Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How To Fight Fair...Even When You Don't Want To

I can be very moody. Seriously, just ask K. All he has to do is say one thing, and I snap at him. Then I see the look on his face after I snap and I feel horrible. Because it was so unnecessary. He didn't deserve my moody response. Just because the universe isn't turning like I think it should, I shouldn't take it out on him. But, I do anyway. And what does he do? He forgives me. Every time. He still loves me despite the moods and testy attitudes.

All of this came to light while I studied Song of Solomon this morning. With such pretty words, you wouldn't think that this book would tackle conflict, but it does. In Chapter 5, Solomon returns home to be with his beloved bride.

"Open to me, my treasure, my darling,
my dove, my perfect one.
My head is drenched with dew, 
my hair with dampness of the night." (Song of Solomon, 5:2)

In this chapter, some time has passed since their wedding and their marriage has lost some of that spark that was originally there. We know that feeling, right? Our wedding day was a fairy tale and a a couple years pass and he leaves the toilet seat up, hairs in the sink or laundry on the floor and we think, really?  This is a fairy tale??

"But I responded, 
I have taken off my robe.
Should I get dressed again?
I have washed my feet,
Should I get them soiled?" (Song of Solomon, 5:3)

Can you see what happened here? Solomon wants to be intimate with his wife and she has refused his advances. This is a perfect picture of how a marriage grows and bumps in the road creep in. It's not all happy and pretty. It's how we handle the conflict that matters. What did his bride do?

She went to him.

And what did he do? He forgave her. 

"I would still choose my dove, my perfect one" (Song of Solomon 6:9)



So here are some tips on how to fight fair even when we don't want to:

  1. If you have a problem with your spouse, pray about it first. Give it to God
  2. Talk to your spouse about what is bothering you. Don't give them the silent treatment (I have been so guilty of this. I learned that talking to K really helps the situation instead of keeping it bottled inside.) If you need a few minutes to yourself to calm down, take them. But come back together and talk about what is wrong and how you can fix it.
  3. Compromise! 
  4. Forgive them. Don't bring up something they have done in the past...let it go. And when they say they are sorry and want to move on, let it go and forgive them. 
  5. Don't seek victory and winning the fight...seek resolution. Ask yourself, "How can we resolve this?" 
  6. Listen to them. (I really really have to work at this.) Listen with both ears their reasons and why. Even if you still don't agree, at least listen to them.
  7. Follow the bride's example in Song of Solomon and seek your spouse. Don't let him be the first for reconciliation. 


I hope these tips have helped you as this study has helped me! Until next time, have a great day!




Friday, July 24, 2015

The Ultimate Marriage Vow...

I love to read. I know I have mentioned that before...but I want you to understand how deep that love for reading goes.
It started in 1st grade. There was this program called "SRA" and it was to encourage recreational reading as well as our development in learning to read. The minute I picked out my first book, I was hooked. I wanted to learn how to read so I could read every book I could get my hands on. I quickly learned that I don't just read...I am in the book. In elementary school, I was a part of the babysitter's club, I went through all the horrors in the Goosebumps series, and I was a Sweet Valley girl. (Does anyone remember the Sweet Valley Twins?  I read all the junior books!)


When I hit high school, I was teased for reading so much, but instead of it bothering me; I became rebellious. I read all the time and I made sure they saw me reading. Fear Street was my favorite series. I majored in English in college so I could study literature. (I'll be honest, I like pop culture fiction better. But I do love Huckleberry Finn and Frankenstein. I have read those at least twice.)


Now you can find me reading 3 books at one time! I love being able to just sit and read for hours. Now I love reading autobiographies, fantasy (especially anything supernatural), children's and some young adult fiction, anything that catches my attention. 
What does this have to do with marriage? I have grown to love reading all about marriage and have made it my quest to find good marriage books. And, I have a new review for you. 


I have read Darlene Schacht before and really enjoyed her book, The Good Wife's Guide. Her website, timewarpwife.com, is amazing, so I was looking forward to reading another book by her. And this one didn't disappoint. She made vows for 21 days to make her marriage better. She incorporated personal stories about her and her husband and how each vow would make her a better wife and how we could also make them our own vows. Since this was a 21 day challenge, I read each vow daily. Some of these vows really made me evaluate myself, and I made some of these vows also.

"Whatever we focus on are the thoughts that will continue to grow in our minds. They can either be thoughts of adoration or bouts of frustration, but let me assure you whichever you choose to feed will certainly grow. (Ebook, Location 143)

She touches on topics of negative thinking, making friendship a priority in marriage, and praying for our husbands often. 

One point that stood out to me was her vow to to honor our husbands' role as head of house. This is so important to me as well as I talked about submission in my last post.

"Marriage, the way that God designed it, should be a reflection of our relationship as a church to Jesus Christ."  (Location 299) 

She encourages us to honor our husbands as the leaders of our home and encourage him. I agree with her wholeheartedly that we are equal partners and there are times when arguments are not our fault. But it's how we handle those situations by this vow that is what matters. She suggests being humble and taking a step back and letting him lead in order to honor God. I LOVE this and will do everything I can to practice it. 

She also addresses communication with her husband and honoring him in front of others.

Another point she made that really resonated with me is protecting his reputation. She told of a story about a job she had where after a meeting she had relayed concerns she thought would stay private, the employee went and gossiped about her. She talked about how important it is for us to protect our husband's reputations by "keeping the details where they belong-between he and I." (Location 445)

I touched on husband bashing in my previous post, but this goes further. Keeping details to ourselves and refraining from gossiping about our husbands' mistakes are so important. What happens between K and I is handled between the two of us. If we have a problem, I don't run to others and tell them all the gory details of our arguments. Sometimes, I do go to someone I deeply trust to get advice on something I don't know how to handle. But this is someone I know won't hold what I tell her against him or won't take it and tell someone else. It amazes me that many people take it to a whole different level and will "air out" their marital problems on social media! That just baffles me!

The last vow I am going to address is her vow to be a good listener.

"Practice listening with both ears. Let go of things that are on your mind so that you can be in the moment." (Location 544)

The reason I want to talk about this one is because I struggle with it. I need to remember it and write it down on my heart and in my head. I tend to be a bad listener. While K is talking, I am already planning what I want to say and how to fix his problem. Or when we are arguing, I am preparing what I am going to say instead of listening to him. I tend to interrupt while he is talking so I don't forget what I want to say. There are many ways to listen: listening to his day, listening to his point while we are arguing, listening when he needs comfort after a hard day. I have gotten a lot better about putting down what I am doing to listen. It bothers me when I am talking to someone and they are playing on their phone or texting, so I know I shouldn't do it to someone else especially my husband! There are so many places I can practice to be a good listener and a better wife. I am making this my own vow to listen to him with my whole heart and both ears.

So, what about you? What is your vow to yourself for your marriage? What will you vow to work on?  Definitely check out her book. It opened my eyes on a few things I needed to work on as a wife.

Until next time, have a great day!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It's not a bad word...

I didn't realize how hard this post would be for me. I have been sitting here trying to get it together for about a week now. It's a topic that is very important to me and our marriage. After I read and studied my chapter in Song of Solomon, I felt God was telling me I was ready to talk about it. But, it was finding the words to do it.  It is something that is completely lost to our society and hard for us to follow as wives.

Submission.

The definition of submission from Merriam-Webster: 2) the condition of being submissive, humble, compliant  3) an act of submitting to the authority or control of another

We are taught in today's day and age that submission is a bad word. It is a belief that is long lost and forgotten. But submission is a teaching from the bible; a teaching from God. As wives we are to submit to our husbands as we would to the Lord.

 The Bible's definition of submission: 


When I say submission, there are many ways I submit to K. And let me say that I don't think submitting to your husband means to be a doormat or do whatever he says because he says it. We can and should voice our opinions and be an equal part of the marriage. If it is morally wrong or goes against what you believe, you have a right to go against him. (for example...abuse. I do not condone abuse).

By submitting to my husband, I put my trust in his hands and allow him to make the decisions. Yes, we talk about it and he considers me an equal partner in this marriage. He listens to my opinion on the decision. Sometimes, we argue about whatever the decision might be if we disagree. And believe me, it happens. We are both headstrong. But, ultimately, he makes the final decision and I support him because I put my trust in my Lord and Savior and I submit to Him. He has blessed me beyond words can describe with my marriage and the ability to share it with you, and the least I can do is what he asks. I also do it because I love and trust my husband.

Here are some ways you can practice submission to your husband

1) No husband bashing
I was at a friend's house where we were getting together with other couples. The husbands were in one room and the wives were in another. One friend starting pointing out her husband's faults and mistakes and the other wives quickly chimed in. They even talked about very private details. After listening to the continuous bashing, I sat back and vowed that I would not participate in husband bashing. It made me sad. Our husbands should be able to trust us in the company of others to respect him. Don't get me wrong, I think you should have someone you can go to when there is an issue you can't handle. A reliable mentor you can trust they won't hold what you tell them against your husband. But if something is bothering you about them, the biggest thing is to pray for your husband. Go to God with the issue that is bothering you. Out of respect and love for K, I refrain from airing out his faults and mistakes to others.

2) Supporting the final decision
I touched on this earlier, but it is so important. We were faced with a particularly hard decision not long ago about my car. It is 11 years old and for the most part has been running really well and getting me where I need to go. Last year we had a pretty major repair and then a few weeks ago, the transmission solenoid went out, which is a pretty big repair and would cost quite a bit. We had a big decision to make: whether to get into another note or just repair it and not have to worry about a note. We talked about it and prayed about it, and in the end I supported his decision to keep my car and fix it. That's just one example of the many decisions we have had to make as a couple.
It's not always easy; there are times when I wonder if he is making the right decision. But, I trust him and know he wants the best for us.

3)Pray for him
I try to go to God for everything. I used to pray about K a lot, but now I pray for him before I pray about him. I pray about his role as a husband, his growth as a Christian, his job, everything. I trust God to take care of K and he always does.

4) No punishing
After 7 years of marriage, I am learning how important it is to my marriage to be intimate. I am not just talking about making love, but also connecting on an emotional level. I am also learning how important it is to make love with my husband. It is how they know everything is ok, and we can show them how much we love them. It is one of the reasons God created sex. I know women who withhold and punish their husbands by not having sex with them. This makes me very sad.



I know there are times that we are beyond tired, so much going on, work, children, taking care of our house, or even not feeling it, but our greatest and most powerful tool is our minds. If we set our mind to love our husband, we can.

Please don't think that I am attacking wives or that there aren't hard situations out there. I know there are situations that would make my head spin. I am praying for you. I just want to offer some insight into what can make a marriage happy. Our marriages and husbands are worth it.

Until next time...have a great day!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Seeking God Together through Rough Times

Life is starting to get back to some normalcy. This has been a rough year.

I hope this doesn't sound like complaining, because I'm not. I just want you to understand that K and I aren't perfect. Even though we have a happy marriage, we hit bumps, hurdles, sometimes pot holes that swallow us. The main point of this is how we make it through it. Like the country song says, "every storm runs out of rain".

It started last Sept with a death in my family.. Shortly after, I started with chronic back pain that kept me out of work for a month. (Which I am still and apparently always will deal with it.) Fast forwarding through the year, we went through changes with K's job (involved many late nights), my grandma's knee surgery (and recovery with us), and two huge car repairs we were not expecting. There were days and nights we were beyond drained and exhausted.

Enough of the depressing stuff, right? Here's the bright side...there are two big things that happened in the mist of this rough patch.

1) K and I are closer than ever. 
I have heard many couples drift apart through hard times. I was determined not to let that happen. It was hard...don't get me wrong. There were a few late nights he worked that it bothered me and I let him know. I missed him and wanted him home. I needed him. But after a lot of praying, I realized he needed me too. K needed me to be strong and supportive. Instead of nagging him about the late nights, I thanked him for his hard work. There were times when something he did would aggravate me. And I have a bad habit of taking my frustration out on him when I am stressed. But with even more praying and K's amazing patience, I have gotten a lot better. When I feel overwhelmed, his arms are the first place I go. God gave me the strength I needed to get through this with K. Instead of pulling apart, God pulled us even closer together.

2) The key to getting through these storms was our trust and dependency on God. 
My relationship with God has gotten stronger. And a lot of times that is why we go through the storms. To see God on the other side. I have learned to trust him when it's the hardest. Sometimes the waiting is worse than the storm, but I know God will take care of us and trusting his plan is greater than mine is how I get through it.


Until next time, have a great day!