How Much is a picture worth?

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.  ~ Ansel Adams

Images can invoke a multitude of feelings from the viewer.  It has been said that a picture is worth a 1000 words.  This speaks to the notion that a complex emotive idea can be conveyed with just a single image.  What better way to express your feelings for your spouse but through a photograph.  Take an inspirational picture and have it printed at a local photo developer on nice photo paper.  You don’t have to be an expert photographer or have expensive camera.  The camera on your cell phone is often more than good enough to provide you with a nice photograph.

 

If you are adept at using some photo manipulation software, you can easily add effects to enhance your picture.  Many one hour photo developers can do this for you free of charge.

Next, include a description of why this picture makes you think of her or your relationship.  Expound on your thoughts about why this picture was important to you and how it made you feel.  The image could be of an object or your favorite restaurant.  Maybe it’s the place where you shared your first kiss.  Possibly, it could be where you proposed to her or had your first date.  Be creative!

It could be a series of pictures that encompasses the major milestones of your relationship:  your first date, your first kiss, your proposal and so on.  Alternatively, it could be a picture of a flower or the sunrise.  Let her know how it reminded you of her beautiful smile or the way she laughs. Tell her how the colors made you think of the time you two spent trapped by a rainstorm one afternoon or the way a sunset reminds you of the time you had on your honeymoon.  Literally, the sky is the limit.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and express your feelings.

Finish it off by packaging it with an inexpensive frame from a dollar store or local discount shopping center.  A small and simple frame is more than enough to impress your mate.  Express your love through an image.

Learn something new

Love endures only when the lovers love many things together and not merely each other. ~ Walter Lippmann

What’s important to her should be important to you.  Learn to do something just for her.  This could be learning to cook a meal for her from her favorite restaurant.  Maybe for you it is learning to dance, but don’t stop there.  Take her dancing.  This doesn’t have to be anywhere specific; for instance, it could be in a parking lot with your car stereo playing her favorite song.  It could be on the beach or at the local park.  The possibilities are endless.  You don’t have to be an expert dancer or be on Dancing With the Stars to steal her heart.  You just have to be genuine in your efforts.

Maybe, you could learn how to give her a pedicure or manicure.  Other ideas include learning sensual massage techniques such as how to give foot or hand massages.  The Internet and online videos make learning new things possible and much easier than in times past.  There are vast amounts of resources which enable you to quickly and with little to no experience learn to do almost anything.  Use a search engine or video website to search for how-to videos on your subject.

Show her she’s important.  Learn to do something just for her!

be purposeful

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~ Jim Rohn

Showing your spouse that he or she is important to you requires you to be purposeful in your actions on a regular and consistent basis.   Consistency is the key to build trust and respect within any relationship.  As a result, this is a crucial step in strengthening your relationship with your spouse.  You should make a habit of frequently and genuinely expressing your feelings and appreciation for your spouse.  Women can easily detect whether you are truly genuine in your intentions and can smell right through any guise (it’s a gift).

I challenge you to be intentional, genuine and sincere.  To be purposeful, you have to want to do it and want to make the investment in your spouse.  Your spouse can tell if your heart is not truly in it.  If you invest the effort, the dividends are immense, although the cost doesn’t necessarily have to be.  Be creative and try something new.  Accept the challenge of being purposeful and thoughtful every day!

Your challenge is to continually find new ways to make your spouse feel special (and often!).  The following postings will provide you with some inspirational ideas which are high in thought, but not in cost, that lets your spouse know how much you care about her.

Make a habit of showing your spouse how much she means to you on a regular basis.

Start today; be purposeful; create a habit of thoughtfulness!

BURN THE BOATS

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans. ~  Peter F. Drucker 

What does “burning the boats” have to do with love and marriage?  Simply put, it’s about commitment.  When you accept this challenge, be all in, completely, 110%.  Don’t do it half-heartedly or lazily.  Commit yourself to being genuine and intentional about showing your spouse how much you are willing to invest in each other and your marriage.  Sometimes in life and in love we just need to jump in head first and see what happens next.  Sometimes we just need to burn the boats and charge forward. Let me explain.

The ancient Greek military leaders had a good understanding of commitment. The Greeks soldiers possessed an unwavering determination to achieve victory and for that fact total a commitment to their cause. When their armies landed on an enemy’s shore, their commanders would give the order to “burn the boats.”   Talk about commitment to the cause, with no boats to retreat to, the army had to be successful or else face annihilation. As the soldiers stood on the shores, smelled the smoke in the air and watched their only means of escape burn, they knew there was no turning back and there would be no surrendering.

How do you think that made a difference in their effort?

In accepting this challenge to make a difference in your spouse’s life, be committed.  “Burn your boats.”  Don’t leave room for wavering or halfhearted attempts.  With this illustration of commitment fresh in your mind, consider accepting the $2 Valentine challenge.  Show your total commitment to your relationship!

Happiness is not a goal!

Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wisely stated that “Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product.”  The same could be said for marriage and your relationships.  Simply put, it is not your marriage or your spouse that makes you happy.  Instead, it is what you invest in your marriage and your spouse which brings you true joy and happiness.

When you are serving and honoring your spouse out of selfless love, only then will you be truly happy. Marriage may not actually be “work”, but it does take intentional effort to be successful.  Be intentional about your actions and do something unexpected for your spouse today and every day!  You “be” the happiness that you want to see in your relationship and marriage.  You will be surprised by the dividends it returns into all areas of your life!

Successful American business magnate and investor Warren Buffet stated “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”  His prudent business advice can be useful in marriage as well.  Look at the couples you currently are associated with.  Do they model the marriage you want?  Are they happy?  If not, you may need to find yourself different marriage role models.

Invest your time into relationships that build up marriage; the by-product of this investment is a happy marriage.  However, don’t rely solely on happiness to see your marriage through.  Make prudent investments which will pay the biggest returns in your marriage.  Be careful where you invest your time and resources.

Remember, happiness is only a by-product of your marriage.  Invest wisely.

Learn Something New…together!

Love endures only when the lovers love many things together and not merely each other. ~ Walter Lippmann 

What’s important to her should be important to you.  Learn to do something just for her.  This could be learning to cook a meal for her from her favorite restaurant.  Maybe for you it is learning to dance, but don’t stop there.  Take her dancing.  This doesn’t have to be anywhere specific; for instance, it could be in a parking lot with your car stereo playing her favorite song.  It could be on the beach or at the local park.  The possibilities are endless.  You don’t have to be an expert dancer or be on Dancing With the Stars to steal her heart.  You just have to be genuine.

Maybe, you could learn how to give her a pedicure or manicure.  Other ideas include learning sensual massage techniques such as how to give foot or hand massages.  The Internet and online videos make learning new things possible and much easier than in times past.  There are vast amounts of resources which enable you to quickly and with little to no experience learn to do almost anything.  Use a search engine or video website to search for how-to videos on your subject. 

Show her she’s important.  Learn to do something just for her!

Cruise control is for cars not marriage!

“Marriage is about turning ‘I Do’ into ‘We Can.”~ Anonymous 

It should just work, right?!

A marriage…husband and wife…man and woman…it should just work, right?? 

I mean, I got all dressed up, put on a tux and, I said, “I do.”

Now, I can get on with the rest of my life.  Right?

In reality marriage, as rewarding as it is, still requires work!  Why is it that so many couples put so little effort into their relationship? By far, this is in extreme contrast to the amount of effort which some individuals will invest into their other life interests.  Most people think nothing of devoting hours, not to mention exorbitant sums of money, to their exercise regimes to keep fit or to yoga, dance or what have you.  Many guys I know spend hours on end at the gym or on the ball field or at the golf course honing their skills and craft while others devote much of their time and resources to their cars, motorcycles, boats or other hobbies.

Some people have even gone as far as to entirely devote themselves to their favorite sports team.  They bleed team colors, and their team devotion can be seen from miles away complete with team banners posted on their cars, logos on their shirts and entire days spent watching the big game or race.  When asked why they devote so much time and effort to their special interests, it is most often said that to be good at <insert your hobby here> requires total dedication and effort. 

Well, I suggest, so does your marriage and relationships. Somehow we just expect that relationships should just work.  Click on the marriage autopilot button, and you’re off!  However, life experience shows us that our interests eventually fade, hobbies change and habits/whims go through cycles.  Overall, these things have little significance in the bigger picture of your life. 

While on the contrary, your marriage, which should carry the biggest weight, was designed to last a lifetime. Sadly, in all reality, most couples invest little time and resources into their relationship to make it work and last! Marriage requires intentional dedication and devotion.  It requires research and investment, not just in money, but your time.  It requires forethought and planning. It requires fortitude and persistence.

I challenge you to take control of your relationship and invest in your marriage!

Are you meeting her needs?

Meet her needs; Exceed her expectations!

A good relationship requires you not only to merely just meet her needs, but to exceed her expectations.  Ok, you say this can’t possibly be done, well….have you ever tried?  Thought so.

Exceeding your spouse’s expectations can be done without her having to ask you to or you having to proclaim your intent.  Let’s face it; if she doesn’t know what you are shooting for, then she doesn’t know when you miss. So what is the harm in trying?  Go ahead, give it a try.

You may be surprised of the results you achieve with only a little extra effort.  Meeting your spouse’s needs is the very minimum requirement in a marriage,  sort of like breathing and eating (its necessary to even exist). However, exceeding her expectations is an opportunity for you to invest in her and your relationship.

If you are honest with yourself, you probably already excel at and exceed in many areas in your life like golf, fitness, video games, fantasy football, fishing, and working out, maybe even at work!  What is the common denominator with those activities that makes you excel in those activities?  I would argue that it is your commitment, dedication, passion and extreme amounts of effort.  Now what if, stay with me now, you invested the very same passion you exhibit currently for any of these activities, and redirected them toward your spouse?

How might your relationship with your spouse improve?  How would your life be different?

One thing for sure is that you will never know unless you try.  So start by not just simply meeting her needs, exceed her expectations!

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perfectly normal?

How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being. ~  Oscar Wilde

Great question!  How many people have wondered “if only my marriage could be better” or “if we could only be happy together”?  But, how can you expect great results when you are only willing to give minimal input or effort?  If you treat your spouse as if they were just ordinary, then you should expect the same return on your minimal investment!

The equation is simple, the more your invest, the greater the possible return on that investment!  One thing for sure is that if you never try, you will never find out.

Often it is the little things that have the greatest impact.  Small gestures which make the difference.  After all, isn’t the rule of investing to invest small amounts over long periods of time?  As a result, I want to present you with a few simple and unique ways of being intentional in your approach to making your spouse feel special or “extra”ordinary everyday!  Although it is not my intent to provide you with an exhaustive list of things you can do for your spouse, it surely is a great place to start and find inspiration and get you headed in the right direction.  For some of you reading this, it may be a little bit of a review.  After all, it was the philosopher Plato who said, “The greater part of instruction is being reminded of things you already know.”   You may already know what to do, but it is always good to be reminded and more importantly to do them.

For others, this may be an entirely new way of thinking about treating your spouse.  I challenge you to be open to new ideas and, most of all, have fun with it.  Be willing to stretch yourself beyond where you are today and you may just be surprised of the amazing results in your relationship!

$2 Valentine is about exploring simple ideas to keep your marriage and relationship connected, lively and fresh.  Oscar Wilde best said when he stated, “How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?”

Are you treating your spouse as ordinary or “extra”ordinary?