Thursday, February 21, 2013

February meeting recap!

It was so good seeing all you ladies last week! So sorry for the delayed recap... I actually wrote it the day of the meeting & just didn't publish the post. Oops.

The theme of our meeting last week was:


And what is a Man Panel (or "Manel," as it's affectionately known)? We sit a few lucky guys in the front of the room & throw questions at them. Our second Man Panel consisted of four men -- Bobby, Tom, Joe & Benji. Thanks, guys... y'all were awesome!

MOPS Valentine's Day favors
Elizabeth began our meeting with a devotion during which she shared the story of her divorce & how it affected & continues to affect her life. She had wonderful words of support for moms who may have experienced marital infidelity &/or divorce... what an amazing testimony!

After a break, we began our Man Panel. Although there was many things said that I completely missed during my note-scribbling, I jotted down several points made by each guy. Please see below for notes.

Aubrey did a great job on our favors this month! At each place, there was a super-cute Valentine's Day bag of "God's Conversation Hearts" along with a print-out of the referenced Bible verses.

And Abbey's craft this month was chocolate-dipped marshmallow pops. Yummy & cute... perfect for kids & adults too!  Tutorial to follow, so stay tuned.

Our illustrious Man Panel 2013 (from left to right: Bobby, Tom, Joe & Benji)
Here are my notes from the meeting in case you missed it or want to refresh your memories.

TOM

Question: What are some of the most important components of a healthy marriage?
Answer:

  • Relationship with God is most important, because it affects all the other components. 
  • communication is vital -- Tom explained that he & his wife, Jennifer, use a family calendar to coordinate everyone's schedules. Also, understanding & accommodating the communication styles of one another... texting, phone calls, face-to-face & email are all methods that can help husbands & wives be in continual communication with each other.
  • fun - although the common adage states that "the family that prays together, stays together," Toms suggests that "the family that PLAYS together, stays together" is also an important thing to keep in mind.
  • gratitude - letting go of unrealistic expectations & appreciating the present (ex. understanding that the house isn't always going to be neat, the kids aren't always going to behave). Tom mentioned that a dry erase board in their kitchen (one of our MOPS crafts!) has been a great way for he & Jennifer to show appreciation for each other. (Click here for the tutorial on how to make your own dry erase board). 


JOE

Question:
How can a couple keep their relationship a priority in the midst of raising children? How can a wife let her husband know that she still cares about him despite the busyness of life?
Answer: 

  • Scheduling & making intentional time together is the best way to keep your relationship a priority. One day the kids will grow up & leave home, but your marriage is forever. Include the kids in your relationship, not the other way around. 
  • A wife can let her husband know she cares by supporting him. When Joe has to work late, his wife Melissa shows support by caring for the kids without making him feel guilty about his schedule & by showing interest in his day. Even sending a quick text to say "I love you" or "How can I help?" goes a long way in making your partner feel loved & appreciated. The husband, on the other hand, should remember that the wife's job is difficult as well.... regardless of whether she's working inside or outside the home.

Benji

Question: How important is a woman's physical appearance really?... the way we look when you come home, weight gained (& not immediately lost) from pregnancy, stretch marks, hair style, etc. 
Answer: There are three places you can get guidelines on physical appearance. 
  • The world - tells us to the standard of beauty is a certain size, shape, skin color, eye color, hair color. If you don't fit the standard, there is surgery to help you out... it's a rabbit hole that you can't get out of because it's unachievable... there's always something else that needs to be "fixed."
  • The church - dependent on culture because it's driven by people. For example, in the 1950's (& even at some churches today), the church prescribes beauty as long dresses, long hair &, as Benji put it, "looking like Laura Ingalls' mom."
  • The Bible - the standard that never changes. God sculpted man in his own image & performed surgery to create woman. Each part was lovingly created by God in the way that He meant them to look. Benji pointed out that one of the quickest ways that Satan drives a wedge into a marriage is through self-consciousness & insecurities about physical appearances. 

Bobby

**Bobby added to Benji's discussion of physical appearance by saying:
Be PROUD of that stretch mark! That's our child! It's a sign of that you've given life, that you're a mother, that you're beautiful & strong. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed!

Question: What do you wish women knew about men? What are some practical, everyday things we can do to be a better wife?
Answer: When a man walks into the house after work, he wants to know that he has a partner in life. He wants his wife to know that he is her partner & her advocate, not just someone else who has to be taken care of. Treat your husband like he's your teammate!

Thoughts from our Manel on spiritual leadership:

  • if the husband is not a Christian or spiritual leader, prayer is the most helpful & productive action
  • husbands & wives should be careful to not undermine each other to their children; always present  a united front in matters of discipline, spiritual guidance & parental decisions
  • develop a relationship with a mentor couple... someone who has the kind of marriage/relationship that you want to strive for
  • consider Ephesians 5:22-33 (from The Message):
22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.   
25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.

Other points to ponder:

  • Acknowledge together that life is hard & isn't always fun without doing the "blame game." 
  • Explain & remind your spouse when you need to vent that "I'm just fussing TO you, I'm not fussing AT you."
  • Remember that the preschool years are a season... regardless of how difficult & wonderful it is, it WILL pass.
  • It's a proven statistic that parents become "roommates" & this loss of intimacy begins during the preschool years... then the kids leave home & the parents no longer have anything in common, which results in divorce. Work every day to NOT be a part of this statistic!
  • Some studies show that the average father spends only eight intentional minutes with his children a day. Help your husband/partner beat this average. A suggestion is "Daddy Dates" on a weekly basis -- a scheduled time for a father & his children to spend together, which allows bonding with kids while giving Mom some alone time. 
  • God gave us two ears & one mouth for a reason... He wants us to listen twice as much as we speak. 

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