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


My Lover~My Friend

Time for a Marriage Monday post- I haven’t done this in a while!

Weekends are great for assessing the temperature of one’s marriage. And by great, I mean terrible.

On the weekends, schedules are off, lists are made, intentions are shared but often not fulfilled.

He has his agenda, I have mine.  Sometimes they’re similar but mostly they’re not.

Marriage is a constant dance of two people moving to their own beats. He’s got tango on his mind and I’m more at a waltz pace.  He likes completion and I am about the process.

The weekends are also the time we have the most fights. It used to be on Sunday mornings while getting ready for church but lately it can be Saturday evenings or throughout the day on Sunday.  It doesn’t happen every weekend but when it does, it’s a big blow up and things get said.  We’ve learned to embrace the fights. We don’t fight like we used to but they’re certainly not enjoyable affairs either.  However, they are necessary.  We keep things unsaid. We bottle up and filter to protect each other until we can’t hold it in any longer. And then it blows.

But I will tell you this- the best part of the fights is the making up. And no, I’m not talking about THAT. (although make-up sex definitely has its perks) The making up of  “I’m sorry” and “I didn’t mean to say that” or  “I didn’t realize…” .

We’re growing. Always growing.

We’re learning. Always learning.

We’re stretching. Always Stretching.


And one thing we’ve learned after 23 years together is that we’re friends first.

We were friends before we dated, before we loved, before we kissed, before we got engaged. We were friends through it all and when I walked down that aisle, I married my friend.

Friends first is what gets us through the bad weekends, the fighting, the hum-drum days, the long silences.

Friendship is the basis of our relationship. And friendship makes us fight harder to stay together.

There were a few years when we had moved away, started out on our own, had babies alone, struggled without food and clothes and necessities …those were hard days. No sleep, sick kids, too many bills, no fun, not much to look forward to and pure exhaustion with life.  We didn’t talk a lot. We fought some. Sometimes we didn’t love each other for a long period of time. It was hard. Really hard.

But even in those dark days that lasted for years(yes, really- years) we always held on to our friendship. Maybe we didn’t treat each other as good friends should. And maybe we took our friendship for granted. But we had the memories and the hope of what was and what would be.

And I’m happy to say we came out of those long, dark, trying years with our friendship stronger and our focus sharper: to be good lovers, you have to be good friends.

After we were married 10 years we started to laugh more.

After 13 years we held hands more.

After 15 years we loved being together more.

After 17 years: the fire was lit.  We fell in love all over again. Not just puppy love. Not just superficial, sexually-fired up desire(although that was part of it), but true, enduring, abiding love.

I don’t know how to be married and not be friends. I don’t even know if it can be done.

If you are struggling in your relationship and finding you’re wanting to give up, try being friends. Friends WITHOUT benefits.  Love her, love him just for being your friend. Laugh, hold hands, buy a gift or a treat. Show up unexpectedly. Send them a note, a text , an email. Be funny. Be silly. Be FRIENDLY. Bake some cookies. Order their favourite book or movie from Amazon. BE THE FRIEND YOU’D LOVE TO HAVE.

And you just might be surprised that they’re the friend you need.


This weekend one of the best posts on marriage that I have ever read was spreading like wild-fire. I have a feeling it has gone viral already. If you haven’t read it, take a few minutes to read it now: it’s amazing.

Marriage Isn’t For You by Seth Adam Smith 

Day 20~ Married People on Facebook

I’m married, so is my husband. 😉

The reason I say that is sometimes we women forget that there are TWO of us in this. You know that whole thing about the two shall become one? Well, that’s a real thing. And it really matters how you conduct yourself online as a married person.

So without belabouring this, let me just give you a few brief guidelines for how my husband and I approach our Facebook lives as a married unit.  We are two individuals with two individual friend lists but we operate under the assumption that we speak for each other and respect each other:

1. NEVER, EVER EVER EVER throw your spouse under the bus in a status, comment or other post on Facebook. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to them.

2. Never be cryptic in your posts all the while stewing about something your spouse said or did or didn’t do. Chances are, even if no one else clues in, your spouse will and that’s betrayal of trust right there.

3. If your spouse is NOT on Facebook they should have 100% unlimited access to your account- inbox, privacy settings etc. This is about open trust.

4. Don’t inbox “friends” of the opposite sex other than what would be a normal conversation if your spouse were there. And this is a tricky one because there are grey areas- surprise birthdays, gifts, etc.  HOWEVER,  when you carry on a conversation in an inbox, you are building intimacy. Which is very natural. But when you build intimacy over a long period of time with someone you are not married to, who is not family, you are asking for trouble. I will leave it at that.

5. Keep your arguments off the internet. I cannot tell you how many women(particularly) have aired their dirty laundry on Facebook and done real and lasting damage to their marriages.  Your marriage is private. Your routine, normal, everyday struggles as a husband and wife are no one else’s business. If you have an issue, deal with it offline and in person. If you berate or disrespect your spouse on Facebook, I will defriend you. No question.

6. The opposite of above is essential: brag about, honor, bless and respect your spouse in “public” on Facebook. You don’t have to be gross or sappy, but be real and encouraging. This goes a LONG LONG way to building trust, respect and good communication in a marriage.

Anyone have anything to add?  I’m a big proponent that married folks have either a joint account or are both on Facebook. It never bodes well if only one is on and the other feels left out or ignored.

For all of my posts in this series on Facebook 101, click HERE. 

From last year’s 31 Days series on Redeeming Christmas:  Christmas in a Box 

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?


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:

IMG_2899 (683x1024) IMG_2882 (683x1024) IMG_2863 (683x1024) IMG_2816 (683x1024)

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.

When I’m the Worst Wife Ever

Can I tell you guys something? Sometimes I’m the worst wife in the world. Sometimes I don’t brush my teeth, comb my hair, wear anything remotely flattering, make supper or clear a path to the bathroom. Some days I’m an angry slob with a selfish agenda. I hate those days. I’m not proud of them. But I would be lying to you if I did a series on marriage and pretended like those days don’t exist. They do. And guess what? My husband may not like me very much , but he still loves me and he stays with me.

I’m not telling you this so you think he’s some sort of hero. He’s not. And neither am I for staying with him when I think he’s being an insensitive jerk. But this is real life.  And just as your mother or father had to deal with you having a jerk-faced idiotic day once in a while, so too will your spouse have to deal with it. And you’ll have to deal with their crap load of pissy moods and irresponsible behaviour.  Marriage is not a magic state of being where suddenly everyone grows up and behaves like perfectly lovely human beings to each other. Marriage is the honest working out and  the coming together of two very imperfect people who are trying (and sometimes not very well) to live at peace with one another and maybe  actually have some fun doing it. If you are looking to marriage to *smarten up* all the bad habits your boyfriend or girlfriend have, whoa-you are in for a very rude awakening. If your boyfriend is a jerk now, he will continue being a jerk while you are married. Is that sobering enough for you?  If your girlfriend is a drama queen now, she will continue to be a drama queen.   You cannot change someone’s habits or character traits by simply putting  a white dress and  a ring on their finger. It just doesn’t work and maybe that’s why there are so many people  far and away from the one they pledged their life too.

Shake it off.

All those good things that make you want to be with her/him? They’re still there. STILL. And they always will be. Is he loyal and kind to his friends and family? Guess what? He’ll be loyal and kind to you and your family.   Is she a great cook?  Guess what? She’s going to get better. Like really- she will GET BETTER.  Does he make you laugh?  He will make you laugh 10 years and 20 years and 30 years from now. And he’ll be funnier and you will laugh longer and louder.  Do you love holding his hand? Don’t ever stop reaching for it. Even on the bad days.

Sometimes I’m just a bad wife. And other days he’s a bad husband . And then we get over it and we love each other and hold hands and kiss and we remember that we chose this.

We. Chose. Each other.

Sometimes you have to stop looking for something better and realize that better happens day by day, moment by moment, failure by failure. Your better is the guy who is sitting across the table from you.  Your better is the girl who is going to change her name for you.  Better is this.

So today, I’m going to try to be a better wife than I was yesterday.  And whatever mistakes I make I know that tomorrow I will wake up, still married and we’ll try again.