April 14, 2013

10 {Unconventional} Marriage Secrets


       Next week is our 8 year anniversary. I know this sounds cliche' but--- I can't believe it!! And in those 8 years we feel like we have learned more than couples married twice that time. Our first 2 years were incredibly difficult. We are honest enough with each other to say that we almost didn't make it. But by God's amazing grace, love, and His constant presence in our marriage, we have learned some ways to make it. Our anniversary is 10 days from today, April 23,  so we will be sharing one snippet of guidance each day.

        If you have ever spent any time with us as a couple, you know that we are extremely passionate and in love. We truly are best friends and lovers at the same time. I say this not to condemn or say that we are better than anyone but to inspire others to use some of the lessons we have learned so that you and your spouse will have some insight into a true love story and that realize that it's not all foot rubs and trips to Lowe's together.  So let me put this out there------> (notice it is NOT in fine print!)

Disclaimer: The parties involved are not nor claim to be perfect. The only perfect marriage is the one of Jesus and The Bride of Christ one day when we see Him. 

{Unconventional} Secret #10Break Your Models

      My parents love to work in the yard. They always have. I guess you could call it their hobby. And they do it all themselves- no hired help. At almost 65, my dad gets out on the riding mower and mows the grass and at 70, my mom still gets out an blows leaves, pulls weeds, plants flowers, and trims bushes. When I was little, I remember weekends spent outside playing while they worked in the yard and seemed to have so much fun. They always have taken so much pride in a well manicured weed-free lawn. Many summer months our house won Yard of the Month because of the energy and attention to detail that way put into the outside of our house.  So naturally, when Michael and I got married, I thought we would work together smilingly to create a beautiful lawn.

That first summer we were married and had our first house,  I envisioned us working on yard projects together. In my head I dreamed of him mowing, me planting flowers, us pulling weeds together, then sitting back together to admire our hard work.  My Irish, red headed, fair skinned hubby, however, did not share that same dream. His idea of fun on a weekend was not being out in the hot Texas sun all day, only to have to do it again the next Saturday. Bless his heart, he tried. He mowed and trimmed and pulled a few weeds. But about a year into our marriage he decided to hire someone to mow the lawn.

WHAT??????     How could he not take pride in his lawn? How could he want to actually rest on the weekends? A real man takes care of his yard, right? He certainly doesn't pay someone to do it. I don't have a maid so why does he get to have yard help?

This fight went on and on for years. Actually until probably about a year ago if we are being honest. You see, my 'model' was one that had two parents who liked working in the yard. Because that was my only 'model' or experience to draw on, I thought that must be the way to do it. I thought that to be a real man, as a saw my dad, you must enjoy yard work. I never took into account my husband's desires about his free-time off of work. I never thought that anybody wouldn't like working in the yard. I never thought that he might have other hobbies, interests, etc that he would like to focus on when he is not working.

Here's another one for you...
Christmas. We all have our own 'model' for Christmas, right? All normal families open presents on Christmas morning right? Did you know that there are people in this world that actually open gifts on Christmas Eve??? Craziness, right? Well that is how my husband's family had always done it and I'm pretty sure early in our marriage I told him that was just flat our wrong and silly. In my 'model', we went to Granny's Christmas Eve, came home and slept in our beds, to awake on Christmas morning with a loot from Santa. Hubby's family woke him up sometime late at night to open gifts. Believe it not, this silly little thing has caused arguments in our marriage.

So what kind of 'model' do you need to break? Did your dad give your mom certain things on Valentine's Day that you expect  your husband to give you? Maybe it's not just your parents, maybe you have an aunt who folds laundry a certain way and so you do too, even though your hubby may like his shirts a different way. How often do we as females use fiction as a 'model'. How often have we played out a scenario in our head that we have seen in a favorite movie like The Notebook? Admittedly, I always wanted a guy to say "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." We, as women, have these models built in our heads and we expect our mates to live up to these high expectations that they may not even know about.

His 'model' is wrong and your 'model' is wrong. The only 'model' that is right is one that you build together, one where both of you love each other and love Christ more than you love yourself.

So here is Michael chiming in...
I'm not sure I would say that models are wrong or right necessarily. I would say to understand that they are just models. As husbands and wives we are to lead each other. We should learn to draw together on various models. The reality is that when I elevate the model in my head above my wife, I am ceasing to love and serve her and I am selfishly serving my own interests. We picked up this little nugget from Les and Leslie Parrot and I highly recommend their stuff. http://www.lesandleslie.com/

And BTW.... I do like yard work. I just like the mall, riding my bike, crossfit, and other stuff more. Not to mention that I am terrible at yard work. No matter how many guides I follow on fertilizing and watering, the weeds and clover in my yard actually get worse. But I digress.