Love Between Whitbys

Last semester, during my Intro to Poetry class, we were asked to write a sonnet. I wanted to write about marriage in honor of my anniversary. This is the product of that assignment.

Love Between Whitbys

Untried pledges made by the innocent

To stay through illnesses and poverty

To love, cherish, and protect from neglect

I will cling to you as you cling to me

 

Life’s pains and joys challenged loves naïve vows

Time brought awareness of love’s true contour

Love doesn’t give answers to why’s or how’s

Love pleads your word of honor to endure

 

When fleeing in dark times seems appealing

And silence feels safer than speaking words

When pain we encounter leaves us reeling

And there is nowhere to hide from the hurt

 

Push in into the pain push in to the joy

Push into the love of this girl and boy

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Family Anniversary

January 1996

January 1996

Confession…it’s our family anniversary. Today my family celebrates its 19th year. John and I were married and began our family on this day, nineteen years ago. Today’s post is dedicated to my best friend.

John,

Nineteen years! Can you believe it? Can you believe we still love each other? I think sometimes people look at us and think that it’s always been this easy. I think they assume we were married and we’ve been in love like this all this time. Do you remember, when it wasn’t like this? Do you remember when you were married to a girl who didn’t know how to love? Do you remember when I was married to the guy who didn’t know how to trust? Those were hard years. Do you remember how we both thought it would always be that way? Do you remember how we both prayed that God would intervene somehow? Boy did He answer that prayer! I know it’s not perfect and I know that we still have so much to learn, but how much fun it has been to learn it with you. I never thought you would be my best friend. I never thought I would love you this much after all that time. Oh and thanks for the kids, because they’re awesome! I love you and I can’t believe I can finally say that I have loved you for half of my life. Happy Anniversary!

Three Things

In order to stay married to your spouse it’s really important that you share respect, trust, and love.

I get to listen to lots of conversations lately. I don’t know if people don’t realize I’m sitting there, or if they just don’t care that everyone can hear what they’re discussing but WOW! Sometimes I just feel awkward. Recently, I sat next to a conversation between a young married woman and her friends. She was talking through a major decision regarding their finances while sitting at a coffee table. When one of her friends suggested the young woman call her husband and talk through the issue with him, she sidestepped the suggestion and continued with her list of pros and cons.

I’m going to stop right here and acknowledge that I am not any sort of professional on relational topics. I have no degrees. I have no training. I’m in no way qualified by the world’s standards. I am, however, a wife of almost 19 years to an amazing man. I’ve been married for 19 years and I feel like that gives me a little bit of right to make the following comments. So, please read knowing I’m just a simple woman with opinions and experience.

If you want to stay married you need three things, in my opinion. You need respect, trust, and love…in that order.

Respect

:a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.

:a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way

: a particular way of thinking about or looking at something

In my experience, respect for your spouse is crucial. It’s crucial, even before you’re married. It is important to choose a spouse whom you admire, value and deem important. It is important to choose a spouse and not a project. Yes, ladies, don’t go for the fixer upper and think that will go in your favor. It often doesn’t and leaves one or both parties feeling cheated.

I believe that when you marry someone, with the hopes that they will change, you both are cheated out of a good relationship. You both are cheated out of an honest relationship. Let’s be honest with ourselves, it is difficult to respect someone you don’t find value in. It’s difficult to treat someone as important and valuable if you think they need to be altered, because they aren’t good enough for you as they are.

The best example I can offer, is the one that God offers us. He chooses to love us, just as we are. He doesn’t make us meet a set of goals in order to earn His love. He offers it freely. His love does change us and motivate us to grow, but His love isn’t a condition of our performance. Now that said, don’t mistake me to be saying that your love will change someone. Remember, you are not God. Don’t put all that pressure on yourself. Just choose wisely.

Trust

:belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

In my experience, good marriages happen between two people who trust each other. I can depend on my husband. I hope he can depend on me. If we can’t trust each other, then we will spend most of our time seeking to protect our interests and very little time serving each other.

Now keep in mind, this trust comes from respect. If you don’t respect your spouse, chances are you won’t trust them. Now let me turn the tables. If your spouse senses that you feel they need improvement, they will hesitate to trust you. After all, you said you loved them and then began a full on mission to change them. It makes it hard to trust someone who thinks you need a massive overhaul. You don’t have to agree with me on this one, but I do ask you to think about it.

Here’s an example. If I told you that I loved the chocolate chips cookies you made for me, but then went on to tell you how you could improve on the recipe for next time, wouldn’t you start to doubt my initial declaration of love for your cookies? Something to ponder.

Trust is a choice. You use the information you have a make a decision to trust. Please, make a wise decision.

Love (for this definition, I go to the Bible)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful: it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. ~ I Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is a choice. Often it is mistaken for a feeling, but it is a choice. The kind of love you need for marriage is not the kind of love we read about in magazines or see on the screen.  This love is strong and wise. We’ve all heard it said…Love makes you do stupid things…in one’s attempt to excuse a truly stupid decision.  I disagree. Love is strong.  Love gives you the power to move forward when you want to quit.  Love helps you get up after you’ve been gut-punched.  Love gives you the strength to walk away from something you really want to keep, in order to keep your commitment.  AND love opens you up to be hurt.  It makes you vulnerable.

My best example on this point is Jesus. He loved us so much. His love for us, caused His death. He knew it would kill Him, and He chose to love us anyway. He loved us so perfectly! Now, I’m not saying you should die for your spouse, but shouldn’t we be willing to sacrifice? In my experience, there have been times when I have needed to let go of something I really wanted in order to keep my commitment to our family. Many of those desires are born out of selfishness and vain ambition. Those things I willingly give up for my family. But truth be told, sometimes it feels like death to me. However, I do it for love.

As your respect for your spouse grows, and you learn to trust them, love is a natural byproduct. These things are so very important to marriage. These are lessons I learn consistently. I have not mastered any of them, but I do work to grow in my skills.

I don’t know what will happen for that young woman. I pray all good things for her. I hope she’s reading. I do know that you’re reading. And I hope I’ve got you thinking. These are my opinions and experiences, but I hope you can learn from them.

Until another confession…

This

It’s my 40th birthday. I’ve been pretty worked up about it. I’m 40 and what have I done? What do I have to show for my 40 years? It’s been a tussle and I haven’t known how to get through it. Then, my kids walked into the room with my husband last night to do night time prayers. It hit me. I knew it all along, but something in me wouldn’t let me give it full value. I took their faces in my hands (which I’m amazed they allowed me to do) and I looked at my husband and said “This. This is what I have spent my life doing.”

I spent my first 20 years, being wounded deeply. I spent time working hard to allow God to prepare my heart to love again. I spent time learning how to be a good wife and mother despite the deep wounds that typically predicted my failure at both roles. I spent the next 20 years working hard to put into practice those things God has taught me. God gave me a good man with a good heart for Him. God gave us a strong young man and woman with whom we are honored to walk this faith journey. We have the awesome privilege to be the historians of their lives. I’ve poured my life into this family. Some days I poured willingly, some days I poured begrudgingly. Some days there was good quality to pour, some days there was nothing of value. However, I poured to the best of my ability and God continues to cover it all.

Forty years have been a gift. They have been hard, beautiful, painful, wonderful, devastating, and pure joy. God has been good. God has been faithful. God has never let me down, even though there have been moments I have allowed myself to believe He had. As I look back on all the dark moments of my life I can see where God’s love shone through, like a sole beam of light in a pitch black room, His love was there to guide me and keep me moving forward. I am nothing without Him.

I’m looking forward to the next season and what God has in store for me.

Until another confession…

I Love You…Almost.

Throwback Thursday…a little late.

Confessions of a Regenerated Heart

Confession…I think sometimes the love I give isn’t the best love that I have to offer.

As I’ve been challenged to examine the truth of gospel and it’s role in my life I’ve really been challenged to look at the way I love the people in my life.  Primarily my husband. He is the person on this earth I love most. Really, he is. He is my friend. He is the person I first call when things go wrong. He is the person I first call when things go GREAT! He’s the person I cuddle up with at the end of the day and the person who gets to greet me first thing in the morning. But what if my love for him is not the best love I can be offering to him.

I’ve been reading my Bible and I’ve started to wonder if I’ve got the wrong idea…

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Picking and Choosing

Confession…when I married my husband I knew he wasn’t perfect. I saw the areas that he wrestled with and knew they would come up at some point, but I figured I could handle whatever came at us and went for it anyway.

Over the years, I have heard a lot of talk from various people I know about “choosing the right one” and “picking the one God wants” when it comes to marriage.  I understand where it comes from and I wrestled with that concept myself when John was courting me. I wanted so badly to marry the right person. I had seen what was going on, in people around me, who had “married the wrong person” and I wanted none of that. I wanted to pick the perfect person. I wanted to pick the person God had chosen for me. I prayed that a golden arrow would appear over his head and a voice from heaven would say “this is the one you shall marry”. Oh if only it were that clear cut and straightforward.

So, when I met John and that didn’t happen I had serious reservations. While we courted, I didn’t know what to do. John knew I was the one for him, but what did that mean? How did he know? And why didn’t I know? Why wasn’t God telling me? I laugh at it now, but I was really feeling conflicted.

The thing I was attracted to in John was his desire to make a difference in the world. He wanted to change the world and he knew God had something to do with getting him to that goal. He didn’t have it all planned out. Honestly he was a little lost on that front, but he was determined. He loved God and he loved me.  Then I began to realize that, I really wanted him to be the one. I wanted to choose him, even though he didn’t have it all figured out. I wanted him because he loved God and he loved me. Those are two things that really matter! I was willing to walk with him, even though he wrestled with some areas. I was willing to choose him even if those things never changed. I just wanted to be with him.

I think the mistake we are prone to make is that we look at people with optimistic hopes and dreams. It isn’t fair. I realize we should see the best in people, but to truly love you have to be willing to see the flaws alongside the successes. That is where love really starts to get dense. Now, I am not talking about someone who has serious character flaws and is determined to choose sin, I am talking about someone who loves God deeply and is committed to allow heart regeneration to take place, but is still making that journey.

I don’t know if there is “the right one” or “the one God wants for you” but I do know that God wants us to partner in marriage with someone who loves Him so we can serve Him together. I also know that God wants us to choose someone we can love, even if they don’t have it all figured out yet, but remember, they HAVE to love God! It’s that important.

Until another confession…

 

Happy Anniversary Johnny!

Confession…IT’S MY ANNIVERSARY! I’ve been married to my sweet husband for 18 years. I love him and he is my best friend.

I’ve got to do this today because he will beat himself up for not getting me anything for our anniversary and I cannot have that happen. So, I need to brag on him for just a second.

THINGS MY HUSBAND GIVES ME EVERYDAY THAT I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT

  • 5 minutes at any point in the day to be alone or find a quite place to hide.
  • A glass of water at any time I ask for it.
  • A ride to work, he’s good company and it keeps me from being late, and I hate morning traffic.
  • The first hug when we get home.
  • A hug, for as long as I want because he knows it’s therapeutic.
  • No dish-washing duty! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that!
  • Breakfast

Oh gees, I would go on and on but time is short and I need to get ready for work, but you get the point. He is an example of God’s love to me. If I base my idea of God’s love for me on how my husband treats me,then I have a freaking amazing God who loves me so incredibly. That is one gift, for which I can never say enough thank you’s. I love you Johnny and I am so proud to be your wife! Happy Anniversary.

Until another confession…