Sunday, September 27, 2009

Letters

This is a pretty specific project, again directed at developing relationships with your CBs siblings. If your CB has a sister who enjoys getting mail, try sending her a letter. This can range anywhere from regular correspondence to an occasional birthday or Christmas card. Regardless, the letter will probably become a treasured keepsake.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Character


Individually make a list of all the character traits listed in the Bible that husbands and wives are to possess. Compare and discuss the lists. Do either of you have blindspots in these areas? Are there points that are especially strong? Are there strong points that are either misapplied or imbalanced? Share these thoughts with each other, then together select one trait for each of you to study more in-depth. Share what you have learned in your next Bible study.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Family Game


 Is there a game that either your family or your CB’s family enjoys playing? Play a game with them! Monopoly, Risk, UpWords, Rummycube, Settlers of Catan, and Nuts are some games my family enjoys, and there are endless other possibilities. Remember to ask about house rules ahead of time, often different families play games different ways.

A fun twist to this would be to have a “family game night” and have both families get together for an evening of fun.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Power of a Praying Wife


You may wonder why I have a book designed for a wife as recommended reading for a courtship. The reason is first, because this is the only Stormy O’Martin book that I’ve read. I wasn’t aware she had others until later. I’m sure they are good, but I can’t personally recommend them yet. Secondly, there are no books like this designed specifically for the courting relationship. This is probably because the courting stage is fairly finite, and there isn’t a huge market for books on prayer. Thirdly, I think this book is quite appropriate to the Courting relationship. Any area appropriate for a spouse to pray about is also appropriate for a CB to pray for. Your man needs your prayers, give them. 
This book was both challenging and enjoyable to read. It was enjoyable to read because there were good illustrations and the book explained very nicely each of the prayer points. It was challenging because it had never occurred to me that there were so many areas in which my Knight needed prayer!!It was also interesting to watch the results of the prayers.

Some of the prayer points covered were his finances, fears, protection, reputation, integrity, choices, and many more. At the end of each chapter are related Bible verses and/ a written out prayer, you can choose to pray that prayer as a guideline or to pray in your own words. There are a total of 30 prayer points, plus a chapter on the power of prayer, so this book lends itself well to a monthly reading. Because the chapters are usually only a few pages long, this book will only add a few minutes to your normal quiet time routine. I highly recommend working through it at least once.

** Stormy O’Martin has also written The Power of a Praying Husband. I haven’t read that one, but would assume it to be similar in quality and content to this one.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Highschool Years

Unlike my hopeful predictions in the journal entry, soon after that brief October visit her family chose another church to attend. We didn't keep in touch.

The next several years of my life were full. We joined a homeschool group, and I joined the church youth group. I started horseback riding at a local Christian camp, and in the summer was on the city's swim team. In my country-girl life I'd never dreamed of having so many friends, having so much to do, or of being so popular.

The more accepted I was the more I conformed to expectations of my age. I fought with my younger brothers, got mad at my parents, argued, debated, and rebelled just as far as I could without getting in trouble. I could walk the line between "safe" and "you've gone to far" as though I'd had special training for it. Of course, there were times that I didn't care enough to walk the line and was unrepentantly rebellious, but even those times I kept in moderation. Just enough to drive my parents crazy at the time, but not enough for them to remember a few weeks later.



As cheerful and vivacious as I seemed to my peers, on the inside I had a deepening confusion. There was nothing in life I wanted that I didn't have (except a boyfriend!), and yet I wasn't happy and couldn't figure out why.

A dear friend of mine saw the problem long before I did, and one afternoon asked, "So, how is your Bible Study going these days?"

"Well..." I coughed. I was, if nothing else, honest, but I didn't want to admit to him that I couldn't remember the last time I'd voluntarily cracked my Bible open. "Uhm, it's been a little while. I've been forgetting about it the, uh, last few days."

"You know that's important."

"Yeah... I know. Thanks." I knew he was only saying something because he cared, but the whole conversation was awkward. What was worse, he caught on to the fact that I was trying to dodge the question, and kept bugging me about my quiet time. I finally began to do a semi-daily quiet time just to shut him up.

A funny thing about reading the Bible is that you can't read it honestly and not walk away changed. The change didn't happen overnight. It was very gradual, and very painful. God was preforming a delicate and precise operation of open heart surgery on me. There were times I thought the mental and spiritual strain was more than I could handle. But by the time I graduated highschool in 2004 I was a completely different person. God had taken the rebellious lump of clay that was me and started fashioning it into a woman after God's own heart.

This painful refashioning wasn't a moment too soon, because mere weeks after my highschool graduation  I was to become friends with a certain young man that would become very dear to me in the years to come...

Part 3

Friday, September 18, 2009

Building relationships

This project is a little different than the others, in that it doesn't directly involve your CB. Remember, sometimes there are things that will help your relationship that can only be done alone. I've given these the tag "solo" so they are easier to find.

If your CB has siblings, try to take each one of them out to visit, particlarly any of them that are old enough to want to develop a personal relationship. You can go out for icecream, a meal, a walk in the park, anything. My Knight has 7 siblings, six of them younger. One I took out to Build-A-Bear and then we got our pictures done. With another I got shakes and we went exploring in a park. Match the activity with the sibling. I've started asking where they want to go or what they want to do--they often have some fun ideas! (though I have to specify the price range first ;) )


The point of this exercise is first to develop a relationship with the rest of the family--something you will be grateful for later on--and second to show that you aren't trying to "steal away" their dearly loved sibling. I have yet to observe a courtship in which the siblings didn't feel some level of insecurity at the new addition to the family (you). By showing a personal interest in the other family members you can help head-off these insecurities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book reports

I've always been a book worm. From the time I learned to read one of the most likely places for me to be found was curled like a cat in the recliner, snuggled up on my bed, or relaxing on a tree branch--always with my latest book. I wasn't picky with the books I read, fiction was prefered but some of my most loved books were history books, DIY, craft books, and "roughing it outdoors".
As I've grown older I've also developed a propensity for research. I will become interested in something new, and for the next several weeks every spare moment is devoted to learning everything I can about it. I love discovering things. Fortunately these two hobbies of mine dovetail quite nicely. I love books.... I love learning... Works well together. 

Of course my newly begun courtship is no exception. Since I started courting I've read many, MANY books on relationships and becoming the best woman possible for my man. I thought I'd share a few of those books with you. So look for postings of book reviews sometime in the near future.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Giving

You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving. ~ Amy Carmichael

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Letters

There is something extra special about a card recieved in the mail. Write your CB a note and send it the "old fashioned" way.  It doesn't matter what you write about--your love, your dreams, your run-of-the-mill day. The fact that you took the time to write the note, and invested all $.44 makes the letter meaningful and special. 

“What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call.” ~ Liz Carpenter

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Silence

Talking is a good and needed way to get to know each other, but don’t overlook opportunities to be quiet together. If one or both of you is still in school, try studying together. If you have work projects that can be done at home, try working on those together. If one of you has work or school that needs to be done, the other could read a book in the meantime. This doesn’t have to be done all the time, of course; everything in moderation. But remember that sometimes silence is golden.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Caveat

 I’ve been listing down many different projects in the past few months, and it occurred to me that a qualification was in order.

Every relationship develops differently. No two courtships are the same, nor is there an ideal set of rules and standards for the perfect courtship. In my family there are two courtships going on right now (both mine and my oldest brothers) and they are very different from each other. My Knight’s older sister was married earlier this year, and though her courtship was also beautiful it was different that ours. That’s to be expected since every person is different, therefore every couple is different.

My Knight and I, as will be told in more detail later, were best friends for many years before we started courting. Because we already had a strong foundation beforehand we didn’t have a “get to know you” stage in our courtship. Some of the projects reflect that and are designed primarily to a relationship where both CBs are committed to eventual marriage. If your relationship is still in the “discovering God’s will” stage, these projects would be best saved for the formal engagement.

Just use wisdom and discernment in your relationship, and be open to feedback from parents and godly adults.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Love Languages

Work through the “Five Love Languages” book by Gary Chapman. Learn what your CB’s love language is. The five languages are:

Physical Touch
Words of Affirmations
Quality Time
Gifts
Acts of service
More likely than not you will each have different love languages. You need to learn to “speak” whichever love language your CB does. For example, if their love language is Acts of Service they won’t appreciate that neat gizmo as much as someone who’s love language is gifts. That isn’t to say you should be loving your CB with all of the love languages simultaneously—but remember to focus on the one they appreciate the most.

Here is a link that describes the love languages, and another for further research.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

October 20, 1999

Someday I would like o write, in book format, the story of how Richard and I met and fell in love. I was inspired in this project by the book, "When Dreams Come True" by Eric and Leslie Ludy. It was the most beautiful, encouraging, and challenging courtship story I've heard. I think that if young people hear stories about God honoring relationships they will be better motivated to live it out themselves. So... here is the first installment. Enjoy!!! :-)

*~*~*~*~

It was a cool October afternoon when my family pulled up to the house. We'd been invited over for dinner by couple that had just started visiting our church. My family was pretty new to the church also--just 7 months ago we'd moved back to Texas from a ministry position in Arkansas. It was a difficult transition for the family--a case where God's will was extremely obvious but not at all what any of us had expected or wanted. Especially me. I felt like everything I'd ever wanted had been taken away and still couldn't figure out why. Since we'd moved back we hadn't done much visiting. We'd met a few people, but I hadn't made any good friends yet. I was still praying that a miracle would happen and we'd end up back in Arkansas, I wasn't yet ready to put down roots in this new place. But here we were, in front of a near-strangers home, expected to make some friends. All I knew about the family was that they had five kids, and the oldest was a girl who was one year younger than me.

I was nervous as we walked up the drive. I didn't have any idea what to expect. I had grown up around boys (many, many boys!) and wasn't quite sure how to make friends with a girl. The truth was, I was a little afraid of girls. They could be so emotional and strange--boys were general much more predictable. Much to my surprise and pleasure I discovered that the oldest girl, Melody, wasn't hard at all to talk to. I disappeared into her room and we chatted the entire time.

Later when I got home I wrote this hopeful journal entry, "Tonight I made my first friend since moving to Texas. Her name is Melody. She is 12 years old, has medium length brown hair, pink cheeks, and looks older than she actually is. I think she is very pretty."

Part 2