30 January 2017
We are not perfect for each other, we are growing perfect together.
Though John and I have always had in common that which is most important to us — what C.S. Lewis called the “secret thread” – I think there’s something else that’s helped keep us together for twelve years, and that is that we’ve committed to growing towards each other. Towards each other, not away from each other, and not just side by side.
In Tim Keller’s book “The Meaning of Marriage,” he quotes Stanley Hauerwas:
I think this is very true. I wouldn’t necessarily describe John as a “stranger,” but we’ve both changed in the twelve years we’ve been together (see here for one example). This is inevitable: if you’re with someone for any period of time, they will change. You can either fight this, ignore it, or embrace it. (I happen to think high school sweethearts have a leg up on everyone else, because when you start dating when you’re 17, you KNOW you’re going to change!)
Tim Keller goes on to write:
When you inevitably change, you have the choice of growing toward your partner or away from him. At every juncture, we’ve tried to grow toward each other, though always imperfectly, and it has led to joy and beauty we never would have known had we dug our heels in.
We are not perfect for each other, but we are committed to perfecting each other… and that makes us perfect for each other.
P.S. I just made a new category here on EFM: love + marriage. If you’d like to read more of my musings on our relationship, that’s where you can find them :)
15 September 2016
It’s become somewhat of a tradition for me to offer a few thoughts on our wedding anniversary. Year one I shared two things that had changed in our first year of marriage. Year two I shared a few pieces of marriage advice. Year three I shared about serving each other. And on our last dativersary, we talked about marrying the kind one.
This year, I wanted to share some advice from the priest who officiated Lisa and Dave’s wedding.
(Sidenote: Isn’t being invited to a wedding the greatest?! Not only do you get to celebrate with dear ones on one of the most momentous days of their life, possibly see far-flung friends and family members, twist and shout on a dance floor, and get dressed up, but, if you’re already married, you get to be reminded of the beauty and sacredness of your own commitment. And sometimes, apparently, you even get marriage advice!)
Anyway, I took several notes on my iPhone throughout their priest’s homily (which is pretty impressive in and of itself), but over the last year and a half I’ve continually returned to one. I’m paraphrasing, but this was the gist: “Human love runs dry, but divine love never does. Every day, ask for a portion of Jesus’ love for your spouse, and do you think he will give it to you? Of course!” There are several things I love about this advice:
— I love that it reminds me of the great love the Father and Son have for John, and for me. Seeing him through their eyes instead of my own is always a fresh view.
— I love that I have access to a well much deeper than my own. Even if I am predisposed to be grumpy or tired or stubborn or snippety, I need only to ask — and truly want — just a piece of Jesus’ patience, kindness, gentleness, and generous spirit, and it will be given to me.
— I love that it reminds me of the goodness of Jesus, how good his love is, and what a perfect example he is for all of my interactions every day. Just the smallest portion of his love is better than mine could ever be.
Tonight we are heading out for Italian at a newish restaurant in Durham, just the two of us. I can’t wait to get dressed up and spend time with my favorite person, reminiscing over the last four years and dreaming about the next four!
P.S. Should you want to read more about our wedding – you are in luck! It is one of my most favorite topics :) Most posts can be found here, and our (biased, but) amazing wedding film is here.
P.P.S. All of these photos are by Tanja Lippert, from our ceremony. Again, I’m biased, but she actually is the most talented wedding photographer of all time – or at least close to it :)
26 August 2016
John and I don’t go on a lot of dates, or we go on dates all the time — depends on how you figure it :) I generally don’t consider going on a hike, heading to a swimming hole, going to a concert or a movie, or even getting dressed up for a fancy dinner as a date. That all just seems like doing life with my husband. Maybe that’s what a date is when you’re married?? Anyway, we recently tried something new, and if you’re looking for a “date” idea, this might be it :)
Last weekend, we decided to do a dessert crawl in downtown Raleigh. We started at 5pm at our favorite patisserie, lucettegrace. Triangle friends, if you haven’t been here, absolutely put it on your list — SO GOOD. We split the Videri Chocolate Cream Pie (dark chocolate cremeux, almond shortbread, brown butter cocoa nib custard) the Blueberries + Cream (vanilla cheesecake, blueberry mousse, pistachio cake, almond cake, blueberry compote), and a citrus agua fresca.
We walked around the block a few times (June was in the stroller!) before heading to our next destination, Bittersweet. Their seasonal peach and blackberry cobbler (with pie crust “fries”!) was a delicious second course.
A few more laps, and we were ready for our last sweet of the evening, at Treat. They have a kiddie scoop that is practically thimble-sized, making it the perfect final stop on our sugar quest (though John opted for two scoops!!).
By 7pm, we were back in the car and headed home to tuck June into bed. Once she was asleep, we ate a small (healthy) dinner. The novelty of eating dessert first, combined with walking Raleigh’s summery streets, made for a fun evening out (and, no babysitter was required).
I’m curious: If you’re in a long-term relationship, what do you consider a “date”? Every fun activity? Maybe an activity that one person plans? Or one that simply has advance planning? Something expensive? Something fancy? I’d love to hear your criteria!
29 January 2016
I’m working on June’s birth story, and it seems all other posts have gotten backed up while I work on that one. However, I couldn’t let the eleventh anniversary of my and John’s first date pass without a bit of notice. There’s just one thought I want to share at this juncture, and that is: for a happy life and marriage, marry the kind one.
The one who has never met a cat he doesn’t love, or a cat who doesn’t love him back. The one who will spend hours with your sister helping her set up a budget and cheering her on in her savings goals – and let her tag along on dates in high school. The one who records “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” on the guitar and sends it to his niece for her birthday. The one who walks through his day whistling, who hauls brush at your family’s cottage while on vacation without complaint. The one your parents love. The one who will be off like a rocket at your request for more water, apple juice, jello, popsicles while in the hospital. And the one who, as my friend Rhiannon said, will smile at you like you’re the most beautiful person in the world while you’re wearing mesh underwear and holding a crying baby at 4am a few hours after you give birth.
Yep, that’s the best advice I’ve got :)
29 December 2015
Hello, friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!
Yesterday we waved goodbye to John’s family after several days together at our home. When planning for this visit several months ago, I have to say, at the same time as I was completely gung-ho (I will almost NEVER say no to loved ones coming to visit us!) I was also a little nervous, because I didn’t know how tired I would be at 37 weeks pregnant or how eight adults and two littles would feel about sharing a house for several days. I’m happy to say, however, that despite the lack of sun (but with the bonus of balmy temperatures in the mid-70s!), our time together was really special. John and I loved seeing our niece and nephew, we loved getting outside every day (our crew walked eight miles on Sunday!!), and it was very sweet to have so much time to just chat with our wise siblings and siblings-in-law as we face down baby girl’s due date.
Clearly we need to clean our windows… but this one was too good not to share! Nephew was a big fan of Uncle John :)
I usually feel a bit blue after we say goodbye to family, but this week holds so much promise and potential that it’s hard to feel down. I have most of the week off work and am planning to use the time to 1) relax and 2) prepare for the new year. I’m excited to get ahead on an exciting EFM series that will be debuting soon, share where I am with goal setting, finish up a few projects for our girl’s room, and place a last big Amazon order for the supplies we want to have before she arrives. And best of all, tomorrow night John and I have reservations for our end-of-year celebration dinner!
This dinner is a fairly new tradition for us: we just started it last year, inspired by several couples we love. Everyone seems to have their own take on the concept, but we keep things fairly simple. We choose a restaurant with a quiet atmosphere that lends itself to a leisurely dinner. (Bonus points for choosing a spot you don’t go to often, so it feels like more of a special occasion!) You certainly could have your celebration dinner at home, but I find that it’s easier to concentrate, have a deeper conversation, and get into dreaming mode when I’m out of my normal environment.
We bring a notebook and a pen and a few questions to guide us as we reflect and look forward. A few we used last year or will be trying tomorrow:
— What did our family do well this year? What went well for us?
— Where did our family struggle this year? What went poorly for us?
— Where do we want to travel in 2016? We brainstorm possible locations, and start to plot out general months for each trip as we narrow things down.
— Where should we give this year’s charitable grant?
— What are our goals for 2016?
— What new things do we want to try, what adventures do we want to have, or what traditions do we want to continue or start next year?
— How will we define success next year?
— What about our life now do we most want to preserve and carry with us into the new year?
That last question has especially been on my mind and will be informing my goals in a big way with our girl due to arrive very soon. It’s good to have a few different questions, though, as you never know which will resonate and spark the most conversation! Some of these could easily keep us talking for an hour.
And that’s pretty much it! Nothing too complicated, but I think there’s something really important about setting aside time to cheer each other (and your union!) on, to mark progress, and to put the brakes on things that are frustrating you before they become problems.
Do you do your own version of an end-of-year celebration dinner? I’d love to hear!!
P.S. I plan to be back on the blog every day this week, with my PowerSheets progress tomorrow, my 2015 year in review on Thursday, and my 2016 inspiration board on Friday! 2016 goals will go up on Monday.