Archives For Bob Smithouser

This post originally posted on February 14, 2014.

Well, today is Valentine’s Day, a day when love is shared, boxed chocolates are enjoyed and roses are ridiculously over-priced.  Don’t get me wrong – when my husband & I were dating, I wanted all of the ‘outward’ expressions of love.  Now that we’ve been married for 18 years, I appreciate love more throughout the year than just focused on the day you’re supposed to show it.

One way I appreciate the love my husband and I share is through our date nights.  Over the years, our date nights have evolved.  As newlyweds, Friday nights and all-day Saturday were our date days.  When children came along, our date days became “meet you on the couch after we put the children to bed”.  As the children got older and our calendars became more jam-packed, carving out time together would include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, coffee or weekends away.  We just wanted to be together, to talk, to look into each other’s eyes as well as each other’s hearts and listen to each other.  In my book, date nights (or days) are non-negotiable.

Last fall, I received a copy of 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp.  I thought I’d wait until Valentine’s Day to share my thoughts about it.  The book was released in September 2013 by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Book

The book’s purpose is to “help you connect faith, love and marriage in ways that result in a deeper spiritual connection.”  The book offers 10 great date night options, each with its own chapter within the book, outlining pre-date preparation, date night tips, and post-date spiritual application.

The date night options are:

  1. Connecting Faith and Love – You’ll talk about how connecting faith in your marriage can help you build a more loving, growing relationship.
  2. Appreciating Your Differences – You’ll talk about two key core values: acceptance & forgiveness.
  3. Experiencing God Together – You’ll talk about factors that bring you together spiritually as you worship God together.
  4. Getting Into the Word – You’ll be given simple tools to help you grow spiritually through studying the Bible together.
  5. Loving Your Closest Neighbor – You’ll talk about how to love and encourage your spouse.
  6. Talking Together With God – You’ll talk about how to overcome some of the obstacles to praying as a couple and practical ways to develop a meaningful prayer life together.
  7. Building Your Marriage on a Strong Foundation – You’ll talk about the importance of what the Bible calls leaving, cleaving and becoming one.
  8. Facing the Storms of Life Together – This date will help you talk about how to stay close and face the storms of life together.
  9. Guarding Your Heart Under God’s Canopy – You’ll look at what it means to have God’s sacred canopy over your marriage and how to guard your heart.
  10. Making Your Marriage a Lighthouse – You’ll be encouraged to talk about how you can continue to draw close spiritually and how your marriage can be a lighthouse to those around you.

What I Liked

If you notice what each date encourages, you’ll discover what I love about this book. It gets spouses talking to one another.  These dates make talking to each other a priority, and I love that.  And not just talking to fill time – but meaningful discussions. That’s a winner to me!

I also love that the book takes the guesswork out of what to talk about.  It’s so easy to talk about work, children, family and friends but being intentional and having guided spiritual conversations that will benefit your marriage is another winner for me.

What I Think Was Missing

I’m a pretty practical person, so I was expecting more practical ideas.  Maybe something like, “Over coffee, talk about…”  I wasn’t expecting that there would be ‘homework’ before and after the date.  This aspect might be a turn-off to some readers and might result in one of the spouses doing more prep-work than the other.

Also, my husband isn’t a big reader, so I’m not sure how practical that would be.  I would see myself as the primary date conversation facilitator, which would be extra work on my part.

My Recommendation

Overall, I think the book is a great read for marriage rookies and veterans alike.  If you’re looking to make your date night conversation more meaningful, then grab a copy of this book today!  Visit their website for more information.

Have you read 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage?  What were your thoughts?

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  No compensation was received.

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Well, today is Valentine’s Day, a day when love is shared, boxed chocolates are enjoyed and roses are ridiculously over-priced.  Don’t get me wrong – when my husband & I were dating, I wanted all of the ‘outward’ expressions of love.  Now that we’ve been married for 18 years, I appreciate love more throughout the year than just focused on the day you’re supposed to show it.

One way I appreciate the love my husband and I share is through our date nights.  Over the years, our date nights have evolved.  As newlyweds, Friday nights and all-day Saturday were our date days.  When children came along, our date days became “meet you on the couch after we put the children to bed”.  As the children got older and our calendars became more jam-packed, carving out time together would include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, coffee or weekends away.  We just wanted to be together, to talk, to look into each other’s eyes as well as each other’s hearts and listen to each other.  In my book, date nights (or days) are non-negotiable.

Last fall, I received a copy of 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp.  I thought I’d wait until Valentine’s Day to share my thoughts about it.  The book was released in September 2013 by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Book

The book’s purpose is to “help you connect faith, love and marriage in ways that result in a deeper spiritual connection.”  The book offers 10 great date night options, each with its own chapter within the book, outlining pre-date preparation, date night tips, and post-date spiritual application.

The date night options are:

  1. Connecting Faith and Love – You’ll talk about how connecting faith in your marriage can help you build a more loving, growing relationship.
  2. Appreciating Your Differences – You’ll talk about two key core values: acceptance & forgiveness.
  3. Experiencing God Together – You’ll talk about factors that bring you together spiritually as you worship God together.
  4. Getting Into the Word – You’ll be given simple tools to help you grow spiritually through studying the Bible together.
  5. Loving Your Closest Neighbor – You’ll talk about how to love and encourage your spouse.
  6. Talking Together With God – You’ll talk about how to overcome some of the obstacles to praying as a couple and practical ways to develop a meaningful prayer life together.
  7. Building Your Marriage on a Strong Foundation – You’ll talk about the importance of what the Bible calls leaving, cleaving and becoming one.
  8. Facing the Storms of Life Together – This date will help you talk about how to stay close and face the storms of life together.
  9. Guarding Your Heart Under God’s Canopy – You’ll look at what it means to have God’s sacred canopy over your marriage and how to guard your heart.
  10. Making Your Marriage a Lighthouse – You’ll be encouraged to talk about how you can continue to draw close spiritually and how your marriage can be a lighthouse to those around you.

What I Liked

If you notice what each date encourages, you’ll discover what I love about this book. It gets spouses talking to one another.  These dates make talking to each other a priority, and I love that.  And not just talking to fill time – but meaningful discussions. That’s a winner to me!

I also love that the book takes the guesswork out of what to talk about.  It’s so easy to talk about work, children, family and friends but being intentional and having guided spiritual conversations that will benefit your marriage is another winner for me.

What I Think Was Missing

I’m a pretty practical person, so I was expecting more practical ideas.  Maybe something like, “Over coffee, talk about…”  I wasn’t expecting that there would be ‘homework’ before and after the date.  This aspect might be a turn-off to some readers and might result in one of the spouses doing more prep-work than the other.

Also, my husband isn’t a big reader, so I’m not sure how practical that would be.  I would see myself as the primary date conversation facilitator, which would be extra work on my part.

My Recommendation

Overall, I think the book is a great read for marriage rookies and veterans alike.  If you’re looking to make your date night conversation more meaningful, then grab a copy of this book today!  Visit their website for more information.

Have you read 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage?  What were your thoughts?

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  No compensation was received.

Every so often, a parent in our Preteen Ministry will ask me for recommendations for devotionals and other reading material for their preteens.  So when an opportunity comes my way to review materials for that age group, I tend to jump right on it.

Today, I’ll share my thoughts regarding “The One Year Father Daughter Devotions” by Jesse Florea, Leon C. Wirth, and Bob Smithouser.  The book was released in October 2012 by Tyndale House Publishers.

About the Book

“Daddy-Daughter relationships are special.  But how do you keep that special bond during the early teen years?  One way is through daily devotions–discussing God’s truth using simple, everyday examples and activities.  You’ll also find two helpful bonus features: a daddy-daughter date guide and a movie list with discussion questions.  This devotional gives more than 365 creative ways to connect fathers and daughters–to God and to each other!”

What I Liked

The book contains 365 devotions, one for each day of the year.  Each devotional contains a creative title, Daddy-Daughter Time reflections/discussion questions for a father and daughter to do together, and a “What’s the Word?” section, which shares a verse or two about the chosen topic.  The scripture passages were taken from the New Living Translation, which I think makes God’s Word easily understood by early teens.

The topics covered were definitely age-appropriate for early teenage girls.  Topics covered included building a strong relationship with your dad, anger, technology use, forgiveness, inner beauty and communication.

As mentioned above, the book features 2 bonus features.  One bonus feature is “Father-Daughter Movie Nights”.  This section shares ways that dads and daughters can view a movie together and then a few questions to guide a discussion.  The suggested movies were rated “G” and “PG” and included a mix of newer titles (such as “Soul Surfer”) and classics (such as “Charlotte’s Web”).

The second bonus feature is “Daddy-Daughter Dates”.  This section outlines reasons for going on daddy-daughter dates, date ideas and conversation starters while you’re on the date.  I thought this was brilliant, as some guys need a little boost in the conversation department.

What I Think Was Missing

I would have loved to have seen a prayer included with each devotional that the dads could pray over their daughter.  I think having a dad pray over a teenage girl is very powerful and helps her to get a glimpse into what having a spiritual covering looks like.  I am a visual person, so having more color throughout the book, especially when trying to appeal to teen girls, would have been a plus.

My Recommendation

Overall, I think the book is a great option for girls ages 13 and older.  The content was solid and written in a relevant way.  Not only does the book help girls grow closer to their Heavenly Father, it helps them grow closer to their earthly father as well.  That’s a winner in my book!

Have you read “The One Year Father Daughter Devotions”?  What were your thoughts?

Tyndale House Publishers provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.