Misplaced Monday’s: Redefining priorities in my marriage!

She caught my attention as she rounded the corner of the bus and walked clean into the passenger side mirror.  I merely took a moment to make sure she was okay and say a silent thanks that it was her and not me.  We boarded the bus and squeezed through coolers, life jackets and long legs taking up room in the aisle.  I settled in next to my husband to wait for the crew to load the kayaks hoping it wouldn’t take long.  The temp was steadily rising, quickly removing the relaxation of the afternoon on the lake. The young couple sat down in the seat in front of us.

 “So, why couldn’t you get in the water,”  her guy asks.

“Because of the baby”, she replies in a voice that indicates her day has not gone the way she anticipated.

“I know, the baby.  But why?” He replies, frustrated.

“You know.  Infection & stuff.”

“Oh.”

Yeah.

Oh.

As I sat there with my husband on our anniversary weekend, I thought of all the ways our men get the boot when kids come along.  Before kids, I attended his every ballgame.  I took lunches to him on my day off.  I made time for him and the things he liked to do.  Then, the beautiful bundles of joy came along and suddenly:

I am exhausted. Doesn’t he know I need my sleep?

My time is stretched thin.

I’ve worked all week.  How can I possibly take more time away from the kids?  I will only have them for a little while.

We can’t afford a sitter.

My house is a mess.

I haven’t combed my hair in months and I don’t even want to discuss baby weight. How can he possibly find me attractive?

And so it goes.  Until the day you wake up to realize that your kids won’t be with you for much longer and you long ago forgot how to have fun with your man.

Marriages that don’t grow together will most definately fall apart.

It’s what I would tell the new mama to be if I had another chance. I would tell her it starts happening the moment we open What to expect when your expecting. You start experiencing the life growing inside of you and slowly start crowding out the most important member of your team in preparation of your new bundle of joy.  Eventually, your going in your own direction.  He’s doing what he loves to do while your doing what you love to do. But, your not doing it together.  Suddenly, you feel invisible, exhausted and underappreciated. After all, you’re the one holding everything together.  You start to wonder if this is how it’s always going to be.

Is this a taste of what life is going to look like when my kids leave the nest?  Even more important, how do we get back?  How do I draw him back in?  How do I have fun with my man again? Does he even like me anymore?

Please tell me I have not walked through this season alone!

After evaluating these questions closely in prayer, I looked for solid advice.  Which simply means I googled, “How to win my husband back.” When I say “win back”, I do not mean to imply he has strayed.  I was simply looking for a way to catch his eye with my changed heart.

 Even with google, God is good to respond.  I found the blog,  To Love, Honor and Vacuum.  Sheila, the author, apparently walked through a similar season in which she offered this six week formula.  Compliment your husband daily.  Have sex with him often. Which spurred the thought, “Why do I always have to be the one to change?”  God softly responded, “Maybe you’re husband is just waiting on your cue. You’ve spent so much time showing him you’ve got it all under control.  Maybe it’s time to show him that you still need him and want him.”

So, in addition to Sheila’s formula:

I prayed for the wisdom to know what to do right here, right now to win back my husband.

I acted upon the still small voice in my heart. I let go and laid down every “wrong” done to me.

I realized the disconnect was not one sided. Could be he was just following my cues.

I’m actively looking for ways to hang out with my hubby.  With a teen, a tween and a teen wannabe, it’s harder than it looks.  Yet, I know this is a temporary season.  We need to be intentional with the little bits of time we get together now so we know what to do and how to act later.

For the new mama to be, I would just tell her to beg, borrow and steal every opportunity she can to be with her man.  Make the moment by moment choice to accept his advances (or make a few of her own) and know they are the way he shows love for her and receives love from her.  Be straight forward and tell him what she needs. Respect him.  Thank him.  Appreciate him as her partner and her team mate for life.

I don’t come from perfection but from progress.  It’s one shaky foot in front of the other but it’s worth every step.

How to you keep your marriage strong?  Sound off in the comments below as we kick off Misplaced Monday’s!

Have you ever misplaced something?

I think of the meme floating in social media with the overworked mom who is trying to get out the door with one too many bags and a baby on her hip.  She is frantically searching her kitchen table while venting to her friend that she is running behind and  has to find her phone.  The twist?  She’s talking on the phone she is searching for!

I find my walk in Christ reflecting this woman’s struggle.  I let chaos ensue and I miss the most obvious answer to gain peace, perspective and wisdom in my life. 

Join me this month for Misplaced Monday’s!  I hope you, like me, will find that taking a moment to reprioritize will make a difference in misplaced area our our lives.

Memorial Day. A day to remember.

He’s leaving today.

I crack my eyes to let in the predawn light.   My stomach feels nauseous.  I should have gotten up earlier.  We won’t have much time left to spend as a family before he takes off.  Now, where is he going again?  How long will he be gone?

It really doesn’t matter.  The hard part is always saying goodbye as I transition my family into waiting well for his return home.  I hate saying goodbye.  It really should get easier as time goes on.  But it doesn’t.  Now, I find myself going through the stages of grief even when he is just going away for a weekend with his buds.  I don’t tell him though.  I don’t want him to feel guilty.  I don’t want him to carry the weight of a needy wife in the midst of all the other responsibility he faces.

I stretch my arms as the breeze from the window hits my face.  I look over to the alarm.  Shoot, my son has dojo in 45 minutes.  Wait.  Dojo?

“Ugh.  I just had a dream that you had to leave for guard today.” I say as I roll over to cuddle into him.

“I do.  Just don’t trip over the bags when you get outta bed.” He replies.

I poke him in the ribs.  Hard. He has it coming.  He has been out for nearly a year but the emotions are still very real.

It’s Memorial Day.

I take a moment to count my blessings that I have my husband to joke with today because this is not the story for so many.

Somewhere, a woman rolled over this morning to reach for her husband and he wasn’t there.  Or, he was, but emotionally, he is still fighting a battle in a land she will never know, nor never visit.  A place in the life of her soldier will that will remain detached from her reality.  He fights a darkness that she cannot begin to understand.  She is hopeless to intercede.  But she loves him anyway.

Through outbursts of unexplained anger.  Night terrors.  Paranoid and cynical behavior.  She knows he’s healing. She wonders if there are any other steps she should take.  She prays for a glimpse of the man her soldier was before war.

She wonders when he is going to stop taking chances with his life to drive the adrenaline he has become addicted too.

She wonders when she will be enough to fill the void his life is missing.

Days like today are hard. They drudge up memories long buried .  They revive emotions that are impossible to understand for those who have not gone and seen realities of war because we chose to stay at home.  But, we’re here now.

What can we do with all of this?

Pray.  For those whose soldier aren’t returning home.  For peace, protection and provision in their road ahead.  Pray for the soldier who is still trying to find his way, even in the safety of home.  For resolution. For peace.  For an encounter with the love, grace and mercy of a mighty God.

Be a willing listener, but don’t push for answers. Be available to listen without judgement.  I don’t know what you’ve seen and  I don’t know what you’ve done but I’m here and I care for you.  Nothing you can say will change that.

Keep it confidential.  It’s not your story to share.

Love unconditionally.  There is a price for freedom.  The number one goal of our soldiers is to bring everyone home alive.  Sometimes that happens at the expense of a soldiers moral code. Sometimes, lives are lost.  Regardless, the price is high.  Too high for some, even when they return home.  The number of soldiers taking their own lives after returning home is at an epidemic high. And unnecessary. It’s something we can no longer ignore.

Today, let’s not forget.  Let’s check in.  Let us shower those who have lost their soldier with love and support.  Let’s remind soldiers who are still fighting the battle that they are not alone.

 

If you know a military family in need of support, check out military one source .

 PTSD is taking our soldiers at an alarming rate. 1 military service member and 22 veterans per day.   Please consider joining my friend’s battle for awareness at  Valhalla can wait. You’re likes and shares will send the message to our troops that they are not alone.

 

 

For better or worse. No but’s about it.

“If mommy’s & daddy’s decide to split up, where do the kids live?”

I look up from my book to find my 7- year- old Madi waiting for my response to a heart breaking question.

“Well, part of the time they live with their mommy and part of their time with their daddy.  But you don’t have to worry about that.  Daddy and I will never divorce.  We will always work things out.”

It satisfied her for the moment, but I’m ashamed to say I had a nagging hint of doubt in my gut as she walked away.  What if I just told my child a lie?

This world is a scary place.  The last thing I want my kids to worry about is whether or not my husband and I are in it for the long haul.  When I said my vows, I meant them.  So did he.  Not just for now.  We meant forever.

But :

Sometimes, we go in our own direction and misplace our priorities.

Sometimes, I just get mad and there is no room for forgiveness. Only justice.

Sometimes, I don’t like my husband very much.

Sometimes, my husband doesn’t like me very much.

Sometimes, I forget that marriage isn’t all about me.  It’s about us.

The biggest injustice we serve to our kids is the idea that love and marriage is easy.  The belief that if you’re in love, everything will fall into place. If it doesn’t come easy, it just isn’t meant to be.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We allude ourselves to believe otherwise.

The reality is this.  Sometimes marriages don’t make it.  Even those marriages that are cleaved to God.  Kids find their time and loyalty being split between their mom and dad.  And kids in traditional homes?  They have doubts.  This is a scary thing.

But I’m not going to allow  reality to determine my end result.

Marriage is under attack.  As mom & dad, it is our job to affirm each other and our kids.  It is our job to let them know that we are not going to give up.  That we are going to weather the crazy that life sends our way. It means that sometimes, things are really, really good and sometimes, we are holding on to God with the very tips of our fingernails.  That’s what families do.  That’s what healthy marriages do. Our kids need to see us weather the storms.

My but’s cannot get in the way of confidently choosing the vow I made to my husband.  Those but’s create cracks of doubt in our family foundation.  Little stress fractures that threaten overall infrastructure. My but’s create insecurity and doubt.

The thing about a confident choice is that it determines the course of our life direction.  If I am not confident in my choice, I can be swayed.  But, when I know the direction I am going, it will take a lot to keep me from reaching my desired destination. My confident choice will determine how I spend my time.  My confident choice will determine the value I place on the people in my life. My confident choice will keep me from wasting time on people & things that don’t matter.

My spouse and my kids need my confident choice about marriage. My husband is my partner for life.  No but’s about it.

 

 

 

Game Face.

A Wife of noble character, who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
                                                                                                                     Proverbs 31:10-12

As we pull into the drive on Friday night, we notice that our neighbor is at it again!  She is a single mom of three girls.  She works full time and spends her expendable hours at ball diamonds following her athletic girls.  But Friday evening, she was using her precious time at home to tackle her overgrown lawn.  Every few feet, the mower would choke out and die.  She would roll her eyes, sigh in exasperation and start it all over again.  My husband, who has been in conflict about this since we moved in, says, ” I would be happy to help her but I don’t know how to approach her.  She’s wearing the look.”  “The Look?”  “Yes, She’s strong like you and she wears a look that says, “I’ve got it all under control.”  Ah. “The Look”.  I know it all to well.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done a great job in cluing my husband into what “The Look” really means.  “The Look”, otherwise known as our Game Face. You know, the one we wear when our list of things to do is longer than the hours we have available in our day.   The one that means we’re stressed to the max and ready to break,  but will not show it.  No ma’am.  The look that sends our husband scrambling to the nearest easy chair he can find.  He knows that when “The Look” comes out, there is no way in heck he is going to win.  No matter how hard he tries.  Ladies, what a tragedy.

When I think about my game face, I realize there is no one I can blame but myself.  My need to appear in control takes over and I allow my pride into the driver seat.  I, under no circumstances, can ask for help.  Nor can I accept it when it is offered.  It would appear that I am weak and unable to manage all of my responsibilities.  It would appear that I am some how lazy.  Possibly that I don’t manage my time well.  Or I’m spoiled, because heaven forbid my man would willingly do something as trivial as our laundry.  It means that I am falling short of the high standards that are expected of my.  But my question is, Who?  Who places these standards on me to look, act and behave in this manner of insanity?  The answer is simple.  Its me.

Mother’s Day weekend is approaching.  The Day in which Mom’s are celebrated for their Superhero abilities.  Or is that really it?  This week, when I am tempted to put on my game face, I am going to make a conscious effort to instead ask for help.  Or, I am going to pleasantly accept it when it is offered.  And, when the project is completed, I am going to say “Thank you!”, even when it may or may not be completed up to my normally high standards.   This Mom is tired of trying to keep up the Game Face.  As Flylady says, “Housework, done imperfectly, still blesses your family.”

“If I was your mom, I could understand the conversation you are both trying to have with me right now.  But I’m not, so you will have to speak one at a time!”               David Landrus

Til Death to Us Part, Even if I Have to Kill Him…

“As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one.”  This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.  So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  Eph. 5:31-33

Wow!  Time has certainly gotten away from me this last month!  I am thankful for a day off with house all to myself today.  It’s funny how I spend my precious time off doing the exact thing I despise- cleaning.  However, I cannot find ultimate relaxation unless certain things are in order.  As I was getting ready to sweep the front room, I spied my personal mountain of shoes by the front door.  I was in the process of sorting them into pairs when the thought occurred to me, “If this was my husband, he would have picked up the pile and just thrown them in front of my closet door.”  Which led me to my next thought.  “What is it about my collection of shoes that drives him crazy?”  Actually, I’m not sure if it’s my collection of shoes, or purses that drives him nuttier.  I used to bring a new purse home once every six weeks.  He used to call it, “that time of the month.”  (Deep sigh, rolling my eyes).  BTW, he swears he can hear me roll my eyes in the dark.

But, the quirks go both ways.  I am blessed to have married a man who not only knows how to operate the washing machine, but he also folds the clothes that come out of it (except socks?).   The problem being, his idea of folding and mine are two very different things.  We only have a set amount of space to work with in our dresser drawers.   So, the clothes must go in neatly in order to come out neatly.  I was refolding my stack of clothes the other day when he commented, ” I remember going through this when we first got married.  At least I figured out how to fold the washrags and towels…”  Well, sometimes. 

David and I met my freshman year of high school.  He is 2 1/2 years ahead of me in age.  We got married just two months after my high school graduation.  To say we have grown up together would be an understatement.  When I turned twenty-eight, I began joking with him that we had been together over half of my life.  Now, the joke is on me.  He is turning 34 this weekend, which makes us officially together for half of HIS life.  By all rights, our marriage shouldn’t have made it.  We were kids when we said, “I DO”.  To be honest, we didn’t even know what “I Do” meant.  And to this day, we are still figuring it out.  I remember my Dad telling my Mom, “They are getting ready to make the same mistake we made.”  I am thankful to him for that comment.  At times, it was the only thing that kept me from giving up.

I love how Ephesians refers to marriage as ” A Great Mystery”.  It is indeed a mystery how two very different people can become “one” in marriage.  The bible calls me, as a woman, to respect my husband, even when he is yelling at the TV because his football team is down in points.  The bible calls him to “Love” me, even when I am in the bathroom throwing a fit about Madi using my brand new bottle of Clinique foundation to finger paint.   Marriage is about fully accepting your partner, no matter what.  And with two unique individuals trying to become one, its bound to get messy sometimes.  Okay, I’ll bite- its messy most of the time- especially when kids and clinique are involved.

This year is our lucky 13, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  We are coming to a stage where I know exactly what he’s thinking even before it leaves his mouth.  A stage where I am allowed to be authentically me without fear or condemnation.  I pray my husband can say the same.  The great mystery is this.  God gives us marriage on earth to demonstrate what our relationship as a church should look like with Christ. Christ loves the church as his bride.   The word love in Ephesians 5 is agapao, which translates to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, and to love dearly.  And as the Church, we are to respect our Beloved Savior, Jesus.  It is not something that we can just give up on, even when times are tough.  And sometimes, its tough.

The next time you find your shoes thrown into pile in front of your closet door, remember this, the design for marriage is the same design Christ uses in illustrating his love for the church.   How can you unconditionally show love to your spouse?  Start today.  You won’t regret it.