Celebrate fathers with a 10% off coupon!

Celebrate fathers with a 10% off coupon!

Father's Day is just a few weeks away. Not to stress you out but...have you thought about what you're giving the fathers in your life? That might mean your own dad, your spouse or another father you know who deserves to be celebrated.

I'll admit, I'm normally pretty terrible at remembering to do anything beyond a phone call. But this year, with a soon-to-be Father in our home, I'm determined to be ahead of the game. And I want to help you do the same!

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Finding the Perfect Date

Perfect Date.jpg

Relationships are tricky business.

We want them, we know we need them in varying degrees in our life, but so many of us have been hurt, disappointed, or burned by them that we begin to sabotage them out of self-defense.

For some of us, fear of commitment, of getting tied down or held back keeps us from pursuing a relationship. Perhaps we’re fearful of making the wrong choice, or at least a less than great, so we simply avoid making a choice at all.

For others who aren’t dating as much as they’d like, the problem isn’t a fear of commitment. You’re ready, intent on finding that perfect person that will mean this is the last first date you ever have to go on.

You’re in luck!

Here are 3 gems of advice to finding that perfect first date, a date where you ride off into the sunset of happily ever after.

          1. Stop Looking.

          2. It Doesn’t Exist.

          3. A date is a date, is a date. Nothing more.

That first date (or even the few after!) is not a marriage proposal. It’s not you entering into a binding agreement to commit the next 2 years towards making this work. It’s one night out, perhaps a drink, a movie, or a meal. It’s a chance for you to get to know that person to see if you even get along, connect or have anything in common.

Analyzing every potential date to see if they’re the one you want to walk down the aisle with doesn’t mean you’re going to hit the jackpot the first time. It means you’re going to keep being single, wondering why everyone steers clear of you.

Especially for us ladies, this mindset is incredibly daunting to a guy who is interested in us. A number of men have admitted to me that they avoid asking some girls out because they know that she won’t see it for what it is: a date. She’ll expect him to know exactly what he wants out of the relationship, where it’s going and whether he sees himself marrying her or not. All in the first 30 minutes of being together.

It’s a date!

It may eventually lead to a marriage proposal but putting that expectation on those first few dates will squash the relationship before it ever takes its first breath. We wouldn't burden a new friendship with the expectation to become best friends, so why do we think this will work for romantic relationships?

There was a time, before we could stalk each other on Facebook and Google Search (yes, stalk), that we had to actually go out with someone, hold a real conversation, ask questions, and allow the relationship to slowly build. (That’s what my parents tell me they did back in the good ol’ days. )

Now, we’re so determined to know from the get-go whether this is going to be our soul mate and true love, that we scour the internet and quiz our friends for information, turning the actual date into an interview rather than a casual conversation.

There’s no such thing as the perfect date or the perfect mate.

Which is good, because then none of us would ever have a chance at finding love.

If you’re single, not afraid of commitment, and yet struggling to get a date, ask yourself this: are you expecting more from that date than is reasonable?

Are you putting so much pressure on this to work forever that you’re sabotaging what has the potential to be a great relationship?

Photo courtesy of aniruddh dube via flickr

Getting out of the Singleness Rut

Road Rut.jpg

In Los Angeles, a city dominated by young singles, I’m a bit of an exception - married and expecting a baby, all while still under the age of 30. It’s not that my friends wouldn’t love to be in relationships, but they’re finding it increasingly difficult to move beyond a coffee date to something more meaningful.

Perhaps it’s simply this city that makes it more difficult. More likely, this is an indication of a much bigger cultural attitude. As I speak around the country, I’m meeting college students and young adults who are all struggling with this same problem.

We’ve grown up in a culture that values career over relationship, defines independence as singleness, and tells us to delay the advancement of adulthood and responsibility as long as possible, which often means avoiding commitment, marriage, and gasp, family.

Yet the result is too many young adults stuck in the singleness rut, wanting more out of relationships but unsure how to get there. They can’t get a date to save their life. A real date. One that requires someone asking, someone accepting and a bit of planning. Taking someone to hang out at a bar with your friends doesn’t count.

How then do we move beyond our fear of commitment and open up the possibility for dating? How do we get past the voices that tell us commitment is “settling down,” and instead, begin to intentionally pursue relationships?

Here are three tips to implement now:

1. Change your mindset

How we think has an incredible affect on how we act and interact with others. A friend recently told me that when she shifts her thinking from over-analyzing the guys in her life, their ‘potential’ and the relationships she has with them, she gets asked out. She’s more relaxed, which instinctively makes her more approachable and less a threat to those guys that she’s going to expect this to become something serious immediately.

Look at going out with someone as a chance to get to know them better. Invite them out for something casual, like happy hour, a cup of coffee, or to catch a movie. This may only be one date or the start of many. By keeping an open mind, you’ll be more relaxed, putting less pressure on the date and the person.

2. Go out on dates. A lot.

While I was single, I had a rule: if a guy asked me out on a date (and there weren’t HUGE red flags), I’d say yes. He took the risk to ask, he gets a first date. Rarely did it materialize into more, but it allowed me the practice of going out and kept expectations down about what this date may or may not become.

Going out on a lot of dates doesn’t mean you’re a player, or you get around or that you’re playing with people’s heart’s. You’re getting to know people. Plain and simple. Don’t discount someone before you’ve gone on a date, and don’t weigh it down with unrealistic expectations.

If every date ends with you waking up next to each other the next morning, then yes, we need to chat about how fast you’re moving things. Dates are meant to be an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with someone to get to know them, to have a conversation, to see their personality on display and their character in action.

3. Check yourself.

For some, the problem is the lack of dates to which to say, “Yes.” You’d happily go out on a first date, if you could just get asked!

There will be seasons for all of us where we seem to be walking through a relational desert.

It may be that that those around you simply aren’t the right fit, and you need to make a point to meet some different people, either through joining a church, a club, a sports team or volunteering somewhere. Perhaps you’re so busy with work and school that you seem unapproachable to those around you.

If you’re interested in dating, but are not getting asked out like you’d like, then evaluate what vibe you might be sending to others, or if you need to make more of an effort to find other similarly minded single adults. You cannot expect to get asked out if you the most interaction you have every day is with your dog and your barrista.

What suggestions do you have for getting out of the singleness rut?

Photo courtesy of dannebrog via flickr

What Have We Become?

What Have We Become?

Two recent events in the sexual health arena have been grabbing headlines, and with good reason.

In New York, a District Court judged ruled that 11-year-olds be given unrestricted access to Plan B, a pill meant to prevent pregnancy, either by preventing ovulation or the implantation of a fertilized egg. It’s commongly referred to as the morning-after pill.

The other is the trial of Kermit Gosnell, a Pennsylvania doctor accused of the death of at least one women who came to him for an abortion, in a clinic with conditions that would make some third-world countries seem first class. He is also facing charges of killing at least three babies who survived abortions and were delivered alive.

These are stories that should appall and concern any of us, regardless of our position on abortion and sexuality.

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The Death of Comfortable

The Death of Comfortable

Today we mourn a death. The death of Comfortable.

He came into our lives uninvited, seeming to appear out of nowhere, only to become a permanent fixture.

A silver tongued  easy-going intruder, he convinced us to hand over our relationships, our dreams, and our future in exchange for promises of stability, security, a life free from risk, and therefore, free from disappointment.

Whenever we flirted with the idea of stepping out, breaking free, and reaching for something more than our current reality, Comfortable would gently whisper:

     You'll fail before you've barely started.

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Have you mastered "The Talk"?

Have you mastered "The Talk"?

Last week I launched my first published book, which feels a bit like sending your kid to school for the first day. As a writer, you put so much of yourself into those pages. No matter how much you fuss and edit, you eventually have to send it out. And like a parent putting their child on the bus for the first time, you’re both thrilled and terrified at what the other kids will think.

People ask why I wrote a book for parents when I’ve yet to have my first child (Yet. Give it two more months!). Through my work these past few years, interacting with thousands of teens and their parents, here is what I have found...

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Pornography....and Hope?

When I wrote my response to the question of whether or not there’s anything harmful about pornography (Pornography Exposed), I expected that to be it. I’ll come back to the topic in the future, but there’s only so much porn you can handle at one time.

Then I got this email from a reader:

“I happened to read your articles about porn and totally agree with you.”

*Why thank you.*

“I think you should do another one saying that the problem can be overcome. There are a lot of decent guys out there who probably aren’t happy using it but have got into bad habits and would like to stop and probably think they can’t or that it’s too late.”

*Oh. Yes. You’re absolutely right.*

I missed a key aspect of the whole disc

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Pornography Exposed

Pornography Exposed

In my previous post, I asked the question:

Is there anything harmful that warrants our intervention, not just for children but possibly adults?

I got responses that ranged the spectrum from support for a total ban to concern that doing so would criminalize adults who are using it in what they deem a healthy and responsible way.

As one reader asked, “…as long as the behavior is kept in the privacy of one’s home, and is not negatively affecting others, why legislate against it?”

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Banning Porn: Should we do it?

Banning Porn: Should we do it?

A tiny island of only 320,000 people, Iceland has been grabbing international headlines with the government’s latest proposal to ban pornography, both in print and online. Technically, pornography is already banned here, though print editions of Playboy and Penthouse can be purchased in book stores, with more hard-core material available in sex shops.

What is being defined by this new proposal would be violent or degrading content that could pose a harm to children.

Does the right to free speech trump a child’s right to be protected?

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Things We Say to Our Friends That Are Not Helpful

Now that I'm married, it's easy to forget that I once thought singleness would be my status in life….forever. And I was ok with that! But it seemed that other people were not. In an effort to comfort me for what they saw lacking (a guy) they came up with some pretty amazing comments:

“You’ll find someone else.”

"Just wait. Eventually guys will realize what they're missing and be lining up."

"You're probably not going to get asked out a lot, and that's ok. You're just so unique! You want someone who gets that."

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Quarter Life Conference

Quarter Life Conference

Have I got a treat for you. One week from tomorrow, on Thursday March 21st, there will be a FREE online conference for 20-somethings, where you get some quality face-time with movers and shakers in the area of… wait for it…RELATIONSHIPS.

Here’s the link to sign up: Quarter Life Conference

In anticipation of this great event, I caught up with one of the speakers, Joy Eggerichs of Love and Respect Now (LRN) to ask her a few questions about relationships and her love of unicorns.

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When to Walk Away

I'm guest posting this week over at Verily Magazine. Is it time for you to walk away from your relationship? Here are three tell-tale signs:

Now that the aura of Valentine’s Day is behind us, it’s time we remove our rose-colored glasses and stare our relationships squarely in the face. You may find that your relationship is as wonderful as you thought, or you may discover that its time to walk away.

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Struggling with Your Relationship Status?

It’s been two weeks since that day. The one that you either meet with apathy, disdain, or giddy excitement. President’s Day. Just kidding.

When you’re single, it’s easy to despise February 14th. I did my fair share of bashing, affectionately labeling it “Single Awareness Day” and wearing black in silent protest of the pink and red world I was forced to endure for a day.

Those of you lucky enough (or unlucky, depending on your view) to have a Valentine that day, you may have been frantically searching for a way to celebrate the day in a way that would somehow live up to expectations without draining your savings account.

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Can Your Teen Recognize Real Love?

​You'll find me posting over at Roo Mag today on helping teens understand the difference between real love and a crush. No matter where you are in your relationships (or lack thereof), it's a reminder we could all use.

Meeting with some high school girls the other night, one girl excitedly pulled out the heart necklace with diamonds that her boyfriend had given her. She in turn had given him a necklace with a charm that read, “I love you.”

They’ve been dating for three months.

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Marriage Is Not Valentine's Day Every Day

I'm over at Verily Magazine posting today on what marriage is not. Come join me!

I was on the phone with a friend recently and off-handedly commented that my husband and I weren’t big into celebrating Valentine’s Day. To which she jokingly quipped, “Well that’s because you’re married. Isn’t every day Valentine’s Day?”

I about choked on my laughter.

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Great Sex: Where do you find it?

​Last week I told you that I want you to have great sex. Sex where you were able to bring the whole of who you are - body, heart, and soul- and be free. Sex where you don’t have to compartmentalize your emotions from your body, where you don’t worry about what will happen the next morning, or wonder if that condom really protected you.

That kind of sex doesn’t come easy. It’s going to cost you, as anything worth having usually does.

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Unraveling Sex

Unraveling Sex
SEX. What is it?

Not the literal definition, I know that, thank you very much. And I hope if you’re reading this, you do too.

In the more philosophical sense, what is sex? What is its purpose? And the all-consuming question: is it a need or a desire? Over the next few posts, I’d like to attempt to tackle those questions. Or, at least begin a dialogue. Something so fundamental to who we are as humans, and our existence, cannot be easily summarized in a few hundred words.

Is it sacred? Is it free? Is it dirty? Is it casual or is it serious business?

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