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!

Marriage Monday- 2 Simple Keys of Communication

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1. We have to watch our words.

Our words have power. They build up or they tear down. How we talk to and about our spouse will literally change the course of our relationship. Do we feel like speaking negatively at times? Sure, but that does not ever mean that we should.

Listen, the truth is- what comes out of our mouth is still a choice regardless of what the other person does or says. By changing what we say, we also change what we concentrate on. As we speak positively about our spouse to others, we start to appreciate the positive aspects of our spouse even more. By speaking kind words to each other we will find that our relationships will begin to improve as well.

Photo Via Pixabay

The reality is, even apart from marriage it’s just a truth that if you improve your words in a situation it always equals an improved attitude, which always moves us in a positive direction. So if this concept works outside of marriage, why wouldn’t it work inside our marriage as well?

2. We have to learn to listen

My husband and I are really great with words. We both have big opinions and ideas, and we like sharing them with each other. (good and bad) But to be honest, we struggle with listening to each other and since we both know that we are right, it’s hard to sit back and listen. I mean why waste the time listening when we can get right to “my” point and be done.

Anyone else struggle here?

Photo Via Pixabay

The thing is, most people need to be heard to feel cared about. If I don’t give my partner the chance to voice their own hopes, joys, ideas, concerns, irritations, and issues then I’ve ultimately told them that they don’t matter and I don’t care.

Harsh? Maybe, but full of truth too.

It’s time we sat down and allowed our spouse to talk, and I mean- really talk. It’s time to listen even when we don’t want to and especially when we don’t like what we are hearing. It’s just plain time. We need to let our spouses know that what they think matters and that even if we don’t agree with them, we still love them enough to hear them out.

Scripture Reference:

Ephesians 4:29- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

James 1:19 – My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…

Prayer:

Dear Lord, We realize that our words have power. We ask your forgiveness for using words over our spouse that may have hurt them. Today we recommit to use our words to build our spouse up not only in our home but to those outside our home as well. We ask that you convict us of any unhealthy words that we are speaking and help us to do a better job of encouraging and loving our spouse with our words. We also ask you to help us listen to each other in a way that allows us to show love and respect to our spouse.

Thank you Jesus, Amen.

Marriage Monday- Week 1 The Foundation

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Thought for this week:

Let’s start our marriage journey today by reconnecting and reestablishing the foundation of our marriages.

You see, Marriage is meant to be a blessing from God. As we begin to reconnect in our marriage, it is also important to put our marriage back into God’s hands. By recommitting to God, we have given our marriage new life and new hope. Remember, apart from God we can do nothing, but with God all things are possible. If you have a great marriage today, that’s awesome, let’s make it even better, and if your marriage is struggling, that’s ok too; these weeks are designed to give you the tools you need to have the marriage you always wanted.

Photo Via Pixabay

How can we reconnect with God in our marriage?

Although we will be digging deeper into many of the topics we are about to mention- it’s important to start somewhere. Whether you are doing these weeks together (which is always best) or apart (gotta do what you gotta do)-

1. Start with prayer. Pray for God to become the center of your relationship again. Then pray for your spouse. Pray for healing in those places that have been damaged by life, by mistakes, misunderstandings, and challenges. Pray together and for each other.

2. Start doing a short devotion together. Maybe pick a book of the bible and read a verse or two in the evening and discuss it.  There are also some great apps out there that can do the hard work for you. In fact, this summer my husband and I used the “You Version Bible App”. Through this app there are short devotionals that are only a few days long up to many weeks. The topics they have for marriage are really awesome. At the end of each days devotion there is a question for you to answer that you both can see. For us it was awesome to be able to continue our devotional time together even while one of us was on the road somewhere. These devotions didn’t take a ton of time and really caused us to think about parts of our relationship we may have neglected (and that was a good thing!).

3. Finally and simply- just begin. This isn’t about being perfect, if you don’t pray or do a devotion every single day- it’s ok. The point is to begin somewhere. There are no “rules” to follow, only suggestions to get us back on the roadmap that God created for us.

Scripture reference:

Genesis 2:18 (NIV) The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:23-24 (NIV) The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Prayer:

Lord, we release our marriage to you today. We ask that you become the center of our marriage, our family and our lives. We commit today to allow you to change us, teach us, and mold us into the people you have called us to be and to allow you to work in this marriage to improve it. We know that you created marriage; and it was you who gave each of us our needs and desires within our marriage relationships to bring us balance. We are no longer going to look at our spouses differences as a negative, but as a complement to our own unique personalities. We thank you for this fresh start in our marriage Lord and we look forward to the days ahead with you as the center of it. In Jesus name, Amen.

My Marriage & Yours

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 “I love you. You annoy me more than I ever thought possible, but I want to spend every irritating minute with you.”

  This is the message that my husband sent me on a random Wednesday morning just a few weeks ago. 

It’s apparent that he could use some work on his skills with the ladies, but after all these years I already knew that. (jk) (well sorta).

Photo Via Pixabay

Today is our anniversary and I have to say this sums up our marriage pretty perfectly. And yes, I do plan to irritate him every single minute of the day for the rest of his life- especially now that I know how much he loves it. 

Photo Via Pixabay

Seriously though, marriage can be super annoying, and fun, and frustrating, and full of so many different challenges and joys in life. It’s a chance to laugh together, cry together, and work through some of the best and worst of ourselves.

I frequently tell my husband that at this point, whether he wants to or not, he has seen far to much of my “worst” so he can never leave.

As much as I hope you know that I’m joking, I also really mean it. Listen, we all have those moments we’d like to forget and being married often means there’s a witness to our crazy.

Photo Via Pixabay

I love posting about the great days and putting the biggest smiles on social media but as for the skeletons in my closet, those need to stay locked up tightly.

A few years ago my husband and I were asked to lead a marriage conference. It was some of the hardest work we have ever done. I personally had no idea how writing, speaking, and planning together would cause us to really re-evaluate our own relationship. Now, if you’ve read this blog for long, you fully realize that we are not experts. However, you also know that life and all its challenges often causes us to grow and learn and change in ways we never thought we could.

And that’s what we have to give.

The tidbits we have learned over the years have taken us from that immature, selfish, ridiculous young couple to having a much more content, happy, and most of the time skeleton free life.

So that being said and in honor of our anniversary we have decided to share some of those tidbits with you. Each week we will post a little excerpt from the teaching we did and hopefully you will gain some great grains of wisdom for your own relationship.

Photo Via Pixabay

So, Happy Anniversary sweetheart, here’s to helping other couples irritate each other in the happiest way possible for the rest of their lives too.

See ya next week.

Our Journey Back to Health: It’s been a while!

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As summer has come and gone life has gotten extremely busy. We started off this summer by going on a cruise. Oh what a wonderful trip it was. We relaxed, we played hard, we enjoyed time with friends, and we ate. If you have ever been on a cruise then you know how easy it is to go way overboard with meals… and snacks… and buffets.

Our view from the ship.

I’m not going to lie. We loved every single minute of it and when we came back from the cruise we jumped right back into our healthy eating plan and all was going so well. I have to be honest, I was even a bit smug about it to myself. NOT GOOD.

Pride comes before the fall.

I admit I’m laughing while I type this because soon after my smug little attitude had me feeling like I had this whole healthy lifestyle thing in the bag, I took another trip. An amazing trip that was filled with family, food and tons of fun. Did I mention the food?  I ate at some really great restaurants, experienced some of the most amazing food trucks, and really just ate myself to utter bliss.

Delicious…

Honestly I don’t think that my couple weeks of gluttony really were the problem. After both of my trips, I came home and got back to business and began to eat right again. BUT, and it’s a big BUT (pun slightly intended) when I came home from the second trip, I started slipping back into my old ways. I ate good, then not so good, then good again. The scale wasn’t moving a ton and I wasn’t very concerned about it. My husband was also slipping so we weren’t holding each other accountable like we had in the past either. (I guess this is all his fault then right?)

Finally we began talking about getting back on our plan. We talked a lot. We would tell each other that after this next picnic we would get serious about it again. I never realized how many next picnics there are in one single summer.

Sooooooo good.

Do you know how fast the weeks fly when you’re making excuses?

Finally, we sat down and came up with a date and stuck to it and I’m so glad we did. Now I’m going to be completely honest with you- the thing that really made us realize how much we missed eating better was how we were beginning to feel. The weight loss was nice, but how we felt was so much better. By the end of a summer of bad food choices, all that extra energy was starting to diminish. I noticed that I was weighed down, tired, my stomach was off, I just wasn’t feeling like myself and neither was my husband.

We’ve been back on our healthy plan now for a couple weeks and I can’t believe the difference. Why did we ever go backwards in the first place?  As for a quick update- when summer started both my husband and I had lost approximately 23 pounds. As fall quickly approaches we have both gained back around 7 pounds. What I realize is this- we didn’t ruin what we started. We just had a setback.

It’s a long road but we will get there in the end.

Lesson learned.

Can we have a vacation and let loose a bit?  SURE. But there has to be accountability too. Our choices today really do affect our tomorrow and we need to not lose sight of that. I’m also very proud to say that those pounds didn’t upset me in the least. They are a reflection of some not so great choices but they are not any indication that our goals will not be met. In fact, they are motivation for me to get back on the wagon and start again. I’m making progress in this journey even if I take a wrong turn from time to time. You can do the same. Don’t give up, don’t give in, just keep going. Sometimes the journey is more important than the results at the end anyway.