Getting to Know Him

Valentines Day is quickly approaching and with it comes the high (or low…depending on your relationship!) expectations for the so-called holiday. This will be my 14th V-Day with my husband. This special day has me thinking about our relationship. I’m thinking of the ways he’s changed through the years. I love my husband; I’ve always been thankful for him and of course, I think he’s pretty spectacular. There were a few years in the beginning when I genuinely thought the man could do no wrong. I remember standing in my mother’s kitchen, butterflies in my stomach and stars in my eyes, telling my family that I couldn’t even imagine him ever being in a bad mood….he’s so funny and sweet. So…we’ve moved past that. I’ve certainly experienced all of his moods. And he’s experienced allllllllll of mine.

You see, we know each other now.

I know that he leaves his laundry on the side of the bed every single day instead of walking two feet to the laundry basket. I know that he drinks milk overnight and leaves his dirty cup on the nightstand when he heads out the next morning. I know he hates doing the dishes. I know he doesn’t fold laundry. I know he isn’t a morning person and until about 11:00 a.m. I’m on my own. I know crowds stress him out and he doesn’t enjoy social events like I do. I know he’ll never love running or exercising with me unless I learn to play basketball. I know he’s completely unable to finish an entire movie without losing interest or getting up to walk around. I know he’s going to stop my DVR recordings to watch a rerun of Family Guy. I know he will insist on turning to the game even though I have zero interest in sports of any kind. I know a lot about all of his weird and annoying habits. I know a lot about him.

There’s something amazing that happens in long relationships. You get to know each other. You realize that that perfect person you fell in love with is a product of your imagination, and behind that image that you’ve created is a real, imperfect human being. Here’s the amazing part. If you allow it…if you choose to not pick your partner apart for those idiosyncrasies, something amazing happens. You get to know the person you love…you get to know him in a way that no one else in this entire world will ever know him.

Today, I KNOW my husband. I’ve learned that he is a man who loves me, unconditionally, all the time, even when he doesn’t necessarily show it. He’s proved to me that in a good mood or bad, he’s still always going to be here by my side. I’ve learned that he’s someone who will make me a bubble bath, put on soft music and pour me a glass of wine when life becomes too much for me to bear. He will support me in all of my ventures whether it’s running a half marathon or my latest moment of insanity…deciding to get my masters degree. He will take time off work to stay with our sick kids so I can attend an important meeting. He will bring home surprises for our little ones just to see them smile. He will plant fake bugs in places I don’t expect them, just to see me jump (yes, I find this endearing…we were certainly made for each other). He will rub my back every single night, even if he lets out a sigh when I ask. He will make supper. He will tidy the house. He will take out the trash every single day of our lives and never ask me to do it…not once. He will surprise me with a home office space when he sees me struggling to concentrate on my studies in the chaos of our kitchen. He will take care of me. He will love our children. He will support our family. He will be my partner in this crazy life come hell or high water. He will accept me, love me, champion me, forgive me. He will overlook all of my flaws and see me for who I am…a woman who loves him very much.

He is the most perfect partner I could ask for in this life. Not perfect, but perfect for me. We have a choice in relationships. We can let the little things go. We can let them go so we can be given a chance to see the big things. When we allow the person we love to be just who they were made to be, a new world opens up. A world where  we don’t have to be perfect and neither does he. A world where love really is everything. Every day when I’m bending down to grab that pile of laundry by my husband’s bed side, instead of griping, I choose to be thankful. Thankful that he’s in my life and for all of the ways he makes every day wonderful.

I’m wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day this year. I hope it’s all that you expect, but more importantly, I hope you are loved and that you choose to love in return.

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Rolling With Life’s WTF Moments

I often feel like my family lives by Murphy’s Law. Things tend to go wrong in uniquely bad ways for us. Have you ever been there? In that moment that you can’t even believe your luck? I’ve been there…I hang there…heck, that moment is my permanent address.

This all ran through my mind tonight as I was driving home. I was headed home from my in-laws’ house where I was baking cookies. Not just any cookies, but gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free cookies (I’ll explain later). Anyway I was driving home from baking cookies at 9:00 p.m. (which is past my bedtime…yes, I’m old). 

Why was I out so late baking cookies you ask? Well, let me tell you. We need to go back to a few weeks ago to Thanksgiving when I was baking my green bean casserole for a family party. I set the timer for 45 minutes and went about getting myself and kiddos ready for the party. Yay…Thanksgiving…my favorite holiday…what could go wrong? When the timer beeped and I checked my casserole 45 minutes later, I was puzzled to find it luke warm. I turned up the oven and sure enough, 30 minutes later, my casserole was still cold. Yes, I am the person whose oven quits ON THANKSGIVING. 

So here I am, two weeks later, an oven on order but not installed in time to make the Christmas cookies due tomorrow for my daughter’s holiday program. Following my son’s program tonight (two holiday programs in the same week…gotta love Christmas), I took my one open window this week at 8:00 p.m. to find a functional oven and bake up some cookies. Yes, I could have just bought some at the store, IF my daughter wasn’t allergic to everything. So if this momma doesn’t make the cookies, my sweet, little, walking hive of a daughter can’t eat the cookies…so momma makes the cookies, after a 9.5 hour work day and an adorable 2nd grade Christmas program at 9:00 at night, with no oven of her own…momma makes the cookies. 

This turn of events…this crazy day…this crazy week, month, year, got me thinking, “WTF?!” So I started counting all of the other WTF moments in my life. 

Like when we locked ourselves out of the house last month and had to break out our window to get back inside. It was a learning moment. I learned that glass windows are a lot harder to break than they appear. I learned that if all else fails, a cast iron Dutch oven will do the trick. I learned that the head rest in every car (yes, even your car!) is detachable and has a glass hammer on the bottom. I learned that when you’re ready to murder your husband for locking the keys in the house, if you just don’t speak for an hour an a half and clean your garage from top to bottom, you will simmer down and remember what a great guy he really is….even if he did just cost you $300. Some moments all you can think is WTF.


Also… the time last year when a set of my car keys just stopped working one day. Remember when keys were keys?  And when you stuck a key in an ignition, the engine turned on? Well, they don’t make ’em like they used to. Apparently, keys become deprogrammed and just stop working. So since it can happen, of course, it DID happen to me. Then, my husband lost my remaining set of keys and I had to have my car towed, reprogrammed (thanks to the nifty anti-theft feature) and then rekeyed. That was certainly a WTF moment if I ever had one.

Sometimes I feel like my family, my sweet, clumsy, forgetful, messy family…like we’re the only ones who experience these moment. I’m not one to walk around cursing throughout the day and when it comes to the F-bomb, it’s serious business. But there are moments when that’s all there is to say. And then…then I have to laugh. Maybe not until after the hour and half of rage cleaning, but the laughter does come. I know we’re really lucky. We’re lucky that these are our problems. In the moment, it’s hard to remember. These inconveniences are aggravating. They’re expensive. They’re ridiculous. But they’re fixable. They’re temporary. They’re also just so us. What would we do with ourselves if we weren’t breaking into our home or destroying our own property???? I guess that’s just our style and at the end of day, my daughter went to bed with a warm, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free cookie in her belly. Life is good, especially for my WTF family!

Life Changes, Rearranges

As I grow older, life that used to seem so joyous becomes more and more difficult to bear. As a child, the losses in life seem few and far between. But in this stage of my life, while my joys are still mountain peaks, the losses have become steady. Life certainly changes and rearranges. The old, steady features in our lives pass on to heaven and the little nuggets of children we have brought into the world are growing into real, actual people. This cycle is sad, it’s rewarding, it’s amazing, it’s so many things that can’t be described in text. There are moments I sit back and just marvel at the complexity of this life.

This week I sat and watched grief wash over my husbands grandfather, Curt, as he yearned for his wife. We lost grandma Betty last week after a long and painful decline in her health. After the funeral, we all went back to work, to school, to activities, to life…because we have to. But watching this strong man, still lost in that moment of grief, it struck me in a way that will be a part of me forever. 

Curt shared with me that he enlisted in the air force as a young man, unsure at the time where that choice would take him. Rather than being thrown into battle, he was asked to sit at a desk and learn to type. He had never typed a day in his life. He had been put in a class of 12 men and as he sat at his typewriter, the fingers of those men around him flew while he struggled to find the next key. He may have felt in over his head but he did not give up. He persevered. He learned. And he was sent on his life journey to places he didn’t expect. He won the coveted position, along with three of his cohorts. They were sent one direction while the eight others were sent another direction . Curt had great success in the air force and climbed rank in his time there. He was on a four year commitment, when three and a half years in, a lifetime ailment of asthma flared. He was able to leave the Air Force at that time and came back home to Perry County. 

In Curt’s telling of the story, there was doubt in this moment. He wondered if things would have been different if he had been able to continue his Air Force career. He wondered where he would have ended up. He wondered who he would have been surrounded by on this day had his path been different.

But those doubts vanished when he began to talk about Betty. He said he knew it was meant to be because when he came home, he met Betty. I look at my husband and know Curt’s path was destiny. My own life would be very different had Curt made a different choice all those years ago. Curt had gone out with a friend to a dance in a neighboring county (Curt and Betty’s favorite pastime was dancing throughout their marriage). My favorite line of his story was “I saw her ‘south end’ moving north and that was that.” I admire his honesty and sense of humor. 


Curt and Betty were married for 58 years. They had four children together. I know many years were not easy for them. For those of us who have chosen to devote our lives to another person in marriage, we know the road can be difficult at times. But watching Curt today, knowing he is now half of the person he was a week ago when Betty was still by his side, my passion and advocacy for the unity of marriage is alive and well. Curt and Betty were a team. They enjoyed life together, built a legacy together. They were still jumping in the vehicle for adventures long past the time that their children approved. They visited local stores and restaurants up until Betty’s very end, brightening the day of all who encountered them. They made the most of their time together. But most of all, they loved each other. On the good days and the bad. In the hard times and the easier times. Curt is still loving Betty today, and I believe wholeheartedly that she is still loving him as well. There are some bonds that not even death can sever.

My life has changed. I see the older generations passing on into heaven, becoming glorious characters whose stories are retold at each Christmas or birthday gathering to our children. These stories of their character, of their eccentricities that made them so lovable, help them to live on in our hearts and minds. New children are born and we see grandma’s chin or grandpa’s jawline and we remember those that we’ve lost along the way. And me and my husband? Yes, even us, we’re getting older. I see many ways we’ve changed and some ways we’ve stayed the same. All of this helps to remind me of how special our bond is, how much I treasure my partner in this life, how thankful I am that Curt met Betty and had a daughter named Roberta, who met Tim and had a son named Philip, who met me and has meant everything to me in this life. God works in mysterious ways. It is in finding the blessings that we can make it through all of life’s losses. It is how we manage to move forward. I look at the man standing next to me and know without a doubt, I am blessed.

We’ve Been Married for a DECADE

Today I am celebrating 10 years of marriage with my husband. Let me put this into perspective for you…I can clearly remember what it felt like to be 10 years old. What I thought of, worried about, what made me laugh. And yet, somehow, here I am at 31 and celebrating 10 years of MARRIAGE. Whoa. 


When I thought about what to write about this milestone, many things came to mind. I thought about how time has changed us. How our relationship has grown from an exciting, passionate, hormone-driven attraction into a deep, solid, intimate bond that I cherish deeply. Thinking about the time that has passed, I know I wouldn’t go back to that “exciting” time (well maybe for just a moment)…but truly I wouldn’t trade what we have today for anything, not for anything in the world.

I am filled with gratitude for the sheer fact that this man, my husband, has dedicated his entire life to me. To our marriage. To our life together. When I think about that idea, I am completely overwhelmed. 

We don’t often take the time to think of what marriage really is. We look at our partners every single day. We know their eyes, their smiles (and frowns), we see the fine lines that have started to settle in, we know the way they move through our homes, through our days and through our lives together. We take them for granted without ever stopping to see what a miracle it is that this person has chosen to love us, only us, for their entire life. That they will spend every single day devoted to what we can accomplish together. What an amazing gift. 

Marriage is so much more than being taken care of. More than having someone to spend your days with. It’s more than a promise. Marriage is gift, a blessing. It is something I’m not sure any of us are good enough to deserve. The idea that this other person, and not just any person, my husband, the man I admire and respect….the idea that he feels the same way as I do. There just are no words to express my gratitude for this bond, this love, this marriage.

So on my 10 year anniversary, I am grateful. I am filled with gratitude for 10 years of love, friendship, honesty. I am grateful also for the harder days, when I’m not at my best and neither is he…and we love each other anyway. I’m grateful for the ways we’ve grown and learned together. For our children and the blessing of being parents together. I am grateful for the future, for the memories to be made. Grateful that I’ll wake up tomorrow and we will still be in this marriage, ready for another day together, whatever may come. 


Happy anniversary to my husband, the love of my life, my sweet baby. You make my life whole.  I love you forever and always. Thanks for 10 amazing years.

Make Your Husband a Cup of Coffee (and other essentials for a happy marriage)!

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So my husband and I have been together for a while now; we have 14 years under our joint, blissful belt. Take a look at us here…this is the beginning. We’re so skinny…we’re so tan…we’re so young. Sigh! A couple of hot little numbers…it’s no wonder our start was so passionate and exciting.

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I hate to get ahead of myself but let’s jump ahead four years. We have a lot of ground to cover and you don’t have all day. Phil popped the question  on Easter in 2005. We were lying in bed, pigging out on massive amounts of Easter candy like a couple of kids (which we were). The next thing I knew, he was holding a ring and saying “Do you want to get married to me?” Spoiler alert…I said YES. And that was it. In all honesty, the day he first stepped into Kouch Potato Video to return his mom’s movie rental, and I, earning my keep as a video store clerk, laid eyes on him, that moment, that was IT. The rest is history, as they say.

This year marks ten years of marriage for me and my husband. After reading my last blog, a friend asked me, “How do you do it; how do you and Phil find time for each other?” At first I wasn’t sure how to answer. I thought about my marriage and how my relationship has changed and evolved over the years. I thought about how deeply I love my husband today and how different that love is in many ways than the love I felt at 17. I started to think about why. Why am I so devoted to this man? Why do I love him so much?What is it that makes me so happy in my marriage?And the answers began to roll in.

I hesitate to hand out marriage advice. Do I qualify??? Does ten years give me the stamina to really talk about marriage???? As cliche as it may sound, I can honestly say, if I could go back, do it all again, I would choose him all over again (in a heartbeat!). I choose him every single day and I am HAPPY to do it. And I have full faith that, God willing, I will still be choosing him 50 years from now. So yes, I’m going to dish on what makes my marriage happy in the hopes that maybe it will bring a little extra happiness to some of yours.

I think love is pretty simple so I’m going to break it down to the basics:

  1. Touch each other. No, not like that you little pervert!! Okay, yes, like that…but in other ways too! Every single day there should be hugs. Real hugs, the kind where you just stop for a moment and squeeze each other, breath each other in, take a moment to physically connect. My favorite time of the day to hug my husband is when I get home from work. It is my way to say, “I missed you today.” It sets the tone for the rest of the evening. It’s so simple but so meaningful (P.S. inserting a little kiss here doesn’t hurt either 😘) Also, very important, don’t just pass each other by throughout the day. Take these little meetings as opportunities in the hallway, squeezing through the bathroom, passing on the stairs, to reach out and touch each other. For example, a touch on the arm, a hand on the small of her back, the holding of a hand or even a little pat on the back end. It’s just a playful, sweet, quick way to be physically close when you’re going 100 mph in opposite directions. My daughter has picked up on the “pat on the rear” move from my husband and now smacks me on the bottom randomly in public (not nearly as endearing!) But seriously, let’s get physical! Reach out and touch the one you love, often, all the time, every day.
  2. Work for a living and appreciate that your spouse does the same. I work hard. I do it because I want to make a better life for my family. When I come home to my worn out husband, who’s had a long day at work himself, I remember that he is working to provide for me and our children. I appreciate all that he does for us financially and around our home. All of the ways he helps me with the house work. All of the ways he cares for the kids. I tell him thank you as often as I can and I mean it. I am thankful for all that he does. I appreciate that he puts so much of himself into this life we created together. I feel so blessed that he is my partner. Don’t forget to appreciate what your spouse does every day to make your world go round. Be thankful and appreciate them.
  3. Make your husband a cup of coffee. Draw your wife a bubble bath. Put a note in each other’s lunch box. Do you see where I’m going with this??? It is in the little things that we make each other feel loved in my marriage. The small considerations for one another. We’re busy. We’re can’t-stop-won’t-stop-break-your-neck-or-maybe-your-back kind of busy. It’s so easy to not think of each other. So when we do stop, take a minute out of the busy day, and just do something nice for each other, it reminds us not only that we’re loved, but also that were on the same team. So every morning, when I wake up and my husband is still pressing snooze, I make his coffee with way too much sugar and two ice cubes (just the way he likes it) and I hope that when he grabs it on his way out the door, he feels loved.
  4. Give each other a break. Sometimes I think I love my husband the most right after I get back from a run. How lucky am I to have this wonderful man who stays with the kids so I can get out and get my feel-good going??!!! I like to think he’s thinking about how much he loves me when he’s out on the golf course too. He totally is, don’t you think?! But yes, one vital thing that makes my marriage strong and happy is that we support each other and give one another the opportunity to follow our separate passions. We are stronger individually for this and we are stronger as a married couple.
  5. For goodness sake, put your kids to bed. Give them a decent bedtime. In their own beds! This is a win-win. Kids need sleep. Parents need a break. Take this time, this tiny sliver of time between being super parents and catching your zzz’s and make it your husband/wife time. Put down the phones and do something together. Don’t get me wrong, our kids are tucked in by 9 every night and I’m usually snoring by 10 (noooo….I don’t snore, I’m just writing creatively 😉). In that hour, my husband and I are usually tuned in to a 48  Hours Mystery but we’re tuned in together. And this miraculous thing happens. When no one is yapping “MOMMY” in my ear or “DAD, GUESS WHAT?” in his, even with the TV on, we talk. It is so nice. There are no words to express what that hour of non-competed for attention is like. You might be thinking, “Why put the phone down if your just going to be watching TV.” Being distracted on a phone is very isolating. You’re doing your thing on your phone and your spouse is completely on their own. At least when you watch something together, your focus is on the same thing at the same time. But hey, someday if you’re really feeling adventurous, you could even shut off the TV!

So that’s it. So simple. I left something pretty important off my short list. I thought about adding a #6 for “Get a Babysitter”. Alone time is so important. My husband and I do occasionally get a sitter and spend some adult time together. But I leave this off my list for a very specific reason. If we wait for these special occasions to make each other feel loved, we’re going to end up very lonely. Kids, work, hobbies, friends, family, volunteering, etc., etc., this is life. You have to, YOU MUST, stay focused on your marriage during and throughout all of the chaos. You can’t wait for a break, wait for quiet time, wait for a perfect opportunity, to show your love to your partner. For example, I had to go back almost two years to find the photo below of just me and my husband.

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Most of our pictures look more like this…

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Which just reiterates my point. When we start a family, alone time, the perfect opportunities, the right mood or setting, those moments just don’t come along. We have to create those loving moments whenever, wherever.

Some of you might be in a rough patch in your marriage and you’re thinking “If only it was really as easy as she says.” Just know, we’ve been there too. No relationship is immune to struggles. We’re imperfect human beings. In a marriage, you’re going to be thoughtless, you’re going to get lazy, you’ll hurt one another and you’ll go through pain in life that will change and transform you as a person and in turn, you’re marriage will change too. As long as your partner isn’t doing anything in your marriage that risks the safety of you or your children, I challenge you to hang in there. I really believe it is the bumps in the road that make your marriage stronger in the end. Remember that this is the person that God put in your life. You are where He wants you to be. As painful as that can be at times, have faith that your life is in the middle of a transformation and brighter days are ahead. Be quick to forgive.  Do the little things that make your spouse smile, appreciate them, be filled with gratitude. Do this without expecting anything in return. Marriage is not tit for tat. Show your love to your partner because you want to, not because you expect the same in return. You’ll be surprised by what happens. When you put love out into the world, it will be returned. You’ll take the first step in building a stronger, more loving marriage.

That is it. At this point in my life, these are the things I have learned about marriage. I’m sure my perspective will continue to change as the road that my husband and I travel together twists and turns. But today I’m so grateful for my marriage and regardless of what life brings us, with my husband by my side, I’m ready to face it.