MARRIAGE MATTERS SAME SEX MARRIAGE IN MARYLAND
THE BLAME GAME
WHO’S TO BLAME?
+ MIRACULOUS RECOVERIES
A COUPLE WHO SURVIVED WHAT SEEMED DOOMED
10 WA YS TO REKINDLE THE FIRE
HOT SPOTS WHERE TO DINE AND DATE
YOUNG COMMITTED AND FOCUSED BALANCING THE RESPONSIBILITY
OF MARRIAGE AND PASTORING AS A YOUNG COUPLE Support REWIND BY SUBSCRIBING HERE: www.uniqdesign.org
REDEEMED INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE Where Great Learners Become Great Laborers
ISSUE 1 : SEPTEMBER 2012 PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tamara Hundley email@example.com GENERAL MANAGER Terrance Hundley firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITOR LaTonya Gibson email@example.com MARKETING DIRECTOR/PROOFREADER Rosalyn Hall firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTING WRITERS LaTonya Gibson, Derryck Fletcher, Rosalyn Hall Terrance Hundley, Steven and Cordie Daniels, Marcus Brown GRAPHIC DESIGNER Tamara Hundley PHOTOGRAPHER Vernon Crest ILLUSTRATOR Dominic Jordon, Jr. SALES/MARKETING ASSOCIATES Kimberly Stokes Rhonda McKinney FOUNDERS Terrance and Tamara Hundley
Classes Begin September 11, 2012
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The Redeemed International Christian College 807 E. 43rd Street Baltimore, Maryland 21212 An afďŹ liate of The Church of the Redeemed of the Lord
LaTonya Gibson, Dean Dr. Jerome Stokes, Sr., President
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www.rewindmarriage.com Editorial Inquiries: Send inquiries to info@uniqdesign. org (no phone calls please). The magazine is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. REWIND does not necessarily share the opinions of its authors. To subscribe call 410-908-4993. Subscription Price: $15 per year. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission by REWIND is prohibited. Copyright 2012. Uniqdesign, LLC. All Rights Reserved. REWIND Magazine is a Uniqdesign Publication. REWIND (ISSN 2169-3102) is a free online publication. Subscription and fee required for printed copies. Special Thanks to our family members, friends, and colleagues for all your support. Thank you Dr. Jerome Stokes and Mrs. Marsha Stokes for being such great examples of leadership.
Derryck Fletcher is the host of the Gospel Grace Morning Show airing Sundays on Morgan State University’s WEAA 88.9 FM. He is happily married with two children and one on the way.
LaTonya Gibson is the Dean of the Redeemed International Christian College. She is an author, editor and freelance writer.
Terrance & Tamara Hundley
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Zelma Allen Financial Advisor, Columnist, and Realtor. Happily Married with three children.
Marcus Brown is a personal fitness trainer, husband, and father.
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Welcome to the first issue of REWIND Magazine, a bi-monthly publication for married, engaged and dating couples. It is designed to provide information that will restore, empower, win, improve, nourish, and develop relationships. Its goal is to cause couples to say “No” to divorce and “Yes” to marriage. Thus, the sole purpose of the magazine is to decrease the number of divorces amongst its readers, while building stronger, healthier, and happier homes, which will result in stronger, healthier communities. This goal will be accomplished through editorials, feature articles, and informative sections dedicated to Healthy Life Styles, Financial Fitness, Movie and Book Reviews, Hot Spots (for dining and dating) and more. Additionally, each issue will include articles focusing on God’s plan for marriage. The magazine will cover topics such as Communication, Budgeting, Parenting, Effective Dating and Romance, Surviving Infidelity, Forgiveness, Managing Blended Families, Dealing With In-Laws, Conflict Resolution, and more. Terrance and Tamara Hundley’s passion for marriage and married couples began more than 15 years ago. They served as Leaders of the Marriage Ministry in their local church for eight years under the direction of their pastor Dr. Jerome Stokes. During that time they provided biblical guidance to couples, provided forums for communication, planned couples retreats, and taught and provided workshops geared toward building marriages God’s way. Terrance currently serves as an Associate Pastor at The Church of the Redeemed of the Lord in Baltimore, where he continually provides biblical guidance to married and engaged couples. He is currently completing a Degree in Theology from the Arlington Bible College and planning to pursue his Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling next spring. Tamara is an author of one book entitled, When God Says No, Let The Man Go (2004), and is currently completing her second book, Church Administration 101 (A Basic Approach), scheduled for release this fall. She recently received her Master of Art in Publications Design from The University of Baltimore. She is also a former reporter for the Baltimore Daily Record Newspaper. Most importantly, Terrance and Tamara love God and are excited about being able to fulfill part of His assignment for their lives through this publication. According to the most recent National Vital Statistics Report (January - November 2009) there were 33,013 marriages in Maryland, of which 13,933 ended in divorce. The Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology indicates that children in homes with absent fathers are more likely to suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorder, Child Conduct Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Studies have also shown that children of divorce are far more likely to be delinquent, engage in premarital sex, and bear children out of wedlock during adolescence and young adulthood. A 33-year study published in 1998 in the American Sociological Review revealed that children whose parents divorced in their childhood or adolescence were likely to be afflicted with emotional problems such as depression or anxiety well into their twenties or early thirties. However, children in homes where the parents are happily married tend to achieve higher grades in school, progress better emotionally, have better behavior patterns, and are generally happier. Additionally, researchers have found many benefits for women and men in healthy, happy marriages. Both are emotionally and physically healthier, wealthier, less likely to contract STDs, have a decreased risk of drug and alcohol abuse, have better relationships with their children, and are less likely to attempt or commit suicide. Happily married women are less likely to be victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes, and less likely to end up in poverty. Happily married men live longer, have an increase in the stability of employment, earn higher wages, and have more satisfying sexual relationships. Last, but not least, there is a need to remind couples of the marital covenant they have made with each other and God. These statistics have motivated Terrance and Tamara to produce REWIND anticipating that it will have a positive effect.
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The referendum process allows registered voters to sign a petition, which forces a public vote.
MARYLAND MARRIAGE Have same sex supporters in Maryland won or is the battle still on?
by Tamara Hundley
This past February, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation to redefine marriage in Maryland, granting same-sex couples permission to marry beginning January 1, 2013 – a decision that struck a hard blow to supporters of marriage between a man and a woman. However, according to Attorney Sondra Douglas, the owner of a family law firm in Towson, Maryland, the fight is still on and supporters of traditional marriage, as we know it, have stepped up and are striking back. Maryland’s referendum process has given supporters of marriage between a man and a woman the opportunity to
not only strike back, but to win if enough registered voters go to the polls in November. The referendum process allows registered voters to sign a petition, which forces a public vote. “We needed 55,736 signatures to certify a same-sex marriage referendum on the ballots, and we currently have 109,313 verified signatures”, said Douglas. “Now we need everyone to go to the polls in November.” The ballot will ask voters in the state of Maryland to either approve or reject the law. Supporters of marriage between a man and a woman should reject the law. Douglas pointed out that individuals who have not registered to vote
10 REWIND / September-October 2012 Support by SUBSCRIBING HERE: www.uniqdesign.org
THE CHURCH OF THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD INVITES YOU TO ITS
2012 Guest Speakers
Dr. Carolyn Showell, Bishop Ralph Dennis, Bishop Jonathan Wallace, Sr., Dr. Cynthia James, Bishop Monroe Saunders, Jr., and Pastor Carl Scott Sunday | Nov. 4th 10:00 am Dr. Carolyn Showell 5:00 pm Bishop Ralph Dennis & Kingdom Worship Center Wednesday | Nov. 7th | 7:30 pm Bishop Jonathan Wallace & Inner Court Ministries Sunday| Nov. 11th | 10:00 am Dr. Cynthia James Wednesday | Nov. 14th | 7:30 pm Bishop Monroe Saunders, Jr. & Transformation Church Sunday | Nov. 18th | 5:00 pm Pastor Carl Scott & The Bible Tabernacle Christian Church, York, PA THE CHURCH OF THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD 4321 Old York Road â€˘ Baltimore, Maryland 21212 P410-433-0426 F410-433-2444 W crlministries.com Dr. Jerome Stokes, Pastor and Founder
cont. from pg. 6
should not wait until November. The time to register is now if you’re going to make a difference in the General Election November 6, 2012. Douglas said in this region the referendum process is unique to Maryland. Neither the District of Columbia nor the State of New York has the process, which means once legislation is passed in those two locations, their citizens don’t have the opportunity to sign petitions and fight. “This is more reason why people need to get out and vote,” said Douglas. “This is a bipartisan petition and people are signing regardless of race, economics, and religion. This is not a religious issue, but a moral issue,” she added. When asked why she so passionately fights for marriage between a man and a woman, Douglas replied, “The family has already been broken without a mom and a dad. Now another blow is being added to the demise of the family. Additionally, I have two children and one on the way. I have an obligation to fight for their future and preserve and keep moral standards.” Douglas also attributes her passion to the fact that she and her husband will be celebrating 10 years of marriage in September and she represents both husband and wives in her family law firm. Douglas strongly believes that the driving force behind supporters of same-sex marriage is the tax benefit. “It’s sad, but this all goes back to money,” she said. If we’re going to base the tax benefit on the fact that two people are in a loving relationship, why aren’t caregivers given the tax benefit? This goes beyond a tax benefit. This is about right and wrong; moral and immoral. Those who oppose should not forfeit their right to say so. For more information on what to do to defend traditional marriage see “What Next?” R
12 REWIND / September-October 2012
“This is not a religious issue, but a moral issue.”
What Next? Douglas suggests that Maryland supporters of marriage between a man and a woman do the following: 1.
Register to vote now.
Go to marylandformarriagealliance.com and stay informed.
Donate funds to the Maryland Marriage Alliance.
Talk about marriage and keep the subject fresh.
Go to the polls on November 6, 2012 and reject the law.
Douglas said individuals who support marriage between a man and a woman, but live in states that may have already passed laws supporting same-sex marriage; don’t have to feel that they’ve lost the battle. The Alliance Defending Freedom defends those who may be subject to discrimination on religious beliefs. Visit alliancedefendingfreedom.org for more information and volunteer opportunities.
WHO’S TO BLAME? by Terrance Hundley Over the years many couples have come into my office for counseling in hopes of resolving their marital problems. When asked to explain the problem it’s as though the bell rings and the sparing match begins – may the best man win. Each person fights desperately to defend what he/she feels is wrong with the marriage often at the others expense. They enter into what I call the “blame game”, an endless cycle of proving who’s at fault that produces nothing more than heartache. The blame game is nothing new. It started with the first marriage, Adam and Eve. After breaking the law of God, Adam’s response, “that women you gave me” was a clear indication that things would never be the same between a man and woman again. Distrust, unforgiveness, anger, disappointment, frustration and the “blame game” would now have their place in challenging the marriage relationship. Who’s to Blame? It’s irrelevant; the important thing is resolving the problem. To accomplish this task you must work together as a team. Teamwork requires full cooperation from both parties in the relationship. The “I factor” must be replaced with the “we factor”. Working together as a team will help couples realize they are after the same goal. It will also help them support each other while striving to attain that goal. Any adjustments that need to be made within the relationship or within each other will come as a result of their efforts to work together. It is important to understand that your partner is not the enemy. The problem is the enemy. We see this same problem in everyday situations. For instance, in the recent AFC championship game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots, the Ravens had two opportunities to either win
and advance to the Super Bowl or send the game into overtime. In the last few minutes of the game, one of the players dropped the ball in the in zone – a play that could have won the game. Another player missed the field goal, only a few yards away from the goal. After the game a reporter asked Ray Lewis (LB) how he felt about what happened. Lewis could have easily blamed his two teammates for costing them the game, but he didn’t. Instead, he responded by pointing out that no individual lost the game. He said they lost as a team. There’s a great lesson to be learned here. When trying to resolve marital issues or problems, first, remember that you are a team and if you don’t
reach a resolve, you both lose. Next ask yourselves, what will be accomplished by blaming each other? Then ask, what could be accomplished if you choose not to blame each other, but rather, work together to get to the source of the problem and resolve it? The latter always works better. Just like the example with the football team, couples must realize that blaming only brings division and hinders any possibility of moving forward or reaching a resolution. Decide not to play this game…no one wins. R
s Go t c i fl n THE al Co t n i I r a p U M ften ught And a O C o m t S a e ? d G e A s Blam uple With o o d y. T C e a s t e ’ d r s o o a u t t a S d c Wh laye That d Be P e e l v l l i m t o a S s G e Unr nd Is E-A A M n A e d G E E BL AM e Garden Of Th Eve In
13 REWIND / September-October 2012
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Health & Fitness
WORKOUT IDEAS FOR COUPLES
by Marcus Brown
Benefits of working out together Quality Time Couples spend most of their time apart due to careers and other responsibilities. Instead of hitting the gym alone, plan a workout time that fits both of your schedules and stick to it. You’ll reach your fitness goals, without sacrificing the one-on-one time that every relationship needs. Have a Common Interest Add exercise to your list of shared interests and hobbies. This will keep things exciting and fun. You can never have too much fun together. Motivation and Support Encouragement, and praise from your spouse is one of the best motivators. Research has shown that embarking on a health and fitness plan with your spouse or partner increases the likelihood that you’ll both keep at it and achieve your weight and fitness goals. A Deeper Bond Exercise produces chemicals in the brain that evoke feelings of happiness, reduce stress, and boosts your libido!
Working out together is a commitment. Try different challenges and keep it interesting. NOW TAKE THE JOURNEY Exercises you can do together outside
bike riding, hiking, walking, jogging, running, sprinting, jumping rope, 5k run, swimming, sit ups and push ups
Think of this as a journey that you and your spouse will take together. As you begin this journey envision yourselves becoming an ideal couple that could be an example of good health. By accomplishing this goal together, you could help other couples overcome some of the everyday life challenges they face. ACTIVITY TIPS -Start an on-going 5k for a good cause. -Participate in sporting leagues for couples. -Start your own or attend health fairs designed to promote healthy and strong relationships for couples. -Have fun with each other and remember the couple that “Prays and Sweats” together, stays together. R
Balance One person may tend to do more strength training (men), while the other one may do more cardio classes (women). By working out together you can balance your workout program to include both.
Support by SUBSCRIBING HERE: www.uniqdesign.org 15 REWIND / September-October 2012
Health & Fitness
“IN FITNESS AND IN HEALTH”
by Marcus Brown
An ideal workout partner has several requisite qualities. He or she is someone you enjoy being around, a person who can accept and issue a challenge, and someone who understands your strengths and weaknesses. Who fits this description better than a spouse? So why not make your spouse your ideal workout partner? I believe one of the best-kept secrets of sustaining a relationship is exercise, something most couples don’t do together. Our days have become long and our time is used being busy. Yet in all the “busyness” the most important things get neglected: our health and our relationship with our spouses. I understand that we are living in a busy, fast-paced society and we all have responsibilities including, but not limited to, school, work, church, family, and more; but we cannot properly function in any of these without good health and each other. We can start by adjusting our busy lifestyles to include each other, even in exercise. In many instances, couples spend too much time apart, which ultimately leads to other problems. It’s not healthy to have one spouse working out while the other isn’t. It’s not healthy to have one getting regular check-ups and the other is not. When one spouse neglects his or her health and fitness, he/she runs the risk of gaining excess weight and having their health fail. Marriage doesn’t have to be our excuse for putting on extra weight. A 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that our chances of becoming obese increase by 37 percent if our spouses become obese. A Brigham Young University study of nearly 5,000 married couples found that men in excellent health tend to have wives who were also healthy. A University of Pittsburgh study of 3,075 women and men found that highly active men were three times more likely to have highly active wives. And researches at University of Pennsylvania found that working out as a couple boosts weight loss. Although the two of you may be at different fitness levels and have different goals, that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise together. Give it a try! R
16 REWIND / September-October 2012
Steven and Cordie Daniels, Buffalo New York. Married 15 years with three children.
BUT WHAT WAS GOD SAYING? Steven and Cordie Daniels share their story of pain, depression, forgiveness, redemption, and most importantly love.
18 REWIND / September-October 2012
YOU MUST SEE PAST YOU AND SEE GOD In marriage, we encounter many obstacles. Not all will be bad, but all are there to teach us something. One of the greatest tools to use is self-evaluation. When you do so, it will help you see the full picture. When Cordie and I moved back to Buffalo, NY, it was one of the most difficult times in our marriage. The feeling of not accomplishing the goals and not maximizing our potential was devastating. Immediately, I blamed everyone but myself. I then felt like we were moving backwards. It was as if my destiny was determined by my demographics. My new sense of normal was over and it caused me to be in a hard place. I then started planning, “How can I stay in Baltimore, commute to Buffalo and support my family?” I didn’t want a divorce, but I didn’t want to be back in Buffalo. I was sinking fast. In the midst of it all, I couldn’t see the big picture. Was it something that could have been done to make this work out? I didn’t think that way? I just pointed the finger. After my mother-in-law passed, a time when my wife needed me the most, I was not there. I was in my own hard place. My anger and frustration drew me further from family and friends. It was as if they weren’t as important to me. Hurt, disappointment, feelings of failure, and most of all unforgiveness blinded me. I forgot the promise I made when we moved here. Working smarter, spending more time with the family, and being a good steward over our finances all went out the window. I did the opposite. I made more, but spent more. Family time consisted of the one-hour drive to and from church once a week.
I sometimes saw my family less than 25 hours a week. That was not the will of God for our lives. Now healing has taken place. Since we moved back, a lot of the pressures we felt with the life we were living have been lifted. Cordie and I have come together and decided to work through our hard place together. How did we do this? First, we had to admit that we were in a hard place and then make steps toward moving from that place to the place that God had ordained for us as a couple. Once we made that decision, we went to counseling and truly laid before God. We decided that we were not going to allow the devil to have victory in our family. When you are in a hard place, you must see past you and see God. You must not discount the hardship you’re facing, but be honest about it and seek God – He always gives us a way of escape.
sharing and showing understanding for each other’s likes and dislikes. This takes time and hard work, but if each person works on himself or herself this can be the foundation of a deep and satisfying love relationship. Through this class and professional one on one counseling God began to show me that I was pointing the finger at my husband as the main problem. However, there were more of my own fingers pointing back at me. I was very shocked when God showed me a few things about myself like selfishness - I was trying to be the best wife just so it would make me feel good about myself. I was self-righteous in that I knew I was praying and reading my Bible, but because I did not see my husband doing it I would accuse him of falling away from God. I didn’t know he read and prayed before me and the kids got up in the morning. I developed low self-esteem, expecting him to fill voids in my life that resulted from my childhood hurts. Filling those voids is a job that only God could do. Consequently, I was setting my husband up for failure. Now that I am working on just me, God is refining me. It hurts as he pulls out all that bottled up pain, abuse, anger and resentment. However, I now see my husband through clear lenses. God is so awesome. In His breaking me I went through constant physical pain, hospitalization, major depression, psychiatric counseling and many medications. I was unable to work or care for our children.
“Hurt, disappointment, feelings of failure, and most of all unforgiveness blinded me.”
CORDIE SAID... IT’S NOT THE MARRIAGE IT’S YOU! Marriage is just a word that means a legal union between two people, so stop trying to work on the “Marriage” and work on you. During my 15 years of marriage I have found that my husband and I were trying to fix things the wrong way. I took my husband to a 12-week marriage class as a last resort to make this union work before I called it quits. During those weeks I learned that marriage should start off as a friendship that involves listening,
My husband was the only person that I would allow around me. Only his voice could calm me. In this state, I needed my husband for the first time. God knew that my husband needed to be put in that superior position in my life. As a result of me being broken, my marriage is now blessed. Now I see my husband for the wonderful God-fearing, loving father he has always been. I love my husband very much for he is my best friend and lover; I am so thankful that the enemy’s assignment was cancelled by me working on myself. R
Thursday, September 19, 2013 Erika E. Cole, Esq. “The Church Attorney” and Conference Host
THE CHURCH COMPLIANCE CONFERENCE 2013 Each year, the Church Compliance Conference provides fresh topics that address current issues and legal changes in the law for church compliance. You don’t want to miss it this year! If you are a Pastor, church administrator, trustee, or church leader, you must know the requirements for YOUR ministry to be in compliance with current laws.
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MATURE BUDGETING Zelma Allen
Rewind’s Financial Columnist, gives tips on budgeting that payoff
inances are an important part of marriage. Unfortunately, mismanagement of money accounts for the majority of divorces in America today. That should make this problem a critical issue for most couples, unfortunately, that is not the case. The average marriage that ends in divorce starts out sound. Couples have high expectations; they really love each other, but their inability to make good financial decisions leads them down the road to disaster. It would be great to be able to say these statistics are only true for non-Christians. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, the divorce rate for Christian couples is about five percent of the National average. Most Christian couples are just as ignorant about finances as Non-Christian couples. Divorce, bankruptcy, and debt within the Christian community indicate that their priorities are mixed up and they are neglecting to provide their children with important training – which will result in a generation that believes being in debt is a good thing. Some married couples try to accumulate, in three years, material items that should take approximately ten (10) years to obtain. Con-
22 REWIND / September-October 2012
sequently, what they do accumulate is a great amount of debt and when they hit a down stretch they become wiped out. Financial debt creates financial pressure, which is one of the main reasons married couples stop communicating. They stop being companions and instead end up spending most of their time together fussing and blaming one another for creating the mess in which they find themselves in. What Does God Say About Budgeting? God’s word teaches a set of principles that most of us have never heard. It is interesting that Jesus lived among a generation of people that had very little money. In the New Testament, Jesus draws an interesting parallel between the way we handle our money and the way we handle spiritual matters. The way we handle our money is the best outside reflection of our true inner values. You can tell more about the spiritual lives of a couple by looking at their checkbook than anything else. People can say anything they think others want to hear and they are great at faking their attitudes, but the way they handle their finances is usually a dead giveaway as to what
is really going on in their lives. Jesus said, in Luke 16:10, if a person were not faithful in the smallest thing (money), he would not be faithful in greater things: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much” (ESV). God owns everything, so it is important to manage all that you have according to His word. How you manage God’s money determines how you will manage greater things. Money is a tool for God to measure our obedience to him. God’s discipline is for our good, not our harm. Proverbs 13:8 says, “Poverty and shame will come to him who neglect discipline, but he who regards reproof-will be honored” (NAS). Discipline yourself with regard to God’s money, and you will find that it does not restrict your freedom. It allows you to expand to the full measure of what God wants you to have. The minimum discipline in the area of money is called a budget. A budget answers the following questions: Where is your money coming from this month? Where is your money going this month? And, Do you have enough left over to put in an emergency savings account? All married couples should
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have a budget, or they will risk getting deep into debt. Easy credit is one of the subtlest traps Satan lays for married couples. God’s word says in Proverbs 22:3, watch out: “The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naïve go on and are punished for it” (NAS). A budget does not restrict your freedom, it merely tells you when you have spent what you have agreed you can spend. What is a budget? Developing a budget means more than just writing figures down on a piece of paper. It means sitting down and talking about your current situations, where you need to go, and constructively evaluating how you are going to get there. If you have children old enough to understand, they should be included in your budget discussion. One of the purposes of a budget is to control miscellaneous spending and evaluate where the fixed spending is excessive. There will never be enough money in the budget until spending is under control. A budget promotes oneness between married couples because they can make decisions together. For example, when you go to buy a car and have worked out a budget so that you know you have $150.00 a month to spend on it (including payments, maintenance, gasoline, and insurance), what does that mean? It means that on a $150.00 a month budget you cannot purchase any car that costs more than $75.00 a month. This knowledge narrows your choices. You’re not in a position to buy a new or a used car. This is the point where the practical (a budget) merges with the spiritual (faith). God can provide a car within your budget if you are willing to trust Him. In fact, after praying about it, God’s decision may be that you keep the car you have and save until you can afford a better one. Remember, as you learn to be faithful in smaller things, God will entrust bigger things to you (Luke 16:10). Therefore, the purpose of communicating about money in your marriage, including every major purchase, is to bring you closer together as a couple and teach you more about trusting God. This creates oneness and frees the money God has given you from the bondage of unfaithfulness. Now it’s yours to use wisely. If you find that your expenses exceed your income, you must do one or two things; either cut down on your expenses or increase
24 REWIND / September-October 2012
your income. The largest category in most budgets is housing. Some married couples struggle with this. The housing category should consume about 38 percent of net spendable income. Remember that net spendable income means after tithes and taxes. Within that 38 percent is everything that is associated with housing including the mortgage payment and utilities (including telephone bills). Example: A couple earning $24,000.00 a year (about $760.00 a month) would not be able to afford the average home. It may be better to rent and live within your means than to buy and be in financial bondage. Proverbs 24:3 teaches, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established”
“All married couples should have a budget, or they will risk getting deeply into debt.” (ESV). Most couples would be advised to buy a smaller home the first time, put their time and effort into it and use that investment as seed money for their next home. I would like to give you one more example of two couples buying their first home: Couples A & B – Question: Is it better to buy a larger or a smaller home? Couple A decided to buy what they could afford – a home for $125,000 at 10 percent interest for 30 yrs – the loan amount $115,000.00. Their payments are $1,000.00 a month for 30 years, so they end up paying $360,000.00 for their $125,000.00 home. Couple B buys a home for $70,000.00 and finance $60,000.00 for seven years at 10 percent interest – their payments were also $1,000.00. Couple B sold their home for $70,000.00 after seven years and the mortgage was paid off (no profit). Couple B took the $70,000.00 and brought a $125,000.00 home next to Couple A – financing $55,000.00 (125,000.00 - 70,000.00) for seven additional years at 10 percent. Couple B’s new
payments were $913.00 a month. After seven years Couple B owns their $125,000.00 home, debt free, and had paid a total of $160,692.00 (including interest) for it. 7 yrs. at $1,000.00 $ 84,000.00 7 yrs. at 913.00 76,692.00 Total Mortgage Paid $160,692.00
Couple B is finished – Couple A has approximately 15 yrs to pay on their mortgage. Couple B took their last monthly payment (913.00) and put it into a pension plan at 8 percent annual interest. Couple A will own their home at the end of 30 years. At the end of 15 years, Couple B’s pension account has $353,521.00 in it. The value of Couple B’s strategy is self-evident. Which Couple would you like to follow? Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty” (NAS). God uses money in the lives of couples to draw them closer together. On the contrary, Satan wants to drive a wedge between married couples. Why? He hopes that the turmoil will drive them away from God. However, God will bring you closer together if, from the very beginning, you will establish God’s word as your financial guide and utilize a budget as a tool of discipline. R
2915 Greenmount Avenue | Baltimore, Maryland 21218-4122 email: email@example.com | Phone: 410-467-5058 | cell: 443-801-6309 Darrin K. Holly, owner | Sybil Holly, co-owner
YOUNG Committed & Focused How a young couple balances the responsibility of pastoring and marriage by Derryck Fletcher
photos: Crest Images
Bishop and Lady Greg Dennis - In Ministry and In Love
This is a story of how a bus driver and a college student’s impromptu meeting on a bus route changed their destinies forever. Morgan State University freshman and New York native Tonya Dennis stepped on that bus twenty-two years ago and met the love of her life – Gregory Dennis, then a high school senior who drove the church bus after school. While driving for his father’s church, Bethel Holy Tabernacle, Greg would routinely pick up students from Morgan State University and take them to church. It was during those rides that Greg would solicit relationship advice from Tonya. One conversation led to the next and before they knew it, Greg and Tonya had developed a friendship and ultimately, fell in love. They both point out that they were friends first. “I was destined, I thought, to marry Michael Jordan; but, Greg came along”, Tonya jokes. Despite her plans to return to New York after graduating from Morgan, she remained in Baltimore. Two years after her graduation, they married and shortly after entered into ministry together. Now, married for eighteen years and both 40 years old, Bishop Greg and Pastor Tonya Dennis of Kingdom Worship Center (KWC) in Towson, Maryland are preparing to transition into their new roles as Senior Pastors. Simultaneously, Bishop Ralph and Lady Deborah Dennis, Greg’s parents are preparing to retire. Currently, Tonya serves as the Church Administrator for KWC and Greg oversees youth and young adult ministries for Kingdom Fellowship Covenant Ministries (KFCM). Together they enjoy mentoring other young couples.
28 REWIND / September-October 2012
Greg recalls their first few years of marriage, “We didn’t have any major struggles because we were friends first. I could share anything with her before we got married. She already knew how I thought because we were close friends, best friends, and still are.” However, they point out that their early years of marriage weren’t necessarily easy. They were very young, in love and wanted to get married, but all they had was Greg’s Acura Legend – their first challenge. Tonya dropped out of law school to marry Greg, taking all her education expenses into the marriage. Her parents paid for her education when she was single, but they stipulated that her husband would pay the expenses if the two were going to marry. “My dad asked him, ‘Are you ready to marry her?’ She’s got bills,” Tonya recalls. “It was difficult. It was very difficult. So, I encourage anyone that is pursuing marriage and in school to finish school. You can still get married, but finish school first.” Another challenge the couple faced early in their marriage was Greg losing his job at Proctor and Gamble. “I lost the job due to everything of my own. Not knowing how to do things—being dumb and young. Not getting up on time to go to work,” he said. As if these challenges weren’t enough, early in their relationship Greg announces to Tonya that he’s called to preach. “You’ve got to be kidding me!,” she exclaimed. “When we first met, Greg didn’t tell me he was called to preach. I wasn’t trying to marry a preacher. I wasn’t trying to marry a pastor. Give me a break! I came from a family of preachers and pastors and I didn’t want all of that,” she added. But, despite her dismay, her commitment to her husband caused her to accept yet another challenge. Many couples would not have survived such tough challenges at their ages, but Tonya and Greg’s love and commitment caused them to stay in their storm together. Their faithfulness paid off and things began to turn around. Greg unexpectedly received a call for an interview with Allstate Insurance Company and was hired on the spot. Shortly thereafter, Tonya started working for the Government Relations Division of Bally’s Total Fitness. This turn for the better allowed them to purchase their first home – three years into their marriage. Sacrifices Greg sacrificed his secular professional and educational aspirations to pursue ministry and attend seminary. “He was on a good track in his career. You don’t make any money on the ministry side,” Tonya said. As for hobbies, Tonya says she’s sacrificed hers, but Greg hasn’t. The couple joked about Greg’s long list of hobbies including golf, motorcycle riding, and shopping. Tonya quipped, “He shops more than I do!” When asked about having to sacrifice ministry for marriage or vice versa, the two said they are good at maintaining balance. They do this by letting each other know when it’s time to work and when it’s time for each other. “He has gotten on me about being on my laptop and phone while at home.” Greg responds, “She has this thing where she works before coming to work. In the morning while we’re getting dressed for work, she’s on the computer answering emails – for work.”
Rewind Feature Struggles Both Tonya and Greg agreed that when it comes to struggles, they’ve faced them all. “Everything from finances to trust we’ve endured and we’ve tried to get through it all,” Tonya said. “We don’t blow up issues. We don’t fuss. We don’t yell. We don’t raise our voices. We get excited and disagree, but it’s not arguing,” Greg adds. Tonya goes on to explain that the first couple of years of their marriage things were fine. “It was the seventh year into the marriage when I admitted, ‘This is not what I expected.’ Not from my husband, not from myself, not any of it.” Greg adds, “She could have left a long time ago. I have no problem admitting that I’m not an easy person to be married to. I like playing golf, basketball, tennis, and riding my motorcycles. When you’ve got all these hobbies and the schedules we have, then add trans-local responsibilities, I could have no time for my wife.” However, they reiterate that they make time for each other. Although Greg and Tonya both grew up in God fearing homes with parents in ministry, they come from very different families. Tonya said, “I come from a very vocal group. My mother, my father, my brother—we’re very vocal. We say what we say. His family is a little more reserved… for me to be so vocal and say what I think— sometimes I’ve had to ask the Lord to show me how to say it. And, He’s seasoned my tongue and taught me to say things in a way that he will be more receptive to receive it.” Greg responded, “On the contrary, when you are reserved, you seek guidance for the same thing. It’s like ‘God, when should I say something or when should I not say anything at all?’ Although communication is key in a relationship, timing is just as important.” Commitment “Our love for Christ and each other are our motivating factors, but we also have commitment,” Tonya said. There are times when I don’t love Greg. There are times when I’m like, get out of my face!” Greg interjected, “You didn’t have to say it with that much intensity.” She continues, “And it’s the God that’s in him and the God within me that brings that commitment to light. “There are days when we have had to recognize that it’s our relationship with Christ and our commitment to what marriage is that makes us. Yeah, we love each other, but there are people who are divorced that love each other. Our commitment to who God says we are and who He says we are to each other is key.” Finances Like many other couples, Greg and Tonya have overcome their own financial struggles. “There was a season in our marriage where we couldn’t rub two pennies together,” Tonya said. Greg adds, “Let’s be honest, there was a season in our marriage where they came and got my car.” When this happened Tonya said Greg sat on the curb and cried. Greg pointed out that although he had examples of how to manage, he didn’t know how. “I had a car payment that was six dollars less than my mortgage payment. That was crazy,” he said. “Since I didn’t know how to manage those types of things, I put our family unit in tremendous jeopardy. For instance, when we first got married, I knew it was time to pay the rent because of the yellow eviction notice.” Trust The Dennis’ have also dealt with learning to trust each other. Tonya explains these instances and how they make her feel. “In those moments when I don’t feel covered, I’ll
let him know. And, when I don’t feel covered, I become vulnerable.” Greg adds, “If she doesn’t feel covered, we talk about where and how—because we can become so caught up in our church jargon that we don’t understand.” One of Tonya and Greg’s biggest challenges has been their inability to conceive after trying for the past nine years of their 18-year marriage. After disclosing their fertility struggles, Greg admitted, “Being able to say that now is a miracle, because of pride.” Tonya added, “Pride on his part. I look at differently. I look at where we are now and can see why God didn’t allow it to happen previously. God was trying to work out pride, our inability to handle finances, our trust issues—I’m not saying that everything has to be perfect, but there are some things that God had to improve in us—especially me. My heart had to be pliable. If you have a hard heart, how are you going to care for a child?” Tonya went on to explain that she once had a hard heart because of how she thought the world should work. She often wondered why she had to live according to the Word of God when those around her didn’t seem to share the conviction, but was being blessed and rewarded. However, they both believe that their unsuccessful attempts at having a child have developed their faith in God and His plan for their lives. It’s in God’s timing. I’m ready
“I encourage anyone pursuing marriage and in school to finish school. You can still get married, but finish school first.” but it’s on Him now. I’ve given it over to Him and I trust and believe Him. He’s not a man that He should lie. So, it’s going to happen, it’s just going to happen in His time.” ADVICE TO YOUNG COUPLES ENTERING MINISTRY Trust each other and be best friends “We’ve talked about the most difficult things, the hard things. We’ve had moments when we’ve cried together. I can tell her my secrets—the things no one else knows. I found out if I tell her my secrets, they’re no longer secrets and I’m vulnerable. But, while being vulnerable, I’m secure because I know she has my back. Now, I’m not by myself fighting whatever my secret was. Now, there are two chasing 10,000,” said Greg. Tonya adds, “When I’m hurting, Greg is hurting. When I’m excited, Greg is excited. It’s the two of us becoming one in Christ.” Don’t Put Your Spouse In A Box Pastor Tonya is not in that traditional “first lady” box. If you attend or visit Kingdom Worship Center for any service, you will not find Pastor Tonya on the first row in a hat. You’re more likely to find her in jeans working in the
29 REWIND / September-October 2012
Rewind Feature office or in her green Chuck Taylor’s sitting in the balcony. “There is no ministry that Greg Dennis can do, whether it’s on Sunday morning at the church or anything with my trans-local assignment, without Tonya Dennis,” Greg said. “She is in every part of it. I’m big picture and she’s details.” Your family is your first assignment Greg says, “God and ministry are not synonymous. God is first, but ministry comes after my marriage. God is around us, God is with us, but God is not ministry. God has called you to do ministry, but not at the cost of your marriage and family.” Both Greg and Tonya speak out about their dismay with the high divorce rate among couples in ministry. They often hear their divorcing colleagues say the splits come because the spouses are no longer spiritually compatible. “If your spouse can’t keep up with where you are, it’s your fault. It means you’re not giving to them what you’re getting. Before I preach on a Sunday morning, the person that is least surprised by anything I say is Tonya. What I get from God, I give to her,” said Greg. “If you don’t take care of your house first, your church is going to be trash – and that doesn’t mean you make the church do things for your family. Your family is your assignment,” he added.
“I wasn’t trying to marry a preacher, Give me a break!” Be Your Spouse’s Biggest Cheerleader Greg says that Tonya is his wife, but she’s also his fan—his biggest fan. They both agree that individuals in a marriage should not allow anyone to be bigger cheerleaders for their spouse than they are. However, this couple finds balance in everything, even cheerleading. Greg says Tonya is also a great critic. “Pastors are often surrounded by ‘yes men’ and part of my responsibility is to be honest with my husband, even in constructive feedback,” Tonya said. For instance, Greg often shares his sermons with Tonya before he preaches, and he uses her reactions and feedback to determine what he may need to rework before Sunday morning. “In order to make this marriage and ministry partnership successful, I had to realize that my wife can see what I can’t.” Schedule time together Tonya and Greg admit that Tonya is the more spontaneous partner in the marriage. Tonya said she loves spontaneity because it’s fresh and new. But they recognize, with all the demands of ministry, that they have to schedule time together. “When you’re in ministry, 5 o’clock comes, but you still feel like your work is not finished because there are lives you need to touch. You have to know how to manage that so that you don’t kill yourself or your marriage because of ministry.” Tonya continues, “So often we look at the church as the ministry, but it’s not. The ministry is our heart, it’s the people. That’s more than
30 REWIND / September- October 2012
services and office hours. That’s seven days a week. But, we have to be sure that we don’t allow it to become 24/7,”she added. Have fun Together After 18 years of marriage Greg and Tonya maintain that they have not had any stale moments. They find things to enjoy together, like watching The Biggest Looser on Tuesday nights. They also love to laugh, using humor to keep things light and pleasurable. “Even if you got married for the wrong reasons, now that you’re in it, have fun with your spouse. Keep it moving. Keep it fresh,” Tonya said. Transitioning Into Their New Roles As Bishop and First Lady When asked about critics who question how he’s been appointed a bishop at a young age and prior to becoming a senior pastor, Greg replies, “I’d say, I agree with them! Here’s the thing with the Bishopric. I know there has to be a process and your process has to be legitimate.” He further explains his journey to this new assignment, pointing out that he was an overseer for three years in the fellowship that his father leads before becoming a bishop. He’s been a member of the Joint College of African American Pentecostal Bishops Congress based in Cleveland, Ohio since 2003. “This is an office where someone ought to call for you. This isn’t an office where you call yourself. If anybody knows me or knows anything about my process, they know this has been a road that I resisted, not requested. I resisted,” Greg said. “I had to come to the conclusion that this selection meant I had to submit myself to someone who could see further than I could. Anyone that knows me well has heard me say that I just really want to be one of the best pastors in Towson; and, if I can just get ministry done effectively in Towson that’ll be great. If I could just have the kids that skateboard down York Road say, ‘Oh, I know that church and how involved they are in the community.’ So, I had to submit to what I couldn’t see. I had to yield to that process.” Tonya adds, “It’s not a title to him. It’s an assignment. He was already doing the work. He was already basically overseeing all of the youth ministries in our fellowship. We were both resistant to the appointment and questioned why he had to be a bishop? We’re just not title driven. I thought that we were already doing the work and I just wanted to keep moving. But they saw something greater.” Greg calls his appointment to the office of bishop a trans-local assignment, where there are multiple ministries under his leadership. As the Auxiliary Bishop of Youth and Young Adults of Kingdom Fellowship Covenant Ministries, he helps pastors in their fellowship develop youth ministries within their local churches. These churches are located all over the world including Africa and Australia. “I resisted the title Bishop because of what’s happening in our generation. There are people who
Greg and Tonya love laughing together. Here they share a funny moment.
Rewind Feature don’t have any trans-local assignment. They don’t have any assignment beyond their house; and, no one has appointed them to the office. They basically paid for the title. That made me want to back up from it,” he said. Greg is hopeful that the wave of illegitimate bishopric appointments is over. He notes that he’s confronted several colleagues who did not go through the proper process. To whom much is given much is required. Greg maintains that being positioned as his father’s successor doesn’t mean that he got off easy. He notes that it takes something to manage the facilities and administration of the church’s many moving parts. The church currently has a daycare, apartments, and a recording studio. They are also planning to open a new store soon and routinely rent facility space for events. “You can’t just be a half decent preacher and think you’re going to make it as a pastoral successor. And, if you don’t have the administrative skills, you have to hire someone who will be better at it than you. And you have to have enough confidence that you’re okay with having someone on staff that is better at something than you,” said Greg. As Bishop Ralph Dennis prepares to retire as the senior pastor of Kingdom Worship Center, Greg has his father’s succession plan to thank for his appointment as his dad’s successor. “Bishop has worked a great succession plan. We all know churches that have gone through the pastor that stayed until they were of little effect or dead. And so the congregation goes through the same thing: of little effect or dead. Then, a new pastor comes and tries to resurrect a dead thing. I’m glad that we have set-up succession here.” Although, he might have had a smooth appointment as the successor, he does not think the transition will mean that he retains 100 percent of the congregation. “I’m not naive to believe that everyone who was here with Ralph Dennis is going to be here with Greg Dennis. I used to be ner-
vous about that; but, the Lord told me to build and prepare. What’s great now, because of our succession plan, is those that come in the door, are coming in expecting the transition,” he said. Greg says his leadership will differ from his father’s, but the vision of the house will not change. “We have to recast the vision of the house. And, we have to be sure that the vision ties the congregation back to the local church. We’re still about perfecting saints.” He further explains, “Ralph Dennis is about leaders, which is evidenced by the amount of leaders we have in our church currently. I’m more holistic. I’m about perfecting those who have been saved a week and those who have been saved forty years.” However, he notes that he has no plans of leaving Towson. “Many African American churches grow and then move. The churches that have the best footing in the commuTonya and Greg find balance by nity are the churches that have been in the community for spending quality time together. years. That’s not the progressive black church, because the progressive black church moves to find a bigger building. The community needs progressive churches in the community. I want to stay here because I want to affect here,” he concluded. So yes, Bishop Gregory and Lady Tonya Dennis are young, but have struggled, endured, grown, and developed into two YOUNG, COMMITTED, AND FOCUSED leaders in the Kingdom. Their relationship with God and each other puts them right where they need to be in this season. “We have about 25 years of ministry behind us, and, we have about 25 ahead of us. We are right smack in the middle right now,” said Tonya. The couple sees themselves as the connection between two generations of ministry. R
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REVIEW E I V O M NTH’S O M S I H T
nya by LaTo
Cupcakes and camouflage: two words that literally describe The Hallmark Original Movie, Operation Cupcake. However, as the audience is invited into the home of Colonel Griff and Janet Carson, they realize that marriage is really about figuring out how to get cupcakes and camouflage to peacefully co-exists on the same plate. Colonel Griff Carson (Dean Cain) is a career army man. He and his wife Janet (Kristy Swanson) have been married for 18 years and have two teenage children Kim (Galadriel Stineman) and Ollie (Alec Gray). Along the way, Griff and Janet have decided to keep their children stationary instead of moving them from army base to army base. As a result, a huge gulf has emerged between the stationary Janet and the constantly absent Griff. A promotion that would send Griff on a four year tour in Germany prompts Griff to take a month long furlough. During this time he weighs the options of leaving for Germany or retiring from the army to be with his family. The four year tour looks more and more ap-
petizing as, Griff discovers the difficulty of returning to civilian life. Those difficulties are further complicated by Kim and Ollie’s resistance to his military dogmatism, and Janet’s inability to see that she hasn’t made any room for him. Instead she has made a rigid stance insisting he either get with her program, or get lost. Like any good soldier, Griff faces these challenges head-on. Never once does he throw up his hands in surrender, but remains committed to reuniting his family and playing a major role in each of their lives. His perseverance pays off as he becomes a hero, not just to his country, but to his friends, neighbors, and most importantly, his family. Operation Cupcake is a feel-good family movie. By watching it couples are reminded of the necessity of give and take. Though Griff’s “way” wasn’t completely right, it also wasn’t completely wrong. The same could be said for Janet’s method of doing things. Her rigid stance demonstrates that if each party focuses solely on his/ her own priorities, without making room for the other, the result can be disastrous. Further, the movie reminds couples of a key to marital success: being committed to the promise. That commitment can help both parties overcome many hurdles. When these lessons are applied, couples will suddenly find themselves as perfectly blended as a camouflage cupcake. R
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34 REWIND / September-October 2012
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REWIND’S picks for romantic dining in Baltimore Pazo- Mediterranean Cuisine 1425 Aliceanna St. Baltimore, MD 21231 (410) 534-7296 McCormick and Schmicks Inner Harbor 711 Eastern Ave Baltimore, MD 21202 (410) 234-1300 XS 1307 North Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21201 (410) 468-0002 Sullivan Steakhouse American Cuisine One East Pratt Street Suite 102 Baltimore , MD - 21202 410-962-5503
Ruth Chris - Pier 5 711 Eastern Avenue Pier 5, Inner Harbor Baltimore, MD 21202 (410) 230 - 0033
The Prime Rib- American Cuisine 1101 North Calvert Street Baltimore, MD 21202 (410) 539-1804 Woodberry Kitchen American Cuisine 2010 Clipper Park Road, #126 Baltimore, MD 21211 (410) 464-8000 Aldo’s Italian Cuisine 306 South High Street Baltimore, MD 21202 (410) 727-0700
Looking for a date night spot in the Baltimore area? Consider Teavolve. Teavolve is not your average restaurant spot. In fact, it is a tea house. Its casual laid back atmosphere invites you to seat yourself and engage in a real conversation. This is why I highly recommend Teavolve for your next date night. There is no hiding behind the food, instead your conversation is the main attraction. That is not to say that the food is not worthy of comment. At $10 -15 per plate I recommend that you order a few small plates and eat from them all. Doing so heightens the feeling of a shared experience and allows your palate to enjoy a wider variety of tastes and flavors. The seating includes both lounge and standard table tops. Sit in a lounge area if you just want to layback and have a free flowing conversation. But if the conversation is more pointed and direct sit at a table top and get down to business. However, talking doesn’t have to be the center of your date. Go on a Friday or Saturday night after 8pm and enjoy live music from local artists. Whatever your fancy, you’ll find something in the comfortable, casual atmosphere of Teavolve. Oh, I almost forgot. Happy Hour Specials are fabulous. When I went small plates were half price changing the price point from $1015 to $5-7.50. As previously stated, it is a teahouse, so before you leave enjoy one of their fabulous teas. You can even add a shot of espresso and have energy for the rest of your evening. - LaTonya Gibson
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35 REWIND / September-October 2012
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SEND A LOVE MESSAGE Send a text, leave a note, or a phone message saying something sweet and sexy.
TAKE A STROLL TOGETHER
O T S P I T 10 E L D N I TO REK E M A L F THE
Run a hot bath for your spouse and warm the towel. Then give him/her a massage. Something so little greatly helps relieve stress.
Plan a romantic dinner and either cook the meal or have it catered. Keep it romantic - add candles, rose petals, fresh flowers, and soft music.
WRITE A LOVE LETTER Take the time to write the sentiments of your heart. Letters are keepsakes.
KEEP A CONSISTENT DATE NIGHT
HELP YOUR SPOUSE RELAX
COOK A MEAL OR ORDER IN
Write your own lyrics or find a love song that expresses your heart and sing to your spouse.
Take a walk in the park or on the beach. Take a basket of food and a blanket and have lunch together on the grass or sand.
SING A LOVE SONG
LAUGH TOGETHER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE Laughter is good for your health and makes for a happy home.
WATCH A MOVIE TOGETHER Find a nice, fun, romantic movie to watch together. Keep it light and fun.
Life gets busy, but it should never get too busy that you don’t make time for each other. Choose a night of the week and make it your date night, even if you spend it together at home. Make it special and be consistent.
GIVE AN UNEXPECTED GIFT. Surprise your spouse with a gift. Make it something they’ve been wanting. Give it “just because.”
37 REWIND / September-October 2012
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