Tag Archives: marriage

A Visit Down Memory Lane and Lessons Learned!

25 Jul

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Adam and me in 2002 – a few weeks before his move to Nashville. Back when Adam thought he was going to be going the country music route! Wow, how things change!

I’m happy to be guest posting over at Patty’s blog, Tales of Me and the Husband! Here’s a little teaser…

Tragically, in today’s society, so many couples think that if things aren’t always happy and easy, the marriage must not be meant to be and they quickly discard their vows. Newlywed Jacqueline Burkepile wrote a great post for Women of Grace earlier this month, titled Five Things No One Tells You About Marriage. In the article she discusses these points:
  • Love is not a feeling.
  • You don’t always have to agree.
  • Time with friends lessens after you’re married.
  • Quality time is important.
  • Selflessness is key.
All of these are very true and Jacqueline does a great job of expanding on them, so be sure to read her post! I have a few more truths that I’d like to add based on my own marriage experience… 
Reminder- Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow to find out who is July’s Dreamer in the Spotlight!
 
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A Reflection on 8 Years of Marriage

25 Jun

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The above photo is one of my favorites! Adam and I were so happy to share this special day with so many of our close friends and family members! I remember not wanting to leave the next day to drive from Indiana down to Tennessee, because it was so wonderful to be around so many people I loved at one time! Occasions like this must be a small taste of what heaven will be like!

Today marks our 8th wedding anniversary! Here we are – a dog, a conversion, a house, two kids, and a 30th birthday later! AND HAPPIER THAN EVER! We truly feel so blessed to have been called to this vocation. We’ve had to go through growing pains, just like any couple does, especially in the first few years and when adjusting to the life-altering event of a first child! We’ve yelled, thrown things, cried, rolled our eyes, and slept on the edges of our beds as far apart as possible… There have been plenty of moments that we’re not proud of, but we have come through every challenge and emerged closer and stronger because of them!

It’s amazing how much things improved when we began TRULY putting God at the center of our marriage and surrendered our will to His! We mutually sacrificed more for each other and the good of our family. (It’s interesting how kids quickly change our priorities for the better, huh?! We’re forced to be selfless and re-examine our lives!) We started focusing on daily blessings and treasuring small moments. Joy has multiplied in our family in recent months!

A couple years ago, we both began journeys of seeking out God’s will and really being open to whatever He asks of us. I started devouring life-changing books about inspirational and faithful people with great wisdom! (I currently have quite a stack on my bedroom dresser waiting to be tackled!) I asked God to help me with my quickness to anger towards Adam, and you know what? He did! I’m happy to say that God’s grace has shaped me into a much more understanding and positive wife!

Adam began facing a lot of family hurt that had kept him in an emotional prison. He buried his former vision of his fantasy music career and started asking God how his talents should be used in the context of keeping his family his main priority. He started listening to Catholic radio again and watching impactful documentaries. He read (listened to) Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. Adam has grown into a joy-filled man full of confidence and conviction.

It has been eight years of chiseling and sharpening each other for heaven! It is a tragedy that so many couples abandon their vows before they experience the joy of a bond made stronger after facing adversity with forgiveness, faith, and hope. God-willing, eight years is just the beginning of our married journey! We know there are many years of change and challenge ahead (and probably some more eye-rolling on my part!), but with God at the center our love will endure!

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

5 Ways to Encourage Your Husband to Dream (And Why)

9 Nov

Having dreams is what makes life tolerable. – ‘Pete’ on Rudy

Spouses often balance each other out.  One is a spender and the other is a saver.  One is a planner and the other is more of a free-spirit.  One is a dreamer and the other is a realist.  These differences can be good for providing an alternative perspective and they can also be challenging when making decisions.  One is not always right and the other is not always wrong.  Being able to acknowledge and submit to each others’ strengths can be powerful, and dreaming together can make your marriage unshakeable.

Here are my 5 ways to encourage your husband’s dreams and the benefits it will have on your marriage:

1. Listen.  This is simple and vital. It can be very discouraging when someone discounts what you have to say or acts like they don’t even want to hear it.  Imagine if you excitedly started telling your best friend a great idea, only to have her act with indifference or doubt – it would probably put you in a pretty bad mood and maybe deter you from sharing things in the future.  Our opinion means a lot to our husbands whether they say so or not.  Don’t give your husband a reason to shut down.  Giving him time to share his ideas and goals can inspire hope, and show that you truly care about what is important to him.

2. Pray.  This is obviously a very important step when discussing future plans.  A key part of determining whether or not dreams are worth pursuing is to evaluate if it is part of God’s will.  Lysa TerKeurst, founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, offers a great 5-question reference to use to figure out if God is prompting us to action.  Often times God will ask us to do things that may not make logical sense or are uncomfortable for us, but when both spouses seek to do what He asks, it builds a solid marriage and foundation for whatever lies ahead.

3. Support.  A wife’s encouragement (or lack of) can be powerful.  I once read in a book something like this, “Be your husband’s number one cheerleader or someone else will.”  When our husbands feel supported by us, they feel valued and have more confidence.  Also, when men can spend time and energy doing what they love, they are happier.  And *bonus* this translates into a more gratitude-filled home environment.  Your husband will probably return the favor to help make things a little easier on you!

4. Participate.  Personally, I never had much trouble with being supportive, but once I showed an interest in actually helping my husband achieve his dreams our relationship grew even stronger.  I guess this is an example that “actions speak louder than words.”  This teamwork mentality has carried over to helping each other out more around the house and with our daughters.  We don’t spend time comparing who did more or who is working harder, but strive to find ways to make life better for the other person (most of the time)!

5. Pursue your own dreams.  What would you like to accomplish or, rather, what is God putting on your heart?  When we discuss and pursue our own goals, we also motivate our husbands to do the same and we will be more open to encouraging their pursuits.  If a couple is looking to God to direct their steps then these dreams will be compatible.  (I discuss this idea more here.)  What’s more inspiring than two people hoping, praying, and working together?!  Your husband will thank you, your relationship with God will be deeper, and your marriage will grow stronger than ever!

I know that I’m in my late-twenties and I’ve only been married seven years, but the above points are just a little bit of what I have discovered, especially in the past year.  Our marriage is far from perfect and we are constantly learning and growing, but as long as we are evolving together and focused on God, then I know we will be alright!

Do you have a story to share about how you have seen the benefits of dreaming together in your own marriage?  Any challenges?


November’s Dreamer in the Spotlight

30 Nov

The young woman that I’m featuring this month is truly an inspiration!  Her name is Katie Davis and  I ran across an article about her story last month in the Tennessean.  She is a perfect example of how God can use each of us to do extraordinary things if we will listen and be open to whatever He asks.  Easier said that done, right?  I’m sure a lot of people were skeptical of her plans and worried about her, but she is making a difference and shedding God’s light on so many lives!

Please click on the following headline to read the online version of “At 22, woman is mom to 13 Ugandan children”.

As the article mentions, she also has a blog called Kisses from Katie and recently released a book by the same name.  I’m looking forward to checking it out when I get some time.  She makes me think about how amazing it would be if all of us embraced God’s plan for our lives! The bible verse “Yet not as I will, but as YOU will (Matthew 26: 39)” is the status on Amazima Minstries‘ Facebook page!

(photo above courtesy of africa via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1803)

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Side note:  I realized after I published my previous post, that I forgot to include a main part of my sleep deprivation story, so I’ll include it below.  This is just a perfect example of my mommy brain in action!  Here we go…

As I mentioned, I had a week where I was very irritable and unpleasant towards Adam.  That Saturday, while Adam was working, I cleaned the house and did several chores while watching the girls.  I even had time to make dinner.  I felt like I was being a good wife/mother and wanted Adam to feel relaxed when he arrived home.  Of course, shortly after he walked through the door, my attitude and moodiness overshadowed my good intentions and homemaking skills as my exhaustion kicked in after a long, busy day.  I made sure Adam knew what a heavy load I carried and complained about all of my responsibilities.  So much for him relaxing, huh?

The next morning, we went to Mass and the first reading was from Proverbs 31.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!  I felt like God was specifically talking to me and I started to cry, because I wanted to be a good wife and was ashamed of how I had been acting.  I had been blaming Adam for not helping me, when I should have been asking the Lord for grace and strength to deal with a tough time.  Sometimes it can be discouraging to just “suck it up and deal with it” when mothers have to continuously sacrifice, but I know that it is a privilege and a blessing to be called to marriage and to be able to raise children.

The sum of all of this is:  Husbands, help your wives get sleep and they won’t be so psycho and will be more appreciative of all of their blessings!  I know Adam has seen the benefits of a more rested wife already!

Just a Glorified Personal Assistant?

5 Sep

In my continuous pursuit to be a better mother and wife, I am often attracted to books that address these topics.  Last weekend, I finished reading When a Woman Inspires Her Husband by Cindi McMenamin.  There was even an entire chapter dedicated solely to a wife encouraging her husband to dream, so I think it is definitely appropriate to write about what I gleaned from this book in my blog!

When a Woman Inspires Her Husband was mainly based on the fact that men need to feel respected in a relationship and want to feel successful in what they do.   Many of the things that I read, were not necessarily new to me, but it was a great reminder of how much sacrifice is required to have a truly healthy marriage.  I’ll be honest, though, that there was a point when I was reading this book that I started to get a little upset.  I felt McMenamin wrote this book for women in the 1950’s.  It was like she practically assumed that the wives reading this book would only have responsibilities within the home and that the husband was the sole income-earner.  I’m not a stay-at-home mom.  I am the one in our family with the stable income.   I don’t have time to cook every night.  My house would not pass a white glove test pretty much any day of the week.  After reading the chapters about “Easing his Burdens”, “Making His Home a Sanctuary”, and “Giving Him Breathing Room”, I practically felt like McMenamin was describing the job of a personal assistant.

When I was thinking about this during my commute to work one morning, I thought of the verse, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).  And then I realized that sacrificing my selfish wants and dying to myself every day is laying my life down for my husband.  Interestingly enough, McMenamin actually refers to this same verse towards the end of her book.  Do I have a lot on my plate? Yes.  Is my number one priority the well-being of my husband and family? Yes.  Do I have a lot to learn still about being a good wife? Yes.  McMenamin used a great quote from the book 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg: “The more encouragement and affirmation he receives from his wife, the easier it will be for him to discern God’s voice.”  Consider me humbled.  And if that isn’t enough, check out this take on the well-known passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that McMenamin refers to from The Message:

“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.

The biggest thing that I took away from this book was that I need to let Adam lead.  Often times, I am the planner and the organizer, so I automatically tend to make decisions or have an idea already in my mind.  So combine my female multitasking ability with a personality-type that trusts my own judgment to logically evaluate the best option, and you can see why this would be a challenge at times.  This was a wake-up call to me, though, that I need to step back and let my husband be the one to evaluate and make final decisions (still with my input of course, wink!).

At least there is one area where I feel like I do a good job, and that is encouraging Adam’s dream of having a successful career in music.  McMenamin talks about wives being a cheerleader for their husbands, and I can say without a doubt, I am my husband’s biggest fan!  Let’s be real – I started a blog on this topic, people!  Despite the current financial instability and lack of a clear path, I trust that God has a purpose for my husband’s musical gifts.  I hope that my unwavering belief has been, and will continue to be, inspiring to Adam.  I think that’s a main reason why God put me in his life.  And I’m thankful that I have a husband who tries to see how his musical aspirations fit into his family life and not how his family can fit around his music!

I will continue to work on having a servant’s heart, but I know my vocation of being a wife is more than just being a glorified personal assistant!