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    All posts in "marriage"

    Stretched Men Group – Fall 2018 Mastermind – Forming NOW

    The next semester of the Stretched Men Group is getting ready to start, and men are getting ready to STRETCH their marriages, their parenting, their careers, their faith, and their lives.

    You don’t want to miss the opportunity to be part of the Stretched Men Group!

    The Stretched Men Group provides a safe, transforming environment to help men like you take steps forward.  Here are some of the ways the group has helped other men:

    One man started praying for his ex-wife.

    One man started taking his family back to church.

    One man changed jobs.

    One man had a tough conversation with his wife that transformed his relationship.

    One man had a difficult conversation with his co-worker that led to a job change.

    One man tackled a pornography addiction.

    One man started reading his Bible on a daily basis.

    One man reached out to his estranged sons.

    One man took his marriage and sex-life to a whole new level.

    If you’re looking to STRETCH and experience this kind of change in your life, you should join the next semester of the Stretched Men Group.  For more information, go to www.stretchedmengroup.com.  Once you are there, you can request a FREE, no pressure informational call with me to see if the Stretched Men Group is right for you.

    Don’t wait too long, the spots will fill up fast.

    What are you waiting for?  It’s time to STRETCH now!

    Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
    Napoleon Hill

    6 Things You Need to Do Today to Prepare for the Empty Nest

    Later today, I’ll be dropping my daughter off for the start of her junior year of college, and my wife and I will be entering the empty nest.  (Last week, we dropped our son off for his freshman year of college.)  While I’m sad to say goodbye to my kids knowing their return home will never quite be the same, I’m extremely excited by this next step in our journey together.

    Many people talk about the empty nest with negativity.  People imply that life is almost over when the kids leave the house.  Or people wonder out loud about how spouses will handle each other without the barrier and distraction of children.

    The empty nest doesn’t have to be a scary thing.  In fact, there are things you can do today to better prepare yourself for the empty nest.

    6 Things You Need to Do Today to Prepare for the Empty Nest

    1. Date your spouse while your kids are under your roof.  Many parents fall into the trap of making their parenting more important than their marriage.  This is a big mistake.  When we get married, we commit – we promise – to live life together for the rest of our lives.  When your kids leave the house (as they should at some point), you don’t want to find yourself living with a stranger.  Continue to get to know your wife.  Continue to have fun together.  Continue to grow closer.  Leanne and I have a weekly date night.  This has been a great way to help prepare us for the empty nest.
    2. Parent your children with purpose.  Too many parents make the mistake of trying to be their child’s best friend instead of people their mom or dad.  Also, many parents miss out on the importance of preparing their kids to leave the nest.  Talking to your kids about life after high school or college is important.  Kids need to understand the expectations you have for them as they get older.  Talking about these expectations, modeling expected behaviors, and establishing appropriate boundaries are all critical parts of parenting with purpose and of preparing for the empty nest.  Leanne and I have intentionally approached our parenting aiming our kids at the target and launching them well-equipped to leave the nest and contribute to this world.
    3. Invest in your marriage.  Beyond dating your spouse, you need to make regular investments in your marriage.  Find a mentor couple or two who are ahead of you in their married lives and take time to learn from them.  Spend money and take time to get away on a regular basis to connect with each other, to discuss goals, and to assess progress.  Go to a marriage retreat or conference (ie. Family Life Weekend to Remember) to learn from marriage experts.  Sign up in a marriage class like Dynamic Marriage (Leanne and I are getting ready to lead our next Dynamic Marriage class, and spots are still available).  Leanne and I have done a lot of things to invest in our marriage, and we will continue to do these things as we enter the empty nest.  Our marriage is worth it!
    4. Invest in yourself.  I’m a father, and I’m a husband.  I’m also me.  Our identities are complex.  While you will always be a father if you have kids, that part of your identity will change as the kids leave the nest.  It’s important to learn and grow (to STRETCH) as an individual.  I’m doing this through reading, through podcasts, and through mastermind groups.  In a few weeks, I’ll be launching the next semester of the Stretched Men Group – a mastermind group for men.  If you are a man, consider signing up.  This is a great way to invest in yourself and to help you prepare for the empty nest.
    5. Plan ahead.  Don’t get to the empty nest without plans for the future.  Leanne and I have been making plans for doing things together to have fun, to contribute to our church and community, and to position ourselves for further steps in our married lives.  We’ve created a “Dream Board” to document some of our bigger goals for the future.  If you want to prepare for the empty nest, plan ahead for what you will do once the kids leave the nest.
    6. Pray.  Don’t underestimate the importance of praying together about the future.  Pray for your kids.  Pray for their future spouses.  Pray for your spouse.  Pray for your future together.  God wants to be part of your marriage.  Pray that God would prepare you for the empty nest.

    When you take these steps, you too can enter the empty nest with enthusiasm, hope, and excitement.  Don’t wait for the kids to say goodbye, take action today to get ready for the empty nest!

    What action do you need to take to prepare for the empty nest?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    Dynamic Marriage Starts Again TODAY!

    Tonight, Leanne and I start the next class of Dynamic Marriage at our church (Christ’s Church of the Valley).  This will be the second time we get to facilitate this nine week class for couples who want to make their marriages better.

    Dynamic Marriage is a nine-week class that walks couples through an intentional program designed to deepen communication, to educate about each other’s needs and how to meet them, and to take marriages from surviving to thriving.  The curriculum produced by Marriage Dynamics Institute is based on His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley Jr.

    Here’s what some of the couples from our first class have to say about the class:

    DYNAMIC MARRAIGE from CHRIST’S CHURCH OF THE VALLEY on Vimeo.

    Spots for our new class are filled up, but we will be offering it again. If you can’t wait and are looking for a Dynamic Marriage class in your area, check out Marriage Dynamics Institute.

    You have to be intentional to have a dynamic marriage.

    Building a Dynamic Marriage

    A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.

    Andre Maurois

    Marriage requires effort, intentional actions, and the support of others.

    Leanne and I have watched and wept as we’ve seen a few marriages around us collapse.  On the other hand, we’ve been so blessed to see many of the marriages around us thrive.  And we’ve also witnessed the simple survival of many marriages.

    We celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this summer.  We’ve had our ups and a few downs.  We’ve felt distance at times, and we’ve felt amazing intimacy in our marriage.

    What we’ve learned is building a dynamic marriage – a marriage that grows, evolves with life, and thrives – takes work.

    Early this summer, we traveled to New Jersey to become certified facilitators for the Dynamic Marriage class associated with Marriage Dynamics Institute.  The weekend training was intense and powerful.

    This week (actually tomorrow), we will be starting our first Dynamic Marriage class.  The class is 9 weeks long, and it will take participants through and intentional path toward building a stronger marriage.  Twelve couples have signed up for the class (a full class) which means thirteen couples (including Leanne and I) will have the opportunity to significantly impact their marriages.

    We’d love your prayers for the couples in this class and for us as we facilitate.

    If you’re interested in participating in a future Dynamic Marriage class, let me know.  You can email me at jon@jonstolpe.com.

    What is one thing you have done to invest in your marriage?

     

    It’s Time To Join My Mastermind

    “If you find you are weak in persistence, surround yourself with a Mastermind Group.”
    Napolean Hill (Think and Grow Rich)

    A few years ago, I joined a mastermind group for entrepreneurs.  This group gives me a place to share my ideas and to get the feedback I need to keep moving forward.  It’s also a place where I can help other entrepreneurs as they process their next steps.  I haven’t been disappointed with the experience so far.

    Last year, I launched my own mastermind group.  After wise advice and consistent encouragement, I started the Stretched Men Group.  This mastermind group is all about encouraging guys to become better men, better husbands, and better fathers.  The group runs for three-month semesters.  After each semester, mastermind members have the opportunity to continue on with the group (or not), and new members have the opportunity to jump into the group.

    The next semester is getting ready to kick off in the middle of this month, and there are still a few open spots.  I’d love to fill the spots with guys who want to take the next steps in their journey.  If you’d like to find out more information about the group, I’d encourage you to go over to the groups website (click here) and sign up for a FREE informational (no pressure) phone call from me.

    In the meantime, I’d encourage you to check out this video from my friend, Ray Edwards.  In the video, Ray offers some fantastic tips about what to look for in a GREAT mastermind group.

    If you’re looking to experience these five essentials and your path to becoming the man you were meant to be, I’d encourage you to check out the Stretched Men Group.

    Don’t wait.  The next semester will be starting soon!

    Time to Man Up

    are-you-ready

    “A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.”

    – Frank Abagnale

    As men, we chase so many pursuits.  We want to climb the ladder at work as fast as possible.  We want to be the best athlete we can be.  We want to have the best things – the nicest car, the biggest house, the greenest lawn.  We over-involve ourselves in a variety of hobbies.  And we put so much attention on our favorite sports teams.

    I’m not saying that any of these things are wrong, but I think our focus is often misguided.

    If you were to create a list of your priorities and the way you spend your time, where would your wife and kids fit into the list?

    If your marriage and your kids aren’t near the top of your list, it’s time for you reconsider your schedule and your priorities.

    Last week, I announced the new Stretched Men Group website (www.stretchedmengroup.com), and I opened up sign-ups for first three-month mastermind in 2017.  For more information about the group, click here.

    The Stretched Men Group is designed to help you understand your current list of priorities, to help you establish your desired list of priorities, and to help you create action steps required to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

    The Stretched Men Group is also designed to help you find the accountability you need to make sure your good intentions become a reality.

    Your wife and kids need this from you!

    It’s time to man up!

    If you are curious and want to learn more, I’d love to talk with you.  Sign up below, so we can set up a time to talk.

     

    Men – It’s Not Too Late!

    promo-smg

    “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

    – George Eliot

    Do you feel as though life is rushing by and your opportunities for influence are slipping away?

    Does it seems like your parenting journey, your marriage, and your life is a blur as the calendar pages change at rapid pace?

    Do you think it’s too late to be the dad, the husband, the leader, or the man you want to be?

    You are not alone!

    “THE MASS OF MEN LEAD LIVES OF QUIET DESPERATION”

    – Henry David Thoreau

    Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of the Stretched Men Group and the new website that goes with this paid mastermind.

    www.stretchedmengroup.com

    The Stretched Men Group is designed to help you take the next step in your journey to becoming the man you were meant to be.  Through valuable teaching, customized coaching, and essential conversation with other men, you will be challenged and held accountable to take the next step as you go through the next three months with the men in this group and me.

    For more information on the Stretched Men Group, click here.

    Also, if you know a man who needs to take the next step, I’d love to connect with him.  Let him know about the group and send him to the site, so he can sign up.

    I’m accepting new sign-ups for a group launching in January until December 31, 2016.  Don’t wait.  Sign up TODAY!

    Thanksgiving Tablecloth Tradition – Tuesday 2016

    thanksgiving-tablecloth-tradition-2

    Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

    Oprah Winfrey

    Sunday, I introduced the Thanksgiving Tablecloth Tradition.  This is a tradition our family started 15 years ago, and it has helped ensure we intentionally reflect on God’s provision in our lives over the past year.  To read more about the tradition, click here.

    This week, I’ll be sharing the things I’ll be writing on the tablecloth this year.  (Yesterday, I shared the first thing I’ll be writing on the tablecloth.)

     

    img_0299

    This year, Leanne and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary.  I’m thankful for this milestone.  We were in Guatemala for our actual anniversary, and we took time to celebrate a few weeks early by getting away for a week in Vermont while our kids were in Michigan for CIY.

    img_03041

    I’m thankful for our weekly date nights.  Monday nights we get away for an hour or two, and it’s a great time to reconnect.

    I’m thankful for our trip to Vermont.  We had so many opportunities to be refreshed and renewed. Through this adventure.

    And I’m thankful for the move towards the “empty nest”.  Our daughter started college in August, and our son is only two years behind her.  We are not trying to push them out, but we are looking forward to time together – just the two of us.  It’s exciting to prepare for this stage of our married lives.

    img_0305

     

    I’m thankful for Leanne’s recent teaching opportunities.  She finished teaching at Trinity Country Nursery School in May, and she has been substitute teaching at four of the school districts in our area.  Leanne is an amazing teacher, and it’s exciting to see her moving back towards full-time public school teaching.

    And finally, I’m thankful for the downsizing process that has begun at our house.  I’m excited about the freedom that will come as we go through this process.img_0306

    Stay tuned for Day Three of my Thanksgiving Tablecloth Tradition reflections.

    Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. Psalm 147:7

    Which relationship merits your gratitude this year?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

    The Time To Ask For Help Is Now

    IT'S TIME TO ASK FOR HELP

    I don’t like asking for help.

    I came back from Guatemala almost six weeks ago with a cough I picked up at the end of our trip.  A week after our trip, I figured the cough would go away as I began to feel better.  Unfortunately, my cough has persisted.

    Finally, I made a visit to the doctor’s office on Monday evening.  The doctor prescribed an antibiotic and an over-the-counter cough medication.  Next week, I’ll return to the doctor’s office for a follow-up checkup to make sure the cough goes away.

    I don’t go to the doctor’s office very often.  Thankfully, I’m generally very healthy.  But honestly, I tend to try to beat whatever illness I’m fighting with rest, time, and home remedies.

    In this case, it was time to get some help.

    Men often do a terrible job when it comes to asking for help.  We don’t like to ask for directions, and we typically don’t want to appear weak by asking for anyone’s help.

    We’ll drive around lost for an hour if it means we don’t have to stop to ask for directions.

    Does this sound like you?

    Do you struggle to ask for help?

    It’s great to be independent, but we need people in our lives who will push us forward, who will give us a hand when we need help, and who will hold us accountable to take action on things we’ve been avoiding.

    Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

    Next week, I’m launching the Stretch Man Mastermind.  This is an opportunity to get the help you need.

    The idea for a mastermind group was developed in part based on a conversations I’ve had with men who have approached me about mentoring them.

    “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”
    Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

    This is humbling – to say the least.  It’s also a bit overwhelming.  (How do I find time to meet with these guys who want my attention?)

    After a lot of prayer, thought, and conversations with other men and my family, I’ve decided to launch a three-month, on-line paid mastermind group for men starting next week.

    The group is made of men who want to intentionally “stretch” their marriages, their parenting, and their manhood.  The group is meeting on-line (via Zoom) every other week.  After our initial kick-off/get-to-know you meeting, the bi-weekly meetings will consist of a 15-20 minute teaching time where I will share with the group.  After that, we will rotate a hot seat from week to week.  On the hot seat, one guy will bring up an issue or question in which he needs help, and the group will discus the issue/question/topic with the purpose of helping each man STRETCH.  (The hot seat time will typically last 30-45 minutes each week.)

    The group will have a private Facebook group for communication in-between our bi-weekly meetings.

    And I will be reaching out to each man in the group two or three times throughout the session for one-on-one coaching/conversation and for feedback.

    I’m looking forward to the community and accountability that will come out of this group.

    Most men are missing this kind of man-to-man interaction in their lives.  And I believe this mastermind will raise the bar for each of the men in the group.  I still have a couple of open spots in the group, and I’d love to fill them before next week.

    Is it time for you to ask for help?

    If this sounds like something you need in your life or if you simply want to learn more, please contact me so we can schedule a phone conversation.  Leave a comment below or fill out the form below.  Let’s connect.  I’d love to talk with you!

    (Please pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in the Stretch Man Mastermind.  Thanks!)

    Introducing the Stretch Man Mastermind Group

    INTRODUCING THE STRETCH MAN MASTERMIND GROUP

    You don’t climb mountains without a team, you don’t climb mountains without being fit, you don’t climb mountains without being prepared and you don’t climb mountains without balancing the risks and rewards. And you never climb a mountain on accident – it has to be intentional.

    Mark Udall

    Life is way too short to let it pass you by without a plan and without a support team.

    I don’t want to get to the end of my life only to realize I had wasted my time here on earth.

    I want to be intentional.  And I want to know I gave it my all.

    Being a man – and specifically being a father and a husband – can be pretty challenging.  We have careers, family, friends, hobbies, and finances to balance.

    I believe many men want to have deeper, more fulfilled lives, but they don’t know where to start.  Guys wander around through life afraid to ask for directions, and they miss out on living their best life ever.

    Over the past several months, I’ve had multiple guys approach me in search of a mentor or a guide.  While I’m not a perfect parent or perfect spouse, they have seen something in my family and in me that makes them want to learn more.

    These conversations are humbling, and I want to help.

    Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of the Stretch Man Mastermind Group.  (To learn more about the mastermind group concept, click here.)

    What is the Stretch Man Mastermind Group?

    The Stretch Man Mastermind Group is a group of men committed to meeting together for three months.  The group will meet every other week in September, October, and November.  The meetings will be held over video conferencing software, so an internet connection, a webcam, and a decent microphone will be important.

    Meetings will last 60-90 minutes.

    Most meetings will start with a 20 minutes teaching time where I will share on a topic designed to help guys stretch themselves.  These topics will focus on helping us become better fathers, better husbands, and better men.  Then we will have a rotating “hot seat”.  Each meeting, we will focus on a challenge or question brought to the group by one of the mastermind members.  The “hot seat” will rotate from meeting to meeting, so everyone has the opportunity to be on the “hot seat” and to focus on their challenge/question.

    The first meeting will provide an opportunity for the group to get to know each other.  And we’ll jump into our normal format for the second meeting.

    In between the bi-weekly meetings, the group will correspond with each other in the group’s private Facebook group.

    During this inaugural three months, I will also offer two one-on-one calls with each participant to tackle your additional questions and challenges.

    This paid mastermind is designed to provide the support, community and accountability you need to intentionally STRETCH your parenting, marriage, and manhood to the next level.

    Spots in the Stretch Man Mastermind Group are filling up fast, and I don’t want you to miss out.

    If this excites you or you want to learn more, connect with me in the comments or by leaving your information below:


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