Everyone knows Paige, right?
...from Simple Thoughts.
She's the one that takes really awesome pictures.
She's the one that has four beautiful daughters.
She's the one that types every single post in all lower case letters.
She's the one with a story that will make you thankful for every second that you have with your loved ones.
...Especially your spouse.
Get comfy in your chair and bring your tissues.
i've been married to two very different men.
both loved me & both loved the lord
both tall, dark and handsome
former room mates & best of friends
both high school teachers & coaches
but that's where the comparisons cease
one a first born, one the baby
one introverted, one an off the chart extrovert
one calm &easy going, one a competitive adventurer
one like a breezy summer late afternoon spent relaxing by the shore ,
one like a wild ride on a ski slope early on a bright winter morning
gregg & i were young when we married
i was 25 & probably considered our marriage an extended great fun date
we still felt invincible, immortal if you will.
i'm certain, that while it was never spoken out loud, we felt we would have forever together.
forever to learn to love each other better
forever to learn how to love each other better
forever to learn the delicate ways of loving another more than our own self
we were both high strung , type A's
busy, athletic & social
we developed patterns early of poor communication.
we by no means had a volatile relationship, just one that could have run more smoothly.
i was blown away & shocked when my marathon running, organic food eating husband
was diagnosed with metastatic cancer.
he lived only 9 months after his diagnosis.
gone were the opportunities to go back & fix things
restore words spoken in anger
or spend quality time together.
gone was the opportunity to love each others strengths versus pointing out our weaknesses.
i had lived a charmed life.
now widowed at 30.
who would have thought?
during my time as a single mom
i never prayed for a "new husband"
i did however make a plan
that if i were ever given the opportunity to love again~
i'd do it differently
i'd do it better
i wouldn't be selfish
& i wouldn't be a complainer
the lord orchestrated many little details & brought dan back into my life
(he had been a groomsman in my first wedding)
i made a decision early on during our courtship,
i decided i would focus on his strengths
the things that i appreciated about him~ i would build those up
i would not allow the flip-side of those strengths to bother me.
let me explain
it would be wrong for me to love the fact that he was a calm, slow to anger, easy going man
who always made time to listen to me & play with the girls
expect him to be an aggressive driver
or frustrated when he doesn't react (out loud) to a situation that i felt he should.
that same man who is a thinker and so quick to give the benefit of the doubt
is the same man who has never become angry with me when i blow the budget.
yet i feel, especially in marriage
we expect our spouse to be all things.
how can an introvert be expected to act as an extrovert
or a passive person become outspoken and over reactive?
it's a choice.
it's a choice to not nag.
it's a choice to be thankful for his strengths.
& allow the weaknesses to roll.
it's a choice to go to bed only after any misunderstanding or issue has been solved.
it's a choice to spend quality time together. weekly if possible.
it's a choice to put our relationship above all others. including the relationships with my own children.
(that's a sermon for another day, but it's an easy thing to allow our children & their needs to rise above those of our spouse. not a good thing but so often done)
it's a choice to be available to him when he comes home. completely available.
the way i relate to the man i married in my 30's is very different than the way i related to the man i married in my 20's.
it has nothing to do with them or their individual strengths & weaknesses
but all to do with me
& yes, i'm well aware that i was afforded a clean slate.
a fresh start of a second marriage.
a second chance.
i am grateful for him. every. single.day.
& if any of my readers know dan, they will affirm that i married a nearly perfect man
so my job is easy. i know that.
i did not marry abusive men, neither of them drink or would ever raise their voice at me.
i did not marry men who have cheated on me or left my children for a different lifestyle.
& if that is you, i realize your situation is much different. if that is you, i'm not telling you the light & easy way to restore your marriage. if that is you, i am so sorry your heart was broken. after being a widow i earned a great deal of empathy that i might never have had.
i'm far from a perfect person.
i have a short fuse.
i don't always keep a well stocked fridge or shave my legs as often as i should.
i'm compulsive about the tidiness of my home & often times grumble.
i spend too much money & don't like to meet with our financial planner.
the lord has blessed me with a wonderful man. my desire is to love & respect him and to raise four daughters who see our love acted out on a daily real basis.
i am also well aware that maintenance is much easier and less painful than repair and restoration.
i apologize as i often struggle with closure after a lengthy post,
but i guess the point i have is that of encouragement~
if you've been married for 20 years & maybe forgot all those wonderful things
he does that drew you to him in the first place,
choose to remember them
remind him of those things that you love
praise him in front of your children & to your friends
make weekly date nights a high priority
try to go to bed at the same time he does
& above all
remember that tomorrow is not a promise, it's a luxurious gift that if it's given
must be received with a grateful heart, appreciated ,& lived fully.
& they all lived happily ever after
Don't forget to enter my Valentine's Day give away HERE!!
It ends this coming Sunday!!