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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

“I was young and pregnant by a guy I’d only known a few months. I remember crawling into bed between my parents one night, about three weeks before my wedding, and begging them both, “Please don’t make me marry him. I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to marry him,” and my mother patting my knee and saying, “It will be fine. It will all work out.” Much sadness and disappointment and neglect, many fights, some abuse, several children and a dozen or so years later we divorced.”

“I tell my wife I love her everyday. My family didn’t do that. My grandfather was the only one that I felt any love from as a kid and when I was a teenager he left my grandmother for another woman and denounced my grandmother, me, my entire family. So I wasn’t really sure what love was until I met and married my wife. I tell her that I love her everyday. I don’t want my children to grow up in a home where no one says I love you.”

“I moved here because I am going through a midlife crisis of sorts. I’ve been taking care of my parents for the past thirty years and they both died recently so I am looking for a fresh start. I have eleven siblings. They all figured that since I wasn’t married and didn’t have any children and thus “didn’t really have a life” that I could just live with mom and dad and take care of them. I had the honor of being the last person that my parents spoke to before they died. “Thank you and I love you.” were both of their last words to me. They had never said that to anyone or to me before that. Those two moments were the greatest gifts I have ever been given.”

“Her husband died suddenly a few weeks ago. I’m not sure exactly what happened. She is in her mid-forties. He was too.” another mom told me about the teacher in the classroom down the hall from my daughter’s classroom, the teacher who always has a smile on her face and a kind word for each child that passes her doorway. My shock, that such a great tragedy had occured in the life of someone I see and speak to every week, without me having any idea until a month later, was apparent. It is a moment I have thought of often since.

“I had several one night stands while my husband and I were dating. I was young and stupid. I don’t know what I was thinking. Sometimes I can’t even believe that I actually did that, that it actually happened. That was a decade ago and I’ve never told anyone until tonight. I’ve been so afraid that people would judge me and reject me. I’m afraid if I tell my husband, he will leave me. But I can’t live with this guilt any longer. It is eating me alive.”

“My second miscarriage was at sixteen weeks. We discovered at my doctors appointment that the baby had no heartbeat. They sent me home. I spent several days waiting and knowing that the baby inside me was no longer living. I never did go into labor. I remember laying in bed beside my husband, that last night before I was to be induced the next morning and thinking, “This is the last time our baby will lay between us.” My heart was broken that night. It took a lot of years to mend it back together.”

Listen…

Such a simple word. Such a simple act. But with the power to transform a life.

So let us slow down. And listen. And have compassion.

Because everyone has a story.

They just need a chance to tell it.

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Dear R,

I feel honored that you have asked for my thoughts! I hope they will be a blessing to you and your wife and son and his girlfriend.

Short answer: If I had to do it over, I would still get married at 19. 🙂

Longer answer: After seven years of marriage and many years of watching friends date, get married, and after watching a few divorces, I do have a lot of thoughts about when to marry and how to marry.

My perspective is that age, in and of itself, is a neutral. Some people are ready for marriage at 19, some most definitely are not. I do believe that getting married and staying married is much easier, more enjoyable and more peaceful when the couple has had some training and if they have been intentional with their time before marriage.

I think the key is finding the balance between how long a couple can last not being married and staying pure, and how long they should know each other and experience life together before being in covenant with each other.

I have had several friends meet, get engaged to and then marry a person all in a year or less. It is probably possible to do this well, but in the relationships I have seen, meeting and marrying this quickly usually means that the people do not know each other very well and find out A LOT of stuff about themselves as individuals and as a couple, after the wedding day. From what I’ve seen this leads to a lot of drama, emotion, inability to work through things quickly and easily, etc… Its like these couples go through the phases of really getting to know each other as individuals and as a couple, after they become husband and wife which seems to really, really complicate the heart and how the heart deals with issues. Again, this is just what I have seen, I don’t know that it means it always HAS to be this way.

At the same time, we have seen a few couples date for many years and be incredibly impure and because of their impurity (the guilt from it, the bad patterns it created in their relationship, the distraction that it was that kept them from spending their time intentionally, etc.) still have the drama and the struggle after the wedding day because though they had the QUANTITY of time they might have needed, they did not experience the QUALITY of time that is needed to prepare well for a marriage relationship.

SO, all that to say- I believe if a couple pursues purity AND uses their time before marriage to get to know each other WELL, uses that time to get counsel and training from people who love them and who they love and respect, and uses that time to experience some life together (i.e.- don’t just go on dates all the time and spend all their energy trying to impress each other and romance each other but spend time LIVING LIFE together- serving, working, spending time with each others families, talking about the DIFFICULT subjects, arguing well, planning for their future, etc.), then yes, getting married at 19 can go very smoothly and be one of the best decisions that couple has ever made.

Also- there are some realities of life that may not be ideal for the timing of marriage (being in college, having to move around a lot, not having a lot of money, etc…) and can make things slightly more challenging for the early years of marriage, but I believe (based on my own experience, with Chaz being in school and with us being dirt poor!-although we didn’t really know it at the time, how poor we were, haha) that if the couple has a solid foundation and the training to deal with life’s issues, that those harder times can actually make the couple STRONGER, teach them a lot, help them to grow and make them more thankful in the long run.

I think those are all my thoughts for now. I hope they make sense and I hope they help! I know the feeling of wanting what is best for your child and wanting them to make good choices and struggling to see it their way when they don’t completely agree with you!

I hope and I pray that God gives each of you peace and wisdom during this time to know what is best and to love and be connected with each other no matter the direction all of this takes! And I pray a spirit of beauty, of Godly success, of love and vision over you, your wife, your son and his girl during this phase of life.

You all are in my thoughts and in my prayers. Please let me know if there is anything I can do or say to help during this time! I remember it so well. 🙂

Love you guys!!

~Echo~

P.S. If you can find the time, please keep me updated on this situation. You all will continue to be on my heart.

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My husband is not a crier. He cried at our wedding, at the births of our children, when his grandfather died and on a handful of occasions in between. And that’s about it. In general- not a crier. So when the Father’s Day card, that I gave him on Sunday, caused his eyes to well up, it caught me pretty off guard. And of course, when I saw his emotion, my eyes welled up too.

His emotion moved me. So I wanted to share…

The card I picked said “For My Husband” on the cover and “My favorite place to be is next to you. Happy Father’s Day” on the inside.

My words were:

Babe-

There were so many cards to choose from- some funny, some sappy, some sweet, most of them with lots of words and/or pictures and/or dialogue. But I loved the simplicity of this one. I love that so few words can say so much. I love the idea that amidst all of the chaos and noise and busyness of our life, one thing remains the same, unchanging and simple- our love. You are so very precious to me. It is an honor and my privilege to be the mother of your children. Thank you for being my first love, my best friend, my rock and the most amazing daddy to our two adorable, hilarious, crazy!, precious children. I will love you forever.

And on the other side:

You are an amazing daddy for how you…

– love and forgive.

– make our children smile and giggle.

– read them stories and teach them new games.

– patiently teach and explain and remind again and again until they understand.

– are always here, loving and serving and listening and adoring.

When I asked him what made him emotional he said, “I don’t know. All of it.”

And so this moment, sitting beside my sweet husband, was a reminder for me- of the power of words, the power of expression and the power of giving a simple “Thank you and I love you” to the ones that we love.

I hope you are seeing this power in your own life, one shared moment, one “thank you”, one “I love you” at a time.

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This is the list of goals that I handed to a friend, Sunday night of last week, before asking her to keep me accountable to them:

1) Be out of bed before 7 a.m. Mon-Fri

2) Workout in the a.m. at least 5 days this week

3) Keep a daily food journal

4) Drink at least 64oz of water daily

5) Go to bed with a clean kitchen every night

6) Finish one load of laundry daily

7) Plan (and execute!) one sex date this week

8 ) Have one couple over for dinner this week

9) Keep the tv and computer time to a minimum

10) Make doctor and dentist appointments and order oils diffuser

 

And this is what I learned from them:

1) For me, getting up early really is…better. The night owl side of me hates that this is true. But it is. Getting out of bed by seven changes the tone of my entire day. And there is something delicious about early morning air, early morning light, and the quiet and peacefulness and productivity of being the only one in the house awake.

2) A.M workouts are also, I am slightly hesitant to admit, better. Starting the day with my blood pumping seems to keep that blood pumping till bedtime! And it guarantees that the workout will happen cuz the later I wait, the more complicated fitting in a workout seems to get.

3) 64oz of water (or more) makes me feel lighter, healthier, and more energetic.

4) Keeping a food journal helps me eat better. Knowing that what I’m putting into my mouth will be recorded on a piece of paper makes me stop and think, “Do I really want there to be evidence that I ate this?”

5) Going to bed with a clean kitchen every night is…hard.

6) Washing, drying, folding and putting away one load of laundry every day prevents Laundry Mountain from growing big enough to take over my laundry room, my laundry baskets, the top of everyone’s dresser or chair, my thoughts, my energy and my couch.

7) I don’t care who you are, how old you are, how long you’ve been married or how much sex you are already having- if you want to improve your sex life with your spouse, having weekly sex dates is the way to do it!

8 ) Having one couple (at least) over for dinner each week is a true blessing to us (and hopefully to them). I don’t know why we ever get out of this habit. It’s benefits are too great.

9)Turning off the TV and limiting internet time is worth the challenge. At times it takes all of the self-control I can muster to stay away from these time suckers.

10) Nothing really. Other than, it is such a relief to knock items off the to-do list that have been on there for weeks!

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I was looking through old Word documents tonight and found this letter I wrote almost five years ago. As soon as I began reading it, memories and emotions from that year began flooding into my mind. What a precious time in our life- the year we became parents.

——————–

To: Daddy                                 From: MG and Mommy
 

Father’s Day 2005

Well, the list is far too long – of things we adore and appreciate about you – so we made a list of the top ten that we want to thank you for…

10. Thank you for going to work every day to provide for us and for going to school these last two years – we know it takes a lot out of you – we are very proud of how well you have done and how well you balance school work with taking care of us.

9. Thank you for not getting frustrated if we are running late or the house is a mess or dinner is not on the table – you are always so kind and forgiving.

8. Thank you for keeping smiles on our faces and laughter in our voices – for being so silly and entertaining us all the time.

7. Thank you for holding mommy when she is sad and for holding MG when she is sad. We always feel much better when you are holding us.

6. Thank you for being so humble and so quick to apologize. You are such a good example of that.

5. Thank you for protecting mommy’s purity when you guys were dating (even though there were times when you didn’t really want to) and for helping pass that legacy on to MG.

4. Thank you for being so patient with our emotions (especially mommy’s).

3. Thank you for being so open and honest with us. We feel very secure knowing that we can trust you completely.

2. Thank you for the depth of relationship that each of us has and will continue to have with you – for not viewing us as a job or a responsibility that you come home to every night.

1. Thank you most of all for loving God and for striving every day to be more like His son – because of that you have shown us a love that is greater than any other. We love you so much!

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“One Night Off” is what was typed, in big, bold letters, at the top of the piece of paper that Chaz handed to me about an hour after he got home from work Tuesday night.

I was in the den finishing my workout. He was at the computer, having just finished his. I was almost done (and needing to go get Granite, who was fussing in his crib) when my sweet hubby said to me, “Wait, before you go upstairs, I have something for you,” as he covered the computer screen. I turned away, assuming he had a funny youtube video he wanted me to see, and tried to be patient as I listened to my son crying upstairs. A moment later I could hear the printer printing and with this sound I grew curious. I had zero guesses for what he could be printing to show me. A moment later he handed me what came out of the printer and then he waited as I read what he had typed:

This certificate entitles you to ONE NIGHT OFF.

You can gather things you would like to have (computer, movie, book…etc.) and go downstairs to take a shower and relax.

When you are ready for dinner you can place your order (for anything) via text or phone call.

Your night off will end with a massage…(the rest of this part explicitly described the romantic encounter we would have at the end of the night…I won’t include that here. 🙂 )

This certificate does not expire, and in fact can be used anytime you want (make reservations 24 hours in advance in the future).

After reading these words a smile spread across my face and I hugged my husband.

“Thank you baby,” I said quietly. He smiled back, said “You’re welcome,” and disappeared upstairs to take care of our son.

I stood for a moment, slightly disoriented by the sudden change of plans for my night, and tried to decide what to take with me. I thought quickly, realizing that it would be easier to escape if I did it before my son saw me, grabbed my book (Eat Pray Love), a movie (Confessions of a Shopaholic) and my water bottle, and hurried downstairs.

Closing the door behind me I thought of all the things I was going to do (get my son up from his nap, change his diaper, hold him until he got over his usual ‘after nap grumpiness’, make dinner, help both of my kids eat dinner, clean up from dinner, wash dishes, finish the laundry, clean up toys, work with my husband to bathe our children and dress them for bed, brush my daughter’s teeth, read my daughter stories and talk and pray with her, tuck her in, tell her she’s fine and that there is no reason to be scared and no she can’t have a bedtime snack and no we are not going to read one more story and no we are not going to leave the hall light on all night…) before switching gears, clearing my mind and turning on the shower.

The shower felt amazing (as it always does after a good workout) and I dressed warmly and comfortably after it.  I then put the movie in the DVD player and propped myself up in our bed, still not quite believing that I had nothing I needed to do for the rest of the night. Its a strange feeling being in bed at 6:30 on a weeknight, while my children are home and awake. Strange and amazing. I snuggled into the covers and focused on relaxing each part of my body as my mind was entertained by the movie I was watching. About thirty minutes later I called my husband’s cell phone to talk about dinner and about thirty minutes after that my hubby and my daughter entered the room with a tv tray, a plate of yummy bread and pasta, a soda, silverware wrapped in a napkin and a vase filled with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. What a precious pair these two were, arranging my dinner, asking if there was anything else I needed and leaving as quickly as they came to get back to Granite who was standing at the top of the stairs yelling for both of them.

As I enjoyed each bite of my ‘dinner in bed’ I thought about what a blessed woman I am to have a husband who would do something so thoughtful for me; not because its my birthday, not because its mother’s day, not because I deserve it…but because he loves me. And how blessed I am that for him, that is reason enough.

So at eight oclock Meadow joined me for a short snuggle while Chaz put Granite to bed. (This snuggle time was precious!) And at nine oclock (after getting Meadow in bed and straightening up the main part of the house and getting himself ready for bed) my love joined me for…

Well that’s the end of my story. Husbands, if you are needing ideas for how to bless your wife, add this one to your list! Wives, I encourage you to do the same! I, myself, am trying to find a night in February for my own hubby to enjoy ‘One Night Off’. But ssshhh! Don’t tell him! It will spoil the surprise. 🙂

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