15 September 2017
When I read this post from T.J. Mousetis last year, I immediately knew I wanted to do the same thing for our five year wedding anniversary. I love T.J.’s boldness and honesty in sharing that he thinks his marriage is awesome. I also love that he is so open and unashamed about the work that can be done within it. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. That’s not a message I hear often, but it’s one that fires me up.
One of the truest things that’s ever been said is that you can’t change anyone but yourself. If I want my marriage to be even more awesome on our ten year anniversary than it is now, that starts with me. To that end, I submit to you five things I want to work on in my next five years of marriage (I’ve already shared them in a card with John!):
1. Listen to the things he wants me to change, and actually do them. I am extremely guilty of glazing right over John voicing something he doesn’t like or wishes I would do differently, registering it as nagging, and letting it go in one ear and out the other with hardly a second thought. It’s often small things — a specific example that comes to mind is not leaving food in the sink disposal — but they matter enough to him to voice. I am committing to giving him the grace of a response (“yes, I will work on that”) and then ACTUALLY WORKING ON IT. My first thought is to start a new note in my phone so I can remember the things (baby steps!).
2. Maintain patience, kindness, and calm when faced with stressful situations. John and I are typically calm, level-headed people. (Our pediatrician even said to us, “Wow, you two seem very chill for first time parents” at June’s two week visit. Ha!) However, we have this strange but persistent habit of COMPLETELY falling apart when faced with certain stressful situations, including but not limited to missing a turn when driving and loud scenes that draw attention to us (ahem, toddler). I am committing to staying on the same team in these situations by controlling my tone of voice and not holding a grudge when things don’t go my way.
3. Respect and honor his food safety ways. Bear with me here, people. I know this might sound silly, but it is very, very real. On the spectrum of germaphobia, I am at one end (the eat things off the floor end) and John is at the other. Instead of teasing him, raising my eyebrows, or getting into arguments over whether food in the refrigerator can still be eaten (one of our most common causes of tiffs), I am committing to to respecting and honoring his preferences for how our kitchen is run without groaning or complaint.
4. Hug every day upon reentry. Simple enough :) We do this often, but I want it to be a rock-solid, never-fail, indelibly-printed-in-June’s-mind kind of thing. Home should be the best place to be, and a warm welcome goes a long way to making it so.
5. Grow in my relationship with God the Father, particularly through prayer. If I am constantly trying to be more like Jesus, my marriage will improve. If I want to be more like Jesus, I need to talk to him often and listen to him even more. This is already something I’m working on (and I’m sure it will be a lifelong pursuit until we meet face to face!) but it deserves a mention here, too.
Marriage is unique: in our case, it’s two imperfect people helping each other toward perfection. These things won’t happen overnight and they might not happen in five years, but I will try and try again (with joy and by the grace of God!) because I love my husband and I love my marriage.
Thank you for always being so encouraging, friends! It is a joy to share here. xo
P.S. Intention number six: take more photos of just the two of us?! I could not find a single one from this year without June in it…
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!