Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Family Forte: For Love and Adventure

by: Topher Wiles

The slicing hard steel blade was mere millimeters away from my fumbling fingers.  How did I get in this position of dicing pecans while blindfolded?  It all comes down to two words: love and adventure. Today I’m praying that readers actively instill both in their marriage.  

Love is what attracted me to Ashley nineteen years ago.  No, it wasn’t love at first sight. (Truth be told, she liked me months before I knew it; I’m a little slow sometimes.)  Yet love grew from a loving friendly relationship in which I tried to serve and help her with her schooling at Lipscomb University, to a loving intimate and exclusive relationship where I chose to sacrifice for her to give her the life of her dreams.  Love is the primary reason we chose to have those four beautiful children that we invest so much of our lives into now.   Love is still growing in our marriage relationship today as she and I both choose to learn how to better serve, help, and encourage each other toward God.  After taking a little look at our marriage relationship, it was love that motivated me to strive to do better in our dating life. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, county storm damage needs, and general increase in church work, I realized that I was investing so much time in meeting the needs of others that I was failing to invest time in my wife.  Sure, I worked on her car, mowed the grass, helped her with dishes, swept the floor, played tennis with her, and ticked marks off my honey-do list, but for months I hadn’t done anything fun with my wife.  That’s right, I had forgotten to “date” my wife.  That longstanding part of a loving relationship in which you go do adventurous things together was gone, replaced with responsibilities at home and service to others. 

That’s where love comes in.  Back in the Biblical Hebrew culture, love wasn’t merely an emotion or a mental exercise, it was a choice and an action.  If I was going to honestly tell Ashley, “I love you,” each night before bed, I needed to choose to be loving and follow it up with an action.  Love is why I purchased “The Adventure Challenge” book.  Now, I’m not going out on a limb to say that I recommend The Adventure Challenge to you yet at it’s $40 price tag, but our first experience was a blast!

There are three versions of The Adventure Challenge book available for purchase online, one for families, one for friends, and one for couples.  https://www.theadventurechallenge.com/  The Adventure Challenge for couples serves as a catalyst for meaningful, fun, and adventurous interactions in a marriage, much like we had when we were dating.  In our younger years (pre-kids), Ashley and I would take last minute trips, go rock climbing, visit flea markets in little towns, and attend social spectacles like the RC Cola & Moonpie Festival in Bell Buckle.  Alas, with life changes those adventurous moments have declined.  The Adventure Challenge for couples contains 40 PG-rated entertainment ideas in a fun and mysterious scratch-off format.  That’s right, you take a coin and scratch away that familiar gray film to reveal your next couples adventure.  The rules of the book state that you have to do whatever it says; no backing out.  Out of love, I purchased The Adventure Challenge book for our marriage and an adventure is exactly what we had! That’s how I found myself blindfolded chopping up pecans!

Our first scratch off together was titled, “The Helpless Baker.” The surprising instructions read like this: “Make a homemade pie together! One of you must mix all the ingredients by yourself…BLINDFOLDED, while the other person gives instructions by leading with their hands.” Baking a pie sounded mundane, with a chess pie or fudge pie being too easy, so we settled on an adventurous Kentucky Derby Pie. This deliciously mouth-watering dish proved tougher as it combined the following ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, coconut, chocolate chips, two eggs, and chopped pecans.  There was nothing mundane in this adventure as it proved quite the challenge to do blindfolded!  Ashley is a marvel in the kitchen and she was patient as she guided my hands and tapped out “yes” and “no” on my skin when I asked questions.  I was excited after cracking the eggs (yes blindfolded!) on the rim of a bowl to hear Ashley clapping and letting me know I spilled lost no rogue egg shell into the mixture.  Then the chopping pecan challenge came.  Ashley shared that she was nervous at first as I used my left hand to slowly feed individual pecans into the slicing and dicing knife wielded in my right.  Deciding that method was too slow, I put both hands on top of the knife and attacked a pile of pecans on the cutting board, only shooting a few across the counter. With the chopping finished and mixture poured into the awaiting crust, she guided my oven-mitted hands holding the prize into the pre-heated oven.

Blindfold removed, we laughed and talked about that 30 minute adventure for the next couple hours as we washed dishes together, ate delicious pie, and wound down for the night.  It was love that caused us to actively seek new ways to date in our marriage relationship.  It is the new and unexpected adventures like The Helpless Baker that give us memories to share. 

Love truly is an amazing choice that brings so much joy into the life of a marriage, a team, a church, a business, and a community.  I share my experience in Family Forte in hopes that you will choose to lovingly seek ways to take your relationships into ever growing adventures together. May your Family Forte be blessed as you choose to love.

“Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14


The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength.  Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at Central Church of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself.  If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email, topherwiles@spartacoc.com, or through our website, www.spartacoc.com.

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