Run to Your Jesus and be Nice to Your Man

October 20, 2014 by Nama

Marriage by His design is my second deepest heart passion.

To know and love my Saviour, prayerfully pointing others to HIS worthiness is number one.

i come from a home that suffered the hell of divorce twice; i watched my mamma persevere through two marriages that brought unfaithfulness and betrayal as she parented 9 children, primarily alone. Having watched my mom’s heartbreak I headed towards adulthood pleading with my Lord for a marriage that would last, a marriage that would cause others to praise our worthy Lord and Saviour. Continue reading

Marriage Monday~Contentment, Grace and Forgiveness

August 25, 2014 by Nama

Each day i see a bit more clearly that our marriage is the most important relationship in which I can be working out my Faith.

If my Lord has promised it or he has commanded it there is no more important place for me to practice it than in my relationship with Tim.

Philippians 4 is a favorite passage of mine, what does this passage look like in my marriage? Continue reading

Love and Respect

marriage-commitment-communication-fight-challenges-love-forever.jpg //namafish.comAugust 11, 2014 by Nama

If i need to know i am loved and cherished to thrive in our marriage, my man needs to know and feel he is respected.

There is a great book that talks about the need of a women to know she is loved and the need of a man to know he is respected.  These needs run deeply in each of us, so much so that this author uses the analogy of a hose providing our means of survival being pinched shut when we choose to withhold respect from our men.  This may be the area i have most miserably failed in our 33+ years of  Happily Ever after.  My natural bent is not towards a quiet and gentle spirit, nor do i easily consider my opinion as having little value to this world.  i think the best way for me to share what this respect looks like is to share some ways i have fallen short in respecting my man.

1. Be Nice.  Stinkin, be nice!  Much of our marriage i have functioned in a “witchy” state of mind.  Without getting all psycho as to why or how this has come to be i will just say, We wife’s need to be nice!   Treat your man as kind and considerate as you treat the dentist who is about to extract a tooth.  You don’t have to ‘feel” kind to be kind.  If i am in a “mood” Tim is bound to be the one i blame and Tim is going to get my wrath regardless of how uninvolved he is in the issue of angst.

2. Be Really Nice.  Be Stinkin Nice!  If there is one place and person you need to invest all of your very best, it is in your man.  Don’t withhold kindness, being cautious and guarded.  Compliment him on at least one great thing he does today.  “Thank you so much for getting up and going to work to put a roof over our heads today!”  would be a great place to start. Go out of your way and comfort zone to make coming home to you and your home his favorite part of the day.

3.  Tone of voice.  You all know we can say “Why did you choose to put your shoes over there?”  In a way that clearly and loudly communicates respect and honor; in a way that says “We are on the same team.”  You can say those exact same words in a way that questions intelligence, implies disapproval and erodes the foundation of respect your marriage needs to be built on.  There is nothing that needs to be said with a condescending, judging and doubting tone.  Don’t do it girls, you are shooting yourself in the foot or perhaps more accurately in the heart.  A man who hears disapproval and lack of respect will quickly learn how to avoid the bearer of those messages, if you want your man to pursue cherishing you… you better commit to communicating deep respect for him.  i speak from painful experience here.  Sassy is my forte’.  It is not good ladies, not good!!

This is just a start my girls, but it is enough to start!

This weekend i had the joy of visiting with my mamma and little sister.  Between the three of us we have a lot of years of marriage stacked up.  We have a divorce or two, we have a lot of tears and heartache and doubting and questioning but when it was all shuffled through and sorted out between the donuts and fresh brewed Keurig, we all agreed…we have to respect our men, we have to read and seek help if the path seems unclear. Some days we need to be reminded that the covenant we made to forever was not a vow to happiness, or easy or i feel “in love” , it was a covenant to a Holy God who has promised he will lead the way and He will provide the Grace if we will trust and obey.  There is little that is sweeter than to hear my 70 something mom ache to pass along these truths to her grandbabies as they are making their own lifetime commitments to forever.

No one ever promised anyone a rose garden with no thorns, but we are promised beauty from ashes and eternal joy if we are willing to commit to the sweet with the thorns, Forever.

Determine to respect your man today…be intentional, be generous, be the girl who fell in love with him and find something in him you know he needs to hear you value, then tell him!

 

 

Cherish

August 4, 2014 by Pappa

Pre-Ramble by Nama…last Monday i wrote about Cherishing this moment  here , i asked Tim to help us look at the practical of Cherishing and Treasuring our spouse this week.  I thought we would write something together, as is typical Tim did such a grand slam job there is no need for me to ramble.  Enjoy…Cherish by My Man. 

There is an old tune by “The Association” that reads . . .

Cherish is the word I use to describe,
All the feeling that I have hiding here for you inside,
You don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I had told you,
You don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I could hold you,
You don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I could
Mold you into someone who could
Cherish me as much as I cherish you.

Although this tune is about a man courting a woman, there are some truths that can be gleaned here for the married man from this poor fellow’s feeble attempt to put his feelings into actions.

Feelings to Action – That is the conundrum that all married men face.  So we see this poor rookie sap struggling with bad communications skills, regret, and awkward attempts to “fix things”.  Oh wait, that’s me after 30 years of marriage J. Continue reading

We Have This Moment…that’s It

July 28, 2014 by Nama

This morning my heart aches for a friend who said goodbye to her husband over the weekend. A few years ago in this steamy summer season Tim and i stood at the family photo table in the foyer of a little rural church hurting with another friend who had just said goodbye to the wife of his youth.  As we looked at each image chronicling the years and love they had shared we tried to come to terms with how quickly one face can be ripped from those images.  As we stood side by side we each knew… “Something has to change!”  We knew in a way we would not escape that we had to find the path to treasuring one another and cherishing each moment we were gifted. If it was really true that as quickly as we had said the words “I do” it could all be snatched from our hands and hearts we could not waste another moment of this precious together life. Continue reading

Why We Fight and How We Fight, Part 2

July 7,2014 by Pappa and Namamarriage-commitment-communication-fight-challenges-love-forever.jpg //namafish.com

Or as Tim prefers to call it…Our Rules of Engagement.

If you missed part 1 with rules 1-5 read this first.

 

 When you do things, do not let ·selfishness [rivalry; selfish ambition] or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more ·honor [regard; value] to others than to yourselves.    Philippians 2:3 (EXB)

 

Talk, discuss,fight, argue,disagree or communicate… Whatever you call it, you have to commit to engaging one another continually, both with your joy and with your heartache. The alternative is stuffing, piling up old laundry…none of it is good and all of it will destroy. Continue reading

Why We Fight and How We Fight

June 30, 2014 by Pappa with Nama marriage-commitment-communication-fight-challenges-love-forever.jpg //namafish.com

Or as Tim prefers to call it…Our Rules of Engagement.

 When you do things, do not let ·selfishness [rivalry; selfish ambition] or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more ·honor [regard; value] to others than to yourselves.    Philippians 2:3 (EXB)

After Tim and i had finished writing our thoughts on fighting i went for a run, as i strolled our yard cooling down i came upon many examples of our God’s amazing  plan to  teach us patience, hard work and commitment.

Marriage-commitment-husband-wife-communicate.jpg //namafish.com

The hoped for product may not even be recognizable in the early stages of nurturing a relationship, but with enough rain, sunshine and time there will be no mistaking the beauty of the giant fall pumpkin.

Talk, discuss,fight, argue,disagree or communicate… Whatever you call it, you have to commit to engaging one another continually, both with your joy and with your heartache. The alternative is stuffing it and piling up dirty laundry…none of it is good and all of it will destroy.

When couples get engaged and start preparing for marriage they often start to plan and envision what their married lives will look like.  They frame out timelines for careers, moves, and children.  The wise ones discuss financial goals; who will pay the bills, how they will prioritize their free cash, what percentages will be saved for retirement.  If they don’t have a hard and fast plan at least they have some general ideas and try at a minimum to get on the same page.

Few, very few, plan for conflict.  It may be touched on in their pre-marital counseling, but it’s awkwardly glossed over like the fast talking at the end of a pharmaceutical commercial. Rarely is any couple fluent in healthy fight.  Maybe it would seem counter intuitive and planning for conflict somehow would seem as odd as a lifeboat drill would have seemed at the departure of the Titanic’s first trans-Atlantic crossing.  A little more crisis planning prior to that fateful April night may have saved hundreds of lives.  Likewise in marriage if we have a “plan” for conflict before it happens, it can be handled in a healthy, pre-orchestrated way and it makes that conflict feel like a normal, healthy part of the relationship.

Kaye and I didn’t necessarily have a plan, but through hard work and a little luck, we have developed some guidelines that have helped us through conflict.  As with most things in our lives I will build the framework and Kaye can decorate it with feelings and emotions.

Marriage-commitment-husband-wife-communicate.jpg //namafish.com

The tiny sprouts of promised fruit will eventually produce a sweet and delicious harvest with a little care.

First, there needs to be a foundation of trust.  During the emotions of heated conflict things can be said and insinuations made that smolder long after the skirmish is over.  If there is not a solid foundation of trust it doesn’t take much of a breeze to re-ignite that ember.

I laid that foundation early on in our marriage by telling Kaye that “Divorce is not an option for us.  I said I was committed to this marriage and we had no other options than to work through our issues or live miserably.  By removing that doubt in her mind we poured a solid foundation on which to build.  From that starting point we have developed our “Rules of Engagement”.

Kaye-When Tim says he laid a foundation, he spoke to me in a tone of gentle love and commitment.  He was not laying down the law or demanding something from me that i did not want. It was an pledge of commitment to me not a demand put on me.  Having said that, in this case i do believe Tim had the right and responsibility to set this standard for our home and i was called to be his helpmate in remaining faithful to the vows we had taken together before our Lord.

1.   Forgive your spouse’s transgressions for that day before you get out of bed in the morning – whatever that may turn out to be.  This attitude alone diffuses most conflict before it can ignite.  

Kaye-This has taken me a while to refine.  It is not so much that I wished to trudge through our Happily Ever After resentful or hating on My Man, i entered our marriage with a trunk of baggage which left me always expecting to be wounded or disappointed. i woke each morning ready to defend my position and stand my ground for the sake of survival.  It is tough to have a soft, forgiving, trusting heart when you come out with your dukes up and believe with all of your heart that your happiness is dependent on your own ability to get “this” right.

2.   Deal with things early.  The longer you let them build up the more intense they will become.

Kaye-i have had to drag Tim into this skill.  Tim is:  1. An extreme introvert, any relational engagement or communication is not natural or easy for him.  2.Tim is a shallow coper (see Larry Crab’s book, Inside out),  meaning he would rather smooth a sweet fudgy glaze over the discomfort than deal with the issue if it will require us entering a combat zone for any amount of time.      

3.  Getting started is always the hard part – I can feel it coming – Kaye withdraws.  As soon as I see it coming, I need to find out what is going on in her mind.  She has to be willing to “come out with it” rather than “heaping coals on my head” by hours of the cold shoulder.  Likewise I must be willing to be honest and not “stuff it”.  That ends up just making me irritable and she knows that there is something there no matter how hard I try to hide it.

Kaye-This has come with nitty gritty commitment and elbow grease for us.  Who knew saying the words “i am having a hard time.” could take more effort than a two year kitchen remodel?   We learned the hard way, once i went “on strike” for about 2 weeks, silent cold side by side survival in the same bed, parenting 4 children together, neither wise nor productive.

Marriage-commitment-husband-wife-communicate.jpg //namafish.com

Sometimes the weeds are all you see, have eyes to see the hidden beauty.

4.  We are not allowed to use the terms “Never” or “Always” in these conversations.  (You NEVER help me around the house.  You ALWAYS leave your cloths lying around.)  First, it’s probably not true, and secondly it only takes you down rabbit holes, lengthening or side tracking the real issues.

Kaye-don’t use “you” phrasing; e.g., “you make me angry because you leave all your dirty dishes in the living room.”  Rather use i and i feel, “it feels to me like you typically choose to leave your dirty dishes sitting around for me to clean-up, i feel unappreciated when you do this.”

5.   (The hardest one for me) Do not be defensive as your spouse begins the discussion.  Whatever they are feeling at the moment will have some element of truth.  Whether 5% of the time or 95% of the time – allow them to state how the situation feels to them.

Marriage-commitment-husband-wife-communicate.jpg //namafish.com

Year one of effort= nothing, year two=8 scrawny scabby apples, three years of consistent effort doing the same things over and over and the promised harvest looks amazing.

Rules 6-10 coming next Monday. Tim has already written them, they are good!! Part 2 here.

And finally, familiarize yourself with “Love Languages”.  Find out what your spouses is as well as your own.  Giving love to them in their own language will communicate your love and commitment to them with far greater impact than random acts of affections that are not in their native tongue.  The 5 Love Languages are Words Of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch, this so very helpful.

You can find out what your languages are here:  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

There is a library of Love Language books available here:  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resources/books/

Really great resource for learning Marriage Communication: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication_and_conflict.aspx