Tag Archives: support

Our 4-year Anniversary

19 May

Today is our 4-year wedding anniversary. Every year, it seems hard to believe that we’ve been married for as long as we have. Time goes by so fast! And every year, I am once again amazed at God’s grace. He alone is the reason why our marriage is a blessing, why we still are in love with each other, and why we have weathered all the trials and storms of life intact and together.

They say that a good marriage isn’t about marrying the right person; it’s about being the right person. I have seen the truth of that so much over the past year. Just looking back on who I was a year ago, and what tenderness God has amazingly developed in my heart since then, I am struck by what a difference there is. In that year, I have realized how much my actions and words influence Travis. My being angry about something, even when not directed at Travis, makes him angry and is the beginning of a vicious cycle. When I don’t voice my emotions by telling Travis I love him and miss him, he is hurt. If I try to encourage Travis to look to God for hope and meaning but say it in a scolding tone, he gets discouraged.

On the positive side, I have learned to praise and thank Travis for all of the wonderful things he does to serve me. I have learned to appreciate the little things – how he mows our lawn, fixes our cars, cleans out our gutters. I have developed an admiration for his work ethic (instead of being annoyed at helping him with house projects), grown to be thankful for his hunting habits and truck purchase (they’ve come in handy), and been amazed at his thoughtfulness (getting up early with the dogs on a Saturday so that I can sleep in).

God has certainly done a work in my heart and head regarding marriage, and though I definitely still have a LONG way to go, I feel so incredibly blessed by the work God has done in my life. Not only that, but I’m extremely blessed by my wonderful husband. He has watched what feels like hundreds of Bones episodes with me (after House, The Office and Desperate Housewives), supported my expensive triathlon hobby, and allowed me to get two great dogs (both of which he had been determined to not get… but who can resist puppy dog eyes?). Even though he disagreed, he supported my decisions when I wanted to write my book instead of get a job, when I made sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty for my job last year, and when I decided to chop my hair off in January (though he ended up liking my haircut).

I have learned that marriage is about growing with the other person. It’s about learning to readjust your expectations, priorities, and desires to embrace what the other person values. I don’t like house projects and would almost never choose to do them out of my own free will. My husband, on the other hand, loves house projects and seemingly can’t get enough of them. On more than one occasion in the past year, I have actually volunteered my services to him, which he has eagerly taken me up on. Not only am I supporting Travis in his endeavors, I’m also taking a vested interest in the condition and quality of our home and yard. There is a certain satisfaction inherent in hard work.

I have also learned that a loving spouse encourages their counterpart pursue their passions, vision, and interests. So often, I hear about men whose wives “won’t let them” do certain things, or who are uptight and mistrusting about their husbands going out with friends, or buying a certain thing, or doing something without them. That is one thing God has abundantly blessed us with in our marriage — trust. While we don’t give one another the green light for everything without exception (godly accountability is necessary!), our decisions are always based on mutual trust. Our goal in all decisions is to give the benefit of the doubt. It’s easier said than done, and we often jump to judgments before we realize we’ve done so, but that’s what we’re working toward.

Lastly, I have decided that there is no formula for marriage. What works and is good for one couple may not work for another couple. While it is helpful to hear advice and suggestions from older, more experienced couples, you can’t turn those into the exact picture of what your marriage should be like. I think that as long as both people are satisfied and happy with the way things are, there’s no reason to change them, even if they aren’t what other people do (one qualifier: I’m talking about amoral things — immoral things are a different story). For example, Travis and I will often eat dinner in front of the TV. Much of the time we spend together in the evening is spent watching TV. If we’re both satisfied, does that behavior really merit changing? I don’t think so. I will admit, however, that I have asked Travis that we have one night a week where we do something that involves talking instead of watching TV. The biggest hindrance to us doing other things, I think, is that we get into a rut of working and then relaxing. Watching TV takes no effort and is something we can do together. Ergo, our addiction.

I realize that having only 4 years of marriage under my belt still qualifies me as a newlywed in many eyes but the wiser, older married couples only got wiser and older through the passing years, learning lesson by lesson, trial by trial, error by error. We can’t learn how to do the thing called marriage without actually doing it. It’s the ultimate hands-on experience.

Praise God for His grace!

Grateful.

3 Apr

Travis and I just finished watching Julie & Julia. That’s a cute movie. And I love the movies that make me feel good about my own life when I’m done watching them.

While I don’t fancy ever boning a duck or cooking a whole chicken, the movie made me appreciate my husband and the partnership of marriage. Travis and I are coming up on our 3rd wedding anniversary in less than 2 months and I feel like we are just beginning to function as a team and I am really beginning to appreciate who Travis is. So far in our marriage, things have been pretty easy – we have had almost exactly the same schedule, same time off, same lifestyle. We didn’t have to put any effort into spending time with one another because we were very often home at the same time. That meant we didn’t put any effort into spending time with one another – I mean, not NO effort but very minimal. Some nights, we’d eat dinner together, but in front of the TV. Other nights, we’d go to the Rec together, but exercise separately. Or I would watch TV while Travis did homework in the office.

None of which is bad, necessarily. It just made it very easy for me to take Travis for granted (I won’t speak for how it affected him). Like Julia says in the movie, “Who has time to be married?” I feel like that has been my attitude a lot, which sounds horrible when presented like that. Why does my husband take back seat to other things – any thing? He should be my #1 priority here on earth. He is the love of my life, my partner, my support. He is always there for me when I need him. He takes thought for me, what I think, what I enjoy. And also like Julia said, “I don’t deserve him.” I really don’t.

But that’s the beauty of love – it’s undeserved. “Love conquers all.” “Love covers a multitude of sins.” “Love bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things.” “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

The epitome of love is shown on the Cross – what a glorious thing to remember at Easter time. Christ endured the cross because He loved us. He loved me. Even when I don’t deserve anything good. Especially when I don’t deserve anything good. He died for me despite my not deserving it. He died so that by putting on His robe of righteousness, I don’t have to deserve it.

How often I get distracted from the true point of life. Not only in regards to eternal things, like salvation and sanctification, but also in regards to earthly things, like my husband. I’m so consumed with doing that I forget about being. I do the dishes instead of spending time with my husband. I rush out the door to some meeting instead of linger in prayer. I push Travis away when he comes to bed because cuddling will rob me of 15 minutes of sleep.

It wasn’t just the movie that made me realize all of this. It’s also the change in lifestyle/schedule with my new job and the upcoming month. Travis leaves Monday morning for 10 days in Little Rock. Then he’ll spend 4 days with me in Vegas (while I’m working a race), then he’ll head back to Little Rock for another 10 days. The anticipated separation has prompted me to take time to appreciate Travis – to kiss him, to say good morning, to hug him, to talk to him, ask him how his day was. Not that I didn’t do those things before, but I didn’t savor them like I do now. Then, I was often doing it to feel like a good wife and not a heartless person. I wasn’t taking time to love my husband, to remind myself of why I love him, to do the things I love to do with him, to tell him I loved him. I was taking him for granted. And we both lose in that situation.

But by the grace of God, I am seeing now where I have been going wrong AND I have the motivation and desire to fix it. I want my husband to feel appreciated. I want to support him, from the big things, like his getting a new job (after finding out that he’s being cut to 20 hours/week) to the small things, like helping him rake the yard (a task which I hate).

So right now, tonight, I am grateful. Grateful that I have a husband who loves me, even when I swing from being a cluster of emotions to feeling nothing. Grateful that I have a God who is faithful to show me the truth, whether hard or easy to accept, whether hard or easy to show. I am loved. And that is all that matters.