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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

My husband loves honey-do lists–the longer the list, the more satisfied he feels when each item has a bold hash mark through it.  Mow the lawn.  Done.  Change the light fixtures.  All set.  Pay the bills.  Taken care of.  Despite Dave’s affinity for these lists, I have never given him one.  Even more than that, I’m careful not to mention things that need to be taken care of around the house because–like Santa’s list– they’ll be added to the queue.

I know some of you are wondering  if I’ve lost touch with reality.  You may be thinking, “What I wouldn’t do just to get my husband to take out the trash or wash the dishes.  She’s nuts!”  The issue for me is not whether or not chores get done or if I can rely on Dave’s help at home.  Instead, I’m concerned about spending time together.  We’ve actually agreed to put all work aside by noon on weekends–just to guarantee time is spent doing what is necessary at home AND necessary for our relationship.

Love–in my language–is spelled T-I-M-E.  Others of you may feel most loved when your husband brings you flowers, writes a love note, snuggles–or vacuums the family room.  What is it that make you feel special?  Starry-eyed?  Affectionate?  While you’re thinking about it, pause to consider what feeds your husband’s love for you.  Does he beam when you pack his lunch?  Would he prefer a back rub?  Or, does he just need to hear you say, “I’d marry you all over again.”?

Early in our marriage, Dave and I read a great book by Gary Chapman called The Five Love Languages.  If you want to know your spouse better–or even need to share with him what would help you feel loved and appreciated–then you might want to read it.  Even better, read it together.  Who knows, maybe your chores will get done after all!

Does he need…

  • words of affirmation?  Tuck love notes in his dresser drawer, lunchbox, and CD case.
  • time together?  Plan a date for him–action movies, pizza, and beer.
  • acts of service?  Ask him to make a honey-do list for you.
  • physical touch?  Cozy up during a football game or hold his hand–in public.
  • gifts?  Stop by the office with coffee or give him a book he’s always wanted to read.

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 “I am by nature a people pleaser, which means that by nature I’m a coward.”  –Pastor Mark Bates

Those words resounded with me.  How many times in my relationships had I been “diplomatic” in order to avoid disappointing someone?  Or, even worse, appeared to agree with that person, but instead proceeded to erect a DMZ (Demilitarized Zone for those of you who are non-military wives)?

What is a DMZ?  Let me illustrate.  Imagine I am South Korea.  Dave, my dear husband, is North Korea (for demonstration purposes only).  We’ve been at war with one another–although we can’t seem to remember why or even how it all began.  Now, though, we’ve decided to declare a tenuous peace.  We’re tired, bear noticeable war wounds, and need to regroup.  An agreement is drawn and, with distrust in our eyes, we draw lines in the sand.  If neither of us crosses this line, we’ll be just fine.  Peace has been made.  Really?  Have North and South Korea found that to be true?

Of course not.  Peace in the home is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of humility.  As Matthew 5:3 reminds us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”  Another version puts it plainly, “Great blessings belong to those who are humble.”  I don’t know about you, but humility in the marriage relationship can be tough.  What if he’s the one was wrong in the first place–or, if I was just a little bit in the wrong?  Shouldn’t he apologize first; ask forgiveness first?  Maybe–maybe not.  But am I more concerned with who crossed the DMZ first or do I desire to be reconciled in my relationship with the one I call husband?

I tell you honestly that making peace after even after an imagined insult  is one of my greatest areas of struggle in marriage.  Could it be a challenge for everyone?  I would guess that it is–after all, don’t we all enjoy being “right”? Most of the time, though, being right is far less important than acting in love.

3 Tactical Pointers to Help Disarm the DMZ–and Declare Peace

  • Relinquish your “rights” and admit your “wrongs”
  • Make the first move
  • “Do it badly if you must.  It’s worse not to do  anything at all!”  –Pastor Mark Bates

What works best for you to diffuse tension?  How have you learned humility in your marriage? 

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I can imagine the perfect woman for my husband–and she is not me.  Now, I’m not suggesting I would rather Dave be married to someone else.  What I am saying is that if I were his best friend, parent, or sibling I would have expected him to marry someone unlike me.

Dave’s perfect wife  would  eagerly anticipate the next shared hike together, certain she could conquer the ragged terrain of any mountain.  This someone would engage in political debates, enjoy running in marathons, and read Time magazine.

Instead Dave chose a woman who’s afraid of heights, rarely reveals her political affiliation, and prefers a relaxing walk on the beach to the rush of endorphins at the end of a five-mile run.  And my favorite reading material?  Think Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina.  I don’t remember when I read Time last.

But, Dave didn’t want perfect–he wanted me.  And, after all of our years together, he still does.  The remarkable part of all this is Dave is more aware of my flaws, faults, and foibles than during the early years of our marriage.  He sees me clearly.

My dislike for closet doors haphazardly left open?  Dave hears about it regularly.  The temper that flares when we disagree about discipline?  He’s been an object of that anger.  My high-maintenance food ordering habits?  If the avocado is fresh than I’ll have the southwestern burger, if not then I’d like the patty melt with the onion straws on the side but no cheese.  Yes, Dave is aware of this hang-up.  (He says I’m discerning; not picky.)

Despite knowing me as intimately as he does, Dave loves me all the more.  What, then, is principle number three?  Accept your husband for who he is.  You cannot change him.  When you are convinced your husband needs to change, begin praying the Lord will change you.

3 Ways to Demonstrate Acceptance Toward Your Husband

  • Talking Trash–Have you been around a group of women lately?  Don’t join their “My Husband is an Idiot Club”.  Honor him with words of affirmation–even when he isn’t nearby.

             Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others upEphesians 4:29

  • Point of Reference–Extend grace and mercy to the husband you have pledged to love.

             Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. Ephesians 5:21

  • Practically Speaking-  Just put the lid down yourself.  He won’t mind and it will make you happy!

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Dementia has robbed grandma of her memory, but it can’t diminish the love grandpa has for the one he still calls my bride.  Grandpa doesn’t see grandma as she is now—confused, anxious and afraid.  Instead, grandma is known for whose she is—his wife.  Despite the snowy head, lined face and a penchant for losing her way in the halls of the assisted living center, grandpa recognizes his bride as the quick-witted beauty he promised to faithfully love years ago.

 In the same way, God offers us his everlasting love.  He overlooks our blemishes and shortcomings.  Nothing deters the Groom from caring for His bride.  He tenderly meets all of our needs just as a devoted husband does for an ailing wife.  Rather than rejecting us for who we are in the flesh, the Lord embraces us for whose we are—His bride.

Jeremiah 31:3 tells us that He has loved us “with an everlasting love.”  Even if you are in the midst of a divorce, struggle with your marriage relationship, or lack meaningful friendships remember that you are loved.  God’s passion for you is greater than any situation or circumstance–always and forever.

Make a list of the ways God has shown his faithfulness to you this month, this week, or even today.  

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Why have I decided to be one of millions blogging?  Because I have a story to share that continues to unfold page by page, chapter by chapter.  Like any story there is a beginning, middle, and end.  The beginning was difficult, the middle has been full of both triumphs and trials, and the ending is unpredictable .  Who knows what adventures and lessons I’ll learn along the way?

My prayer is that this blog will be a place of encouragement for you as we journey along life’s road together.  Let’s take a walk…

How has the beginning of your story influenced where you are in your life now? 

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