Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Post-Its



My husband is the romantic in this house.  He has always been the romantic in our relationship, which dates back to me being 15 and him being 17.  So, it's been awhile.  

I'm way to boring and realistic to be romantic.  My brain just doesn't bend that way.  Instead, it bends towards sarcasm and practicality.  *what a lucky guy*

He wrote me poems, and letters, and brought me flowers.   And he never let my head-shaking and eye-rolling and smirky-smile deter him.  Because that's who he is.  He's goofy, and romantic, and willing to be vulnerable...my opposite.  Which is part of what has always made me drawn to him.  Pretty admirable qualities.  

This morning, I woke up to post-it notes on all sorts of objects all over the house.  Quirky little notes.  He leaves me notes fairly often, but today was excessive enough that our boys noticed.




As the boys (14, almost 13, and 10) funneled down the stairs this morning, they couldn't help but notice the yellow post-its.  They laughed and *mocked* a little, but before I knew it they were scrounging around the house gathering all MY notes.  Reading them aloud, and smiling.  Oh the smiling.  

One boy, my sarcastic one, said "Mom, you should do this for Dad" and all of us laughed.  Because they know me.  The thought of me doing it is literally laughable.  

Then that same boy said, "Dad leaves me notes sometimes."  And the others piped in with similar stories.  Notes in their trappers, lunch boxes, electronics.  

And we love those notes.

The youngest boy collected all the notes, and hung them in the door-way.  He even managed to find the one that I *thought* I had snagged before they saw it, because: Semi-inappropriate.  HA.  Cue the grossed-out snickering of boys.

It's funny how some little post-its can make such an impact.  And I won't be surprised at all someday, when they do the very same thing for their wives.  I just hope they have some snickering boys around when they do it. ;)

Friday, October 10, 2014

It's Okay to be Broken


Today I cleaned and rearranged the stuff in our kitchen cabinets.  I probably called Ben on three separate occasions to tell him my progress and explain where I was putting stuff.  He listens and praises my efforts...even though he can't really possibly care about the cabinets, especially while he's trying to work. 

I may have picked the easiest man to be married to.  He didn't quite choose as wisely as me, I mean the easiest wife probably doesn't make you listen to how she moved the toaster to a different section of the counter.  *Seriously, I'm that exciting*




Anyways, I made myself a playlist of some of my current favorite songs.  Ya know, to listen to while I cleaned cupboards.  You do that, right?  No?!?  Hmmm...it's possible I'm more awkward than I thought.  Who knew.

On that playlist is the song Broken Together by Casting Crowns.  I probably listened to 10 times today (it wasn't a very long playlist,  I underestimated how long cleaning out cabinets would actually take.)

After about the 7th time through it, I you-tubed it so I could catch the lyrics better.  It's lovely.  And so representative of all marriages, no matter what stage you're at.  We all hit times of "drought" in our marriages because so much of life can demand our attention away from each other.  It's tricky finding that balance.  


The song is right.  We are all broken people.  We don't complete each other, Jesus alone completes us.  It's so much easier to give love and grace when we each see our own brokenness.  I don't have to complete him, and he doesn't complete me.  The pressure would kill us.  "The only way we'll last forever, is broken together."

I also listened to Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (the Elton John version because it's my favorite) 10 times too.  See:  Broken.





Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Books That Help

So we've been talking marriage.  And by "we" I mean me...talking to myself in internet land.  How fun.  

The Book List:

There are a million good books on marriage out there.   We've read quite a few really good ones.  This list is just what  I have read and loved.  They are the ones I most often recommend.  If you've read any that you have found helpful, then leave a comment and let everyone know!  

Hedges by Jerry B. Jenkins - Super good.  Every marriage needs to have boundaries to protect it.  Practical advice & it's short (if that helps:)






Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas - Digs deep into God's purpose for marriage.  It will hurt your feelings and tell you to get over yourself because it's not about you.  And if you'll let God root that deep in your heart, your marriage will be transformed.  



Love & Respect - by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs - He breaks down the idea that women need/want love from their husbands, and husbands want/need respect from their wives.  Sounds simple...but we tend to give what we want to receive. If a husband does not feel respected by his wife, it's as if she's saying "I don't love you." God has designed our hearts and minds to work differently.  Eggerichs uses Scripture to help understand this.  Really, really helpful.




Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll - I love this one because it focuses a lot on the importance of friendship.  God has led them to minister in the grittiest part of peoples lives and marriages, and the wisdom they share from that is priceless.  




It doesn't matter if  your marriage is great, mediocre, or miserable...it can benefit from these books.  

Couple of things first:  The only person you can change is you.  I know, that's terribly disappointing.  It's way more fun to point out other people's shortcomings and then tell them how they should change them.   What's also disappointing, is that you (and me) need to read books asking God to reveal to us the condition of our own hearts, and then ask for His help to take the hard, hard steps necessary for change.

I know not many wives have husbands who love to read.  Especially these kinds of books.  I think all four of these have study guides that you can get and work through together.  It can be less intimidating that way and it definitely opens up some opportunities to discuss hard things that might not just "come-up" in conversation.   

It is worth the effort.  :)


Monday, January 20, 2014

Marriage Part Dos

I'm talking marriage again today.  If you missed part uno, you might wanna go back and read that first.  

So many areas of life are not hard in the knowing, but in the doing. There are genuinely times when I don't have a clue what I'm doing.  But most of the time, 99% of the time, I have trouble in doing what I know.   

Marriage is one of them.  Why would I, or any of us, stop doing what we know benefits our marriage and start doing something else?  

Because we're terribly, awfully: Selfish.  And if you say you're not...then you're also a liar.  Because you are.  And so am I.  

And that selfishness is the prime reason we stop doing what we know we should.  And if you're particularly good at selfishness (which I am, so I know this) you've got some super-logical-justified reasons behind doing what you're doing or not doing what you should.   

So I said I'd share my one-and-only-devotional.  Again, that makes me laugh.  I cut/pasted...mostly cutting out my awkward introduction.  

 It's super long by my blog standards.  But in real life Italkprettyfast so...just read really fast, ok?  Or, you could read half and then take a nap and finish later.  I'm super helpful with suggestions today.

The Four Musts of Marriage (I'm kidding, it didn't really have a title)

   We know how hard it is to actually live out some of those good things we know.   And we all know that there’s just some things you only learn by living them out.   But the truth is also that no matter how long we’ve been married, there is always something new to learn, or something we need to be reminded of, or an area where God desires to bring conviction, repentance, and ultimately restoration. 

I came across a question recently that asked  something to the effect of “Who are the married couples in your life that you desire to be like?”  In other words, who in your life are you able to see do –life together and genuinely love each other and enjoy each other in a way that makes you say, Hey!  I want to be like them?  We’re not talking perfection, because that’s not possible when you’re dealing with sinful humans...but we are talking about people that seem to have a love and a one-ness that is supernatural.  It’s a hard question.  It’s one of those lump-in-your-throat questions if we ask it of our own marriage.  What does our own marriage preach of Jesus?   Because our marriages preach.  They do.  First to our children, and then to our extended families, our church families, our communities.  They preach. 

So, in case I haven’t  already made it painfully obvious, what I want to share today is not just for the bride, but for all of us, that we may all examine our lives before God’s biblical standard and His desire for us and see where we are thriving, and where we may need God’s help in improving…which is ultimately for His glory.  And please hear me when I say this isn’t a call for you to try harder and do better, but  rather that we would humbly submit ourselves to what God desires and ask Him to be the one that enables us to accomplish it.

Ok, so I said before that I read.  A lot.  Which pretty much means I’m not sure I ever have an orginal thought anymore.  So the list I’m going to give you is a mish-mash of all the reading…smooshed down and abbreviated into 4 bullet points for your discernment.  It’s not stuff I came up with on my own.  It’s not fluffy or cute…because I’m all about the practical, and what works. 

 It’s common-sense basic stuff.  It’s also mixed in with life, from 15 years of my own marriage as well as the fact that  I’m a pastor’s wife…which means that people often allow me to see into their lives from behind-the-scenes and journey through the mess with them, so to speak.  And what I’ve learned, is that while each marriage is unique…it’s also not unique at the same time.  Same problems – different details. 

   Let’s break it down. 

1 – Know Jesus.  And I mean know Him.  As in Personally.  And make Him #1.  Above you, above your  husband, and above your children (future children).   Have a saving knowledge of Him (and if you’re not sure what I’m talking about ask me or someone later) Know Him with your head, (His Word) and know Him with your heart, and by that I mean have a desire worship Him, follow Him, obey Him.  In a Bible study that I’m doing, I recently heard the speaker say, “If you are comfortable with the amount of Jesus you already have…then you should be concerned.”  Why?  Because the question reveals to us the condition of our heart.  If we are content with having “enough Jesus” then maybe He  is not really our Lord, but rather a pleasing “addition” to our American Dream Life. 

How does this help a marriage?  Well, God created us.  And marriage.  So it only reasons that we would want to know the creator of it and then do what He says works in regards to it.  Marc Driscoll says in his book Real Marriage, “The goal, center, and purpose of marriage is not self, spouse or children.  The ultimate goal of marriage and family is the glory of God.  Only when marriage and family exist for God’s glory – and not serve as replacement idols – are we able to truly love and be loved.”

It really doesn’t have to be complicated.  Are we always going to like what God says to do…like be submissive?  Are we always going to feel like putting our husband above ourselves?  No.  Is it hard?  Yes.   Is it impossible?  Without God, yes.it.is. 

 I’m not sure that anything in life reveals to us how selfish we are like marriage does.  (And parenting reveals how impatient we are, but that’s for a different devotional)  Back to my point.   It is said that Our spouses do not change us, as much as they reveal  us.  

And here’s where the gospel comes in.  We need the Holy Spirits power to overcome ourselves.  In life, and especially in marriage, we cannot possibly hope to live it out the way God has designed by trying to do it on our own.  We cannot muster up enough will power to be a great wife…it has to come from God’s equipping and empowering…which calls for a reliance on Him.  Christ through us.

What does that look like?  How does that play out?  We each, husband and wife need to have our own spiritual life.  No one can increase our faith for us.  It needs to be growing individually and together simultaneously.  Be a student  of God’s word.  Study it and talk about it.   And when you learn from it, ask Him to enable you to act on it.  Do not simply absorb it.  Be a doer of it.  James 1:22 says  But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Place God as priority one.  Don’t squeeze Him out.  Husband’s and wives love each other best when they do not make idols of one another.  Our husbands are created to meet some of our needs, but not all of our needs.   Only one can meet ALL our needs, and that is Christ alone.  Pray for your husband and with your husband.  Worship together.  Serve together.  Tithe together. 

And all of that can sound like a to-do list, and sometimes our inner pharisee wants to make it a to-do list, if I check off all these things then yay for me, I get a good marriage!  But it doesn’t work like that.  God doesn’t work like that…I know, I’ve tried.   All of those are really heart issues…they reveal our hearts and require God’s  power to overcome.

2 – Be friends.  Be best friends.  Like each other.  When we are best friends, we enjoy each other’s company.  We listen.  We speak lovingly and respectfully.  We laugh.  We disagree, but we know whose side we are on.  We take turns doing what the other person wants, even if we think it’s super boring (ie I need to take up golfing) We make light of things, we give grace.  We look at our own sin and weaknesses and plank-filled eyes before scrutinizing our husband.  We laugh at ourselves and gain some perspective.  Friendship makes marriage fun.  Be friends.

3- Build Hedges.  And by that, I mean boundaries.  One of our favorite books  that we use often when counseling is called Hedges, Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect it, by Jerry Jenkins.   And we love it so much because so many couples we come across have no hedges!  And you need them…we’ve seen the tragic results of what happens without them. 

Hedges  are not a sign of a weak marriage, but of a strong one.  Jerry says “I have planted hedges around myself to protect me, my wife, my family, my employer, my church, and supremely, the reputation of Christ.”  So much of life seeks to tear marriages apart, it happens all around us to believers and non-believers alike.  If we think we are in a position that it would never happen to us, then we are also in the position of deceiving ourselves. 

Our marriages are often most vulnerable when our guards are completely down.  Hedges do not mean paranoia, they are wise…they really are loving your marriage enough to protect it.    We need to examine ourselves and our spouses and then set the hedges  in place.  Hedges help us to live above reproach, which in todays society is almost unheard of.  

So what do hedges look like?  Every marriage is going have different hedges, some will be higher and deeper than others.  I’ll give you a personal example…for Ben and I, we have made it a point in our marriage that there are just certain things we do not do.  Neither of us has good friends of the opposite sex, someone we confide in or complain about life to, because that’s what we have each other for ;)   And at different stages our marriages need us  to evaluate to see if the hedges need adjusting.  For example, when Ben became a pastor, we added to our hedges because now ministry was involved.  So, when there is a woman that needs counseling, I do that, or we do it together but never him alone.  Why?  Because it enables him to live above reproach.  It isn’t a trust issue, but a safety issue.  And, your hedges will be tested, because our culture sees them as trivial.  But our culture has also shown us the results of having no hedges.  Protect your marriage against the enemy…because he is seeking to destroy them. 

4- Communication.  It’s a big one.  We all know communication is important.  In fact I heard recently that couples that have divorced site a lack of communication as the primary break down of the relationship.  That’s ironic to me, because communication is something we can do.  Poor communication or a lack of communication does not just “happen” to a couple, it is a deliberate act on the part of both spouses.  

Learn how to communicate with your husband.  There are some basic principles, like being clear on your thoughts and feelings.  Avoid stonewalling, silent treatment, yelling, blaming, etc.  But there are also unique ways that each married couple communicates with one another, take the time to figure those out.  Communication is one of those things (kind of like parenting) where you can read a book, get a bunch of insight on what to do and what not to do and it seems totally do-able and reasonable.  And then real life happens and our husband says something totally insensitive.  Or we disagree with his decision, or we are annoyed at his lack of *fill in the blank* and now our feelings are involved…and our feelings can very easily over-rule any logical thinking we have on communicating effectively and lovingly.   Here’s where the gospel comes in yet again.  In our own strength we will fail miserably at communicating in the heat of the moment, but with Christ’s discernment and strength we can, in fact, control our tongue and listen and get to the root or heart of the issue.

Here’s some verses…

Verse on the tongue (Proverbs in literally chuck full of them): Proverbs 21:23

English Standard Version (ESV)
23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue
    keeps himself out of trouble.
Proverbs 18:21
English Standard Version (ESV)
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.
We can speak death or life into our marriages…


James 1:19 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  (read it again)

And I want to close today with a passage from Philippians…Paul is intending it for a body of believers, but I think we would be wise to also translate it into our marriages. 

Philippians 2: 1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Then end. :)

Tomorrow I'm gonna post a list of the books that Ben and I have used personally as well as  helped with counseling other couples.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Marriage Part Uno

It seems that lately, I have been talking about marriage with several different people in my life.  And I recently went to a wedding, so there's that.  

Marriage is one of those wonderful and sometimes hard blessings in life. When it's good, it's so good.  And when it's bad...it causes devastation.  It really is a big, big deal.  

This past spring I got to do my first "Bridal Shower Devotional" at a church bridal shower.  I've been a Pastor's wife for 8 years, and that was my first time speaking.  Let that sink in a little bit.  I'm not a speaker.  I talk with my hands waaaay too much (always) and I don't like people watching me, and I sway back and forth.  A lot.  It's all terribly distracting, I'm quite sure.  I'll stick with blogging. ;)


But.  I thought, I would share with you what I shared with them.  As in Copy/Paste right onto my blog. It's like you were there...minus my awkwardness.  You are welcome.


But I want to clarify something first before I get to the actual devotional:  

Contract vs. Covenant

Whenever I hear someone refer to marriage as "Just a piece of paper," as in a legal contract, I can't help but cringe because it indicates to me that they already know there's a fairly simple way out of it, if that's what they choose. 

My cell phone: Contract.  Just a piece of paper.  They give me cell service, I pay my bill and we both live happily ever after.  But guess what's gonna happen if I stop paying my bill?  Legal contract void.  Sure, they'll still want their money, but eventually they'll be done with me.  When marriage is viewed as a contract, then we give ourselves a way out when the other person stops doing what they said they would do.  

Eventually, both of you will not hold up your end of the "contract" in some way. I promise you that.   Because we're all selfish.  And there's a good tendency to think we are always doing our part, while our spouse...not so much.  Right?  

 Marriage is meant to be a covenant.  I said vows.  I didn't say, "If you do this, then I'll do this."  Because, good luck with that.  I made a covenant to do what I said, regardless of my husband upholding his.  Regardless.   And Ben did the same.  Would I have been elated to marry a man that viewed it as contractual?  No. Way.   Because it reveals deeper heart issues going on. A covenant is not the same as a legal contract.  One really is just a piece of paper...marriage however, was never designed to be just that

So, this post has already reached my self-imposed limit of words.  Monday I will post my Four Musts of Marriage (which isn't original, whatever.)

Come back Monday.  But have a super awesome weekend first.



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And I Crafted...

Last week I crafted.  And by crafted, I mean:  Copied Pinterest.


The inspiration was this:
new banner, new blog







The Pinterest version wasn't a tutorial, so I had to wing-it a bit.  I cut out letters from cereal boxes I dug out of our recycling box.  (It's such a good thing we wait for for-ev-er to actually take the boxes to the recycling place.)  Then I glued the fabric to the cardboard and cut around the letters.  


Ta Da:






So fun!


I told Ben I might just paint a headboard on the wall.  ;)  He thinks I'm kidding.  




Side Note:  *I used to be sort of cynical about that phrase.  Because, Duh, we all know that you need more than "love" to make a marriage great.  But after I sat on the idea of it for awhile, I began to look at it from a Biblical perspective rather than a Hollywood perspective.  And Biblical love encompasses so much more than feelings.  1 Corinthians...


  Love never gives up. 
   Love cares more for others than for self. 
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. 
   Love doesn't strut, 
   Doesn't have a swelled head, 
   Doesn't force itself on others, 
   Isn't always "me first," 
   Doesn't fly off the handle, 
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 
   Doesn't revel when others grovel, 
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
   Puts up with anything, 
   Trusts God always, 
   Always looks for the best, 
   Never looks back, 
   But keeps going to the end.

That kind of love, is a supernatural love, that comes from God alone.  And it really is all we need.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I've Conquered Math

Happy Birthday Ben!
Ben was preaching on Sunday, and I couldn't help but look at him and think to myself that I've loved that guy for so, so long.  


I noticed him, a few months before my 15th birthday.  I've shared the story somewhere before on this blog, and if I weren't so lazy I'd find it for you, but eh...I'm lazy.  


As he was preaching I was thinking back about time.  We dated five years before we got married.  That five years seemed like forever.  Now...five years flies by like crazy.  And then I had a revelation:  Teenage dating years are to be measured in dog years.  Ya know....x7.


Because if you're a teenager and your relationship can survive the angst and drama and immaturity, then 1 is = to 7.  For sure.  It's only logical.  I can't believe it took me that long to figure it out.  


I have no idea why I did so badly in math, because now it's just all clicking together for me!  Amazing, no?


So, technically, we dated 35 years before getting married.  And we've been married 12.  That's 47 years together so far.  Which is pretty amazing considering Ben just turned 35 today.


It's been a good 47 years.  Happy Birthday to the amazing guy I've loved longer than I've been alive...technically.