The Jealous Wife

 

There are a lot of things that women want from their husbands:  love, attention, support, romance, helpfulness… Me?  I have learned that what I really crave is his presence.  I’m not sure if it’s because he is a bi-vocational pastor which means he is pulled in two ways most of the time.  I don’t know if it is simply the nature of the ministry that there are no set hours that he gets phone calls, drop ins, or has someone to meet with.

It could be just me.

Maybe time is my love language.  When I grew up my dad worked and then came home and was home.  It’s harder when your spouse has a job or jobs that causes that work and home boundary to be less distinct.  It’s very possible that it could be all of these rolled in together.

In general, our culture is distracted.  There are media distractions every where and in your hands at all times.  There are children pulling our attention every which way and things we waste our time with that become musts in our schedules like favorite t.v. shows or game apps that have become addictive.

After a long day at home, I thirst for my husband to be home and be all home…no calls, no visits, no emails, no sports, just home.  Of course we all have things we do and want to do and that’s fine, but I find myself in my marriage sometimes lost in a sea of an hour or two here and there rather than getting a full dose of the family time that I desire.

Do you know what I mean?  All of our family lives are so spliced by children’s sports, phone calls, errands, etc., that real un-disturbed, concentrated time for each other, be it the whole family or husband to wife, is gobbled up in daily life and responsibility.  Basically, if there is no set time to put down phones, shut the computers off and check out of your day to be with your family, the really IS no time.  Where there are no boundaries for family, there is no true family time.  Everything creeps and seeps into all of your moments if no moments are made to be just yours..just your family’s…just between you and your husband.

All of this just leaves me very hungry.  Hungry for presence.  Famished for something that is just ours and something that is irreplaceable: time.  My husband is great with our children and we spend time together in some way every night.  Still, as time goes on, I’m coming to see that I don’t feel like we have spent time together even when we are together, if the “job” doesn’t stop: the texts that need to be sent, the call that has to be taken, or even the blog that needs to be written.  I suppose what I feel is the lack of a break…an un-interruption of us or our family and if it’s always interrupted, I don’t feel like we have anything sacred.  Not even hours in the evening.

For me, it makes me feel a void and I find myself jealous for my husband’s time.  At times, I feel that way, even when I have his time because I don’t have it all. What I mean by that is that even when it’s my time, it becomes shared time.  I know we can’t have all of our husbands and families all of the time, but I’m afraid if you don’t set marriage and family time as a priority, you never really have true time at all. Not really. You have a lot of bodies together with no presence. You merely end up with fragments of the leftover minutes of your day.  You take what your life leaves behind rather than making your life made up of what you have to give, not what’s left after it’s all been taken and used up.

I’m not longing for my husband’s affection.  I’m not wishing my children had a better father because they couldn’t.  I’m not dreaming that we won’t have jobs and lives to live with personal time and relationships outside of each other because that’s not good or practical either.  I’m simply left longing for more true presence with my husband and more less disturbed family days. It sounds more simple than it’s become.

I’ve found that of all the things a wife can be jealous for, what I’m jealous for most, is his true presence of mind and body.  What I’m jealous for most, is his time.

 

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But I Love Him: 4 Words That Keep You With The Wrong Guy

 

*This post is written in regards to those dating, not married.*

 

“But I love him.” I know you do, girl.  I know.  And you know what?  I did too.  For almost 4 years I loved someone that didn’t love me well. Those famous words and feelings have been confusing heads and dirtying the decision making waters for women and men since way before Boyz To Men made being in love even more emotional.

It seems to me that these 4 words have been the death of many good choices people make when they are in love. I love giving relationship counsel and in doing so, I’ve heard just under 124 billion people in bad relationships say this. You know, give or take.

“I know he has anger problems, but I love him.”

“I know he is really selfish, but I love him.”

“Yes, he was unfaithful, but I love him.”

He or she is jealous, pushy, aggressive, reckless with your feelings, treats you like an option, has a bad history with women/men and yes, you love him.  Never mind getting into how you fell so deeply for someone who has treated you so poorly, there is something else very major that is being missed here: Love is NOT the problem.  You have gotten that part down pat.  You love them. You aren’t trying to fix your feelings because you are struggling to love. The problems are the other things that love cannot fix: the major relationship issues or tendencies of the one you are dating.

For example, if you want to be with them but they are unfaithful, your love cannot fix that issue. so why are you offering it as a solution? They aren’t cheating because of your love and you aren’t dodging being hurt by the cheating because you love them.  The problem remains regardless of your feelings so emotions should not factor in to your decision to leave the relationship. Your love doesn’t remedy someone else’s deficiency in good character or care for you.

When someone says “But I love them”, it is as related to the choice to stay involved as eating pancakes is to curing obesity.  You love pancakes. That has been locked and loaded.  You want to lose weight.  If you need to make the right choice to lose weight, how much admiration you have for pancakes won’t help you not get fat if you eat them.  IHOP isn’t getting you anywhere.  If you want to lose pounds, lose the pancakes.  How much you enjoy eating them has nothing to do with solution and you know the problem you are trying to solve.  You aren’t fixing your love for pancakes.  You are fixing your weight, not feelings.

I understand that loving someone makes it very hard to leave the wrong person. Remember earlier when I said I did that very thing almost 4 years? We have all been there and I know why these infamous words are uttered by the brokenhearted a million times a day in this world.  Still, when the waves of love settle in to real life, possibly a marriage, kids, and bills, your passion will subside and leave you with ALL the traits you chose in them, including the ones that initially made you doubt your choice to be with them.  “But I love him” will not carry you through the passionless days with someone who never loved you well in the first place.  When you are dating, you are seeing the best version of someone else. They may change, but the only thing you are guaranteed for sure is what you’ve already got.  As time gives way into what should replace intense butterflies with a deep love and intimacy, what you will be left with is someone who showed you years ago that they didn’t have what it took to give you that deep long lasting safe love.

Leaving a person you love is hard, but it’s much harder to end up with someone you knew you shouldn’t have been with years ago. I would rather be alone forever than with the wrong person.  Truly, not only is staying because you love them not the answer now, it will be the very reason you kick yourself in the future.

It’s easy for me to tell you to stop dating the wrong person.  I know, I know…I can’t understand your situation.  But on the contrary, when someone who loves you tells you to walk away from something toxic, the fact that we aren’t in your shoes and aren’t in love with that person gives us an advantage, not disadvantage.  When emotion is removed, objectivity reigns and someone covered up in the love puppies could use a little bit of that.  Actually, a whole lot of that.

So should you stay with someone who is treating you consistently in a way that is leaving you less confident, hurt, anxious? No, and love is not a justification.  Emotion can’t cure what wasn’t an emotional problem to begin with.  Address what really is the issue.  Drop the pancakes, lose the love, and by all means, drop those four little words.  I love yous shouldn’t come with buts.

 

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Photo Credit:  Shelly Griffin Photography

Happy 9 Years To Us

11 years together dating and marriage total, 2 cities, 3 houses, 1 apartment  = 4 moving days, one house built and one flipped, 3 1/2 cats, 1 seminary graduation, 3 cars with one finally getting to be the sassy minivan, 2 years of infertility turning into 2 daughters, 4 real vacations (Mexico, Vegas, Chicago, NYC), 1 church plant, 3 hospitals stays between us all, and only 1 man I would want to do it with.  To be continued.

Happy 9 years to the most wonderful serving husband and father I could have married.  I love you!

 

One picture of us with a big ole flash on it from our wedding day at 21 and 22 years old.

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And one blog catching it all:

Watch Out For Singing Rabbits

Part One:  Love & Mairwage

Part Two:  Love and Mairwage

Priveleged

How It Happened:  Love and Crackers

Danny & Annie

Some of you already scrolled down because this is a video.  I tried posting this video about 9 months ago, with some problems.  This is a 4 minutes love story as told by 2 eldery people.  It’s better than The Notebook because it’s real.  They had a love that very few people will ever have or witness.

You trust me enough to come back to my page day after day and read what I write.  Trust me enough to know that no writer can write  this and believe me when I say it’s worthwhile.

You will cry.  Beware of office watching.  Make sure to watch it on a computer so you can read the words on the video because it’s part of the story.  You won’t be able to read them on a phone.

Below is the excerpt from StoryCorps on this video followed by a link to their site.

 

“Brooklynites Danny, an OTB clerk, and Annie, a nurse, remember their life together—from their first date to Danny’s final days with terminal cancer. This remarkable couple personifies the eloquence, grace, and poetry that can be found in the voices of every day people if we take the time to listen. Originally an animation in two parts, here you’ll see a special version that combines both parts of their story.”  www.storycorps.org

 

Who works harder: Men or Women?

 

There are two ways to really get to know someone: marry them and then have children with them. In some ways, it brings out the truest colors you will ever see of your other half.

Having a baby will either strengthen or destroy your marriage, or so my father says. I think he is right. One of the common times for divorce is not only when you first have kids, but also, when they leave and the nest is empty. The stress of children coming into your life impacts your marriage and totally redefines both your lives and, for many, that redefinition becomes about you and the kids and less about each other which leaves two strangers in the house together when the kids hit the road.

As a new mom, I naturally end up talking to other moms and I think the issue with most new families is the same thing from one couple to the next and it’s a BIG issue. It seems that the song everyone is singing is a two-part harmony. The lassie is singing that “he never helps me or doesn’t help enough” while the lad is singing “I work all day, I’m tired”. I think this has been a hit song since about 1400.

Luckily for me, I find myself on the good side of this story. My husband is wonderful at helping me out, although we both have our moments of pointing the finger at the other when we are tired. Sometimes this isn’t with words but certain glances or sighs when the baby cries and we both feel like it’s the “others” turn.  You know what I mean.  If you have kids, I’m positive you do.

BUT even though he’s great, I am still human and I have definitely felt like most women when I have those days that I feel like I do it mostly on my own.

I don’t work outside the home so I can’t speak for working moms but this is how a lot of stay-at-homers feel….

Our job is 24/7 and even when we leave ‘the office’ our office comes with us. Most of the time, getting out of the office is more stressful because it requires packing up the entire building and if the building gets out-of-order in the middle of a trip to the grocery, well….it can get ugly. Price check on anxiety pills aisle 3.

Lance and I recently had a real fast exchange of words about feeling like we never get breaks. He said to me that his job is stressful and non-stop. I totally agree and really, really, really appreciate that he works so hard so that I can stay at home with our daughter. But since we were one upping each other, that was beside the point… =0)

I said, “The day you carry your boss around with you all day on your hip and he cries and demands everything from you that very instance, then we will talk.”  Also he needs to poop his pants and play with baby musical toys all day long to add to that list.  Think you are going crazy at work?  Add add the ABC’s over top of your most stressful moment.  Ah, what a sweet melody.

It sounded like it was a serious argument but really it was lighthearted. I hate even typing stuff like that because it makes parenting and Eden herself seem like a burden but we love her and I want to spend all my time with her sometimes even if I feel like I need a break and that’s true for us both. Even in the moments when neither of us feels like going to get her when she cries, when she enters the room and starts smiling, all of the frustration sort of drifts away. At least until she fusses again…. ;0)

Still, I don’t care how much you love each other or how much you love your baby, at some point or at many points, the old familiar tune of who works harder or who is more tired starts to play.

Let me tell you what Lance and I have learned in this 8 1/2 months.

He works like a dog and he’s tired.

I work like a dog and I’m tired.

When that argument or thought comes up, here’s the universal deal: YOU ARE BOTH EXHAUSTED! And exhausted is exhausted no matter which way you cut it and since you can both relate, that is why you have to do it as a team. Parenting isn’t a one-man game and I pity the people who find themselves married but doing it all alone. If you can both do it together then you can both share the load rather than one person going way over their limit and then becoming useless in both areas of parenting and in being a spouse.

A spouse who is forced to carry the load alone is someone who is secretly heaping fault after fault of their spouse on top of each other building one serious case of bitterness towards their partner. This can and does destroy a marriage.

They argument should never be who works harder.  The whole premise of that argument is selfish because it’s saying, my time and need for a break outweighs yours.  If you are being a selfless spouse, when you and your partner find yourselves pooped on the couch together that’s where you should find yourself working together too out of love for your family and each other.

If you cook, he cleans.

You do the dishes while he folds a load.

He bathes the baby and you feed her dinner.

I heard my sister-in-law say that if my brother gives her a break with time out of the house on her own, when she gets home, it’s still team work and not one person taking on all the responsibility to make-up for having personal free-time.  If you do the whole ‘It’s all you now’ attitude then you will start to dread your break because you know you will have to pay by working overtime when you get home.  Team work works all times, in all situations.  I think this attitude and way of helping your spouse and your family actually creates within you to want to out help your partner.

This is just how it works, folks.  It’s a practical way to love not just your spouse but your whole family.  You are teaching a silent but loud message to your kids this way too.  Living your life this way in your family breeds feelings of love from the wife and brews respect up for her husband.  At the end of the day, your partner’s needs are met and your kid’s  needs simultaneously.  It kills a lot of arguments to just support each other and be the active player in your family’s life like you should be, anyways.

Dads:  You don’t want to check out when you get home because your job has been so tiring because only having the interest in spending time with your kids on the weekends means you only get to spend real-time with them 144 days a year out of the full 365.  Your time is short anyways and most dads have, at best, 3 or 4 hours with their children when they get home.  Your bonding time with them as children is reading the books, bathing them, feeding them, etc.  That is how you bond.  Hopefully you miss your kids during the day and see it as a joy to get the privilege of coming home to them.  When they are older they won’t care how tired you were.  They will just know you weren’t involved.  They grow-up one missed day at a time.

Furthermore, love your wife by caring for her and making her job feel important.  Love your wife so your kids will know how to love their spouses and be able to see how a man should love a woman when they make their choice in a partner one day.  When you miss out on your kids because you’ve had a long day.  Someone has to take care of them so your wife will end up doing it solo.  Then, you miss out on them both.  Be what you are:  a family.

Moms:  Trust your husband to care for your kids when he wants to and don’t criticize his efforts.  Even if he leaves poop on the baby changer and the wipes open.  I’m being such a hypocrite right now, but I know I’m wrong for doing that to him.

Staying at home is hard and it’s easy to think you are spending a lot of time with your child because you are physically present but that isn’t always the case.

It’s easy to give your child things to entertain them rather than being engaged with them.  You can be living for your child’s next nap or your next break and doing everything you can to make your day easier and in the midst of that, not be intentional in investing in your child.

You too can be so tired that you are checking out so it’s not specifically a man’s problem.

Both men and women can be MIA due to exhaustion.  Basically, you have to both be intentional in loving each other, loving your children, and working together.  As contrary to popular culture as it may be, love only occasionally comes easy.  The rest is work.

So, who does really work harder, men or women?

If you are asking that question, you’ve already decided that it’s you that wins this argument.  I challenge you to not ask who works harder but value that you both do and get to workin’!

Together.

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Photo Credit:  www.geekphilosopher.com Free stock photos for personal and commercial use.

Originally posted in 2011

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I married a white boy (accidently)

I realize I’m a white girl and I realized that I was marrying a white boy. It’s cool. You have to remember though that Lance won me singing R and B a long, long time ago. Then he went flip mode squad on me and started singing what I refer to as ‘guitar music’. Tricky tricky, Lance, tricky tricky. I guess you don’t have many instruments to choose from that are soulful if you want to play and sing other than the piano. And who can forget the Bassoon but it’s hard to play and sing that instrument in an impossible sort of way. Lanceshould have learned to play the beat machine. Instead, he fell to full-fledged cracker white boy guitars.

On the other hand, there’s me.

I love to sing R and B music. I love to Dougie.  I love all forms of vivacious rap. I love the slang. I love skills of our fellow brothers and sisters: great athletes and first and foremost, the best singers. Some of the most amazing singers you may say are white: Christina Aguliera, Marey Carey, Celien White Girl Dion….

Jokes on you…none of them are fully white except for ole’ Dion and she’s Canadian, not American. Some of us white
American girls just lose. If you are a good singer and you’re black, then you are the best singer in all the lands.

At any rate, I’m not really all that un-white. Afterall, I did just use the phrase at any rate, as well as, afterall. And I love to shop at Old Navy. Plus, I was in a big city where I was the minority and I realized that I’m totally white. Both outside and inside. It was a disappointing day for me.

However, black people do seem to like me. Some of them at least. Our church is in the projects and, as lame as it sounds, I’m most intimidated by some of the teenagers because they don’t try to let you feel cool or accepted. I tried talking to some girls one time at an event  we had and they called me white girl so I called them black girl and they weren’t happy. Just kidding. But they for real called me white girl in a not friendly sort of way. When I walked over, one of them said to the other,

“Every time white girl comes around it starts raining…”

Segregation is painful.

All this to say that it’s not so much that my husband and I are both cheesy white people but more to say, this partial soul-loving white child thinks you, Lance, are super white so I think all of this validates my opinions even more that if I think it and I’m at least a little black….you are REALLY white.

1. You harmonize with rap songs. Nothing like a nice octave blending with melodic talking.

2. You think you can make beats “for real”. Every time you beat box you make a sound effect that was used in hip-hop songs in the 70’s that sort of sounds like a busted speaker. You know, you just trill your lips and let air come out like you’re making a horse sound. Hopefully you know what I’m talking about because if you do, there’s no reason to continue to reinforce this point.

3. When you free-style rap, which is unusually painful for me, you start every song with, “Every time I come around…” EVERY song. Thug life forever, Lance.

4.  You wore Birkenstock sandals with every summer outfit for the first 3 years of our marriage.  And so does Dwight Schrute.  Show me the brothers wearing Birkenstocks.  Show me.

5.  When I play for you an old or new rap song that is obviously was or is the best, you analyze the lyrics.

“Many a day has passed, the night has gone by
But still I find the time to put that bump off in your eye…”
Just let it be.

6.  You own short-sleeved, plaid polos that button from top to bottom.  One time we were in a store together and overheard a girl tell her boyfriend that the makers of those shirts should be shot.  You were brave and wore them for many years anyways.

7.  And now for the hardest one to say…

You wore pleated dress pants for 4 years of our marriage.  Even worse, you defended it because you went shopping with your dad and a man at the store told you they were nice.   I’m so proud to say that we’ve moved passed this. We did it honey.

We made it.

Dancing in the Mine Fields

Well I was 19 you were 21
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much to young
But we did it anyway
We got the rings for 40 each from a pawnshop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap now 15 years ago

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise was for

Well ‘I do’ are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard is a good place to begin
Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price for the life that we have found

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise was for
That’s what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith
to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

Cause we bear the light of the son of man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of this chaos baby
I can dance with you

So lets go dancing in the minefields
Lets go sailing in the storms
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise if for
That’s what the promise is for

Singer/Songwriter: Andrew Peterson

video…it has a sweet end with real couples:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gs3fg_WsEg

Priveleged

Of all the daily routines of marriage, one of them has to be the war against selfishness. After leaving our child-birth classes this past weekend, the battle commenced.

Let me start this story by saying that Lance grew-up eating every meal out as a child, Monday-Friday. This has created a monster. There is nothing more he finds pleasure in than eating out and I’m not joking. So as we are walking out of the hospital, it’s about lunchtime and he says the typical words, “Where do you want to go eat?'” To which I replied, “We just spent 200 at the grocery, lets just eat at home.” Now I’m not sure if it was him being tired, hungry, or just feeling an intense love for restaurants, but it rubbed him the wrong way. To make it worse, I asked if he could run one errand with me first before going home to eat. He said, “I don’t want to run your errand if you don’t want to go out to eat! I don’t care if that’s selfish! I don’t see how you can get to do what you want to do and I can’t.”

He was right. It was selfish. I told him that I am so tired during the weeks and I do all the errands solely by myself and if he could go with me, it’d be one less thing for me to do and I wouldn’t have to do it alone. It’s not like I enjoy running errands more than he does and sometimes, it’s nice to have his help. Especially since I’m pregnant.

He drove me to my errand, begrudgingly. It wasn’t even that bad of an errand because we were picking something up for our baby which I think is fun. After that, I took the stance of apathy and went out to eat with him. We were quiet and angry up until we made it to the restaurant and we never talked about it again.

This morning was Sunday morning and it was Lance’s Sunday to preach. The neat thing about being a pastor’s wife is that your husband will tell stories about you and you’re in the front so everyone stares at you to see your reaction when he shares stuff. Luckily, nothing is personal to me. Luckily, he doesn’t have his own blog because I share on a much bigger stage than our church =0)

Usually I know what Lance is preaching about. He’ll come and bounce things off of me and sometimes he has me help him think of stories to share for application during his sermons.  This  Sunday, I didn’t know.

Fast forward to the middle of the sermon and he was talking about how it’s a privilege to serve Jesus.  It’s something we GET to do, not something we have to do.  He talked about a modern-day missionary by the name of Bernard who has spent most of life on the far edges of the earth away from the convenience of the states, from the comfort of home and utilities, from many of his loved ones.  When asked about his life and all he’s given up he says, “I never made one sacrifice.”  That’s because there is a big mindset difference between someone who looks at something as an obligation and someone who looks at something as a privilege. 

Then Lance began, “This leads me to a confession.”  Unbeknownst to me he started sharing the story about how he had acted the day before after leaving our child-birth classes.  Of course people started to look at me to see how I was going to react to whatever it was he was about to say. 

There I sat in the quiet stillness of the church with all eyes on me and there he stood in the vulnerability of exposing himself to the church from the stage.  Then they stopped looking at me.  They looked at him.  

His face turned red as finished telling how he acted the day before and his eyes welled up with tears and he began to cry with tears trickling down his face.  His voice quivered and he said, ” I remember when we first fell in love.  I didn’t HAVE to do anything.  I loved picking her up from work.  I loved running errands with her.  It was a privilege to be with the girl I loved and sometimes, after all these years, I find myself in selfishness and I forget that.  I GET to be with her.  I GET to love her.”

I could hear sniffles from around the church.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of him and I cried.  It was an intimate apology.  It was a reminder. It was my husband revealing the sincerest of love letters and regrets to me humbly in front of a crowd.  It was my husband standing before a whole church confessing that he had failed me and that he had forgotten.  Lance and I began dating almost 9 years ago.  Love changes over time into a deeper form of the date night butterflies.  But sometimes, in moments like that, it’s that glimpse into the face of who we started as that got us here to a man crying on the stage remembering the way it was to fall in love with your wife.  It is a blessing to fight for your marriage.  It’s a blessing to fail at it everyday and have the grace to remember how we should love each other.  Failing at loving each other and getting to love anew all over again is more romantic than a love unhindered.  Helping your spouse with dinner, folding his boxers, running in Walmart for groceries…on a Saturday, being a helper to your mate, supporting your spouse, taking care of them round-the-clock when they are sick, pulling weeds, turning off a basketball game at the good part or listening to your spouse read you parts from his favorite books time and time again. 

Oh the things we get to do.

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