Archive | November, 2013

11 Things from 11 Years

23 Nov

Today, Matt and I celebrate 11 years of marriage.  I will be the first one to tell you that I am no expert.  And as I mulled over this idea of writing down lessons learned from the past 11 years, I realized that as great as they all sound on paper, I still don’t follow my own advice here like I should.  Matt and I want to be transparent in our relationship so I don’t be surprised to read this and think Boy, she is a big fat hypocrite!  Trust me, I know!  But, here it is anyway… a list (in no particular order) of some of the things I have come to realize on this crazy journey.

 

1.  Be a servant.

Recently I was asked what my number one piece of advice to newlyweds would be, and I said to find a way to serve your spouse every day.  We are all selfish by nature which can create such huge friction in our relationships if we aren’t careful.  If you can find one way to serve your spouse everyday, then you are conveying a message of love and appreciation in a way that words cannot.  For us?  Matt consistently serves me by making our kids lunches for school, and he takes the trash out every Wednesday morning.  I serve him through doing laundry almost every day so that his drawers are always full of clean clothes, and I try to make the kids let him sleep in on Saturday mornings.  It looks different for everyone… maybe you take your honey coffee in bed or you turn the heater on in the morning to warm the bathroom for him or her.  Maybe you have dinner on the table with your husband comes home or you bring your wife flowers frequently.  It doesn’t have to be big… it just has to be!

 

2.  Say “Thank You” often.

Sometimes when you are serving your spouse, you can feel unappreciated.  The best way to get your spouse to verbally appreciate you?  You do it first.  Try to find something to say thank you for and then mean it.  And you may say thanks a hundred times without getting one back, but eventually, your power of gratitude will make a difference.

 

3.  Be right less.

The one thing I wish I could change about the past 11 years is my own selfish pride when it really didn’t matter (i.e. the little things).  There have been so many times when I was so focused on being right that I really hurt Matt.  I’m not saying that I wasn’t right sometimes… but I realize now that it was inconsequential.

 

4.  Be intentional about time alone.

Matt and I have failed pretty miserably at this, but we are slowly seeing the error of our ways.  I have a hard time asking anyone for help when it comes to taking care of our children.  They are a handful–precious, but a handful–so I cringe putting that on someone else.  And heavens, who can afford a frequent babysitter?  Even if you need to work out a deal with another family for swapping off nights of childcare, DO IT.  And if you don’t have children, don’t think you are exempt from this intentionality.  Matt and I spent almost 6 years of marriage childless and still didn’t seek out special times to invest in each other like we should.

 

5.  It was worth the wait.

Matt and I saved sex for our wedding night, and in 11 years, I have never once regretted that.  In fact, I have regretted that we didn’t work harder to keep our physical relationship more pure than we did.  (Sorry, Mom, I know that is TMI!)

 

6.  Kids really do change everything.

Before having kids, you say that you know they will change everything.  And, you have no idea really.  Any problem you had with your spouse PC (pre-children), it will be magnified when you are sleep deprived or dealing with tantrums or running everyone to lessons and practices.  I would not trade our kids for the world, but they really change the dynamic of a husband and wife in ways you cannot comprehend.

 

7.  The tough times are telling.

It is easy to stick with someone when everything is peachy, but during the hardest times of your life, you find out a lot about your relationship.  Matt and I have thankfully come through hard seasons with a greater love and respect for each other, and I feel fortunate to know that I have him on my side.  To the single folks, before you marry someone, don’t just picture your future selves at the happiest of moments.  How is he or she going to react to the storms of life?  Are you going to have a true partner or someone ready to bolt?

 

8.  You have to take good with bad.

My mother taught me to ask myself a question when Matt’s annoying habits are making me crazy.  Am I willing to do without my husband and all of his good qualities in order to get rid of the bad stuff?  Also, take that a step further and ask yourself what you may be doing that makes your spouse crazy.  Matt lives with an awful lot of crazy from me, so why do I sometimes feel like I should be exempt from living with his quirks?

 

9.  Be an advocate for your spouse.

You are the best person in the world to say great things about your spouse.  I have tried to make a point to tell our children wonderful things about their dad and the ways he serves our family.  If I don’t do it, then who will?  And, I would tell anyone about how proud I am of Matt’s work.  He has a fantastic work ethic and is very well respected at his job.  He won’t tell you that he has been asked this week to write a chapter for a book, but I sure will!  I have found that if I am my husband’s advocate to the world, then it is a lot harder to nag and complain about him.

 

10.  Make your spouse second.

I know it is cliche sounding, but make the Lord your first priority.  As humans, we are all made to worship someone or something.  Reality is that if your spouse in number one on your list, then you will both end up disappointed at some point.  He or she cannot fill your every need and to expect that is unfair.  Let the Lord be the one to fulfill you.

 
11.  For me, it has been absolutely worth it.  

Seeing the Baby Jesus

20 Nov

Yesterday afternoon, the kids and I went to Hobby Lobby with my mother.  With the exception of my older children running out in front of a car in the parking lot, it was a relatively tame trip.  However, I did want to go ahead for posterity’s sake and get a record of a couple of things.

As we were pulling into the parking lot, Mother and I were chatting away about who knows what.  Before the car was even fully stopped in a parking space, the following conversation occurred.
Aaron: “Hey, y’all stop that up there.”
Me: “Stop what, Aaron?”
Aaron: “Y’all need to stop talking up there.  I want to get out of my car seat, and y’all talking is NOT helping get me out of my car seat!”

Upon our entrance into the store, my children had to stop and “ooh” and “aah” appropriately over the large nativity scene by the doors.  They always enjoy seeing that, and it is difficult to tear them away.  Fast forward towards the end of the excursion.  They had multiple lines open, each at least 3 deep with customers.  We got into one of the lines and immediately, Norah takes off towards the door.  I called her name and told her not to run off in the crowd.  She stopped dead in her tracks, turned around and put a hand out in front of her, and said, “Mom, I am just going to see the Baby Jesus, okay?”  I can just hear her on a therapist’s couch in 20 years… My mother chastised me for going to see the Lord!  

Oh, heaven help me with these kids!!!