Wife Training – Eh, no…

When I was a kid, I remember my dad saying, “We’re training you to be a good wife.”

I thought of that today, and I don’t agree with the ideology behind it. If you raise children to be good adults, they will be a good wife or husband. No special training needed. 

Venting moment: Don’t train your daughters to be “good wives.” Good wives come in all shapes and sizes, to fit husbands, who also come in all shapes and sizes. Try to show your children (by example) how to follow God and be a caring spouse, pray for them, teach them what they need to know, and let them go.

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Three Myths About Marriage

So before my husband and I were married, we went through two rounds of marriage counseling (not by choice or because we had doubts, FYI), and, of course, people give you all sorts of advice when you’re getting ready to get married. We’re cruising into our third year of marriage now, and here are 3 things I’ve found to be false (and the truth in them). 

Myth #1. Everything changes after you get married. When people would tell me this, I had visions of Matt and I doing an about-face and becoming just like our parents. 

I didn’t want that. 

Fortunately, and logically, this usually isn’t true. You are who you are, and marriage doesn’t change your core personality or values. Don’t expect it to, and don’t be afraid to get married because of it. 

Now, here’s the truth in that. Instead of the usual focusing on each other so much like you do when you’re dating/engaged, you get down to the grind of life together. And if you let it, you can loose sight of each other and start to take the other for granted. You’re spouse becomes a fact of life, and the light they provide becomes normal. 

Myth #2. Your relationship becomes less romantic after your vows. If anything, for us, our relationship got more romantic! We had our first kiss at our wedding, and had never gone beyond hugging and holding hands. I don’t know if that was a contributing factor, but Matt is much more physically affectionate and romantic than he ever was when we were dating. My only regret is that we don’t write each other notes as much as we used to, but we do on special occasions. 

Myth #3. A successful marriage requires a good housewife and a male breadwinner. Ha! I’m a terrible housekeeper and although I do like to cook, I make a mess I don’t clean up when I do! 

I know, I shouldn’t be so messy. But hey, it works. Matt cleans up, generally makes house decorating decisions, and can be an amazing cook when the need arises. We both freelance from home, and the division of labor is pretty awesome. When he has an urgent/big project, I pamper him and do as much food and cleaning as I can to help lighten his load. And when I have a big/urgent project, he does the same for me. I don’t see that changing even when we have kids, I want to keep working and so does he. 

A Final Note. Marriage is a union between two unique individuals. Consequently, take marriage advice with a grain of salt and a pound of grace. You’re marriage will be different from any other marriage you know, because you and your new spouse are unique. Everybody likes to give marriage advice, but only really take seriously people who know you both and are wise. 

How to Be Happy

I asked Google “How to be…” and the top 4 results were “How to be… happy, confident, smart, a good wife.” So I’ll be doing a series where I attempt to answer these questions. This is #1. 

Myth #1: Stuff/money will make you happy. Stuff makes you happy only for a short time. And money buys stuff that can make you happy for a short time. But people with exuberant amounts of money commit suicide, too. Money doesn’t make you happy.

Myth #2: Happiness is a destination. One day, if I have this or that, I will be happy. Nope. Sorry. Stuff is like a drug: you build up a tolerance after awhile. So, if you’ve been saving forever so you can take a trip, and then you go, it won’t make you happy forever, even if you stay on that trip.

So, how do you actually be happy? Don’t chase it. Happiness is overrated and not the purpose of life on this earth. People who get the most out of life don’t chase happiness. They chase a purpose. That doesn’t make them happy all the time. But that makes their moments of happiness worth it, and goals attained make life worth it.

So chase your purpose. I started seeking my purpose when I was 8, because I saw all the suffering in the world and I thought, “What’s the point of going through all this if there’s no reason?” And then I thought about killing myself for awhile, fell into a pit of despair, and eventually called out to God. I asked if He was really there, and if He was, to show me why we were here.

And, obviously, He did. We were created to be in relationship with God. To love and be loved. And our hearts come to peace when we rest in Him.

So, while happiness is, in so many ways, an ill-defined myth, I truly have learned the secret of being content.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

The Submissive Wife: a tale of two women

In response to Sheila over at “To Love, Honor, and Vacuum.” 

Once, there was a girl who fell in love and married a passionate revolutionary, a strong man with huge ideals but a secret despair to ever reach them. She was a gentle girl, infused with a strong desire to make others happy, especially this man she loved so much.

And he also loved her very much. But his passion for the ideal and his independent spirit quickly turned into a bus that constantly ran over his new bride’s sensitive heart. She cried many tears, but loved him all the same, and committed to staying with him, no matter what. And as the years flowed by, they had their good times as well as their bad times.

But the only way it worked was if the gentle bride laid down and let her husband do whatever he wanted. And serve him as well as she could, regardless of if she thought he was doing right or wrong. For whenever she disagreed with him, it turned into a fight that shook the Earth.

But she was crushed under his heavy expectations. Things never got better, and her husband never realized what he was doing most of the time. He didn’t realize he was yelling. He didn’t realize he was shooting arrows through his wife’s heart. He never realized when he hurt or pushed away his children. He was on the verge of abusive, and his wife’s eyes were full of fear most of the day. But, short of divorce, there was nothing she could do. Standing up just brought constant fighting, and that hurt her worse than just taking his anger and trying unsuccessfully to please him.

On the other side of the world, another girl fell in love with an idealistic leader, a strong man who had a burning drive to change the world for the better. She was also a gentle person, a servant and a healer whose heart broke over and over for the suffering she saw in the world.

And they loved each other very much. Their goals combined and they were able to help each other. But again, she had to bow under the prow of his ship, because when he wanted to do something, nothing should stop him, especially the person who was supposed to help him and make him happy. She cried many tears when she saw her man falling into darkness, and triumphed with him when he came back up, but if she got involved and tried to pull him from going a bad direction, a huge fight broke out. So she didn’t.

But one day, that changed. She got tired of being run over. She knew better. He needed someone to tell him when he was being dumb. And nobody else could see it but her. He was unreasonable too much. He needed so much control over the lives in his family. And she was tired of it. So she stood up.

And forever after, they clashed and lived on the verge of divorce.

I always wished the sensitive princess from the first story would stand up for herself. She cried too much. And he cried to little. But then I saw the second story, and the unhappiness that standing up brought to their marriage.

So what can we do? If a woman is married to a man who runs her over, is she condemned to cry silent tears? How can you make things better without fighting all the time? Because most people don’t change. I’ve never had the answer to that question, until today.

Some people, especially passionate leader types, need mentors, people close enough to see when they’re doing something stupid, people who are able to tell them when they’re right and when they’re wrong. Usually, it falls to the wife, because a wife sees everything. But when the wife is the constant critic, it’s not effective. Especially if the person is used to getting what he wants.

In the Bible, God paired the most passionate leaders with a sidekick, usually not their wife. Moses had Aaron. David had Jonathan. Paul had Barnabas. Jesus even sent the disciples out to preach two by two. And then they would come together and talk and write letters to correct each other and smack each other when they weren’t doing what was right.

This is essential. Anybody who has a strong influence over other lives needs to have someone who can tell them when they’re wrong. Someone they listen to. Every poor leader I’ve seen has one overwhelming fault: nobody can tell them they’re wrong. And it leads to so much hurt. Because even the best of us is wrong a good portion of the time! We all have faults! And some faults can tear a family apart at the seams. So if you’re the husband in the story, get somebody to help hold you accountable! Let them into your life, let them tell you when you’re wrong, or at least listen and try to do better when your wife says something.

What is Love?

Blog post in video format!! First try!!! 😀

What is love? It took me awhile to figure this out. But, with the help of Jesus and my husband, I think I know. We were headed to Goa and I was thinking about it, because of a lot of misconceptions people have about love. So I started writing. And then I asked my husband if he could help me shoot some footage for a possible video. And we did. 🙂 This is our first real attempt at this, but looking forward to doing more.