Why I Don’t Keep All Your Secrets~Marriage Monday

Is it me or is 2014 off to a lumpy start?

Lumpy – as in not smooth.

Kind of like blogging is for me these days. I’d like to rip the calendar page off and crumple it into a ball and throw it in the trash.  It hasn’t been horrible, but it’s been rough.

There are things I’d like to share and say and mull over. I want to meander through the forest of unknowns and what ifs.  I’d like to presume less and wonder more. But I tend to stay guarded and less than free. Why? Perhaps no particular reason other than a few bad experiences and restrictions I’ve placed on myself and my writing to protect others around me. Oh to be so wildly inhibited as to just blurt out all the things on my mind. Wouldn’t that be great? Or no. Maybe not so great.

A few years ago I had a friend call me and tell me that she needed to talk. She had things to get out and share and I was her go-to gal. Why, I’ll never really know.  When someone starts a conversation with “….and you can’t tell this to anyone” …. I wonder when would be a good time to tell them I can’t keep to that standard.  Now, before you get all cranky because you’ve maybe been one to tell me such things, just bear with me a moment.

Over the years I have had MANY conversations with friends and family who all ask me to not share their news or secrets. And for the most part, that has held up to this day.  Stories of infidelity, of sickness, of trauma, loss, heartaches.  Some about children whose parentage is not what it appears to be.  Heartbreaking stories, life-giving stories, tragedies, triumphs, silly stuff and serious stuff- it’s all there. If my mind were an open book there would be many chapters of “reader beware”.   But when someone says “don’t tell anyone- not even your husband”…well, I’m sorry, I can’t keep that promise.

I have told some and they continue on. And many times I don’t say anything. Here’s the reason why: I am my beloved’s and he is mine.

We are one flesh. Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.  The sanctity of marriage is unique and supernatural. I can’t really explain it. It’s not the same as living together or being engaged. Something happens when you get married. You let go of all that holds you back and you give it freely to your spouse.  You pour into them and they pour into you. Well, that’s how it is supposed to be. Some days are better than others for the pouring. And some days are just bland and dumb. But there is still oneness and a unity not matched in any other earthly relationship.

So I tell my husband everything. I tell him my secrets and your secrets.  I share them because he is in me and I am in him and we are one. And if I were to withhold from him and become tormented or stressed then I have effectively put up a wall between us. And sorry, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

I see this happen all the time- couples in love. They live together, sleep together, eat together and play together but they won’t just talk. They don’t let it all out. They don’t pour out of themselves ALL of it….not just the happy, sappy, lovesick part…..all of it.

I cannot keep your secrets.

And you shouldn’t keep your secrets from your spouse either. If you want REAL unity in your relationship, you have to talk about everything.  If you keep back even one thing, it will build a wall brick by brick. If you justify keeping one part of you private from your mate, you have told them, by not telling them, that you don’t trust them enough to love you anyway.

It’s marriage Monday and it’s time for us to all talk a little more than  we did last week.

 

And for your reading pleasure, these are some of the most compelling, honest, wonderful posts on marriage from the past 2 weeks. You will love them.

In that moment when my husband sat across from me and told me the whole truth, I was quiet. I wasn’t standing from afar like Michal, wondering who was this man anyway.    Undignified-Humiliated- What’s Love Got to do With It?  By Troubleface Mom

We learned that if we really want to know our people, if we really care to know them – we need to ask them better questions and then really listen to their answers. –   Save Your Relationships- Ask the Right Questions    By Momastery 

Physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy are meant to mingle so closely in marriage that we can’t see where one begins and one ends.  What Did You Assume About Sex in Marriage?  By Julie Sibert

There is a vast difference between mutual submission to one another out of an overflow of love and having submission demanded of you, one-sided, out of a misguided attempt at biblical marriage.  In Which I Disagree with Candace Cameron Bure About Biblical Marriage ~Sarah Bessey 

And one of my personal favorites:

My marriage is messy as all hell. That’s true. But listen, friend. Here’s the thing: I LOVE IT THAT WAY. I LOVE MY MARRIAGE. I do not find messy and beautiful to be mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact- I ALWAYS SEEM TO FIND THEM TOGETHER –  Messy and Beautiful By Momastery

 

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Why The Bride Wore White….A Marriage Monday post

I’m getting ready to do 31 Days of Blogging for October again. But since it’s Monday, I wanted to sneak in one last post for Marriage Mondays (which I clearly have not been consistent in writing for!).

I was privileged to be at a rare event this past Saturday.  A wedding.  Not so rare, you say?  Well let me just tell you how rare it was:

  • it was in a church
  • simple, almost sparse decorations
  • people dressed up for this occasion
  • a lone pianist played while guests were seated
  • the processional began while a violinist accompanied the pianist
  • The first sets of grandparents were seated- all grey haired; 2 couples on the groom’s side
  • The bride’s grandparents were seated- all grey haired; 2 couples
  • The groom’s parents were escorted in by the groom- this couple, married for 23 years
  • The bride’s mom was escorted in followed by the bride escorted by her dad.  The parents, still married, sat together.
  • On the front row were these 6 couples: SIX.  All married to their original mate- a combined total of over 250 years of marriage represented for this young couple to be mentored by and to model their marriage after.

 Don’t get me wrong here- I know that death and divorce are a part of life.  I am not condemning anyone whose nuptials look nothing like this, but I am stating the fact: it is rare and it was profound.wedding program

The service was short:  a couple of worship songs which clearly state the faith of this newly-joined couple.

A simple 3 point message from the pastor.

Nervous, excited, touching vows.

A ring that got stuck, giggles, blushing and finally….a tender, sweet, 21 year old kiss.

It took me back to my own wedding.

So traditional in many ways.

I wonder why people get all crazy about weddings and the fuss made over them?  This day was sweet because two young people pledged their love, devotion and commitment to each other before God and their families. That’s it.  That’s really all there is to DO on a wedding day. Commit. Pledge. Vow.

It was a 35 minute ceremony.  And now life begins.

What I love about this type of wedding is that the expectation is for the bride and groom to learn and grow together.  They don’t have it all figured out. But they EXPECT to work at it and learn together.  There is no pre- nup.  There is no contingency for “if things don’t work out”. There is only a united, committed effort to love and be loved….till death us do part.

The bride wore white because she earned the right to do so. A couple who waited till the night of their wedding to take the next step in solidifying their bond.  It’s a beautiful thing. If you ever get a chance to witness a wedding like that, take it!

And then pray for them.  Because this world is not kind to marriage. There are voices and feelings and offences that work against the first rule of marriage: put the other person first.  Once you get that, the other stuff falls into place.

I came across a blog this weekend that I read a year ago. It is simple, from SimpleMom. Worth the read for all of us:

10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage

When the Sweater Fits { Wifey Wednesday}

A few years ago we were out shopping for something, somewhere, in some store that has all kinds of needed and unneeded things. A day like any other day and I had no particular mission or pressing need to buy all the things. And then I was caught by a chunky, cable-knit sweater. But it was too much and I talked myself out of it before I even touched it.

I often do that; minimize my needs and wants in lieu of the practical. It isn’t like I didn’t have a sweater to wear. Well, maybe I didn’t come to think of it. Anyway, that sweater was new and soft and I could imagine cold frosty mornings with hot tea and a good book. I could see denim jeans and a walk in the park. I could justify pulling it on over my ratty pajamas in a hurry to get the kids off to school.

And then he came around the rack. “Try it on”, he said.

“No”, I said. “It’s too much.”

He pulled it off the rack and handed it to me, “try it on.”

I did. And I loved it. And he said I should have it. So we did. We bought that sweater.

It’s a little worn and frayed. It needs a button or two. But it’s still cozy on a winter morning and I still pull it on over my pajamas. When I’m sick it’s the only thing warm enough but not too constricting. I can still wear it with my jeans and not look to hobo-ish. (well, that’s what I think).

There are other sweaters. Nicer sweaters. Cheaper sweaters. Sweaters that are vibrant and edgy, sweaters that are warm and fuzzy and cute and sexy.

But they’re not my sweater. And they don’t have the smell or the memories that this sweater has.

I am a wife. Of nearly 22 years. And even though there have been times when I could have walked away from my life, my husband and whatever THIS is that we’re doing, I chose to stay and live. I cried some days. I longed for new and fresh and fun and vibrant and colourful and sexy…..

But I will tell you this- there is NOTHING- not one small little thing, that can compare to knowing that you have someone who has seen the tears, seen the mess, held your hand, kissed your cheek, heard your fears, weathered your rants, put up with your crap, stayed by your side, juggled the responsibilities, made you laugh, took some risks or had your back.

Married for life is not about being the prettiest, sexiest, funnest, cutest, happiest at all times, in all ways, every day, till death do us part.

It’s just like a worn sweater on a cool fall morning: warm, comforting and familiar. Why would I want anything else?

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Follow me on Instagram : @juatisask

Say Yes to the ……….Guy.

I’m slowly finding my way back into a blogging cycle. SLOWLY. Sorry about that. Hard to get back to early mornings, school lunches, homework helper and organizer of all the things. Oh, which by the way, I have never been. An organizer. Well, I am and I’m not. Long story. Scattered, focused chaos. That is my life.

I have been wanting to do a series on weddings, marriage and staying married for a long time. September may seem like an odd time but in reality, fall and the months leading up to Christmas are prime engagement and wedding planning seasons.  In anticipation of next spring and summer and all of you who are planning, hoping to be planning, and planning on planning, my goal is to convince you that all your dreams can become a reality but not in the way or for the money you always thought.  I am going to attempt to reprogram your thinking on weddings. And it all starts with the dream of that dress…

Earlier this summer my girls got all hung up on Say Yes to the Dress on TLC.  I have a love/hate relationship with that show. I love Randy and the old episodes with Keasha. But the picky bridezilla types? No thanks. Big time turn off for me right there. And then I get sad. I am sad for the families, sad for the guys who marry these girls and sad mostly for the women who have made the hunt for the “PERFECT” dress(of which there is no such thing) THE ultimate focus of their wedding.

When my daughter was shopping for her grad dress earlier this year she wanted to try on every colour, every style and it was exhausting. Before we even started I told her a couple of things: 1. This is ONE day of your whole life. It is not your wedding and it is not the defining moment of your life so don’t put more emphasis on what you’re wearing than on the fact that you have completed high school and life goes on.

grad 2013

2.  There will always—-ALWAYS be a prettier dress. You could try on dresses forever and still be able to find one prettier, better and more perfect(of which there is no such thing) than the last one. So my advice: stop. Just stop when you find one you love and makes you feel pretty and isn’t too expensive and is just right for this day and this moment. Stop. Walk away. Buy it and let it be.

That was a tough sell. I’m not gonna lie to you. She wanted to try on more. She did go without me to other stores and she tried to push the budget. (We were trying to stay under $300)

The dress came to us subtly. I knew it was the one and somewhere deep inside she did too. She just wanted to try more  on though and in the end she felt like she “settled” which is exactly what I wanted to avoid. You never want to feel like you caved and went with the cheap one or the easy one or the “safe” choice. But from the beginning, the consultants in the store, Grandma, me and others all knew, this is the one. 528781_10151439226726620_775262105_n

46759_10151439226481620_1254296491_nThe next step was deciding colour and she went with her gut and took a chance. So for $229 and what felt like settling for something inferior, this is what we ended up with:

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Girls, why am I bothering showing you my teenage daughter shopping for grad dresses in a wedding post?

The secret is not the dress you wear, how much you spent, the designer’s name or where you bought it. It matters not if you tried on 20 or tried on 2. (I tried one on and it was THE one the first time- that was it).   The secret to a beautiful bride is the groom. In fact..that’s all that matters. You could get married in a paper bag or burlap sack and look gorgeous because the love and light in your eyes when you look at your man at the end of that aisle is going to make you the most beautiful woman in the world- to him and to everyone who sees you.

Find the right guy(and don’t go looking for the perfect one…remember, there is no such thing), love him, let him love you and for goodness’ sake, go get married!!

Next post: HOW to get married fast and cheap. Yes. It’s time to turn the tide on long engagements, going into debt and ridiculous details.

Lifelong Love Affair~Jimmy Evans {Book Review}

I love hardcover books. Somehow, when a book is in hardcover with a beautiful dust cover it just feels special. It feels important and worthy of cherishing. That’s this book.  A beautifully put together book; thoughtful in content and layout, eloquent and detailed.

Jimmy Evans shares stories. Stories of marriages that nearly failed, including his own. Marriages that have triumphed. Marriages that were heading down the wrong tracks.  And all of these stories are linked by the grace of God and a common commitment to do better and to have passionate marriages that last.

The title’s tag line says “How to have a Passionate and Deeply Rewarding Marriage” .  This is not  a short read or a quick fix. This is a book for the journey of life. I would suggest working through this book as a couple as there are many scripture references and talking points. There are also questions in a study guide at the back which would make it appropriate for a small group discussion.

If you are at your wits end. If you are worried you’ve made a mistake or if you feel like giving up, this book will steer you back on track.

“We gave up.  At some point in time, we both realize that we simply could no longer make it on our won. We finally came to grips with the reality that we were completely incapable of putting our marriage back together again~at least on our own power~so we gave up trying. We put down our weapons and raised the white flag. We surrendered.”~p.34

“We start remembering what it was that first brought us together, and those giddy feelings we felt the first time we met start to resurface. We find ourselves falling love all over again……and that’s not all God does.” ~p53

 

Most men have four basic needs that they want met by a marriage partner: (from page109)
1.They need to feel honored and respected by their wives.
2.They need sexual intimacy.
3.They need friendship~a wife who enjoys doing fun things together.
4.They need domestic support~a wife who takes care of the home.

The final chapters in the book discuss covenant and what that means. Why is the Biblical version of marriage so special? And what steps to restoration do you need to take in order to achieve that love that lasts?

 

Truly a lovely book and well written. This would be a great gift for a newly engaged couple , wedding gift or anniversary gift. The kind of thing appropriate for gift giving as we come up to Valentine’s Day in the next couple weeks!

 

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

He Just Wanted To Kiss Me

I have no idea how this happened.

I don’t know where I’ve been that this day has come so quickly and without warning.  I sometimes wonder if I’ve been in some sort of coma for half of the past two decades. I simply cannot believe that we are here:  our 20th Wedding Anniversary.

Yes, 20 years.

When I first started dating my husband he had forever in his eyes and it scared the crap out of me.  I had no idea how to handle the emotions and the thrill of having a man focused entirely on me….and my lips.  Yes, he just wanted to kiss me.   I didn’t let him…at first.  I had never been kissed.  I was 19, almost 20 and no man had ever kissed me on the lips. And I was scared.  What if I had fish lips that went limp and slimy?  What if let him down?  What if he was disappointed?

If I never learned how to kiss I would

surely be an old maid forever.

(these are the irrational thoughts of a naive teenage girl with no “experience”) .

Well, he did kiss me.  He pretty much had to throw me down on the floor and plant one on my cold, hard lips. I’m sure it wasn’t enjoyable.  But he persisted.  And eventually, I loosened up. And then we couldn’t stop.  Kissing became thrilling and romantic; lovely and heart-pounding.

But that’s as far as we went….till our wedding.

On our wedding day, my love got to show off his love of my lips in front of all of our family and friends. And boy did he give them a show! I look back at it now  and think we were nuts.   I suggest people do the nice closed mouth lip lock for the nuptials and leave the  tonsil-hockey to other more private locations.  Not my man.  Oh no…once he got a hold of me I was at his mercy.  I think I had to shoot up the white-flag a couple of times just to come up for air.

Ahhh yes…..young love and immature kissing.  It’s one of the special things we’ve grown into and perfected over the years.

I’m thankful for a man that didn’t give up on an inexperienced young girl.

I’m thankful for 20 years of learning and loving together.

I’m thankful that our marriage isn’t all about kissing but it still gets my heart pounding every time.

And I’m still thankful that I waited for the ONE guy to be the ONLY guy to ever be the one to kiss this girl.

Happy Anniversary my sweet love.

If you like this post please read what I really think about marriage:  What Marriage is For

A Response to Laptop-Shooting-Angry-Dad {Grace}

As of this morning a YouTube video posted last week has now over 25million views. You may have seen it~or if you haven’t, you might want to check it out.

 

I watched this on Tuesday after seeing many friends and family post it to Facebook.  Many of the comments indicated to me that this might be something that would make me laugh, be excited about or want to do a bunch of cyber-highfives to.

Clearly, I’ve never hidden my expectation that my kids are respectful people who do their fair share of work and responsibilities and so I went into the watching of this video probably a bit on the side of the dad before ever having watched it.

I have to say, it was hard for me to get through it all.  I did not feel excited, happy or gleefully ”on side with Daddy'”.  Rather, I felt sick, sad and hurt for him and his daughter.   I cringed as I got through the entire 8 minute rant.  Don’t get me wrong; I totally understand where he’s coming from.  In fact, I’ve been exactly where he is.  Exactly.  I have 4 kids, 2 of whom are now over 16 and we have walked through these waters of disrespect, whining and complaining about duties, FB inappropriateness and public humiliation.  I have 2 more kids coming up in these ranks soon and I have learned something: your kids are fragile.

In fact, their fragility escalates during the formative teen years.  Some kids are more resilient and take their hormone changes in stride but others fight it and struggle for years with boundaries, emotions and feelings of being taken for granted.  I get this teenage daughter.  I feel for her. I’ve been there~both on the receiving end as a parent and on the end of the teen.  She is hurting and she is offended.  Maybe she didn’t handle it well.  How many teen girls do?  Maybe she could have taken a better approach in talking to her parents about her stresses(or perceived stresses) and any unfairness that she feels is being directed her way.  But hear me on this: Teenagers today are not us.  They have not grown up in the world that we grew up in and they have an exponential amount of social pressure that we never had.

Facebook, as much as I love it, is a toxic world for teenage girls.  There is a certain amount of anonymity on there which leads a lot of people to feel they can spout off at any time without fear of repercussion.  Unfortunately for young girls, there are a lot of repercussions, not the least of which is realizing that your hormonal rant given in the heat of the moment will haunt you for the rest of your life because you lacked the self control to wait for a clearer head and more guarded tone with your parents.

Let me just say this to all the parents out there who have not ever had to deal with a child that has acted out in this way or to the parents whose kids are still young and think it will ” never” happen on your watch:  Put yourself in her shoes.  No, I didn’t say pretend this happened in 1985 with YOUR parents, in YOUR house and the way YOU were raised…put YOURSELF in HER shoes.  Pretend you are her, right now with YOU as her parent and her current life as your own.  With her friends, her school, her workload and her consequences.  How would you feel if your dad went on YouTube, smoking his cigarette, full of swagger and attitude(I actually kind of felt like he was nervous and pretty upset too), reading what YOU thought was private and for your friends only.  How would you feel knowing your dad had been on your Facebook account reading everything you had in your inbox?   And now, consider how you would feel, going to school the next day, facing all of your friends, your peers, the kids who already hate you, condescending teachers and unsympathetic family.  Can you imagine?  I cannot fathom the depths of despair this young girl must be in.  And please don’t confuse my sympathy for her with what she wrote.  But seriously, this dad has damaged an already fragile relationship with his daughter.  He is possibly going to regret this more in the future than she will regret ever ranting in the first place.

Dads, Moms,  show your kids the grace that you would expect to be shown.  Yes, you need to discipline, ground and take away privileges.  Yes, there are consequences for what our kids do on FB and in public.  But they are kids and they have their whole lives ahead of them.  We have already established our reputations; our shoulders are broader and we tend to bounce back fairly quickly from embarrassing situations.  A 15 year old girl could be damaged and scarred for life over a “lesson” her dad thought he was teaching her.

I am praying for this family.  I am praying for reconciliation, redemption and grace.  I am not laughing or high-fiving.  I am sad.  And it makes me more upset with all of the people who think this is worthy of praise for this dad. 25million and growing.  It’s no wonder our kids feel alienated, unloved and screwed over.

  • And just as a quick note about Facebook and teens: all of my kids are on FB.  The conditions for us in our house BEFORE they got their accounts was this: They MUST be friends with us, their parents.  If they are going to post things that they would not want us to see or read, then clearly they are not ready to be on Facebook.
  • They must let their friends know that profanity and inappropriate photos will not be tolerated.
  • We regularly go through their friend lists: no person is approved as a friend unless they know them in a personal, face-to-face way.  Friends are only friends if they are people we would have over to our house and are pouring positive support into our lives.
  • FB can be taken away at any time , for any reason if attitudes or actions show they can’t be responsible online
  • At any time I, or their dad, should be able to look in their inbox(with them present) and read any or all messages. Meaning…don’t be bashing friends or family in public OR in private.

It works for us. Our kids have done well and don’t actually post a lot anyways.  And we’ve managed to at least prevent any embarrassing or life-long baggage from coming back to haunt anyone.

 

To the dad in the video: Give your daughter a hug, humble yourself and tell her you are sorry and that you over-reacted in a way that was inappropriate for you and for her.  Tell her that  YOU crossed a line in her privacy and your respect for her. And no matter what she does or says OR posts in the future, you will love her unconditionally and always be that soft place for her to land in a harsh and unforgiving world.