The Have and The Have Nots? Do you have the proper life insurance policies in place?
COUPLES UNITE TO SHARE, SUPPORT AND ENJOY MARRIAGE
SEASONS CHANGE APPRECIATE AND LOVE THE BEAUTY IN THE CHANGES
DO YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED
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also inside... 12
REWIND / Spring 2014
911 MARRIAGE EMERGENCY Honoring God In The Marriage Bed. BY PAMELA BELL
“I Do” Toons & Puzzle
Relax and enjoy our cartoon and a quick puzzle. Relax, Relate, Release!
Don’t Treat Your Marriage Like A Disposable Diaper BY TAMARA HUNDLEY
31 24 21 16
Shoofly Dinner. BY LATONYA GIBSON
Couples Join Forces to Make Marriage Rock. BY TAMARA HUNDLEY
The Haves and The Have Nots....
Is Your Family Covered by Life Insurance. BY ZELMA ALLEN
So You Want To Get Married...
Think before answering...BY LATONYA GIBSON
REWIND / Spring 2014
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ARE YOU TREATING YOUR MARRIAGE LIKE
A DISPOSABLE DIAPER by Tamara Hundley
It is no wonder that in a day of disposable diapers, napkins, plates, cups, and even throw away cameras (which is an irony since pictures are supposed to last a life time) that so many married couples treat their relationships the same way – as if they were to be used, enjoyed and then disposed of, making room for someone else. “Out with the old, in with the new,” right? Well, whatever happened to the “It gets better with time” mentality? Don’t allow your marital relationship to become disposable – something you use for the moment, but throw away when signs of wear and tear begin to appear. Remember, the signs tell the story of strength and endurance. Instead of being tempted to throw the relationship away, enjoy the journey of growing old together. Can’t you think of one couple you admire who has weathered the storm, loved through the changes, and now enjoy each other as seniors? They didn’t get there by running to something new. On the contrary, they learned to love the idea of growing old together. Love becomes contractual when it is based on conditions. God expects us to be in a covenant relationship with our spouses, with Him at the center. The marriage relationship should not be treated as a contract. For example, if one spouse says I love you and I am in this marriage as long as you… That individual has established a contract.
10 REWIND / Spring 2014
So stay in shape and do everything you can to live a healthy life, but appreciate the natural changes you both will go through – those changes that neither of you can do anything about. For instance, a lot of men will not have the same full head of hair they started with when they first got married – some won’t have any. It is a natural part of aging, so love the fine bald man that God has blessed you with. On the other hand, some women will have thinning hair or lose hair, but that is no reason to lose affection…love the changes…even if she wears
Love the gray hair that you both will eventually get – even if you color it with rinses and dyes – underneath it all – you know it’s still there.
weaves or wigs to cover them. Remember, you married for more than looks; you married for love, commitment and companionship. Love the gray hair that you both will eventually get – even if you color it with rinses and dyes – underneath it all – you know it’s still there. Love the fact that you were there with your spouse to share the days, months, and years of life experiences as you watched each other’s beautiful hair turn to lovely shades of gray. Love those pretty brown, black, gray, or blue eyes you fell in love with, even if you now have to see them through lenses used to bring back the 20/20. Those eyes have seen and loved you through your many faults, failures and victories. Don’t misunderstand the message, do all you can do to look your best, but let your love be deeper than one based on the surface (looks). Learn to love the character and spirit of the person you married. The fact is, the way a person looks will not cause
you to keep covenant and commit to the marriage. If marital commitment and love is based on looks, why is it that so many couples, that both look fabulous, still deal with infidelity? Marriage is a matter of the heart and a decision to commit – God’s way. Just as a decision is made to live saved and serve God, couples must decide to live and love through the changes of life together. This is the only way to experience the real joy of growing old together in love. Remember, relationships should not be based merely on looks or any other superficial condition. Marriage is not a disposable item. It is something to be valued and cherished — growing old together in marriage and loving it is a rare commodity.
11 REWIND / Spring 2014
911 e g a i r r a M
Y C N E G R E EM
by Pamela Bell, LCPC
Minister Pamela Bell is a Licensed Therapist and owner of Serenity Counseling in Randallstown, MD. She has Counseled couples for more than10 years - Married 26 years
Honoring God in the Marriage Bed
learly, God created us to have and enjoy sex. One reason why so many Christian marriages are in trouble is because of conflicting beliefs about sexual intimacy. Many couples struggle with feelings of dissatisfaction, because they have not reached a mutual agreement regarding the frequency and variety of their love making. Some of them have unanswered questions about what is and what is not okay to do sexually as a Christian. Unfortunately, Christian leaders shy away from teaching forthrightly about godly sex between husband and wife. They may refer to marital sex within the context of procreation or as the matrimonial duty of the husband and wife. We hear a lot of teaching on the sin of adultery and the consequences of sex outside of marriage, but rarely do we hear teaching on making love once you are married. Consequently, most married Christians just do what works for them and they may not ever achieve freedom in the marriage bed. For Christians, making love is an expression of our gratitude to God. Our spouses are a physical representation of God’s love for us. He blessed us with a lifelong partner that loves and accepts us despite our flaws. This type of unconditional acceptance comes from our Creator. When we honor God while making love with our spouse, we experience the ecstasy of total acceptance, supernatural healing in our marriage and the inseparable love of God. For many couples it’s difficult to think about a Holy God, while having sex. Intellectually we know that God created sex, but we are inundated with images and ideas about sex through movies, music and advertising. As a result, our viewpoint on making love is greatly influenced by carnal messages that we receive from media. Media offers us a counterfeit, self-centered version of making love, which makes it awkward for couples to think of God as an essential part of the experience. The first mention of sex in the Bible is in Genesis 4:1 [And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.] The word “knew” implies intimacy. Adam and Eve shared an intimate encounter with each other and they acknowledged the Lord in the process. So, how do we honor GOD in our bedroom? How can married couples include GOD in their lovemaking and achieve holy intimacy with each other?
12 REWIND / Spring 2014
Here are 5 simple steps that will help couples achieve God-centered love making:
1 2 3 4 5
Set The Atmosphere — Holy intimacy requires a willingness to change your old ideas about sexuality and a willingness to develop a deeper relationship with the LORD and your spouse. Eliminate all distractions that may trigger old behaviors (TV, phones, location etc.) (Romans 12:2) Pray — Ask the LORD to bless you and your spouse and to increase the love that you have for each other. (James 5:16) Appreciate — While you explore the contours and texture of your spouse’s body, thank God for they are fearfully and wonderfully made.(Psalm 139:14)
Slow Down — Allow the Holy Spirit to direct you to caress your spouse. Be Patient . Take your time. Be Present in the moment. Discover something new about your spouse each time you make love. Remember, love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4) Make a Special Request — Finally, ask God to strengthen your marriage and to provide your spouse’s needs (i.e., healing, courage, prosperity, guidance, etc). (Ecc 4:9-12)
MORE SCRIPTURES ABOUT Holy Intimacy 1 Corinthians 7:4 Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:25
Genesis 3:16 Psalm 139:14 Proverbs 5:18 Ephesians 5:31-32
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13 REWIND / Spring 2014
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15 REWIND / December 2013
SO YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED...
by LaTonya Gibson
16 REWIND / December 2013
Someone recently asked me this question, and I truly had to pause and think before I answered it. The automatic answer is “yes”, but auto-response doesn’t always take into consideration the true magnitude of a question. Out of all of the times I have been asked this question, this time the enormousness of that which normally triggers an automatic “yes”, gave me pause. The pause was caused by a concurring thought which entered my mind. The thought? If you want to get married, are you making provision in your life for what you say you want? Unsure of how to truthfully answer, I simply replied, “God’s will be done.” Having been married before, I was aware of the demands of marriage when this question was posed to me. To be honest I’ve enjoyed being single and not having to meet those demands. I’ve rebuilt my life around my work and my happiness. This basically means I’m doing what I want to do when I want to do it to the degree that God remains pleased as I enjoy my new life. I came to the conclusion that if I truly want to get married again, some things in my life would have to change . . . drastically. Simply put, I was going to have to make some adjustments.
Step One: Forgive
Life brings with it a plethora of experiences: some good and some not so good. With the “not so good” comes the need to forgive. It does not matter what the “not so good” was, without forgiveness it can have a negative impact on our future. When we do not forgive we have a tendency to funnel all of our future experiences through the hurt of the past. That is not to say that learning from our past isn’t beneficial, but measuring each experience in our today with the measuring stick of our yesterday is stifling and undermines our future happiness. God has wonderfully blessed us with memories so that we can remember the things He has brought us through and avoid the pitfalls that we may face in the future. Many would argue, and I would mostly agree, that we should remember the hurts of our past so that we can avoid them in the future. That has some measure of truth to it; however, forgiving is not the same as forgetting. Forgiveness says that I am going to let go of what was done to me so that I can move on with my life. When we choose to not let go we are held captive to the moment of impact, the moment the hurt was inflicted. Frustration is the logical result of being held still while everything around you is moving forward. That frustration manifests itself, not only in the area where the hurt was inflicted, but in every area of our lives. In other words the hurt may have been between family members. If left unforgiven, that hurt will show up in a
romantic relationship as the betrayal of one is projected onto the other. Forgiveness is absolutely necessary and starts with a choice. Before we will forgive we have to choose to forgive. We have to choose to no longer hold the unfavorable action against the person who performed the act. This choice removes the need for vengeance and prevents us from seeking to make someone (anyone) pay for what was done to us. Free of vengeance, we are enabled to discriminate between the innocent and the guilty. This ability to discriminate qualifies us and invites good people into our lives as they are no longer in danger of being unfairly punished for someone else’s crime. Forgiveness is such an abstract concept that it takes real introspection to be sure it has actually taken place. For your first exercise, do some real soul searching and identify the areas of your life where there may be a lack of forgiveness. Write them down and then honestly identify how not forgiving in that area may be negatively affecting other areas. Finally, make a choice to forgive realizing that you’re peace is more important than vengeance.
Step Two: Forgo Fillers
Space is a valuable commodity and should not be wasted. Like disk space, space in our lives is limited and should be used wisely. When people occupy space in our lives, they have access to our time, our thought life, our care and concern, our consideration, and the benefits that come along with knowing us. There are some great benefits that come along with knowing us and those benefits should not be accessible to everyone. When they are, we are left feeling drained and unsatisfied because we have given space to fillers. Consider food fillers. They add no benefit and provide little to no nutritional value. They leave us feeling heavy and sluggish. People fillers are no different. Here is my truth. I don’t like being alone. I am a fun loving person who likes to laugh (yes – I know that sounds like an on-line dating profile). It is true that laughter can be generated from a variety of sources, but the best source is people. After my divorce, I surrounded myself with people. Some of those people were good for me and will be life-long friends. However, some were just fillers. They were allowed in my life to fill a void and stifle my loneliness. The problem with void fillers is that they occupy space and time that could be used more productively. Sure, the placebo effect convinces the mind of their necessity, but the fact is they have absolutely no benefit. In other words, the benefits of having them around are merely figments of the imagination. One way to identify fillers is to consider the people we spend time with and honestly identify the benefits of having them in our lives. Do they teach us something? Are they learning from us? Do we make them better? Do they make us better? If the answer is no or if we find ourselves thinking things like, “That person drains me,” we may want to consider dismissing them from our lives. That is not to say we throw people away, but it is to suggest that we limit the amount of access certain people have to us and how much space they occupy in our lives. This is especially true as it pertains to
Space is a valuable commodity and should not be waisted. Get rid of the fillers. If space in your life is occupied by fillers, there’s no room for the good stuff. So let’s clean house.
17 REWIND / Spring 2014
casual dating. Dating is fun. Spending time with new people and being afforded the opportunity to see different sides of familiar people is quite enjoyable. Then, to top it all off, we get all these free meals. What could be better than that? The problem is that the angst of wanting to be liked and not wanting to be alone can trick the average dater into mistaking a free meal for a life-time commitment. Date and enjoy the act of dating; however, giving these new people permission to occupy space is a different consideration. When making the decision to allow someone we’re dating to occupy space in our lives, we should
18 REWIND / Spring 2014
start with this one question: Does this person qualify to occupy space in my life? Be honest and answer based on specific truths. Truths about income or how he/she dresses are superficial and can change in a blink of an eye. However, a person’s character and commitment to God take time to develop and are not items that should be compromised. Further, the essence of who you are as a person shouldn’t have to change in order for that person to want to be around you. Do these persons qualify for the occasional casual date? Sure, but they don’t qualify to occupy space. Get rid of the fillers. If space in your life is
occupied by fillers, there’s no room for the good stuff. So let’s clean house. Take the time to list the benefits that come from knowing you. (That should be an enjoyable exercise). Next identify the people who are reaping those benefits. Finally list the benefits you enjoy from knowing them. If you can’t identify clearly why a person is in your life, then you may want to question the role he/she plays in your life. This goes both ways. A person who is incapable of identifying the benefits you add to his/her life could be using you as a filler. Fillers, like an unfruitful branch, should be cut off. That may sound harsh, but it is
Marriage Matters for a good reason. Though unfruitful, the branch is still reaping the benefits of being connected. In fact, it is causing fruitful branches to experience lack as it continues to draw vital nutrients that could be used to improve the quality of the fruit produced on the other branches (John 15:2). Cut it off.
Step Three: Fill the Void with Faith
(LOL) I am still laughing at the millions of Valentine’s Day Facebook posts declaring that Jesus is the best Valentine ever. I get the concept, but that is not what I am talking about in this case. (LOL) I am not talking about being in denial. The truth is, saved or not, single can be lonely and there are all kinds of things willing to fill the void. We’ve already taken the time to identify some of the fillers in our lives and to start the process of removing them. This is a great action step, but one to be taken with great caution. Take for example the teachings of Jesus in Luke 11:24-26. It says, “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes though arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” I am not calling the people who we’ve removed from our lives wicked, but the same basic principles apply. When we remove fillers from our lives, but make the mistake of not replacing them with something we leave our selves susceptible to the first thing that comes along that seems to meet our need to not feel lonely. First it is essential that we realize the benefits of being alone. Alone can be one of the best things that has ever happened to us. It is a time where we can honestly reflect on what we’ve learned from past experiences, what we truly want in our future, and who we truly are today. This time of reflection and organization can be likened to a house being “swept clean and put in order.” It’s highly beneficial, but the work doesn’t stop there. A house is meant to be occupied and if it’s left unoccupied, squatters move in. The key is to not allow the houses of our lives to be occupied by just anyone and finding the right tenants takes time. Therefore, until the right ones come, fill the void with faith. Have faith that being alone is the right thing for you at this time. Have faith that at the right time the right person will enter your life and take up residence there. Additionally, occupy your time with faith related activities. Get to know your God in a real way. Many times we are busy practicing religion instead of engaging in relationship. If we develop a real relationship with God now, we won’t be so easily pulled away from him trying to impress others. Instead, our relationship with God will become a central element of each of our relationships (romantic,
familial, friendship) – deepening and refining them. This is especially essential in romantic relationships as your trust in man may have been wearied, your faith in God and the God in your partner helps you to trust and relinquish control more readily. What’s your relationship with God like? In what areas can you improve your relationship with God? What actions steps will you take to improve in those areas?
Step Four: Focus on your Foundation
If we truly want to get married, it is incredibly necessary that we know what that really means. Marriage is no joke (seriously). It is not something to enter into lightly. It is not the culminating event to a story book romance. It is a life-long commitment to another person. “How can you call it a life-time commitment if you’re divorced?” Easily, my current state does not change the definition of the institution nor does it alter its purpose. In fact, it is from this vantage point that I clearly see why God designed marriage the way He did and what it was truly meant to do. I also truly understand the extreme value of singleness and how critical it is that we make the best of it by focusing on our foundation. In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. Jesus replies, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great command.” That should be the sole focus of the single person. Figuring out how to love God with all of their heart, soul, and mind while single equips us for marriage. Proverbs 18:22 says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” This scripture suggests that a woman should already be wife material when she is found in order for her to be a good thing. Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” ONE of the characteristics of a wife is that of submission. A woman who has never submitted to God will not only be unaware of what it means to submit to a husband, they will outright rebuff the idea of having to submit to “some man”. Can’t you hear women around the world saying, “This is 2014 not 1914.” Yes, it is 2014, but the Word of God is still true. Submission is required, therefore, in our singleness we have to acquire a taste for it. The more we love God the more we willingly submit to Him because of His love and kindness towards us. This is the same reason a woman is expected to submit to her husband. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” A man will never love his wife like this if he’s never experienced or come to appreciate the love Jesus has shown him. His appreciation for Christ’s love for him teaches him what it truly means to love like Christ. It provides him a standard, revealing the degree to which he must give of himself for
his wife. His love for her cajoles submission from her. Together they exemplify the love God has for His church. Together they demonstrate the beauty of salvation. It’s a sublime experience that begins when you’re single. Take the time to study salvation and the work of the cross. Ask yourself if you’ve truly accepted the work of Christ for yourself. Ask yourself if you’ve properly responded to such an awesome act of love. In what other ways do you need to submit to God based on his willingness to die for you?
Step Five: Favor Friendships
One thing is for sure. If you have spent time developing a love relationship with God that truly take into account His sacrifice for you, you are not going to permit just anyone into your life. You are going to guard who you are and what you have developed with everything in you. . . . and that is perfectly fine. Therefore, instead of rushing into relationships take some time to favor friendships. Friendships are beautiful ways to get to know people. From the position of a friend we can objectively observe the characteristics of others and make wise decisions with regards to the roles they get to play in our lives. Unfortunately, we often approach friendships with the opposite sex like job interviews. Instead of hanging out to enjoy the company of the other, we are hanging out to find out if they are interested in us or if we would be interested in them. Just enjoy hanging out and being in the company of another. From this standpoint you may find some truly great life-long friends. Unfortunately, we tend to botch perspective friendships when we find they don’t have romantic relationship potential. The other benefit to favoring friendships is that you could end up marrying someone who is truly your friend. So many times people marry a version of a person, not who the other person truly is. That information is found out much later. It’s not always the other person’s fault. They knew they were on a job interview, so they put their best foot forward. They viewed the wedding as the culminating event to a romantic love story without considering what would take place once the wedding day passed. True friendships are not preoccupied with getting to some finish line. They occupy themselves with looking out for the well-being of the other; learning to enjoy life; sharing experiences; laughing; being real; being human; being flawed and being okay with it all. Ask yourself if you’ve ever truly showed someone the real you? What keeps you from being that version of you with others in your life? Do you want to get married? Today I can honestly answer this question because I have done a great deal of the work and soul searching a real answer requires. Therefore . . . I do.
19 REWIND / Spring 2014
Finance cont. from pg. 19
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20 REWIND / December 2013
THE HAVE & THE HAVE NOTS... Understand your life insurance options and plan ahead your family is counting on you.
by Zelma Allen Money is so tight now, we often find ourselves choosing between paying the “must haves” and neglecting the “should haves.” Life insurance, unfortunately, is a perfect example of this. We all know that we should purchase some type of life insurance – at least enough to cover funeral expenses. However, many of us do not purchase the insurance, viewing it as one more thing demanding our hard earned money. Let’s face it, we have a lot more important bills to pay. A life insurance policy just seems like a waste. Life insurance is surely not a waste. It’s really not a “should have”, it is a “must have.” There are a few different types of life insurance coverages available to meet various needs and budgets. The two most common types are term-life and whole-life. But which one is right for you? The kind of insurance purchased really depends on individual circumstances. To know which will work best requires understanding the difference between the two.
Term Life Insurance
Term-life is exactly what the name implies, a life policy that ends after a specific period of time. Term life pays a death benefit to the beneficiaries you designate upon your death, but has no cash value. In other words, the policy cannot be “cashed in” or borrowed against prior to death. Of course, the policy only stays in effect throughout the time period if premiums are continually paid in a timely manner. Term-life insurance premiums are low relative to death benefits. The low cost means more death benefit is bought for the same amount of money when compared to wholelife. Term-life is ideal for insuring mortgages, a large loan for a business and short term loans. It’s also an ideal solu-
21 REWIND / Spring 2014
Finance Have & Have Nots cont...
tion for people with high debt or financial obligations, but low cash flow. At the end of a term-life policy, it may be renewable for another set amount of time. Premiums may be higher for this next time due to increased age or illness. It may also be possible to convert the policy to a whole-life policy at a later date. Terms for these policies range from one year up to 30 years.
Whole-life also provides exactly what its name suggests. This is a policy meant to cover for an entire life. The continuation of the policy is dependent on promptly paid premiums. Whole-life is more costly then term because it is a policy meant to last over a great length of time without a premium increase. (Whole life extends death benefit coverage out to age 100). In other words, even if the policy holder becomes terminally ill, the whole-life premiums will not go up. Whole-life insurance is a long-term solution for insurance. As the cash value builds in the policy, the actual amount of death benefit purchased decreases. Thus, the whole-life policy becomes more efficient over time. Whole life is designed to meet permanent needs, including payment for final expenses and adding to a nest egg that can be drawn on in times of need. Whole-life does not have a cash value that will grow over time and that can be loaned against. Any loans taken on the amount will be deducted from the death benefit paid. Whole-life is ideal for those who want a permanent life insurance policy with a savings component. When considering whether to buy term or whole life, analyze both needs and financial goals. Term-life is a short term contract made for short term needs. Whole-life is a long term contract that is designed to allow the policy holder to buy the policy and never worry about increasing insurance costs or whether acquiring insurance will be possible in the future. With both types of policies, the general idea is that insurance will be purchased and savings will be accumulated at the same time. However, with term-life, accumulated saving is the responsibility of the policy holder. With whole life, the savings element is built into the policy.
Why buy life insurance?
We work hard for a living. Sometimes the income earned affords us a comfortable life. In other cases we just barely make ends meet. Why then should we purchase a product that pays when we die? In some cases these
22 REWIND / Spring 2014
policies are bought because it is simply common sense to protect our families or our businesses. In other cases it is a deep desire on the part of a parent or spouse to protect their surviving family members. In addition to these, there are many other reasons to have life insurance, even if it is not to support a family.
Couples often plan for the future based to two incomes, but what if one passes away unexpectedly? Life insurance can be used to replace the lost income so the surviving spouse can maintain the same standard of living.
We’ve all seen the commercials. Funeral expenses, burial costs and medical bills can add up to large sums of money. Most people believe that their social security benefits will be enough to at least pay funeral costs, but the truth is social security only pays a death benefit of $250.00. The average cost of a funeral today is about $10,000.00. The last thing any of us want is for our loved ones to carry this extra burden. Life insurance can be used to plan for these final expenses. Permanent life insurance is available in various amounts, so pick a death benefit that meets specific needs.
Both singles and couples may want to buy life insurance as mortgage protection. Think about it. We don’t want our spouses to be homeless due to our unexpected demise, nor do we want our heirs to be left with an inheritance that more resembles a bill. Couples should especially consider this if both incomes are needed to make the mortgage payment. Term life insurance can be used to pay off outstanding mortgage balances. Just select a term that matches the length of the mortgage payment period. Some companies even offer decreasing term insurance, which means the death benefit decreases along with the mortgage balance.
This one only applies to those who have children. Today’s tuition rates are very high.
Life insurance can help fund a college education. The death benefit may be invested and potentially grow to the needed amount by the time young children reach college age. We can rest peacefully knowing we’ve helped prepare for their future, even if we are not there to see it. Just keep in mind that investing involves market risk, including risk of loss of principal. Take care to ensure that permanent life insurance is suitable for long-term life insurance needs. Weigh any associated costs before making a purchase.
People who own businesses have powerful reasons to buy life insurance. Whether it’s a sole proprietorship, a business partnership arrangement or a shareholder agreement in a closely held corporation there is always a need for life insurance. A good policy from a good company can guarantee the continuation of a business.
Policies for Children
Life insurance policies for children are an underused resource for parents. The policies usually are inexpensive, easy to get, and can be valuable tools in protecting your children’s future. Whole-life is a better policy for children because it does not expire, like term insurance. Whole-life offers some investment benefits, which makes them the more popular choice for insuring children. Children who are covered by whole-life insurance policies are usually able to renew these policies, sometimes at slightly higher rates, when they reach adulthood. If a child dies, life insurance can be used to pay funeral expenses. Most parents do not plan to bury their children; However, if they experience such a tragedy, they should not have to worry about paying for a funeral as well as dealing with grief. 1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than infidel. KJV Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children; and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. KJV
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Philip Green catches his wife napping
Each husband wrote his wife a love letter. Takesha McQueen enjoys her letter. 24 REWIND / SPRING 2014
photos: JJ McQueen
ANNUAL WINTER RETREAT IN DEEP CREEK, MARYLAND
4 1 0 2
n a day where individuals leave their marriages as fast as one could bat an eye, it is good to know there are groups specifically formed to promote, restore, and uphold marriage – God’s way. One in particular is a group called Marriage Rocks. Marriage Rocks is a marriage group, formed by Sondra and Donald Douglas, who will celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary this September. Members of Marriage Rocks participate in annual retreats designed to build and strengthen the marriages of those who attend. “I got the idea for the group from the Tyler Perry movie that came out a few years ago entitled Why Did I Get Married,” Donald said.
Couples attentively listen as presenters share valuable information
Josh & Angelio Wilson enjoy a moment together 25 REWIND / December 2013 25 REWIND / SPRING 2014
“Marriage Does Rock. It is what God ordained for us and if it’s done the right way couples could have healthy, more fulfilling marital lives.” In the movie, couples meet for a therapeutic annual winter vacation designed for them to work through their relationship problems in a group setting. Donald said the movie inspired him to do something similar, but different in that Marriage Rocks would be for married couples only. Additionally, the purpose of the retreat was not merely to resolve marital problems. Many couples attend who are not having problems. Both Donald and Sondra emphasized that
26 REWIND / Spring 2014
the retreat creates an atmosphere where couples have fun fellowshipping with other couples and learning together. It is also a place of safety where couples feel free to open up and share with one another. “A lot of times when friends come over, it gets late and people have to go home, but you wish you had more time,” Donald said. “This weekend gives couples time to share without having to leave, and allows us to spend quality time together,” he added. These two ideas (the movie and quality
time) sparked the inspiration for Donald and Sondra to start the group Marriage Rocks. The group is not a marriage ministry or a religious organization, but a bunch of people who love Jesus, according to Donald. “Therefore, because God is part of what we do, He is going to be in whatever we have,” he adds. “Those who attend will hear about Jesus because everyone in the organization believes in Jesus. It is very important that people understand that this is not a religious
retreat, but because we are Christians, it has a Christian tone and godly principles, making it a vehicle to draw people to Christ – people, who may have otherwise been scared off by the title ‘religious retreat’.” Initially, the weekend started as a couple’s retreat, but was not called Marriage Rocks until one of the members, Ebony, came up with the name. According to Donald, the group quickly adopted the name because, “Marriage Does Rock. It is what God ordained for us and if it’s done the right way couples could have healthy, more fulfilling marital lives,” Donald said. During the first retreat Donald said, “The couples came together and brought their resources so that we could share with each other for a weekend. Those who had a little brought theirs and those who had a lot brought theirs and everyone shared.” Now, six years later, the group has grown from eight to approximately 25 couples. Although all 25 couples may not attend each year, Donald pointed out that they are all a part of the group, now known as Marriage Rocks. “When we first started we didn’t have a format,” said Sondra. “We just went away to have fun. However, while we were there, one of the older couples began sharing their experiences. That opened an entire
forum where people felt comfortable and began to open up and share,” she added. “When we left, the wives prayed together and the husbands prayed together. We cried like babies when we left because it was so healthy and helpful for us. It was what we had been missing.” Sondra added that the enemy does a good job of isolating people and making them feel like they’re the only ones dealing with whatever they’re going through and making them feel weird. Groups like Marriage Rocks allows couples to share, support, and pray for each other – defeating this enemy tactic. The group’s first retreat took place in Deep Creek, Maryland. It was a select group of eight close friends – people with different personalities and backgrounds. Donald said, “That’s our approach…our friends range from people who make high incomes to those struggling financially.” He said he and Sondra have an eclectic approach. “I’ve got some boys (friends) that are still in the hood, and I have others who are in corporate America”, Donald added. By taking this approach, the group becomes extremely diverse. We are able to share the ideas of people who have raised their children, others who have just had babies, those with no children at all and
some with teenagers. “We talked about everything from trying to plan a meal… juggle work…wash clothes… or just how to deal with the different balls we juggle in the air,” Sondra said. The fact that the group consists of individuals from diverse backgrounds lends to its ability to meet different needs. As a result, Sondra said they have done segments to help couples – one of which was a segment on financial stewardship. One of the husbands in the group is a financial analyst who gives talks on financial wisdom. The group also has lawyers who offer legal advice, and so on. In addition to the annual retreat, Donald said, “We try to be a support group for the couples in the group.” He said the group supports each other in many ways, even attending children’s birthday parties. One of the members of the group, Eric Green, sings and the members of the group support by attending his operas. “We try to support everyone in the group because we understand the fact that the only way for us to do this thing is to do it as a group and do it as a family,” Donald said. He also said the most recent thing the group is doing is participating in a prayer line session. “We all get on line and one couple is in charge of praying for all the couples in Marriage
27 REWIND / Spring 2014
Rewind Feature Rocks.” Donald said this is something new that just started and the first prayer line was a huge success, with most of the members signing on. During the weekend retreat, Donald said everyone’s responsible for cooking one meal. They have to make the meal, cleanup, and make dessert... the whole 9. “We strategically have couples cook together since cooking is a way of breaking down barriers and
another. They were able to reconnect through the group and through the prayer this year.” Additionally, Sondra and Donald point out the importance of marital mentors. They said their mentors have been married 60 years. They are the couple that counseled Sondra and Donald when they were newly married. Now their mentors are mentors to all the couples of Marriage Rocks.
Howard & Narrah Brown relaxing
getting to know one another,” he added. Additionally, Sondra said the couples go snow tubing together and watch sporting events. While all of these activities are important, they said their signature event is a special prayer. During this time the husbands pray as a group while the wives prayer as a separate group. Afterwards they come together as couples for one large group prayer. “One year we also renewed our vows there,” Sondra said. She pointed out that the format is different every year. “This year we had one couple who struggled throughout the year and had lost their connection with one
28 REWIND / Spring 2014
Marriage Rocks meets every year in January. “The reason we start in January is because we want to start the year fresh,” Donald said. The group also does quarterly events. In the summer they have a barbeque so their children can also see that ‘Marriage Rocks’. “They can see the people we go away with for the weekend each year and understand the importance of what we’re doing,” Donald added. “We want to set a good example for our children with hopes that they will carry it on in the future.” Additionally, he said the group gets together and goes out to dinner once a quarter. We stay connected so that
we can help the couples in the group. For instance, if a couple is having a financial challenge, they all pull together to help. They also help with scholarships and work together to meet other needs in the group. At this point, Sondra and Donald said Marriage Rocks is really evolving and they are seeking God on where the group will go in the future. We constantly ask ourselves “What do we do about not getting too large and how do we grow?” They agree that their focus is on the group. “It is not about us, it’s about the group and it is not our group,” they said. “What’s good about Marriage Rocks is that people feel safe to cry, to express themselves, and they feel safe enough to know that they will not be judged,” Sondra added. “We have people of all different spiritual levels. Some have just come to Christ, while others have been in church all their lives. We also have people who struggle with the whole idea of church and leadership.” She said the couples come from several different churches and they have speakers who have been married from 40-60 years, offering years of marital wisdom and experience. When asked how the group planned to keep its intimacy and deal with growth, Donald and Sondra stated that it is a concern, but they are seeking God for direction. Newcomers to the group, Derryck and Alexis Fltetcher, who attended for the first time this year said one of the things they appreciated most about the group was the fact that it wasn’t too large. They said they felt comfortable opening up because of the intimacy. While they wanted to run and share news about the group with other couples, they also wanted to keep it to themselves in order to ensure that the group wouldn’t get too large and lose the special quality that made them feel comfortable attending – intimacy. Another couple, James (J.J.) and Takesha McQueen, has attended Marriage Rocks for the past three years. They said getting away without the kids and reconnecting at the beginning of the year gives them a renewed focus on their marriage. “It’s
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“What’s good about Marriage Rocks is that people feel safe to cry, to express themselves, and they feel safe enough to know that they will not be judged.” good to see other couples similar to us staying together year after year,” they added. When asked why they continue to go back each year, the McQueen’s responded, “We really do like each other and there is so much love between the couples it makes you feel comfortable enough to have very intimate conversations about your life and marriage. It’s a confidential environment where you know that whatever is said stays within the group. We are professional forward thinking couples who want to stay married and we
lean on each other thoughout the year for strength and guidance,” they added. Like the Fletchers, the McQueen’s feel that the group’s strength is tied to its intimacy. They believe capping the number of couples would be beneficial to the whole group. With that said, both Donald and Sondra realize this is one of their biggest challenges. “I really feel like Marriage Rocks is such a gift and a jewel and its like that remnant that’s left. Not that it doesn’t exist anywhere else… that’s not what I’m saying, but it’s that piece
of wholesomeness where you have marriage, family, and children…functioning in 2014,” Sondra said. “A time when marriage between one man and one woman is such a fleeting idea,” she added. The message Sondra and Donald want to get across is that this concept can work for married couples all over the world. Start a group and have someone to whom you’re accountable. By coming together couples can unite to keep their marriages strong…there is nothing like unity. “Everybody in that group knows from year-to-year, they better come back to the retreat married and strong, because otherwise, the guys are going to get on the husband and the women are going to get on the wife and we are going to help them push through that rough spot, with God’s help,” Donald concluded. For more information on Marriage Rocks email Donald at Ddouglas_pt@yahoo.com or Sondra at firstname.lastname@example.org
30 REWIND / Spring 2014
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ates do not have to be formal and stuffy. They do not always require your Sunday’s best. Sometimes dates should be fun, informal, and maybe just a little quirky. That’s exactly how I would describe The Shoofly Diner. This Diner and Late Night Bar is a welcome alternative to the traditional date locale spot. Its old-school décor and comfort food is a nod to the 1940 soda bar. There’s something romantic about a place that invokes a sense of nostalgia. The Shoofly Diner plus Late Night Bar does just that. When I was there I enjoyed Chicken and waffles. The chicken had a little hint of spiciness and was drizzled with honey. This sweet and spicy combination is a definite winner. I am a new timer to the chicken and waffles tradition so I learned a major lesson. They are meant to be eaten together. Initially eating them as separate portions, I thought the waffles may have been missing something. However, when I realized they were meant to be eaten together, I enjoyed a flavor explosion – the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. It was a wonderful first time experience with chicken and waffles that left me wanting more. The waffles were a great texture and did not immediately turn into mush with the addition of syrup. And what about that syrup? It was the most delicious syrup I have ever had. I am not exaggerating the point. The Shoofly Diner takes special care to ensure their ingredients are fresh by using local ingredients from local farms showcasing fair from the Chesapeake. The syrup is even local – PA Pure Maple – and it was a showstopper. The staff of the Shoofly Diner was attentive and polite. They answered tons of questions with a smile. My waitress frequently checked on my needs and largely anticipated them without being worrisome. The Diner is also child friendly, so if you have to bring kids along its cool. There’s even a play area. The Shoofly Diner is sure to be one of your date night staples. With reasonable prices, a central location, late hours and great food this Diner is a definite win. by LaTonya Gibson
Monday - Sunday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday - Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
31 REWIND /
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REWIND MARRIAGE word search puzzle * Things Couples do together.
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