Jul 032012
 

Last weekend, Brian and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary.  I can hardly believe it’s been that long since the day we said “I do.” We have come a long way since then and rarely have we sailed along without any trouble at all.  Yet we’re still a couple, still enjoying each other’s company. I would still rather spend a weekend away with him than do anything else.

I am not any kind of expert; I am just a woman who’s learned along the way, (sometimes the hard way), so I thought I’d share with you:

Top Ten Tips for Staying Happily Married

1)  Divorce is not an option and is never discussed as such.

2)  Learn to forgive, and overlook your spouse’s faults. Standing at the altar, staring into my handsome, kind, soon-to-be husband’s eyes, it was hard for me to imagine I’d ever have to do so.  But I have, many times, and he’s done the same for me.  We are imperfect humans and will mess up often.  God has forgiven me of so much more… I try to remember that when I’m tempted to hold a grudge. Forgiving doesn’t mean he wasn’t wrong; it just means I choose to let it go.

3)  Get on the same page with your finances, and let that be the “stay-out-of debt” page. Nothing sparks an argument like too much month and not enough money!

4)  Never say, “That’s not my job.”  I got tired of nagging my husband to take out the trash, so I started doing it myself, and found I enjoy the little walk outside.  Now I rarely ask him.  I was in his car and put gas in it – and occasionally mow the lawn. He cooks often, and helps straighten up the house when we have company.  I find that a gentle request goes a lot farther than whining about how much I have to do or the fact that “Nobody helps out around here.”  And yes, I learned that one the hard way!

5)  Learn to see the flip side of your spouse’s faults.  Let me explain: Your spouse has a good quality to go with each fault. It is likely these good qualities were some of the things that attracted you to him in the first place. For instance, I love Brian’s laid-back temperament. It balances my more high-strung one perfectly. But sometimes he doesn’t fix things right away or contact one of his design clients whose payment is delinquent. I feel myself getting annoyed, until I remember this lack of aggression is what attracted me to him in the first place! I love my man’s temperament, and wouldn’t trade it. (And, if left alone, he eventually takes care of the problems!)

6)  Date each other. Ok, I admit… we don’t do it every week. We live so far out from town, and often one of us is taking one of the girls somewhere, so in the evenings, the last thing we want to do is go out. However, we do date regularly, and by regularly I mean when we feel the need, which is about twice a month. We don’t spend a lot of money. We do spend time together, laughing, talking about our interests, and trying not to talk about the kids. We were a couple before they came along, and we will be one when they leave the nest.

7)  Do not bring up things that bother or annoy you about his family. Even if he agrees with you, he will take it as a personal insult. Focus on what you like about your in-laws, and remember they are human, too.

8)  Put each other before the children. I remember when I was little, I told my mother I didn’t like something she cooked. She said, “We’re having it because Daddy likes it.” I never forgot this early lesson that Daddy was the most important person in the house to her.

9)  Laugh… at yourself, at your mistakes, at your trials. We all know the verse “A merry heart does good, like medicine.”  (Prov. 17:22)  I have found this to be true, over and over.  In our family, humor helps us enjoy good times and feel better in bad times. Brian and I still laugh together at some of the ridiculous financial mistakes we’ve made. We don’t insult each other, but we do joke about most things. I’d rather laugh than hold onto regrets!

10) When your spouse is down, lift him up. Whether he’s struggling with a particular sin, discouraged, or just out of sorts, be there to encourage him and spend extra time praying for him. He needs you!
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

~ by Kim, The Daisy Muse

There’s Still Life in There

 Posted by on February 24, 2011  3 Responses »
Feb 242011
 

During the recent snow, I happened to notice that our pepper plant on the deck still had a pepper hanging on it. It was cool to see the red in contrast to the backdrop of white snow blanketing the ground. I thought it was kind of strange for it to be there in January and it lifted my heart a little to see its prettiness in the middle of a winter storm. I wondered how that poor thing didn’t just fall off the plant. But I went along my way and didn’t really pay any more mind to it.

Then the next week, I noticed the pepper looking withered and pitiful. But it was still red and it still hung languorously on the plant. It seemed to have no worries.



Do you ever feel like your love for your spouse is all dried up? Or maybe you feel like his love for you is? Like your spark for each other has gotten lost in the midst of every day life and dishes and laundry? And like you’re barely hanging on the plant? Do you ever watch a chick flick or a Jane Austen movie and feel like your love somehow falls short of what romance writers say it should be?

I am a romance writer. I know exactly how appealing it is to pipe in the violins with the scene. But, in reality, very few of us ever have those violin moments. And when we do, they are few and far between. So after watching such a scene, we’re left to ponder what is wrong with our relationship. Continue reading »

Love Gives

 Posted by on February 21, 2011  2 Responses »
Feb 212011
 

“Love inspires us to sacrifice what we want in order to give our spouse what they need.” -Stephen Kendrick

My husband has been picking up my slack quite a bit lately. I can’t count how many nights he has cooked dinner (or breakfast or lunch) in the 3 months since our 4th son was born. I don’t know why, but I really had a hard time getting back into my cooking routine with this child. When I do manage to get dinner on the table, I don’t ever have to think about the dishes because he takes care of them for me. This morning when I was running late for church, he changed and dressed the baby and made sure everyone else was ready to go, giving me the time I needed.

A few weeks ago when he said he wanted to play football with some guys from church, I said absolutely. It has become something they do just about every Sunday and I think it is great.  He comes home sore and tired and smelly, but recharged and smiling and ready for another week.

This isn’t a tit-for-tat sort of thing. I’m not saying that if he does all the right things, then he earns some time to do what he wants. I’ve watched him lay down his own desires and dreams for his family time and time again, so I get pretty excited when I see an opportunity love him back.

Kendra is a stay-at-home homeschooling mother of four rowdy boys. Ok, three rowdy boys and one who is still sweet and cuddly. She’s been married to her high-school sweetheart for twelve years. When she’s not playing teacher, nurse, cook or housekeeper, she loves to read and write.

Window Love Letters

 Posted by on February 15, 2011  6 Responses »
Feb 152011
 

Here it is. The day after Valentine’s Day. Was it as you expected?

Let me encourage you to look for the ways your spouse speaks love. If it’s not in chocolates and roses, it could be a unique love language.

Today I’m sharing our love story. Stepping back in time then fast forwarding to present day…

_________________________


Hurrying out the door, late for work. The overnight snowfall was beautiful but deep. How I dreaded dusting and scraping off the car. Rounding the apartment building, I find my windshield cleared of a mound of snow. A business card, placed carefully on the driver side window. Two free cookies at my favorite place.

Flowers appeared at work from an admirer. Love letters, shunned, I shamefully admit. But reread, over and over. Each one. And each time, the words carving out a small chip in the wall I’d built. All the while, the Lord taught me.

Patiently, he won my heart. It was this man’s love and enthusiasm for the Lord that stomped out my fear. His smile, his eyes. His confidence, his intelligence, his kindness, his jokes, his willingness to wait for this silly girl to come around.

What began in my heart as admiration, grew in bounds as love. My dearest friend, this man, had started to become. How could someone so wonderful possibly be for me, Lord? I must see him, go on walks with him, be near him as much as I can.  He just has this glow of You, Lord.

_________________________

This same romance continues in the day to day. Translated, perhaps, in a different manner. Flowers sometimes appear. But the love letters, so similarly recognized this way… Continue reading »

Reflection of the Mystery

 Posted by on February 11, 2011  4 Responses »
Feb 112011
 

Each year as Valentine’s rolls around preacher daddy and I celebrate the anniversary of our first date. It has been 29 years since we went to my high school Valentine’s dance.

 

If you had told me the night of that dance that preacher daddy and I would be married five years later, that I would graduate college with a degree in education, head to seminary with him, work a few years, have eight children, home school all of them, survive being a youth minister’s wife for twenty years, then help him plant a church. I probably would have laughed, or run away as fast as I could. Other than get married, and have a couple of kids none of those things were on my to-do list.  I was young and immature, but I  had one thing going for me and it was that I was a new believer and hungry to know God.

During those early years, I also soaked up the Word, participated in Bible studies, and learned that there is much truth in the first catechism which states that, “The chief end of man is to glorify God.”  All these things grounded me for the days that were to come. The days of endless diapers, sick children, mean church people, discouragement and financial struggle.  On many of those days, the only thought that got me through the day was the thought that I should glorify God through everything I do and say today. I need to be a reflection of Him to others. Of course, there were and still are many, many days  that I did not do what I knew to do. I was selfish, ungrateful and stubborn, but God has been gracious and kind to me.

I am thankful that preacher daddy has put up with me these last 29 years. He has always been kind and forgiving, never complaining if supper wasn’t very tasty, never having expectations that were unreachable, always a servant to our family. Which made me love him all the more.  He has been a reflection of God to our family.

Together, faults and all, I pray that  there have been more days than not that our marriage, above all else, has been a reflection to our children and those around us; a reflection of the goodness of God and unconditional love of the Father…the Father whose Son is the true bridegroom and whose church is the bride.

I stumbled on the following quote below which I thought was appropriate for Valentine’s day. In a few days  the flower petals will have fallen to the ground, the chocolate gone and we will return to the regular everyday married life as the same bride and groom that made a covenant with our God on June 6th, 1987. We  will still be striving to live out the great mystery of which Paul writes even without a special day to remind us to do so.

Marriage A Reflection of the Mystery

Unbeknownst to the people of Moses’ day (it was a ‘mystery’), marriage was designed by God from the beginning to be a picture or parable of the relationship between Christ and the church.  Back when God was planning what marriage would be like, He planned it for this great purpose: it would give a beautiful earthly picture of the relationship that would someday come about between Christ and His church. This was not known to people for many generations, and that is why Paul can call it a ‘mystery.’  But now in the New Testament age Paul reveals this mystery, and it is amazing.

This means that when Paul wanted to tell the Ephesians about marriage, he did not just hunt around for a helpful analogy and suddenly think that “Christ and the church” might be a good teaching illustration.  No, it was much more fundamental than that: Paul saw that when God designed the original marriage He already had Christ and the church in mind. This is one of God’s great purposes in marriage: to picture the relationship between Christ and His redeemed people forever! “Husbands and Wives as Analogues of Christ and the Church” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism)

Marital love is a demanding and dying thing compared to the stuff of movies and mirages. The love of imagination is a different beast entirely than love made in the image of a Saviour with nails in His hands. ~Ann Voskamp, aholyexperience

Be devoted and give preference to one another. (Romans 12:10)
Carry each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
Forgive one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
Encourage, build up one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Spur one another on to love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)
Pray for one another. (James 5:16)

Let us make it a habit of revealing the mystery to the world.

 

Kim has been married for twenty-three years, a minister’s wife for  more than twenty years has eight children and has been homeschooling for fourteen years. She would like to say she reads, travels and does all kinds of wonderful things in her spare time, but the truth is she spends her spare time doing laundry.