A Maid And Her Madam

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A maid wanted a salary increase. And Madam wanted 3 reasons why she wanted the increase. 

Maid: I can cook Better than you.

Madam: Who told you that?

Maid: Your husband told me. 

Madam: OK, second reason? 

Maid: I can iron better than you. 

Madam: Who told you that?

Maid: Your husband told me. 

Madam: OK, and the third reason? 

Maid: I'm also better in bed than you. "This time Madam was furious & was getting ready to break her head" 

Madam: Did my husband say that? 

Maid: No the driver told me I'm better in bed than you are. 

Madam: Please lower your voice. I will increase your salary.

Dating With a View to Marriage

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Julie and Lee were dating and were determined to remain morally clean. But one evening when they were alone, their sexual feelings began to build. Fortunately, they came to their senses before going too far and committing a serious wrong.

TRUE worship involves more than simply attending a weekly religious service. It is a way of life that influences one’s conduct and moral standards. Jesus Christ said that only those “doing the will” of God merit His favor.  To please God, we need to keep our relationship with the opposite sex honorable and date with a view to marriage.

How can you keep your relationship clean in God’s eyes, especially in view of the tremendous pressure on couples to throw moral restraint aside? First, recognize that God’s standards were set down with our very best interests in mind. Second, accept the truth about human nature. Third, lay definite ground rules for right behavior. And fourth, have God in your relationship. Consider these points one by one.

Standards Tailor-Made for Our Benefit

At Isaiah 48:17, 18, we read: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”

Yes, the commandments and principles set down in God’s inspired Word, the Holy Bible, are for our benefit. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) They are evidence that our Creator really cares about us and wants us to be happy and successful in all aspects of life. (Psalm 19:7-10) Is that how you feel in your heart? If so, you are showing true wisdom.

Accept the Truth About Yourself

Like a true friend, Jehovah is honest with us; he tells us the truth about ourselves. For example, his Word warns us that “the heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) The Bible also states: “He [or she] that is trusting in his own heart is stupid, but he that is walking in wisdom is the one that will escape.”—Proverbs 28:26.

How might a couple who are dating show that they trust in their own hearts? One way is by allowing themselves to get into circumstances where they may be tempted to become overly intimate, similar to the couple mentioned above. Another way is by disregarding the wise advice of God-fearing parents. Such parents know that sexual feelings, especially during youth, can be like a powerful engine that has to be well controlled.

Hence, young people who ‘walk in godly wisdom’ take parental guidance seriously. Yes, they take to heart the advice of parents who love them enough to say things that a son or daughter may not want to hear. Of course, the one who loves you most is your heavenly Father, Jehovah God, who advises you to “remove vexation from your heart, and ward off calamity from your flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10) How can you do that? By not giving in to improper desires.

Lay Clear Ground Rules for Behavior

“With those consulting together there is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10) Early in their relationship, prudent couples apply those words by agreeing on Scripturally appropriate expressions of affection and by being determined to stay within those limits. To take liberties with each other or to be overconfident is like driving dangerously. It is too late to make resolutions about road safety when you are being pulled out of a wreck!

“A shrewd man [or woman] sees trouble coming and lies low,” the Bible says. “The simple walk into it and pay the penalty.”(Proverbs 22:3, The New English Bible) Couples can avoid much trouble by dating in the company of a wholesome group or a suitable chaperone. The penalty for foolishness while dating may include a damaged conscience, lack of respect for yourself and the other person, and shame for all concerned, including family members. So be shrewd; agree to apply Scriptural standards and stick to them!

Make Jehovah the ‘Third Cord’

Marriage is like a threefold cord, with God as the primary strand. “A threefold cord cannot quickly be torn in two,” says Ecclesiastes 4:12. The same principle can apply to dating couples. Those who want God’s blessing on their relationship receive that blessing when they stay close to God individually. Says Psalm 1:1-3: “Happy is the man [or woman] that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked ones . . . But his delight is in the law of Jehovah, and in his law he reads in an undertone day and night . . . , and everything he does will succeed.”

Yes, real success in life, including success in courtship and marriage, comes when we do things Jehovah’s way. After all, he is our Creator, and romantic attraction and marriage are precious gifts from him. As such, they deserve our utmost respect.—James 1:17.

Should We Break Up?

“Three months into the relationship, both of us were saying that it felt so right. We talked about spending the rest of our lives together as if it were just a given.”—Lizzy.

“I had a huge crush on him, and then a couple of years later, he actually started noticing me! I liked having an older boyfriend who would watch out for me.”—Cathy.

In time, both Jessica and Carol broke up with their boyfriends. Why? Were they foolish for giving up such great guys?

YOU’VE been dating for nearly a year. At first, you were sure that he was “the one.” At times, you can even rekindle the romantic feelings that characterized the onset of your relationship. But now you’re having second thoughts. Should you ignore those thoughts? How can you know if you should break up?

First, you need to face a cold truth: Disregarding danger signs in a relationship is like ignoring the warning signals on your car’s dashboard. The problem will not go away; likely it will only get worse. What are some of the danger signs in a relationship that you would do well to heed?

Things are moving too fast. Problems can arise when a romance moves too quickly. “We were e-mailing, chatting online, talking on the phone,” Carol recalls. “Those methods of communication can be more powerful than face-to-face because you can get way more personal, way too fast!” Don’t rob yourselves of the chance to get to know each other. A relationship should not be like a weed that sprouts up fast and then withers. Rather, it should be like a precious plant that takes time to grow.

He’s critical and demeaning. “My boyfriend was always putting me down,” says a girl named Ana, “but I wanted to be with him so badly.” She adds, “I tolerated situations that I never dreamed I would have allowed!” The Bible condemns “abusive speech.” (Ephesians 4:31) Demeaning words—even if they are delivered calmly and quietly—have no place in a loving relationship.

He’s got a volatile temper. “A man of discernment is cool of spirit,” says Proverbs 17:27. Erin found that her boyfriend had problems in this regard. “When we had disagreements, he would shove me,” she says, “and at times I ended up with bruises.” The Bible tells Christians: “Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath . . . be taken away from you.” (Ephesians 4:31) A person with little self-control is hardly ready for dating.

He’s secretive about our relationship. “My boyfriend didn’t want others to know that we were dating,” recalls Angela. “He was even upset when my dad found out!” Of course, there may be valid reasons for a couple to maintain a measure of privacy. But secrecy—a deliberate attempt to keep the relationship hidden from those who have a right to know about it—spells trouble.

He has no intention of marriage. Among Christians, dating has an honorable purpose—to help a young man and woman determine if they want to get married to each other. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to make wedding plans the moment you start dating. In fact, many people do not end up marrying the first person they date. At the same time, a person shouldn’t date if he or she isn’t ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage.

Our relationship is on-again, off-again. Proverbs 17:17 states: “A true companion is loving all the time.” Not that the two of you will always agree. But a relationship that constantly seesaws between breaking up and making up could indicate that something deeper needs to be addressed, as Ana came to realize. “The many times I broke up with my boyfriend brought me so much heartache!” she says. “I kept going back to fix a relationship that I would have done better without.”

He pressures me for sex. “If you love me, you’ll do it.” “We need to take our relationship to the next level.” “It’s not really sex if there’s no intercourse.” These are all manipulative lines that boys have used to pressure girls into sex. Says James 3:17: “The wisdom from above is first of all chaste.” You deserve a boyfriend who is morally clean and who respects your chaste sexual boundaries. Don’t settle for anything less!

Others have warned me about him. The Bible says: “Get all the advice you can, and you will succeed; without it you will fail.” (Proverbs 15:22, Today’s English Version) “You can’t ignore what your family and longtime friends think, any more than you can ignore those little alarm bells that ring in your head,” says Jessica. “The more you ignore what others are saying, the harder you’re making it on yourself.”

Above are just a few danger signs that could mean trouble in a relationship. If you are dating, how does your boyfriend measure up in the areas discussed? Write below any personal concerns you may have.

How to Break Up

Suppose you determine that it’s best to end a relationship. How will you do so? There are a number of ways, but keep the following in mind.

Be courageous. “I had become so reliant on my boyfriend that I was afraid to leave him,” says a girl named Trina. It takes courage to speak up when a relationship needs to end. But standing up for yourself is healthy.  It enables you to establish firm boundaries as to what you will and what you will not tolerate in a dating relationship—and, later, in a marriage.

Be fair. If you were on the other end of the breakup, how would you want to be treated?  Surely, your boyfriend deserves more than a brief e-mail, text message, or voice mail saying “We’re through!”

Choose the right setting. Should you talk face-to-face or over the phone? Should you write a letter or have a discussion? Much depends upon the circumstances. You should not meet in any setting where your safety would be put in jeopardy, nor would it be wise to be in an isolated area where wrong desires could be stirred.

Speak truthfully. Talk honestly about why you feel the relationship cannot continue. If you feel that your boyfriend has not treated you properly, say so. Stick to viewpoint statements. For example, instead of saying, “You’re always putting me down,” say, “I feel put down when you . . .”

Be willing to listen too. Is there something you’ve misunderstood about the situation? Do not allow yourself to be manipulated by clever words, but at the same time, be reasonable and consider all the facts. The Bible wisely admonishes Christians to “be swift about hearing, slow about speaking.”—James 1:19.

Should I Try Internet Dating?

“We E-mailed each other every day. We made plans regarding a place to live and work. I was supposed to take care of the engagement rings. We had not even known each other a month and had not yet met in person.”—Rebecca, Austrialia.*

YOU would really like to meet someone—someone you can get to know, someone you might want to marry. But, thus far, none of your efforts to find someone like that have worked out. Attempts by well-meaning friends and family to set you up with someone have done nothing but embarrass you and have left you more discouraged than ever. So you are wondering if maybe you should turn to technology for help.

In this age of the computer, finding a compatible mate may seem to be just a few clicks away. All you have to do, some say, is log on to a Web site, chat room, or bulletin board that has been specially designed for singles. The New York Times reports that in one month in the United States alone, 45 million people visited on-line dating Web sites. One Internet matchmaker claims to have more than nine million people using its service in 240 countries.

The Appeal of On-Line Dating

Are you shy, and do you find it difficult to meet people? Do you fear rejection? Or do you simply feel there is a lack of potential marriage mates in the area where you live? Then computer dating may appeal to you. For one thing, on-line matchmaking services promise you control over your “dates.” Search boxes that display age groups, countries of residence, personality profiles, pictures, and anonymous screen names are provided. Armed with the power of choice, it may seem that dating on-line is more efficient and less stressful than face-to-face encounters.

What is the reality? Does dating in cyberspace really lead to lasting happiness? Well, consider this: During a six-year period, one matchmaking service had 11 million subscribers. Yet, only 1,475 marriages took place among them. Another dating service with over a million members listed only 75 confirmed marriages! What is wrong with this trend?

A True Picture of Each Other?

“On the Internet,” said one newspaper article, “everyone tends to be attractive, honest, and successful.” But how realistic is the information people provide about themselves? Another news article put it this way: “It is taken for granted that everyone lies a little.” An editor of a popular teen magazine did some personal research into this claim. She joined three of the most popular dating Web sites and shortly received a number of responses. These led to dates with several men. The result? Real failures! The men had blatantly lied about themselves. She warned: “Based on my experience, they lie.”

Misrepresenting one’s height or weight may seem like a little thing. ‘Looks are not that important,’ some may argue. True, the Bible itself says that “charm may be false, and prettiness may be vain.” (Proverbs 31:30) But is lying about seemingly little things a good way to begin a relationship? (Luke 16:10) How confident can you be about other things the person might say about more serious issues, such as personal goals? The Bible says: “Speak truthfully with one another.” (Zechariah 8:16) Yes, honesty provides the foundation for a relationship that can grow.

Dating in cyberspace, though, often involves unrealistic fantasies. A report in Newsweek makes this observation: “Users can carefully edit their e-mails and present themselves in the most flattering way. . . . The result is a positive-feedback loop: they seem nice and interested in you, so you’re nice and interested in them.” As a professor at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who studies on-line relationships observes, a strong attachment may form very readily in such circumstances. Yet, as often noted, this can’t be counted on to lead to a happy marriage. One man wrote about his experiences with on-line dating: “It’s a trap. Your imagination fills in the blanks with exactly what you want.”

Close Encounters

Some may believe, however, that the lack of personal contact has distinct advantages. They may feel that on-line dating allows couples to focus on what a prospective partner is like on the inside without being distracted by personal appearance. True, the Bible encourages us to focus on a person’s inner qualities. (1 Peter 3:4) Yet, the problem is that in a computer relationship, you cannot observe gestures, smiles, or countenance. You cannot see how he or she treats others or behaves under pressure. And such things are critical in determining if he or she is someone you can come to trust and love. Read the Bible’s description of love found at 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5. Notice that love is defined by behavior, not words. You must therefore take the time to observe a person to see if his or her actions and words match.

Lacking such vital information, couples often start sharing intimate feelings and thoughts early in the courtship. Throwing caution to the wind, some couples hastily make serious romantic commitments, even though they hardly know each other. An article entitled “On the Internet, Love Really Is Blind” tells of two people 8,000 miles apart who met on-line. Three weeks later they met in person. “She wore heavy eye mascara,” said the man. “I don’t date women who wear mascara.” The relationship quickly ended. The results of another in-person meeting were so disappointing that the man, who had paid for the visit, canceled the return portion of the woman’s airline ticket!

A young woman named Edda recalls her own experience with on-line dating. She says: “The relationship was too good to be true. We were planning on getting married.” But when they saw each other in person, the relationship completely flopped. “He was not what I expected but was critical and a complainer. It was just not going to work.” One week later the relationship broke off, leaving Edda totally disillusioned.

In the fantasy world of computer dating, emotions can become intense prematurely. This can leave you vulnerable to emotional devastation if the relationship does not work out—as is likely. “He that is trusting in his own heart is stupid,” warns Proverbs 28:26. Yes, it is unwise to make serious decisions based upon fantasy and emotion. The proverb thus continues: “But he that is walking in wisdom is the one that will escape.”

The Dangers of Haste

Rushing into a relationship when you know little about each other is certainly unwise. The English writer Shakespeare is quoted as saying: “Hasty marriage seldom proveth well.” The Bible counsel is more direct: “Everyone that is hasty surely heads for want.”—Proverbs 21:5.

Sadly, many of those engaging in Internet dating have found that to be true. After corresponding with someone for just one month, Monika, quoted at the outset, hoped that she had found the answer to her desire for a partner. Despite making plans for marriage—even arranging to obtain engagement rings—her hurried relationship ended in “great sorrow.”

You can avoid heartache by heeding the Bible’s counsel: “Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself, but the inexperienced have passed along and must suffer the penalty.” (Proverbs 22:3) However, disappointment and hurt feelings are not the only dangers you might face in computer dating. A future article will consider additional problems.

How To Kiss Your Lover

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Are you unsure of your kissing ability?

A big part of kissing is to have confidence.
Follow these ideas to enjoy your passion.
This is an instructable on how to kiss. Kissing can be a hard thing to do until you get comfortable doing it, and while nothing can fully prepare you for a kiss, this how-to will explain some of the basics of kissing a partner and explore some simple kissing do's and don't's.

Note: I am by no means a kissing expert. The information in this instructable is based upon experience and some simple research on the subject.

Let's get started with just a simple kiss.

Exfoliate your lips with sugar to sloth off dead skin and make them soft.
Use natural lip moisturize.

Remember you have to kiss alot of toads.......
Get your teeth professionally cleaned.
Brush your teeth, use mouth wash and floss.
Brush your tongue.
Suck on a mint, and make sure it is all gone before your kiss.
Do not eat onions, garlic or strong flavors before kissing.
Picture of Pre Kiss
The lead up to the kiss can actually be the most difficult part of kissing. Figuring out whether your partner is ready to kiss you or not can be a challenge of its own.

If you see one or a combination of these indicators, there is a good chance that your partner is thinking about kissing you.
eyes become soft and heavy
eye contact is made and sustained
head turns slightly
lips are licked or bitten
your partner makes physical contact with you beyond what seems appropriate for normal conversation (e.g. he or she brushes your hand, touches you on the shoulder or leg, or fidgets with an accessory)
easy conversation comes to a stop, but eye contact is not broken
your partner smiles in conjunction with any of the above behaviors

To give your partner the cue that you wish to kiss him or her, you can try one or a combination of these things.

soften your gaze by relaxing the muscles around your eyes, somewhat like smiling but without engaging your mouth
smile often, though
make eye contact and allow it to linger for a few moments longer than you normally would
find ways to subtly (but respectfully) touch your partner

If you think you are picking up some of these signs, but are still unsure if the person wants to be kissed then there is nothing wrong with just simply asking your partner if a kiss would be all right. Granted it breaks the mood a bit, and sensing the magic is always nicer than asking if it's there, but better to be sure your partner is on board for the kiss otherwise you might be heading for an embarrassing situation.

If you've assessed the situation, and it seems probable that a kiss is imminent, the next things to think about are timing and approach. The key to nailing the pre kiss is matching your partner's speed and intensity. The kiss is the first opportunity to physically connect with your partner, and so you want to meet him or her halfway.

Here are some steps you could follow as you go in for the kiss. Keep in mind that the kiss you share with someone is as unique as your relationship with that person, so follow your instincts and use the following as a rough guideline.
Passionate Kissing

1. Establish a physical connection by placing your hands on your partner's body. Placement depends on the dynamic between you, you can softly touch the face, the back of the neck or the shoulders. Be gentle with your touch if this is the first contact you are making. Stay away from "high risk" zones on your partners body, as you just want to indicate that you are interested in kissing them, not give them a full body search.

2. Establish and maintain eye contact from this point on. The eyes are often a clear indicator if someone wants to be kissed, or is thinking about kissing you. Try to look at your partner with a deep, yet soft gaze. Use your eyes to send them a message that shows how you feel for your partner, e.g., "I care for you, I am on fire when I look at you, I want to kiss you."

3. As you lean in, you may want to tilt your body and head to accommodate your partner's positioning. One partner will have to make room for the other, or both partners can just slightly tilt heads in opposite directions. Basically you are just trying to avoid a nose collision as you get closer, so just pick a side to turn to and don't give it too much thought.

4. Gauge how quickly your partner is leaning in and try to meet at the halfway point between you, so neither person is overextended. Over/under extension can make one person feel like they are not getting met and are either too aggressive, or not engaged enough.

If you have come this far with your partner chances are you are going to kiss, or you have misread the entire situation and they are just leaning in to look at something stuck in your teeth.

If the first is true, then read on because it's time to pucker up and get on with THE KISS.

Touch the other person possibly on the arm to start things flowing. Look at their eyes and mouth. Lean in slowly.
Tilt your head at an angle so your noses do not hit. Open your mouth slightly and brush your tongue along their lips.
Keep in the moment.

Holding their back while kissing is passionate.
They say French kissing is not from the French. Who knows. Remember to not let your tongue go limp or floppy like a snake. Try to nibble on their neck. Suck on their neck lightly. Open your mouth while kissing and let your tongue run with their tongue.
Hold their back or run your fingers through their hair.

Am I Ready To Date ?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

“There’s a ton of pressure all around me to date. There’s also a ton of cute guys.”—Marilyn

“Some girls come on strong, and I want to say yes. But if I ask my parents, I know what their answer will be.”—John.

THE urge to be with someone special—and to be with someone who thinks you are special—can be incredibly strong, even at a very young age. “I started to feel the pressure to date when I was 11,” recalls Jane. Brittany says: “At school you feel like you’re only half a person if you’re not dating someone—anyone!”
What about you? Are you ready to date? To answer that, we first need to address a more basic question:
What Is “Dating”?
Mark your response to the following questions:
You regularly go out with a certain member of the opposite sex. Are you dating?
□ Yes
□ No
You and a member of the opposite sex are attracted to each other. Several times a day, you text-message or talk to this person on the phone. Are you dating?
□ Yes
□ No
Every time you get together with your friends, you pair off with the same person of the opposite sex. Are you dating?
□ Yes
□ No

You most likely had no problem answering the first question. But you may have paused before responding to the second and the third. What exactly is dating? Really, dating is any social activity in which your romantic interest is focused on one particular person and that person’s interest is focused on you. So the answer to all three questions listed above is yes. Whether on the phone or face-to-face, in the open or in secret, if you and a friend of the opposite sex have a special romantic understanding and communicate regularly, it’s dating. Are you ready to go down that road? A consideration of three questions will help you find out.

Why Do You Want to Date?
In many cultures dating is regarded as a legitimate way for two people to become better acquainted. But dating should have an honorable purpose—to help a young man and woman determine if they want to get married to each other.

Granted, some of your peers might take a casual view of dating. Perhaps they simply enjoy being with a special friend of the opposite sex, without any intention of marriage. Some might even view such a friend as little more than a trophy or an accessory to be seen with in public to boost their own self-esteem. Often, though, such shallow relationships are short-lived. “Many young ones who date break up with each other a week or two later,” says a girl named Heather. “They come to view relationships as transitory—which in a sense prepares them for divorce rather than for marriage.”
Clearly, when you date someone, you’re affecting that person’s feelings. So be sure your intentions are honorable. Think: Would you like someone to play with your feelings as if they were some child’s toy—to be picked up for a moment and then quickly abandoned? A youth named Chelsea says: “Part of me wants to say that dating should be just for fun, but it’s no fun when one person is taking it seriously and the other isn’t.”

You’re How Old?
At what age do you think it’s appropriate for a youth to start dating? ․․․․․
Now ask one or both of your parents the same question, and fill in their answer. ․․․․․
Chances are, the first number you wrote down is lower than the second. Or maybe not! You might be among the many youths who are wisely putting off dating until they’re old enough to know themselves better. That’s what Danielle, 17, decided to do. She says: “Thinking back to two years ago, what I would have looked for in a potential mate was so different from what I would look for now. Basically, even at this point I don’t trust myself to make such a decision. When I feel that my personality has been stable for a couple of years, then I’ll think about dating.”
There’s another reason why waiting is wise. The Bible uses the phrase “the bloom of youth” to describe the period of life when sexual feelings and romantic emotions first become strong. (1 Corinthians 7:36) To maintain close association with one particular member of the opposite sex while you’re still in this phase can fan the flames of desire and lead to wrong conduct. True, that might mean little to your peers. Many of them are all too eager to experiment with sex. But you can rise above that kind of thinking! (Romans 12:2) After all, the Bible urges you to “flee from sexual immorality.” (1 Corinthians 6:18, New International Version) By waiting until you’re past the bloom of youth, you can “ward off calamity.”—Ecclesiastes 11:10.

Are You Ready to Get Married?
To help you answer the above question, take a good look at yourself. Consider the following:
Relationships. How do you treat your parents and siblings? Do you often lose your self-control with them, perhaps using harsh or sarcastic language to make a point? What would they say about you in that regard? How you deal with family members indicates how you will treat a mate.—Read Ephesians 4:31.
Demeanor. Are you positive or pessimistic? Are you reasonable, or do you always insist on doing things a certain way—your way? Can you keep calm when under pressure? Are you patient? Cultivating the fruitage of God’s spirit now will help you prepare for being a husband or a wife later.—Read Galatians 5:22, 23.
Finances. How well do you handle money? Are you often in debt? Can you hold down a job? If not, why not? Is it because of the job? the employer? Or is it because of some habit or trait that you need to work on? If you have trouble handling your own finances, how will you manage those of a family?—Read 1 Timothy 5:8.

The person you marry deserves nothing less than a spiritually strong partner.—Read Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10

Are You Ready to Get Married?

To help you answer the above question, take a good look at yourself. Consider the following:
Relationships. How do you treat your parents and siblings? Do you often lose your self-control with them, perhaps using harsh or sarcastic 
language to make a point? What would they say about you in that regard? How you deal with family members indicates how you will treat a mate.—Read Ephesians 4:31.
Demeanor. Are you positive or pessimistic? Are you reasonable, or do you always insist on doing things a certain way—your way? Can you keep calm when under pressure? Are you patient? Cultivating the fruitage of God’s spirit now will help you prepare for being a husband or a wife later.—Read Galatians 5:22, 23.
Finances. How well do you handle money? Are you often in debt? Can you hold down a job? If not, why not? Is it because of the job? the employer? Or is it because of some habit or trait that you need to work on? If you have trouble handling your own finances, how will you manage those of a family?—Read 1 Timothy 5:8.

Do you take the initiative to read God’s Word, to engage in the ministry, and to participate at Christian meetings? The person you marry deserves nothing less than a spiritually strong partner.—Read Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10.

What You Can Do
Being pressured to date before you’re ready would be like being forced to take a final exam for a course that you’ve barely started. Obviously, that wouldn’t be fair! You need time to study your subject so you can become familiar with the kind of problems you’ll face in the test.

It’s similar with dating. As we’ve seen, dating is no trivial matter. So before you’re ready to focus on one particular person, you need to take time to study a very important “subject”—how to build friendships. Later, when you meet the right person, you’ll be in a better position to build a solid relationship. After all, a good marriage is the union of two good friends.

Waiting to date won’t stifle your freedom. On the contrary, it will give you more freedom to ‘rejoice in your youth.’ (Ecclesiastes 11:9) And you’ll have time to prepare yourself by developing your personality and, most important, your spirituality.—Lamentations 3:27.

In the meantime, you Cana enjoy the company of the opposite sex. What’s the best way to do so? Associate together in properly supervised mixed groups. A girl named Tammy says: “I think it’s more fun that way. It’s better to have a lot of friends.” Monica agrees. “The group idea is a really good idea,” she says, “because you get to see people with different personalities.”

In contrast, if you focus on one person too soon, you set yourself up for heartache. So take your time. Use this period of your life to learn how to cultivate and maintain friendships. Later, if you choose to date, you’ll have a better idea of who you are and what you need in a lifelong partner.

21 Ways Families Can Stay Awake

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Let us stay awake and keep our senses.
REFERRING to “the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah,” the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica: “Brothers, you are not in darkness, so that that day should overtake you as it would thieves, for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We belong neither to night nor to darkness.” Paul added: “So, then, let us not sleep on as the rest do, but let us stay awake and keep our senses.”—Joel 2:31; 1 Thess. 5:4-6.

2 Paul’s counsel to the Thessalonians is especially fitting for Christians living in “the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:4) As the end of his wicked system of things nears, Satan is bent on turning as many true worshippers as he can away from serving God. We are therefore wise to take to heart Paul’s admonition to remain spiritually vigilant. If a Christian family is to succeed in staying awake, it is important that each member shoulder his or her Scriptural responsibility. What role, then, do husbands, wives, and young ones play in helping their families to “stay awake”?

Husbands—Imitate “the Fine Shepherd”

3 “The head of a woman is the man,” states the Bible. (1 Cor. 11:3) What does a man’s responsibility as the head of a household involve? Outlining one aspect of headship, the Scriptures say: “If anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.” (1 Tim. 5:8) Indeed, a man should provide materially for his family. If he is to help his family to stay awake spiritually, though, he must prove to be more than just a breadwinner. He needs to build up his household spiritually, helping all in the family to strengthen their relationship with God. (Prov. 24:3, 4) How can he do so?

4 Since “a husband is head of his wife as the Christ also is head of the congregation,” a married man should examine and imitate the type of headship that Jesus provides for the congregation. (Eph. 5:23) Consider how Jesus described his relationship with his followers. (Read John 10:14, 15.) What is the key to success for a man who wants to build up his household spiritually? It is this: Study what Jesus said and did as “the fine shepherd,” and “follow his steps closely.”—1 Pet. 2:21.

5 Figuratively speaking, the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep is based on knowledge and trust. The shepherd knows all about his sheep, and the sheep know and trust the shepherd. They recognize and obey his voice. “I know my sheep and my sheep know me,” said Jesus. He does not have mere surface knowledge of the congregation. The Greek word here rendered “know” denotes “personal, intimate knowledge.” Yes, the Fine Shepherd knows his sheep personally. He knows their individual needs, their weaknesses, and their strengths. Nothing about his sheep escapes the notice of our Exemplar. And the sheep fully know the shepherd and trust his leadership.

6 To exercise his headship in imitation of Christ, a husband must learn to think of himself as a shepherd and of those under his care as sheep. He should strive to have an intimate knowledge of his family. Can a husband really have such knowledge? Yes, if he communicates well with all members of his family, listens to their concerns, takes the lead in family activities, and is conscientious about making good decisions involving such matters as family worship, meeting attendance, field service, recreation, and entertainment. When a Christian husband takes the lead with knowledge not only of God’s Word but also of those entrusted to him, it is more likely that his family members will have confidence in his headship and that he will have the satisfaction of seeing them remain united in true worship.

7 A good shepherd also has affection for his sheep. When we study the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry, our heart is moved with appreciation for the affection Jesus showed for his disciples. He even ‘surrendered his soul in behalf of the sheep.’ Husbands should imitate Jesus in showing affection for those under their care. Rather than harshly dominating his wife, a husband who desires God’s approval continues loving her “just as the Christ also loved the congregation.” (Eph. 5:25) His words should be kind and considerate, for she is worthy of honor.—1 Pet. 3:7.

8 In training young ones, the family head should firmly uphold godly principles. However, he must not fail to show affection for his children. Needed discipline should be administered lovingly. Some young ones may take longer than others to get the sense of what is expected of them. In that case, a father should show them greater patience. When men consistently follow the example of Jesus, they create a home environment that is safe and secure. Their families enjoy the type of spiritual security that the psalmist sang about.—Read Psalm 23:1-6.

9 The patriarch Noah lived in the time of the end of the world of his day. But Jehovah kept him “safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people.” (2 Pet. 2:5) Noah had the responsibility of helping his family to survive the Flood. Christian family heads are in a similar position in these last days. (Matt. 24:37) How vital it is that they study the example of “the fine shepherd” and strive to imitate him!

Wives—‘Build Up Your Household’

10 “Let wives be in subjection to their husbands as to the Lord,” wrote the apostle Paul. (Eph. 5:22) This statement in no way suggests an undignified position. Prior to creating the first woman, Eve, the true God declared: “It is not good for the man to continue by himself. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.” (Gen. 2:18) The role of “helper” and “complement”—that of being supportive of her husband as he cares for his family responsibilities—is an honorable one indeed.

11 An exemplary wife works for the good of her household. (Read Proverbs 14:1.) In contrast with a foolish woman, who shows disrespect for the headship arrangement, a wise woman has deep respect for this provision. Rather than manifesting the attitude of disobedience and independence that characterizes the world, she is in submission to her mate. (Eph. 2:2) A wife who is foolish does not hesitate to speak unfavorably of her husband, whereas a wise woman works to increase the respect that her children and others have for him. Such a wife is careful not to undermine her husband’s headship by nagging him or arguing with him. There is also the matter of being economical. A foolish woman likely squanders her family’s hard-earned resources. A supportive wife is not like that. She cooperates with her husband in financial matters. Her way of doing things is marked by prudence and economy. She does not pressure her husband to work overtime.

12 An exemplary wife helps the family to “stay awake” by assisting her husband in the spiritual education of the children. (Prov. 1:8) She actively supports the Family Worship program. Moreover, she is supportive of her husband when he gives counsel and discipline to their children. How different she is from an uncooperative wife, whose children suffer physically and spiritually!

13 How does a supportive wife feel about seeing her husband play an active role in the Christian congregation? Why, she is joyful! Whether her husband is a ministerial servant, an elder, or perhaps a member of a Hospital Liaison Committee or a Regional Building Committee, she is happy about his privilege. Actively supporting her husband with words and actions will surely involve sacrifices on her part. But she is aware that her husband’s involvement in theocratic activities helps the entire family to keep awake spiritually.

14 Being exemplary in a supportive role may be a challenge for a wife when her husband makes a decision she disagrees with. Even then, she manifests a “quiet and mild spirit” and cooperates with him to make his decision work. (1 Pet. 3:4) A good wife tries to follow the fine examples of godly women of former times, such as Sarah, Ruth, Abigail, and Jesus’ mother, Mary. (1 Pet. 3:5, 6) She also imitates present-day older women who are “reverent in behavior.” (Titus 2:3, 4) By showing love and respect for her husband, an exemplary wife contributes much to the marital partnership and to the well-being of the entire family. Her home is a place of comfort and safety. To a spiritual man, a supportive wife is priceless!—Prov. 18:22.

Youths—‘Keep Your Eyes on the Things Unseen’

15 How can you young ones work along with your parents so that your family will “stay awake” spiritually? Consider the prize that Jehovah has set before you. Perhaps from your childhood, your parents showed you illustrations depicting life in Paradise. As you grew older, they likely used the Bible and Christian publications to help you visualize what everlasting life would be like in the new world. Keeping your eyes focused on service to Jehovah and planning your life accordingly will help you to “stay awake.”

16 Take to heart the apostle Paul’s words found at 1 Corinthians 9:24. (Read.) Run the race for life with the full intention of winning. Choose a course that will result in attaining the prize of everlasting life. Many have allowed the pursuit of material things to distract them from keeping their eyes on the prize. How foolish that is! Planning a life around gaining riches does not lead to true happiness. The things money can buy are temporary. You, though, keep your eyes on “the things unseen.” Why? Because “the things unseen are everlasting.”—2 Cor. 4:18.

17 “The things unseen” include Kingdom blessings. Plan to live your life in such a way as to attain them. Real happiness comes from using your life in Jehovah’s service. Serving the true God provides opportunities to reach out for short-range as well as long-range goals.* Setting realistic spiritual goals can help you to stay focused on serving God with a view to attaining the prize of everlasting life.—1 John 2:17.

18 Young ones, the first step on the road to life is to make the truth your own. Have you taken that step? Ask yourself: ‘Am I a spiritual person, or is my participation in spiritual activities dependent on my parents? Do I cultivate qualities that make me pleasing to God? Do I make an effort to maintain a consistent routine of sharing in activities related to true worship, such as regular prayer, study, meeting attendance, and field service? Am I drawing close to God by nurturing a personal relationship with him?’—Jas. 4:8.

19 Reflect on Moses’ example. Despite having been subjected to a foreign culture, he chose to be identified as a worshiper of Jehovah rather than a son of the daughter of Pharaoh. (Read Hebrews 11:24-27.) Christian youths, you too need to be determined to serve Jehovah faithfully. By doing that, you will gain true happiness, the best quality of life now, and the hope of getting “a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Tim. 6:19.

20 In the ancient games, only one runner won the race. That is not so in the race for life. It is God’s will “that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:3, 4) Many have run successfully before you, and many are running alongside you. (Heb. 12:1, 2) The prize will go to all those who do not give up. So be determined to win!

21 “The coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah” is inevitable. (Mal. 4:5) That day should not catch Christian families unawares. It is vital for all in the family to shoulder their Scriptural responsibility. What else can you do to remain spiritually alert and strengthen your relationship with God?

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