Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Loving People...

I just really love people. I love being around them, observing them, caring for them, giving to them, and being there for them. I am not perfect by any means (that is for sure and certain), ;-) and I am sure I irritate more people than I realize, but I do love people. :-) I think that is why I rarely get offended with people, in that I know people aren't perfect and try to think the best of them. One thing that keeps me from getting mad and bitter at people is to remind myself of how much Christ has forgiven me of. :-)

I guess my thoughts for today are that more people should talk about their feelings. If someone is offended with me, I *appreciate* them telling me so and sharing what I did. That way I can take care of it asap! It hurts me when someone just disappears off the radar because they are mad at me but don't want to confront it. It is usually a misunderstanding 99% of the time. Let's face it, we've ALL been guilty of speaking before thinking, right? I think it IS way easier to just brush it off and not talk to someone again rather than talk it out. This is a reminder to friends and an admonition to myself. Life is much easier when we are nice to people. Friendship is worth all the work. :-)

"When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath your exasperation, your fury or indignation last until the sun goes down. Leave no such room or foothold for the devil give no opportunity to him." ~ Ephesians 4:26-27 NASB

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The “Challenges” of Marriage…

A sweet and newly engaged friend asked me recently about expectations and challenges I have faced in marriage. Many couples can recount trivial challenges such as the other spouse not replacing the lid on the toothpaste or constantly forgetting to put the toilet lid down. Michael and I have most definitely faced our fair share of intense challenges in our first year and a half of marriage. Four moves, an unexpected honeymoon baby, birth and delivery, whooping cough, spending 10 1/2 days in Children’s Medical Center wondering if our baby was going to make it through, a stressful living situation, a miscarriage, and financial stress. Wow, I think that is enough to make anyone go intensely insane, right? :-)

Here is some encouragement to those of you contemplating marriage, engaged, or newly married.
1. Pray together daily: Michael and I pray together daily and not only is it a time of praise and thanksgiving for what He has done, it is also a time where we exercise our faith in believing in what He is going to do in our lives.
2. Live sacrificially: It seems like some couples seem to think it is always the wife who is supposed to give up everything when she gets married, has kids, etc. However, Michael and I believe this is a two way street. If the husband comes home from work and the house is STILL a mess, the kid is running around in a dirty diaper, and the wife is laying on the couch feeling sick, it is not for the husband to berate her in her failings that day. It is time for him to change that diaper, get her a drink of water, and put his arms around her. But this also goes both ways. If your husband is stressed over a work or school project, don’t complain about his lack of attention to you on that day or that he is not helping with the children. Take care of the kids, make dinner, rub his neck and tell him you love him. This applies to intimacy as well. :-) ;-)
3. Submit one to another: The Bible says the wife is to submit to the husband. However, the Bible also says that the husband is to love his wife (Eph 5:22-33). It is not loving to treat your wife like she is a door mat. Marriages equals mutual respect of each other. This involves discussing important decisions. There are definitely times when Michael says we need to do something that I don’t want to do, but I do it because I trust him that he is wise and since he rarely asks me to do much (outside of caring for the house and Hudson), I do it (though he never asks me to do anything we haven’t talked about, but occasionally we may not agree). Most men want a partner in life, not a puppy. :-) Please treat your wife like an equal! This goes for the wife too. Don’t discount the decisions your husband makes. Don’t make him afraid to lead because of what your reaction might be.
4. Never do any name calling: Words are like wounds, they will heal but always leave a scar. Think twice before opening your mouth. Try to say I love you instead.
5. Do not try to change each other: If there is something you do not like about the person you love before you get married, it isn’t going to magically disappear after the vows and honeymoon are said and done. You have two options here. Either discuss it before marriage (and be open about your own bad habits and such) and try to encourage change, or you need to accept it after marriage. Things CAN change, but it is up to God and not you. As a wife, I certainly do not want to be a “leaky faucet” so I try to take it to the Lord when something irritates me and not get on Michael constantly (and vice versa). Have a teachable spirit and take constructive criticism to the Lord in prayer instead of reacting.
6. Do not correct or criticize in front of others: Thankfully, Michael has never done this to me, but I have been around people who do this. It really does wound! It can discount a persons opinion and make them shut off the spirit of communication because they are afraid they are going to be embarrassed or hurt again. If your spouse says something you consider incorrect, inappropriate, or ignorant, do NOT tell them that in front of others. This is a BIG no-no!
7. Keep your communications free and open: Set aside 30 minutes each evening to sit and discuss your day, feelings, etc. Do not let other things crowd out sharing your hearts with each other. These distractions can come in the way of TV, internet, and yes, even children. :-)
8. Go on weekly dates: Michael and I do not have any spare money for dates, but most of the time (usually Thursday evenings) I will make a meal and we will eat it on a blanket on the family room floor with a lit candle and romantic music playing. We talk about life an avoid talking about school or work, and it helps us to stay connected. :-)
9. Do not let your children crowd out your relationship with your spouse: It is all too easy to get so wrapped up in your child”s cuteness, antics, and milestones that it comes before anything else, but most importantly your spouse. Make sure that you aren’t ignoring your husband or wife in favor of your kids. Your kids grow up and leave eventualy, but it is till death do you part with your spouse. When the kids leave, you want to be able to still have a loving and open relationship with your husband or wife.
10. Give your spouse the freedom to be themselves: Whether this is their hobbies, clothing or hair styles, personality, etc. We don’t have money for me to keep up on the current clothing fashions and such, but Michael always makes sure to budget enough for me to get my hair cut. Even when I am wearing the same clothes as 2 years ago, a stylish cut keeps me feeling pretty and feminine. Budget needs to be taken into consideration. If one of you knows you don’t have the money for something, don’t buy it. Wait till a special occasion comes along and buy it then (after saving for it).

Please do not think I write this with an attitude of pride. I am by no means a marriage guru, especially only having been married less than two years, but after going through some intense hardship, God has not only kept the two of us together, but has knit us even more tightly than ever before. When a couple has the joy of the Lord and a mutual love for Christ, being continually in His Word as a couple and praying together draws you even closer. I love it when my friends tell me that their husband is their best friend and companion. There is nothing better than that. So in closing, marriage is not a challenge to me. It is a life changing, character growing,and love expanding experience. Couples who pray together and find joy in Jesus, WILL find joy in each other.

Remember to keep your priorities straight….


Book Recommendations:

The Bible!
Preparing for Marriage work books
Intended for Pleasure

About Me

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My name is Stephanie and I grew up in Florida. I have been drawing since I could hold a crayon. Even though I never had any formal training, I am well known for my vibrant style. I enjoy painting murals, drawing wall art, colorful stationary & invitations, and many other artistic projects. I am currently working on writing and illustrating my first book.