Monday, July 26, 2010

New Feature & Sleep Stories

We have a new feature up on check it out:

Hey everyone! We just got back from a week in Ocean City, MD. Great fun and relaxation. Nothing super insightful about marriage was learned on this vacation, which was kinda nice because insightful learning can be tiring!

We did have one funny night at 2:30am where I woke up to a loud (very loud) banshee type yell and when I turned on the light I found Jake had fallen off the side of his bed. He was peaking up at me from the floor with these shifty eyes. I sighed and asked him what happened to which I got incoherent replies. So I told him to get up and go back to sleep. The next morning we found out that he was having a dream that flying swordfish were going to impale him.

I never expected to have to sleep in two twin beds when I got married. We push them next to each other so it's mostly like a King. It's not the end of the world, but it does kinda stink at times. However, it's nights like swordfish night that remind me all the reasons we need to do the twin bed thing!! I love Jake...but he's crazy when he sleeps...talking, thrashing, twitching, snoring, and a weird nose/mouth popping noise. Jake loves me, but I'm a crazy light sleeper and I just can't sleep in the same bed with him. We love each other...but we love sleep too! So we make it work, and instead of flying swordfish dreams being a huge fight (like it used to be because we were both so sleep deprived), now we can laugh about it :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Burger Joint Story

So sometimes the fun part of marriage is the mess part right? We're with this person day in - day out....week in - week out. And we get to experience some pretty hilarious stuff with each other. I think this is the greatest, because it's really not that fun to laugh by yourself. And besides, if you do that people think you're crazy.

So I have to share the "Burger Joint Story" because it's just so funny.

Jake took me to this burger joint near us called, "Five Guys Burger and Fries". It's seriously good stuff...all organic I think, but not quite sure on that. We had a nice date gorging ourselves of fattening food (the fries with vinegar are killer!) and headed out the door.

Just as we got outside Jake stepped on my foot, hard. (*Note - this next part contains swearing) It hurt a lot and so I said, "Son of a!!!" OK. Normally I always stop there. I don't like the "B-word" and don't say it. I don't think it's good to swear, but I slip and say things I should not more than I care to admit. Be assured, me and Jesus are working on fixing this particular habit. But anyways, normally I would have just said, "Son of a!!!" and left it at that.

But it really hurt and so the "B" word just slipped out.....but it slipped out delayed by about 30 seconds and well, I yelled it. This is because as I was saying, "Son of a!!" a man almost walked right into me coming into the restaurant. And so my brain went, "No! No! don't swear! Stop!" At the same time it had also told my mouth to say the naughty I ended up yelling the "B" word into this man's face. He looked at me like I had five heads...kinda chuckled...and said, "Uh, hi." Then he left Jake standing on the sidewalk bedside his wife with the crazy mouth.

We laughed so hard we had to sit down on the sidewalk, in front of the restaurant. It was hilarious. And it made me glad to be married. Because if I wasn't married, I wouldn't have a husband to step on my foot so I act like a crazy person in public. But I also wouldn't laugh so much:)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fear and Inconvenience

So, fresh back from Tijuana, Mexico with some of my high school students has got me thinking about the roles of fear and inconvenience in our lives for the sake of community in general, but also for marriage.

On Tuesday, our group got to build a house for a sweet, elderly woman named Maria (on right with one of our group members). She had taken the bus to meet us at the mission where we were saying and because of that, couldn't remember how to get back to where her new house would be built. We drove around, stopping twice for her to jump out and ask for directions and the second time really challenged our groups thinking about community.

We had stopped at a barber shop where she jumped out and talked to a man outside. He explained directions to her and then came up to our van and explained them to me - I speak very little Spanish though and had NO IDEA what he said and simply smiled, nodded my head and said "Si."

As we turned around to head the opposite direction, the man waved us down and actually jumped in the truck with the mission staff and Maria and took us to where we needed to go. It took us about 20 minutes to get there and then he simply said, "Adios" and took the bus back to the barber shop. Our group reflected that this would never happen in our area (Fairfield County, CT) for two reasons:

1) First, either party would always assume the worst about the other. We would hesitate to let a person jump in our car or offer to jump in someone else's car just to help with directions. The thought would be that it would be too dangerous, too much of a risk and just plain stupid. We'd rather drive around frustrated and lost than take the risk of letting a person in our cars.

2) Second, how many people are willing to just stop what they are doing and give up an hour of their time to help someone else? Most of us are too busy and too concerned with whatever we are doing to do this.

With a holy sense of irony, the speaker the next morning ended up speaking about this idea in his talk exclaiming that, "If we want to have true community in our lives, we have to allow ourselves to be inconvenienced. God uses people to reach people and all too often we let so many things get in the way of this."

Both of these lessons about fear and inconvenience apply to marriage in a few ways:

First, within a healthy marriage, there needs to be give give and take. There needs to be sacrifice on the part of both spouses for the other. This really is the definition of being inconvenienced. Being put into a spot or a situation that would not suit your needs or your desires but someone else's. It is never an easy thing to do but it is in these moments that not only help strengthen a marriage but also strengthen ourselves as individuals.

Second, we have learned that a big part of growing in marriage is being willing to admit our own failures and struggles to others. Sometimes, we have to be willing to stop and ask for directions. And then, we have to be willing to let someone jump in the car with us and help us get to where we need to go.

Many of us have fears about sharing the difficulties we face in marriage:

What are people going to think of us?
What if we're the only one's dealing with it?
People will think we are crazy?

We've thought these questions before ourselves. But we can also tell you that when we have gotten past them and opened up to a friend, pastor, counselor or another party we have been met with compassion and got the advice and help we really needed. It's a humbling thing to open up to others but, alas, God uses people to reach people.

Third, flipping around the previous thought and back to the issue of being inconvenienced, as we grow in our own marriages we must be willing to be there for others who are struggling. We have to be willing to be interrupted and stop what we're doing to hop in the car with others and help them find their way.

Have you ever noticed that the times where your friend is having a crisis and needs to talk are hardly ever good times for us. Those times interrupt our meals, our down time, and our time with our family. Being willing to be that listening ear, offer advice and challenge one another in our marriages is crucial to them being able to survive.

God uses people to reach people. God uses spouses to help spouses. God uses marriages to help marriages.

Some questions to think/talk about:
  • How much are you willing to be inconvenienced by your spouse? By others?
  • Are you dealing with an issue you are scared to get help with? Why?
  • Is there a line between being inconvenienced and being walked over?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Empowering Women

Can ya'll tell that Jake is gone for the week? I have all this extra time for introspection! I guarantee he's going to get back and say something like, "Babe! What the heck is with all the blogs?"

Well since I have more time to be inside my own head than normal (and normal is quite a lot for an introvert like me) and because I woke up at 4am this morning worrying about apartment hunting for my mom.....I read a blog on Relevant Magazine Online that was talking about being a single woman and society's expectations for women. Now, the blog was rather confusing in that I couldn't tell exactly what stance the author was taking...but it provoked some good 4am musing about a topic I am very passionate about.

This topic is important to half of married people are women. Here's the things I can't get my brain around. Throughout history women were seen as lesser than men, we couldn't vote, hold property, speak up even. Our role was to be an obedient wife and produce offspring. We were not expected to hold down a job, the men took care of things. We minded the household and did womanly things like sew and stuff.

Now society has flipped almost to the other extreme and women are expected to have a career, support themselves...and usually it's expected on top of being a wife and a mother. Single women find themselves older and older as sexual practices in society change as well. Men don't need to get married to get laid....both men and women can find satisfaction without a marriage commitment.

I find that stay-at-home moms almost have the stigma of being lazy...which is so far from the case! I also find that a woman without career aspirations is looked down on and that single woman are desperately trying to talk themselves into believing they are empowered and more than happy all on their own.

My soul cries out for some flipping balance! I am so happy to live in an age where woman can climb the corporate ladder and vote and be treated as the equals God created us to be. But I can't stand that we all have to fit into one kind of mold. What if I don't want a career? What if I really enjoy keeping house and eventually staying home with my kids?
What if you're 25 and you really want a husband? Should you have to feel bad about that? Isn't that ok?

All I'm saying is that society ends up shaping how women view themselves and what we think is expected of us. But I'd like to see more woman get in touch with who God created them to be as unique individuals. I think we'd see much more of us peaceful, better wives, better mothers, and better people overall.

I know I am super blessed to have a husband who supports that I am a free spirit, non 9-5er, creative, thinker, introvert, listener, writer, artist, hopefully mother at some point, OCD cleaner, gardener, grocery shopper, thrifty to a fault, dreamer. But I think lots of our husbands, boyfriends, brothers, dads....would be supportive if we women became more empowered to find who we are and who God created each of us to be regardless of what society and other people think about it.

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.