making ability had become irrational. That day has stayed with me – primarily because it wasn’t an isolated incident.

A best friend, married to a minister, told me God had led her to an Internet chat room where she encountered a man who met her emotional and sexual needs. Another woman, who had been a committed women’s leader for years, told me at a retreat, “I was praying about whether to leave my current ministry, and I saw a butterfly and thought, “Butterflies are free; I am free from this ministry calling now. I am released to fly on to something else. Something for me.”

Our world has become so feelings-based and experiential, women are hopping from one emotional high to another. Sadly, this thinking is also creeping into the church, and into church leadership.

 

Seeing this, I feel compelled to be in the Word daily because every day that I might  lean on an experience or emotion rather than on God and His Word is one more day my heart drifts further from truth, and further from God. If I don’t gird up my mind with the truth, I will drift from the truth.

One way to protect your heart is to learn the strength and wisdom found when you dig deeper into God’s Word. In Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, you will learn the skills and the joys of being in the Word of God on a daily journey to find hope and help through God’s Word.

 

 

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, and bestselling author of 46 books including her newest, Discovering Hope in thePsalms and

7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success In Keeping It All Together. She and her husband, Bill co-direct Love-Wise. When they are not traveling for speaking, they love long walks on the beach.

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