Updated 12/18/2015. I first wrote this in 2013, today I update the numbers but not the content.
I want to focus my mind and heart today.
I want to focus them on my wife.
In fact, I like to think about her every day.
But today, today is special.
- Not because of any specific date on the calendar.
- Not because it’s an anniversary of anything.
- Not because society says it’s special.
Today is special like yesterday, because today…I’m married to my best friend.
I want to think about and write down some things I love about her…things I’ve never told her.
- I like to say silly things to make her raise her eyes to the sky and smile just so…I love her smile.
- I love the way she rushes out of bed at the first sound of one of our kids. She’s been doing this for 5 years. She wants me to sleep so I can wake up at 5 AM and chase our dreams. I love that she sacrifices her sleep for our family.
- I love watching her talk to others about our kids and parenting. She doesn’t know this, but she can’t do it without smiling. Have I mentioned that I love her smile?
- I love when she puts her feet on my lap while we are watching TV and asks me to rub them.
- I love how she talks about Jesus to our kids.
- I love when she whispers at night just as we climb into bed, “Will you pray?”
- I love how she sits at the kitchen table with her Bible and journal and studies God’s words.
- I love how she experiments with recipes and tries new things for us to eat.
- I love that her dreams are bigger than mine. I love that we chase them together.
- I love how she cares and talks about our friends everyday.
Marissa, I love you.
- Start a list like I did above of things you love about your spouse. Next time you are angry with them; get the list out and start reading through all the reasons you love them. You’ll be amazed at how this will help you.
- Brag about your spouse today to someone.
- Leave a new note everyday in the same place telling your spouse one thing you love about them or the two of you together.
- Plan a “tell all” date. Take your spouse out on a date and tell him/her all the things you haven’t yet.
- Write a letter, email, note, text message, blog post, Facebook post, Tweet…whatever…but just write something right now to your spouse. SERIOUSLY, STOP READING AND WRITE SOMETHING RIGHT NOW. Come on, write just one sentence. WHY ARE YOU STILL READING?
- Call your spouse right now and tell them you love them.
I recently took my team to Leadercast 2014. During our lunch break I was asking everyone on our team what their greatest takeaway from the morning was. Our 20 year old program director, Meredith, floored me with her response. I realized that I had learned the same lesson after years of struggling with delegation. However, she picked up on it and put words to my greatest challenge with delegation in a few hours. I learned a lot at Leadercast, but I didn’t expect this lesson on how to delegate tasks.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Back to my conversation with Meredith.
Me to Meredith; “What’s your greatest takeaway so far?”
Meredith; “I’m good at delegating tasks. I’m terrible at delegating decisions.”
And there it was my friend. I realized I had mastered task delegations years ago. In fact, pretty quick into my leadership journey I had delegating tasks down.
- Identity the next action step required.
- Decide the best equipped person to handle the action step.
- Assign it to them.
- Record the assignment in whatever task management system I was using at the time. (I’m now 100% on Nozbe and loving it thanks to Jackie Bledsoe Jr.).
- Followup with the person when the action step requires it depending on difficulty, due date, etc.
But, I never felt like I was getting ahead.
How about you? Do you feel more or less free to dream about the vision of your organization and how to reach it as you delegate more and more? I for one was always confused. Why was I still so swamped when I had everything delegated out?
Enter Dave Ramsey book Entreleadership.
From Mr. Ramsey, I learned and use the 3 suggestions rule. (Actually, I only require 2.) The rule is this. When you bring me a problem, come with 3 (or 2) suggestion on how to fix it. After I’m presented the problem and the suggested solutions I decide on a course of action. I make sure the person knows why or why I’m not using one of their suggestions. Over time, I learn how my team thinks and they learn how to think like me when solving problems. After a few rounds of this, I can eventually say; “You no longer need to bring problems like this to me. I trust you to decide.”
Overall, this has been working great. And Meredith helped me see what I was actually doing in this process. I was delegating decisions.
When I would simply delegate task in the past without delegating the authority to make decisions….I was setting my team up to have to come back to me with questions. However, once I started passing on the responsibility to make decisions I started noticing more time in my day to focus on the things that only I can do.
With Dave Ramesy’s approach I am teaching my team how to make decisions. Thus, delegating decisions making when the team member is ready. Now that Meredith has helped me connect the dots, I’m going to be able to be even more intentional.
What I Have To Stop Doing.
I also had another light bulb moment. And, that lead to me apologizing to my team. Recently I would reply like this when asked about something I didn’t need to be involved in. “You decide, I don’t care.”
What I thought I was saying was this; “You can decide this. I trust you. I don’t need to care about this, because you have it covered.”
What I now realize I was covertly communicating. “You decide. I don’t care about small things like this. It’s such a small decision, it’s beneath me. You are only capable of handling this kind of small thing and I don’t care. Only bother me with the big important stuff.”
Not what I thought, felt nor meant. But the words we use matter.
Now, I will simply reply; “Thanks for asking. However, I trust you. I’d like for you to decide. I’ll support you whatever you decide.” And, after saying this a few times, I’ll just cut it down to; “You can decide this. I trust you.”
What About You? Do you delegate decisions as well as you delegate tasks?
What Do You Know?
I would appreciate any insight you can share on delegation in the comments or by sending me an email.
Just like an organizations or companies core values, having core values as a family has several benefits. But how do you write a set of family core values? And, once you do have your core values for your family; what do you do with them?
My wife, Marissa and I decided to write a set of core values for our family. We knew that the benefits would include at least:
- Providing us a tool to be on the same page in parenting decisions.
- Help us establish a more clear picture of where we want our family to head for the future.
- Help each of us make parenting decisions the other would make when we can’t talk a decision over.
- Give our kids the road map.
- Set our kids up with an easy to remember filtering system to have in making decisions as they get older.
So we set out to create the Dingler Family Core Values.
The Dingler Family Core Values
The Process We Used
We talk about the core values for several weeks. Each of us spent time thinking and praying about what we should include. We read other blogs posts, listened to some specific podcasts (okay, so that might have been just me) and talk with friends.
We made plans for a babysitter to watch the kids during and after a speaking engagement at the Parenting Expo in Pittsburgh early in 2014.
After we got off stage, we went to one of our favorite restaurants; Smokey Bones.
We got a table in the back corner and got to talking and writing.
After a few hours we settled on 7 core values.
We left and gave the core values a couple weeks to marinate.
One afternoon on a long drive, we decided to keep the 7 we had. We wanted some easy way to remember them. As we talked about several options, I realized that our last name happens to have 7 letters. Once we started to assign each core value to one of the letters of our last name; we were shocked how fast and easy it happened. (Almost freaky easy between you and me.)
Marissa found a store on Etsy and had our core values turned into the wall hanging you see pictured here.
Advice For You To Create Your Family Core Values
- Give it time.
- Pray about it.
- Give it time.
- Pray about it.
- Talk about it.
- Give it time.
How To Keep These From Just Being Art
Our next challenge is to make sure these don’t simply become wall art. We strategically hung our core values beside our kitchen table. We do (and will always) eat dinner together as a family. Having these right there will guide our conversations as our kids get older and we speak truth into their decisions.
Starting next week I’m going to focus on one core value per week. I plan to study each of our core values one at a time, one week at a time, forever. I will look for different supporting Bible passages. (I will assigned each core value a color highlight and I’m highlighting corresponding scriptures in the appropriate color or two or three etc) Is this a commitment of time. Yes. But, it’s just one small way I’ll ensure I’m being the Leader for my family that God has called me to be.
Finally, we have to talk to our kids about these core values all the time. Marissa and I realize that our kids are going to roll their eyes every time we quote one of these core values. And I’m okay with that. Because when the darkness comes, they’ll be equipped with the light of truth to scare away the monsters in the world.
Care To Share
What about you? What’s the first core value you plan to recommend to your spouse for your family?
If you have any questions email me directly.
Okay, so this post is primarily for guys…but I’d love to have you wives keep reading and toss in your thoughts in the comments.
There are thousands of ideas on the internet for what to do for a date with your spouse.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
And, most couples who want their marriage’s to thrive will agree dating their spouse is important.
But, what makes a date a date. (Again, I have to be honest and say that as a guy…we tend to need the most help with this.)
So, guys…here are some ideas that are NOT dates:
- Having your wife join you and your buddies while you watch (and yell) at the Football game on TV. Even if she loves Football…and yelling at the TV.
- Having your wife join you while you take a client out to dinner, even if it is your wife’s favorite restaurant.
- Thanksgiving dinner at your folks house.
- Sitting on the couch at night watching reruns of M.A.S.H. while rubbing her feet. (Even though this is nice of you.)
- Having your wife help you change the oil in the car….even if she loves doing it. (Exception; you go to a place that changes the oil for you, and make out in the car while the mechanic is working on your car. Actually, this is kind of creepy. Let’s pretend I never wrote that.)
- Taking your wife out on the lake all day fishing. Again, even if she loves fishing. And, even if she says, “I’m happy if I get to just spend time with you.”
There are four components that make a date a real date and not just a “kind of” date.
TIPS AND SUGGESTION
- Deliberate. You plan a time and protect that time. You don’t let things get in the way of other important things on your calendar. Things like doctors appointments, taking the dog to the vet, getting the car serviced, Christmas, etc. So protect your agreed upon date time. (Extra point just for husbands…wives, you can stop reading this. Guys, your wife has every right to be upset if you bail on her because you forgot or something else comes up. If you had tickets to the biggest event of your favorite sport, like the Super Bowl, you wouldn’t let something come up. Seriously, work and your boss aren’t more important that your wife.)
- Affectionate. Hold hands, walk arm in arm or kiss at a red light until someone honks their horn. What ever your comfort level is regarding public displays of affection…as long as it won’t make others uncomfortable, have at it. Walking around Lowes looking at new kitchen faucets isn’t a date. Walking around Home Depot holding hands dreaming about what your next house will have in it together…that could be a date.
- Two People. Come on now, taking your elderly mom out to eat to get her out of the nursing home for Sunday afternoon; does not constitute a date…even if you are holding hands; with your wife—not your mom. Now, volunteering together to serve food at a soup kitchen as part of a date totally counts. There is a fine line between the two. Most of the time the line falls on either side of obligation. If I’m required to attend a social event for work, I don’t count that as a date. Heck, I struggle counting it a date if you go to someone’s wedding. You can get away with calling these things a date…but, let’s try to do better. I’m also not counting a double date. That’s hanging out with friends.
- Exciting. Regardless of your definition of excitement. Maybe ballroom dance lessons is up your ally. You could prefer race car driving lessons. Miniature golf or gold prospecting. What do the two of you like to do as a couple. And from time to time, what are you willing to experience for your spouse. Does your wife want to take a cooking class together and you’d rather pull your bottom lip down until it touches your Adam’s Apple? Well buckaroo, you need to go to at least one cooking class. Does your husband want you to go fishing and you’d rather go through natural childbirth without pain meds? Well little miss, you’re going to need to get worm guts on your hands. Now, balance here is the key. 80% to 90% of your dates should be mutually exciting…but it’s okay if 1 or 2 out of 10 are solely for each other to experience something…at least once…that the other person get’s excited about.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE RIGHT NOW:
- Get instant access to my eBook full of tips and ideas to make dating your spouse happen by clicking here.
- Pin this so you can come back to it and share it with others if you found it helpful.
- Ask your spouse…what is something you want to do, that I probable don’t?
- Arrange a babysitter and surprise your spouse with a date.
- Text your spouse right now… “I’m thinking about you, and I like what I’m thinking about.”
RELATED POST FROM MY BLOG:
Question: What does a date need to include for you to consider it a “real” date.? What’s been your best date since getting married?
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And, the less intentional a couple is at working on their marriage, the more likely it is their marriage will fail.
Imagine two people decide to start a carpentry business, they:read books,
- take some classes,
- talk with other carpenters,
- buy all the tools,
- get a nice new fancy truck,
- get a logo and business cards,
- have a website designed and
- get their business licence.
Now, let’s say they just sit in their truck and drive around. They never give an estimate, take a job and they never build a thing. They have all the right stuff;
- the tools and equipment,
- a strong desire and
- even the label.
But, they don’t have a fail-proof carpentry business. In fact, it’s easy to see their carpentry endeavor will actually fail quickly.
It’s true for marriage.
Imagine two people decide to get married, they:
- read books,
- take a pre-marriage class,
- talk with other married couples,
- buy the rings and register for the all the stuff,
- get a nice new fancy apartment,
- get invitations,
- have a beautiful wedding and
- get their marriage license.
Now, let’s say they just settle into daily life. They stop dating, take each other for granted, stop saying please and thank you and slowly stop having fun together regularly. They have all the right stuff;
- the tools and equipment (aka rings, marriage license, etc),
- a strong desire and
- even the label.
But, they don’t have a fail-proof marriage. In fact, it’s much harder to see but, their marriage endeavor will actually fail slowly and painfully.
Fun Marriages Don’t’ Fail
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:
- When each spouse is fully submitted to making the other person better…that’s fail-proofing marriage.
- When each spouse is fully submitted to using integrity to make the other person happy…that’s fail-proofing marriage.
- When each spouse is fully submitted to making the other person more confident…that’s fail-proofing marriage.
- When each spouse is fully submitted to the character of their marriage over the comfort of their marriage…that’s fail-proofing marriage
- When each spouse is fully submitted to learning new things about their spouse regularly…that’s fail-proofing marriage
- When each spouse is fully submitted to having fun regularly with their spouse…that’s fail-proofing marriage
- When each spouse is fully submitted to the other…that’s fail-proofing marriage
- BONUS Idea (and, the lynchpin) When each spouse is fully submitted to God and having a Christ-centered marriage…that’s fail-proofing marriage.
- ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE RIGHT NOW:
- Schedule a date with your spouse.
- Start a “New Thing List”. Resolve for one week to never let the sun go down on a day until you can record one new thing you learned about your spouse that day. If it worked for you, do it for one month. Then, 3 months, 6 months and up to a year. But hey, start with one week.
- Brag about your spouse to someone else today.
- Brag about your spouse to a stranger today. (use your Facebook status if you need to)
Questions: What do you think it takes to fail-proof a marriage? Go ahead, brag about your spouse in the comments today.
If you are another blogger and have a post related to this that others might find helpful, please feel free to share a link in the comments.
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