Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Round and Round We Go

So....does anyone else gets super annoyed when you find that you and your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance are having the same fight over and over and over? I do! It's so utterly infuriating!

You take all this time and energy into working through a problem...you talk, you cry, you try to communicate well (which works off and on for us) you get frustrated that the other person seems to be speaking martian...and they feel the same about you. Then after 10 hours of going round and round about "feelings" and "needs" and "compromises" and "solutions"...you both feel exhausted but the problem seems to have been solved. Hurray!

Then next week hits....and you find that you and your significant other are having the same exact fight about the same exact thing again! And it happens again the next week and the next week. What is going on?!

I don't know. It baffles me. I was hanging out with my girlfriends the other night and they were giving me some sound relationship advice and we were also a bit giggly (well I don't really giggle...but that's neither here nor there) ...we were laughy let's say.....and my friend busts out with, "Why do I always have to be the one to change? Why is it me that is "too emotional" and why can't he change?" Then my other friend goes, "Yeah, I tell my husband I was this way when you married me. I am an 'as is' honey!"

We had a good laugh. But I think it's how I feel a lot...and how Jake feels a lot. I don't want to change....it's too much work and it makes me feel bad about myself. I'd rather like me thank you very much. Maybe we both need to change....maybe that's why fights happen over and over, because neither of us wants to change and the way to get out of the cycle is for both of us to make effort.

I can see Jake nodding his head right now and going..."Um yeah...I say that all the time!" And he does. And he's right. But the only way to make it work, is for both of us to be responsible for ourselves. I don't think it will help to keep tabs on the other person...that just becomes nagging which isn't super fun to do or receive. I think we each as individuals need to take responsibility for change and work at making healthy choices for our marriage.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Change is in the Air

Hey everyone,

We have just signed with Living Word Literary Agency this past week and have begun working with one of their agents to publish a book on marriage that is along the same lines of our blog. We are really excited!!!

Our agent had some great advice on how to reach more people with what we feel God has placed on our hearts about marriage and part of that was changing our title to help draw in more people. Thus, our new title (and Facebook group title and blog title) is The Holymess of Marriage.

Nothing will be changing as far as the content we have been blogging about, we promise!

Two helps we'd love from you all if you don't mind:

1) If you have any topics or issues that you'd love to read about, please let us know!! PLEASE!

2) If you wouldn't mind helping to spread the word about our blog to friends and family, we'd greatly appreciate that. The blog world and Facebook are both things that publishers will sit up and take notice of today.

Thanks so much! We're excited for more great stuff to come.

Jake and Melissa

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Melissa's Flag

So Melis and I did this little book called All About Us about two years ago. The book is a Q and A book for couples to go through that help you get to know each other and create some fun conversations. We found it yesterday and we looking through it and were quite amused. In particular, there was one question that asked us to draw a flag that best represented our personalities. We got a huge laugh out of the flag that Melissa drew...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Down Time vs. Up Time

It seems like leisure time should be the least of anyone's worries when they get married. The assumption is that you will continue to hang out the same way you have always hung out while you were dating. For most married couples, that isn't the case...and in fact, finding down time that fits us both has been a struggle at times.

See, when we were living separately we had a lot of extra time away from one another to rest and relax in ways that best fit us. When we spent time together we were both coming in refreshed and with lots to give emotionally to our relationship. In some ways, the time that we spent apart from one another was just as important our time spent together. We didn't really give much thought to that when we got married and, again, just assumed all of the time spent together would be as fun as when we were dating.

Now though, because we live together and spend more time with one another it has been harder to find time to relax that is conducive to both of us.

For me, relaxing usually involves a screen - TV shows, movies, X-Box, computer, etc. It helps me turn my mind off and just be.

For Melissa, relaxing usually involves total quiet, a good book and maybe a nice bath.

Now I like reading and quiet at times but it doesn't normally relax me, instead it makes me think too much. My mind starts racing because I'm just "sitting" and I can't chill out. In the same way, Melissa enjoys a good movie and watching TV (still trying to get her to play X-Box with me...) but can only take so much before she has a headache.

Often times, we both get frustrated at each other when we are clashing with how to spend our time. Melissa gets mad that I always have to be "doing" something. I get frustrated because she doesn't want to do anything. The cycle goes on and on...but we both have specific needs for down time but just experience it differently.

In some ways, I think I would say Melissa needs down-time (not doing anything). I, on the other hand, need up-time (doing things that keep my mind quiet).

At first this was hard because we almost had an attitude that we needed to spend as much time together as possible but I think we are beginning to learn that alone time is so important at times. In fact, it actually helps our relationship because we are both able to put more into the time that we do have together because we are more refreshed and relaxed coming into it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What Did I Do?!?!?!

You know one of the things people really don't tell you when you're engaged or newly married? They don't tell you that at some time, usually within a year, you and your spouse will get to a point where the phrase, "What the heck did I do?" will be running through your minds.

Yes, it happens. It happens a lot. The funny thing about marriage is it brings up faults and failings in a way that not many other relationships can. I can't even count how many times after I have tried understanding Jake, tried "actively listening" to his views and repeated them back to him (like all good counselors and marriage books tell you to do) that I have then said, "Wow...ok....so your point doesn't make any sense, it's selfish and mean, you don't care about me at all...why am I even married to such a horrible person? How can you be SUCH a bad husband?"

Jake will agree with me about this. I've said it and I've thought it numerous times! The other day...even after all our counseling, talking, working, reading, and introspective discussions about healthy marriage habits....we were having a disagreement and I was losing my cool because I was SO right and Jake was SO awful and unreasonable (said with sarcasm) and I uttered the words, "If I had no morals...I would divorce your ass right now!" So mature of me.

But in a sense, it's true. It IS my morality that keeps me committed to Jake when I feel he's being a nut job. And it's Jake's morality that keeps him committed to me when I'm being less than wonderful as well. Not many people talk about it...but questioning things at times is totally normal. It's totally normal to think, "I have made such a big, bad mistake." We're all sinful and marriage creates a kind-of Petree Dish where these sins come out and mix around with each other. It's normal to be taken aback by your spouse's sins...I promise they are taken aback at yours! However, it's commitment that marriage promises before God and before others....it's this commitment we make that reminds us, reminds me, that while I don't always feel love towards Jake and feel like being married...I promised to.

My feelings go up and down. My feelings sometimes tell me that I would have been so much happier with this guy or that guy. My feelings at other times tell me I am so in love with Jake and he is the best husband in the world (I actually do think he is a great husband). Feelings ebb and flow. Many times when I want out of marriage, I can realize later that feeling is false because I don't really want out...I am just angry or frustrated about something and escaping seems easier than working it out.

God knew what He was doing when He made marriage a commitment and a promise for better or for worse. Better and worse happen. But I think if more people were open about the fact that all of us at some time or another question, "Did I marry the right person?" or "What did I get myself into?" It would help more marriages survive. Because then when those feelings and thoughts come up, it doesn't mean it's time to move on or to find another spouse that will make one happy and fulfilled. It would be just an accepted normal part of life and would only signal that there was an issue to work out....rather than signaling that the marriage was potentially over.

Does this make any sense? What do ya'll think about this?

-Melissa

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sabbath Rest

I'm busy. We're busy. Oftentimes too busy.

Our church this year is celebrating "Sabbath Rest" and taking a break from many of the programs we normally run. We are focusing on quality relationships with each other and with God. It's great in theory....but hard in practice.

Does my marriage have Sabbath Rest? I have been thinking about this lately. Being newly married brought alot of expectations to the table. We had to be disgustingly happy, having sex all the time, making a home, succeeding in our careers, having an awesome spiritual relationship together and individually, spend time with friends so they did not assume we'd "forgotten" them in our newly married bliss....and generally everything had to be rosy and wonderful. What a lot of work! And when any one of those things became less than the high expectations called for, we had to expend even more energy so things would be "ok".

Now that we're almost 4 years into it...we're still doing this I think. Now Jake and I just consume ourselves with the expectations for this next step in life and marriage...a house...a baby (no I'm not pregnant)...a retirement fund....another car...career success. When does it stop?

It stops when we decide we want it to. I think all those things are wonderful. But as I have been pondering, I have decided that they are not necessary for me to have a meaningful life or wonderful marriage. What Sabbath Rest would mean for my marriage would be for me to enjoy quiet times together of doing absolutley nothing. It would mean appreciating a fight as not something that signifies the end of the world...but rather something that brings Jake and I closer to intimacy and understanding. Can I trust God with all the expectations and enjoy the time He has given me with the people I care about in my life? That is rest I think.

The things I need to work on are spending time with people I love, spending more time with God, letting go of "where I should be in my life right now" and simply enjoying where I find myself, and trusting God to work out all the kinks...He always does :)

-Melissa

Hilarious Quote of The Week: "I'm not funny, ya wanna know why? We're going to have kids and they're going to be just like you and one day I'm going to kill myself and you'll come home and there will be a note that says 'The Kirchers Killed Me'."
Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.