Marriage Monday: Should I Respect My Partner Even If They Don’t Deserve It?

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Respect is earned, that’s for sure. So why should you ever be respectful of your partner if your partner is not respectful of you?

 I have to be honest here. I was the most disrespectful wife. The walls I had put up even before we married gave me the gift of a sharp tongue and a nasty disposition. I was owed something in this life and I let my husband know it. I didn’t trust easily and I wasn’t about to let my guard down.

 Did I deserve respect? I’m so embarrassed to admit this but the truth is I didn’t, not even a little. Thankfully, God had given Ryan the gift of forgiveness. He was able to look past my faults and love me anyway. He looked for things to appreciate about me and I’m sure if he were honest he would say that sometimes he had to search pretty hard.

Over time I softened and began to treat him with honor and respect as well.

We reap what we sow.

Ryan reaped respect because he had sown it for years. I reaped many ridiculously hard days because of my poor attitude. Today you choose which side you’re on. Your partner may not be worthy of respect either but you can still decide to give it.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

God says that respect is a must. The dictionary describes it as a deep feeling of admiration for someone’s abilities. It changes us to know that someone actually believes in us like that. It was Ryan’s ability to think so highly of me when I knew I didn’t deserve it, that caused me to want to live up to that belief.

Today choose to be respectful of your spouse. Choose to focus on the good in them and start right where you are. Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow and you will reap great rewards in your relationship.

  • Just a little disclaimer here too- we fully realize that some situations may not fit the parameters of this blog. Certainly we don’t condone abuse of any kind and are not claiming that any of you should respect abusers. In fact, we encourage anyone who may be in an unhealthy or abusive situation to seek professional help. Our situation was neither abusive or unhealthy, we were just stubborn people with bad attitudes that needed work on our issues.

Ephesians 5:33

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Prayer: Lord, show me how to better respect my spouse. Open my eyes to all of the great qualities that you have given them and help me to respect them for it. You say that respect is a must; I know there are many areas that I have fallen short in regards to respect. Please help me to do better beginning today. In Jesus name, Amen.

Marriage Monday – Why We Should Compliment Our Spouse!

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I remember a number of years ago, I had been asked to be in a wedding. My hair was done, I had put the bridesmaid dress on and Ryan walked into the room. He took one look at me and his eyes lit up and he said “Wow, you look amazing”.

I can’t tell you how great that moment made me feel.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

My day to day routine doesn’t usually lend itself to him noticing me the way he did that day. My ripped up sweat pants, t-shirts, and pony tail certainly don’t match a really cute dress and a great hair stylist but I still think there are opportunities to show our spouse how much we like them.

Seriously LIKE them.

By finding opportunities to really build each other up, we also begin to build confidence in our spouse and our relationship. When you see your spouse doing something you appreciate, tell them. It seems that the longer couples are together the less they feel the need to express those little moments to each other.

But notice the scripture reference for this one. “How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.”

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

A few good compliments and then a description of their bed being “verdant”. I couldn’t resist- so I looked up the meaning and found that it means- green, fresh, and flourishing. (and people say the bible is boring…)

Doesn’t sound too bad now does it? Listen, we all need to feel wanted, desired, and appreciated. We want to know that we matter and are not taken for granted. After we get married we get into a routine and routines often lead to complacency. It’s not intentional, sometimes it’s just survival. Today let’s start to build each other up and hopefully we can have that green, fresh, and flourishing relationship that deep down we all wish for.

Scripture reference:

Song of Songs 1:16 “How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving me a spouse that is unique and wonderful. Help us both to see and appreciate all that they do and to remember not to take any of these things for granted. Let us look with new eyes today and always remember how important it is to express our appreciation for the many things that they do for us. Open our hearts to each other and renew our love to the point that it spills out into our words. In Jesus name, Amen.

Holiday Craziness and the Thanksgiving Chicken

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Ok, so throughout this journey we’ve been pretty honest about the ups and downs of trying to get healthy, we’ve tried to focus on not worrying so much about weight loss and instead being attentive to how our body is feeling both physically and emotionally.

Now that the holidays are upon us I think it’s only right to really focus on enjoying them. We can’t always take ourselves so seriously and some days / years we really do have to learn to go with the flow.

Image by hudsoncrafted from Pixabay

I remember our first Thanksgiving as one of those previously mentioned years. We all know that the first year of marriage is hard (total understatement) and in addition to the normal adjustments that every couple goes through, we moved 18 hours from home. To top that off my husband had been transferred to a new base (he was in the Navy at the time) and we had absolutely no friends or family at all to help ease the transition.

We were married in September of that year and by November I had decided that I was going to make us a real Thanksgiving dinner even if it was just the two of us, so I made my grocery list and my husband and I headed to the store.

What we found when we got to the store is this- All of the turkeys are frozen. All of them. Who knew?

My husband was excited about this meal and was not about to let a little frozen bird get between him and a huge dinner.

Image by Ian Wilson from Pixabay

And to be honest I had never bought or cooked a turkey before. I just assumed that like other poultry that I had prepared I’d just walk in and grab a nice bird and Thanksgiving would go on without a hitch.

You know what they say about assuming…  Anywho…

Thanksgiving did not go on without a hitch.

There was no time left for a Turkey to thaw so we had to improvise. Grabbing the largest chicken we could find we went on our way. We laughed a lot that holiday and although we’ve had many great Thanksgivings together in the midst of some pretty crazy years- that is one that I remember best. The year we sat alone, miles from home, eating our Thanksgiving chicken in our tiny little apartment off the coast of Georgia.

I think the only holiday I remember even better is the one where I caught the turkey on fire in front of about 20+ family members. Lot’s of people still talk about that one.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Listen the truth is I don’t remember the years that went perfectly. The memories that are etched in my mind are the ones where things went haywire.

This holiday season, please laugh. Laugh at your mistakes, laugh at the salad that never gets to the table and is found hours after your family has driven away. Laugh at the gift tags that are lost until after the last package is wrapped and you have to use a sharpie marker on the gifts instead of a pretty bow. (Someone almost had a coronary just reading that one… Hehehehe)

Laugh. Relax. Enjoy.

Eat that piece of pie, maybe not the whole pie, but the big piece with the extra whipped cream, eat it. And then really look around- take it all in. The people, the joy, the home, the love. 

Image by Akusmo from Pixabay

Let go of the stress that the holidays bring and embrace them this year. What if you don’t get that handmade Christmas card done?  Listen, I just today had my son grab the melting pumpkins off the porch and throw them away. We just can’t do it all, but we can choose to find the blessing in it all. I’d rather have a boxed card from a friend than to know that my friends are stressed to the limit to create the perfect one. I’d rather have no card at all and to know that my loved ones are curled up on their couches with their families just lovin on each other.

Stop the crazy and choose the moments that truly bring you joy. Make this a holiday season to remember for all the right reasons.

So Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May this holiday season be filled to the brim with love and blessings for you and your family.

Our Journey Back to Health- Looking Back

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Sometimes looking back can really motivate you forward.  It’s crazy how far we’ve come. The new thoughts that naturally run through my mind now before I grab something to snack on are amazing. Is it processed? Does it contain massive amounts of sugar? How am I going to feel tomorrow if I eat this today?   

To be clear- I still make some bad choices mixed in with the good. Sometimes I make multiple poor choices in one single day. In fact just the other night I sat alone in the living room, I was bored, lazy and tired so I did what I knew I shouldn’t do.

I put a bag of potato chips on my lap and some good dip to go with them and I ate. I ate and ate and ate. The funniest part of the whole thing was that the only chips we had were from a fall picnic the day before and they were a flavor I didn’t even like. Every time I took a bite I was like- yuck I don’t even like these. So I put more dip on each chip to cover the flavor and pressed on.

Listen when I put my mind to something I do it right. Good and bad.

I laugh at this today because it shows me a few things. One, I have not arrived yet. This girl has a long way to go. Two, I have come so far. Less than a year ago when I began this journey to health, I would have let that moment be just another in my list of reasons to quit. I mean doesn’t it show that I can’t possibly win this battle? 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The answer is a firm NO. What it actually shows is that I am just a normal girl who sometimes makes bad food choices. (let’s just focus on food today and not the whole rest of my choices… I may need another bag of chips and more dip if we go too far here.)  But when I look at the big picture- when I really look back at all the days I did make good healthy choices, I’m pretty proud of my progress. My clothes are fitting great, I feel tons better, and I don’t stress the scale like I used to at all. In fact, sometimes I seriously forget to even get on it.

Most importantly- I’m thankful that I got started. I’m incredibly thankful that last January I decided to do this. What if I hadn’t? Instead of quitting because of a bag of chips and a couple days of eating everything in sight, what if I’d never even started?  Those are the scary questions for me. I certainly have lived those years too and they are the ones I regret. I wish I had started sooner, but man am I glad I started at all.

Really glad.

Listen if you need to make a change today. Make it. Don’t wait till tomorrow and beat yourself down for what you did 3 days ago. Give yourself permission to try and never give up. I can’t wait to hear from you a year from now and see your progress and listen to the pride in your voice as you take steps to accomplish your goals.

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Want to go to college?  Take a class. Want to lose a few pounds then start by making a small permanent change today that will bring you closer to that goal. The point is- START. You will never get closer to your dreams by sitting on them. Get up, pick up those dreams and fly. Life is worth living and a year from now I want to look back again and this time see how far WE’VE come together!

Marriage Monday: The IF word.

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There have been times when I’ve doubted my relationship. I’ve doubted my husband, doubted myself, and doubted our ability to pick up the pieces and figure things out. I’ve wondered if I made a mistake. Would I have been better off if…

If what?

If I’d married someone else? If I’d made different choices?

Image by Bessi from Pixabay

I read somewhere once that the reason the grass is greener on the other side of the fence is because of the large amounts of “fertilizer” that’s been applied. I’m going to jump right out onto that grass and say that we have enough crap of our own to fertilize all the yards we can handle. I don’t need someone else’s.

IF is a word that needs to be eliminated from our marriage vocabulary. It’s a very dangerous word that has absolutely no merit in our current lives and situations. The only way this word should be used is to ask the simple question- What if we try this to work it out. That’s it.  

The minute our eyes wander, the minute we think that our soul mate is the other guy (or girl)- the one created straight out of the perfect Hallmark movie and we must have not realized it so they got away and we’ve been left with the “other guy”- that scenario is the moment we lose in our relationship. (and by the way I am not in any way against Hallmark sappy, happy ending, frequently binged watched by this girl, love stories.) I just need to remind myself that there is reality and then there is… well perfectly scripted endings.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Reality is far from perfect.

My reality is a lot harder work than I originally thought it would be when I said “I do”. Back then I had no idea how many sleepless nights the kids would cause. I didn’t know that I would be tired, stressed, worried… I didn’t know that there would be times when money would be so tight that we would search the house for loose change just to buy a book from the kindergartners book order. I didn’t know these things would be my reality but there were also a lot of other things that I didn’t know.

I didn’t know that my husband would work so hard for us. I didn’t know that he would be the most solid man I’ve ever met. I didn’t know that we’d laugh so hard our stomachs would hurt, that we’d watch our kids grow up and skin their knees, and make us crazy. I didn’t know that we were dreamers and planners and would spend hours talking about the trips we wanted to take and the excitement over our future. I didn’t know that so many good things would be woven into those trials. I’m so glad for all that I didn’t know. I’m really thankful that I’ve gotten to grow and learn and change right alongside the man that I didn’t know would not give up on me. Not give up on us. I’m so glad for that stubborn guy. (most of the time)

Image by Pusteblume0815 from Pixabay

What don’t you know? What lists can you make that can change your focus? What words do you need to eliminate from your vocabulary? Trust me in this- get rid of them. Focus on the great things, look at what you do have and quit worrying about how pretty the yard next door is.

Believe me it may take more fertilizer than you are prepared to deal with to make it look that good.

Marriage Monday: It’s Time To FIGHT… Fair.

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My husband irritates me. A lot. It’s almost comical sometimes because we’ve been together so long that he can spin me up and make me so mad and then without whole lot of effort he can bring me right back to calm again. And I’m not bragging here- but I can do the same to him.

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

The reality of marriage is this- there are times when we are going to annoy each other. I love my husband and can list a million awesome qualities, but his snoring alone can send me clean over the edge and it’s just plain frustrating when he tells me that “oh I need to bring a dish to pass to a work event… did I forget to tell you?” Ummm yep, now back away slowly, very slowly…

Fighting in a relationship does not necessarily mean there is a problem with the relationship. Sometimes it’s just a part of the process. The problem comes in when couples don’t fight fair. They bring up laundry lists of past sins and suddenly the irritation of your partner not putting the toilet paper on the roll correctly moves into a personal attack on their character and things just spiral out of control. (there is a “right” way to put the toilet paper on the roll by the way… maybe a topic for another blog.)

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Can we take a step back please? There is a danger in allowing our disagreements to turn ugly. We need to learn to look for ways of getting our point across without hurting our spouse in the process. Easier said than done sometimes but keep in mind that there are bridges in life that once burned are hard to back pedal from. Name calling, listing every single crime your partner has committed, screaming, losing control, throwing macaroni and cheese at your spouse because they cared more about that than the argument- those are things that matter long term. (okay, maybe you can laugh about the mac and cheese later, but you still shouldn’t throw it, some of us learn the hard way).

Please remember that there are long term effects of a short temper and this life we are building together is worth keeping our cool. So, take a deep breath today, be angry- but sin not. Your relationship will thank you later.

Scripture Reference:

Mark 3:25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Prayer: Lord, please help us today to handle our conflicts with grace and peace. Help us to learn how to disagree with our spouse without it becoming a personal attack against one another. Let us realize that disagreements are normal, but that they too need to be handled with care and concern for the other person even when it hurts. Lord, help us fight fair today so that we can continue on a better path for this relationship. In Jesus name, Amen

Marriage Monday- The Peace That Comes With Accountability

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Do you call your spouse when you are going to be late? Does your spouse have the passwords for your email, social media, or cell phone? Why should they?

Image by Jeff Klugiewicz from Pixabay

Honestly-why shouldn’t they?

Unless you have something to hide, there should be no reason to not allow your spouse access to any of these items and more. Talk about causing us to think twice before we send a text to someone that might be outside the realm of what we would want our spouse to read. Phew…

Accountability is incredibly important in a marriage. Knowing we can count on our spouse in both word and deed is huge. On the other hand, hiding things from our spouse allows questions and insecurities to seep into the folds of our relationship. It’s not an issue of personal space; it’s an issue of honesty and trust.

If I get a text message and my husband is right there- he checks it. I do the same for him. Our phones, computers, and lives are just out there for the other to see. Because of that my husband doesn’t question me when something comes up. Accountability and Trust go hand in hand and there is no one’s trust that matters more to me than his. If I go shopping and I overspend, I show him the receipt. Why hide it? Listen, I’d rather have a solid foundation for our relationship to springboard off of than a receipt I hid in the trash and now have to worry about “getting caught”.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

We hear people complain every day that “my wife / husband” should just trust me and I shouldn’t have to show them anything.  Let us put it to you this way, if our kids get quiet, if they start being secretive, we start looking. When their bedroom door is wide open, we don’t tend to stop what we are doing to check the situation out do we? By keeping our relationship wide open, the same is true. I don’t get on my husband’s phone and look through it, I could, but why bother? He leaves it right there for me to see and when I am on it – you get the idea.

Listen, we are the least perfect people in this world, but I really believe that this is one thing we do right. So many people today are stuck on fair vs unfair… Why should I… how dare they not trust me?… the list goes on and on. Our pride is our biggest downfall and some have lost marriages over it. Enough is enough, build trust, build accountability and build a marriage that lasts. If you have something to hide, your relationship will suffer. Stop hiding, start rebuilding trust and watch your relationship flourish as a result.

Scripture Reference:

1 Corinthians 13:6- Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Proverbs 20:7- The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.

Prayer:

Lord, help us to be accountable to our spouse. Let us become more aware of the importance of allowing ourselves to be transparent in our behavior both in public and private situations. Help us to show our spouse that they are truly the most important person in our lives. In Jesus name, Amen

Marriage Monday: Start Studying Your Partner!

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How would you feel if your spouse got up today and without saying a word began to do all those little tasks that you’ve wanted done for so long? I get warm fuzzies just thinking about it. The problem is- we are always waiting for the other guy to do these things. It’s an “I’ll do for them once they start doing for me” mentality and that just doesn’t work.

Photo Via Pixabay

It isn’t a coincidence that one of the most powerful ways we can show our love for our spouse is by putting their needs ahead of our own. Instead of watching that TV show, we get them their coffee. Instead of that hot bath we desperately need, we help our spouse with a chore they wanted to get done. Watch what happens in our relationships as we begin looking for ways to care for our partner.

I remember when my husband and I were dating, I used to pay attention to everything. I could tell you all of Ryan’s favorite things. I may have even been a bit over the top about it all. Ahhhh, young love… Today, I’m not sure I could tell you what he is wearing.

Sometimes we just have to begin at the beginning. So start studying your partner again. Make note of the little things that we normally overlook- did they wish for that special item at the store? Stop and pick it up for them. Make them their favorite meal or dessert. Pick up your dirty socks that you leave by the side of your bed every single day… (nobody here does that- but if you do) Do those things that you know would really please your spouse. If you commit to making this a habit in your marriage, you will find that BOTH of you will reap great rewards in your relationship.

Photo Via Pixabay

Recently I went out of my way to grab a coffee for Ryan. Nothing expensive, just his usual iced coffee with a little caramel. I drove to where he was and asked him to run out to my car. When he rounded the corner I held up the coffee and blew him a kiss. He looked at me in the midst of his crazy day and said “man I freaking love you”. And ya know what? I freaking love him too. I really didn’t have time to grab him that coffee but I am so glad I did. Sometimes the little things really do make the biggest difference. And guys, don’t wait on your partner to start. You be the one today that makes the difference. Buy the coffee, pick up the socks, leave the note, do the thing… and don’t stop. Little changes today can reap great rewards tomorrow.

Scripture Reference:

Galations 5:13- You my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.

Philippians 2:4– not looking to your own interests but each of you tothe interests of the others.

Prayer:

Lord, you are the greatest servant of all time. Thank you for showing us how important it is to serve and care for our spouse. Help us to better notice those things that will please our partner and to act in those areas. Show us how to set aside our own desires to meet our partner’s needs. Help us to see the benefit of studying our partner and learning what it means to treat them the way that you would. Thank you Jesus for being an amazing example to us, help us to strive today to be that same great example to our children and family as well. In Jesus name, Amen.

Marriage Monday- It’s Time to Start Dating Again!

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When we got married, my husband would still ask me on dates. I thought it was silly. Why should I date him when I’m married to him? 

Then one day I realized something. We have to be intentional with our marriages and dating couples should not be having more fun than us old married folk. Seriously! 

Photo Via Pixabay

The thing is – dating couples ARE intentional. When you were dating you went to dinner, the movies, on picnics, or to a local coffee shop. The point is, you found ways to have fun together. Once married we stop doing this. I mean why do I need to put my effort into planning time away with my partner when I live with them?  Planning goes out the window and life settles in.

What I found out was that daily life has a way of causing us to forget all the great things we love about each other. My husband is the most hilarious person I have ever met, but when I am cleaning the toilet, I am not thinking about his humor, I’m thinking about how much I wish ALL the men in my house would more carefully aim.

Photo Via Pixabay

And we are both huge talkers. We can talk for hours, laugh for days, and really cover a million topics in a matter of minutes. The thing is, we don’t do that as often as we used to because there are lunches to pack and bills to pay. We come home and we begin running around the house “trying to get things done” just so we can be ready for the next crazy day.

When we were dating, we talked on the phone for hours, we found any excuse to be together, went out of our way to please each other and gave up other things just to have some fun together.

Who has time for that these days?

It’s time we make time and here’s how we do that in the midst of the busy life we have today.

Twice a month my husband and I have a “date night” that works both as a time to reconnect as well as a time to cross some household items off the list. Dinner is a must for our date night, then we leave the rest open a bit. Usually we end up at the grocery store to grab what we need for the week ahead. I know, us crazy kids… The thing is we look so forward to this night because we try different restaurants and we take our time with dinner. This is an opportunity to reconnect, regroup, and release any of the stress of the last couple weeks. Some nights we do go to the movies, or out for ice cream, but the point is, this is a time for us to be us again. (and the grocery store is just a side note for us- we are in town, don’t want to go back to town, so we quickly get what we need- for us it’s a win win.)

Photo Via Pixabay

At least once a year we go away for a couple days, just the two of us. We love our trips to the wineries, we love heading to the city for a show, we love finding a nice place to stay and sleeping in and letting someone else clean the toilet for a change.

You married your spouse for a reason. Stay married for a reason. Remember the things you used to do that kept you excited to be together and start doing them again. And if money is tight, then find ways to be together that won’t cost a lot. When my husband and I started planning these dates, we literally kept an envelope of money that we would put a few extra dollars in anytime we could and when it added up to be enough to head out- we did. When there was no extra money, we took a long walk, found some free event happening near us or just had the grandparents watch the kids so we could sit on the back porch with a good cup of coffee and just be together for a bit. The point is we made time for each other.

Photo Via Pixabay

This week- We challenge you to be creative and ask your spouse on a date. Make it fun, make it something you both like to do, bring back an old memory that you shared. But no matter what you choose, let this be a night where you commit to just having a good time. Problems can be dealt with later and chores will still be there. For one night, just be you again.

 Laugh, eat, hold hands, and talk. It’s amazing how one night of fun can wash away days of stress and anxiety. Start dating again- it’s a great thing.

Scripture Reference:

Proverbs 17:22– A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Prayer:

Lord, today let us learn to have fun again. Remind us to have a cheerful heart and to remember to be just as intentional today with our relationships as we were in the beginning. Help us to see the importance of enjoying our time together and making fun a priority. In Jesus name, Amen.

I’ve got the BEST news!!!

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Guys, I’m soooooo excited!  I have the best news, seriously, just doesn’t get much better than this!  I admit, this writing isn’t like the rest, this one is pretty personal, but to be completely honest- it’s the reason we write.

Our Crazy Family

Our family, it’s what keeps us going, it’s what inspires us, drives us crazy, and makes us laugh. It’s why we have the material to write this blog and believe me, they provide an awesome amount of material.

Okay, so on to the amazing news- our family is GROWING! Woo Hoo!!!!  We are going to be GRANDPARENTS AGAIN! (I bet you can’t tell how excited we are can you?)

Our new little pumpkin

Our first little grand-baby has brought us such joy. His giggle, determination, and playful spirit lights up the room. I even love his little miserable frown when he has decided that he doesn’t like what you are saying. “No” brings it on quite quickly… (and often) (He is his father’s son)

Love this little drooly face!

So now we wonder, what will this new baby bring into our lives? Will it be another sweet boy that keeps us on our toes or a precious bundle of pink that is full of cuddles? As you can probably already guess- we really don’t care, but it’s so fun to think about!

I’ll let you know when we know and until then we just wanted to share our joy and excitement with you all!