Category: love and marriage

full with life

It’s a pretty wordless Wednesday for me. My heart is full with life, as I sort through sweet reconnections, warm memories, high hopes, a glorious ninth anniversary, and one sad goodbye.

I visited Pawleys Island for the first time this week. I am in love with many things about it, my idyllic vision of a beach town come to life. Maybe we will live there someday.

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This was the view outside a cafe where I had lunch with my friend Rick yesterday:

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Today I celebrate nine years since promising to be Mrs. Burton until death parts us. This week, two people I love and respect so much – my sis-in-law’s amazing parents, showed us what that looks like. I was not there when they said goodbye. I can only imagine it was done like everything else I’ve seen them do: with quiet determination, loyalty, and grace. We will also miss Papa B.

And our mourning and remembering and rolling with it and hoping and celebrating life will occur like everything else we do: together.

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remember, helmets are safer…

morning after, and before

Last night, we had session 2 of our marriage class.

I told Our Story in front of a group of people… for the first time.

(someday, maybe soon, I will tell it here, but not quite yet).

It didn’t require as much bravery as I thought. It almost felt good…not in a I’m so proud of that chapter of my life way, not in a take my advice kind of way, but in a Look how far we’ve come way for sure.

In every class, we vote on who ‘worked the hardest’ on their marriage that week, and the someone wins a book. Last night, I won:

I was touched and honored by the words of my classmates last night (especially the guy who referred to me as a young hippy girl!), and I am happy that what most people seem to see in Rod and me is our love and commitment for each other and our family.

I think perhaps I still live in some fear that people will only see what I, what we, used to be. But I need to conquer that. We are here. We are together. All things are, and have been, made new.

Since the girls were with their big sister and we were not necessary at home (they were making Paige’s amazing popcorn and homemade pretzels), we decided to have a great date of our own. Thanks to DST, there was still plenty of sun, and we headed to a place where I’ve wanted to go since we moved here:

We crashed at Nacho Hippo, where we worked on our homework for next week and I excitedly studied the menu:

We decided to make our own nachos (2 control freaks…surprise!). Our add-ons were mango salsa, salsa verde, and steak (I let Rod have all of that…) They weren’t the best ever, but they were pretty good.

Whilst eating (I can’t help it. “Whilst” makes me think of Chandler Bing, and Chandler Bing always makes me smile…), we enjoyed this view:

and we set aside our marriage homework so that Rod could explain to me the intricacies of the NCAA tournament, the NBA draft, and how Coach Calipari from University of Kentucky advocates for his players.

He’s so patient and detailed and…goofy. How could a girl not be mesmerized?

~

This morning came fast and everyone was sleepy. I ushered Rod and the girls out the door for school and now I wait. This afternoon, KK has to get her 4 year old shots (!!!) and Rod has an opportunity. It’s one our family needs, so I am spending today mellow, still, and prayerful…not worried. It’s one of those times when we’ll know for sure whether a door is opening for us. And we’re ready to walk through it.

when you already have a room

I’m in an unprecedented time in my life in that I’m actually taking two Bible studies. One, The Search for Significance, I’ve already written about. The other is Dynamic Marriage, and it’s both teaching and inspiring me…

For every person who has ever told Rod and me, during some polite PDAing, to get a room or something to that effect, I can only say this:

You want a happy union? LOVE each other.
You’re not receiving love? GIVE it…and TALK about it.
You don’t ‘feel‘ the love? CHOOSE it.

Rod is my best friend. I always want to talk to him. I always want to be with him. This doesn’t mean I don’t greatly emphasize and enjoy other relationships in my life, but it does mean that ours comes first. Always, and even before our kids (obviously not before God).

We still hold hands in the car. We still say ‘I love you’ on the phone, maybe more than once. We still talk several times a day on the days we aren’t together. We intentionally seek to make the other laugh, to show affection, and to Get IN the Room we already have.

You can’t ignore a relationship or take a person for granted and expect that relationship to flourish.

~
We are at the beginning of a marriage class. I am excited about what it will teach us and where it will lead us. We never had pre-marital counseling, marriage training, or even much specific advice given. People either didn’t want to advise on our crazy union at its beginning, or now they think we have it all together. Well, we do have it together, but there is always room for improvement. There are nights we don’t kiss before drifting off to sleep. There are days we say ugly things to each other. There are weeks when we just can’t seem to connect.

But we always want to be together. And it’s good to get some more tools in our arsenal to assist us during hard times,

I just started following the wife of one of my favorite preachers. Cindy Easley is married to Dr. Michael Easley, a former president of Moody Bible College in Chicago. Her book is called Dancing With the One You Love, and her FB page just linked to some wonderful ideas on how to love your husband.

To this great list I would like to add….

meet his physical needs. This doesn’t make you a slave, but it does make you an obedient Christian woman and a good wife. (and by the way, it doesn’t have to be a chore…) I recommend rekindling a love for kissing. I read an article in my beloved Good Housekeeping a few years ago that suggested kissing good night for no less than 6 seconds. Try it. Seriously.
look your best. Chances are he doesn’t care that you don’t look how you looked on your honeymoon, or before the pregnancies. But he does notice if you wear something flattering, put on some lipstick, and smile because you feel good about yourself.
do not trash him to your friends (in person or on FB) or disrespect him in front of your children. Sometimes I am guilty of interrupting him when he corrects the kids. Sometimes we have different opinions on how to discipline them. I need to wait… thereby showing my kids to respect their father and authority in general.
do something he likes to do. Ask me about Kentucky basketball…
listen to him. Granted, most guys don’t want or need to talk as much as we do, so when he is stuck on a subject, even if it’s one that bores you (bus engines, politics), incites you (some politics), or grosses you out, listen. He is talking to you because he trusts and values you. Stop what you’re doing, tell the kids to wait, look him in the eye, and support him with your attention.
– pray with him. For no reason other than ADD, or perhaps laziness, this is a tough one for us. It’s not that we’re unwilling to pray together; it’s just that we don’t take the time to do it. This is one of our daily homework assignments for the Dynamic Marriage class.
dream with him. When our kids are grown, I’d like to move to Europe for a year and write. I would also like to drive across the U.S., ending my trip at the Muir National Park in California. I can’t imagine doing this without him, and I don’t want to.

I’m not a marriage expert, but I am an expert on my marriage. This month we will celebrate nine glorious years of a marriage that statistics, common sense, and at least half the people we knew said would never make it. The only reasons we have made it are because God, in His amazing grace, blessed us, and because we are extremely careful to take care of our marriage. I’ll spend the rest of my life being grateful, and passing on what I’ve learned.