Why #LoveYourSpouse Challenge is Good

I understand why people are rolling their eyes at the #LoveYourSpouse trend…  Because the reality is, life is NOT A FAIRY TALE.

And for most people who are against the trend rightly feel that it is a little too polished and perfect to be true. However, this challenge is a reminder of something all couples need a little more of.

Positivity. Bonding. Forgiveness. Solidarity. Encouragement.

#loveyourspouse

Here are three short reasons why the #LoveYourSpouse Challenge is a good thing.

-Keeping a Positive Outlook on Your Marriage is Healthy-

I’ve shared before that Tap and I have made a commitment to not bash each other in public. When we do this we feel safe in our relationship, we don’t fear embarrassment in-front of or away from our spouse. Our spouse knows our deepest and most hidden flaws, and with this rule I feel safe with him knowing all of me.

So no, facebook doesn’t show the reality of our roller coaster relationship, but it shouldn’t have to. Fights are for us in our own space and time, until they’re too big- Then they’re for us and a mutually trusted counselor or wiser couple.

-Telling and Sharing Your Story is Bonding-

In all of my communication & relationship courses in college the theme of “story” was studied. The premise was that “memory sharing” creates and reinforces a bond between two people. Just watch a couple recite their story, over time they can finish each other’s sentences and they can repeat this story with bravado! You also begin to see them lean into each other, and show outward signs of affection.

Why? Because, once you walk down memory lane it tends to resurface some of those initial butterfly feelings.

Furthermore! Every positive memory is like an investment in your relationship. So when those imperfect hard times hit, you have an investment that softens the blow! We need to keep remembering the reasons we love our spouse, as well as create more reasons and memories for future hardships.

-We all Desperately Need Encouragement-

We should never stop encouraging our spouse… or our friends, family, or other marriages and love stories.

Just after 4.5 years of my marriage, I may feel like I’m not the woman my husband married. Fear that I have disappointed him with the pounds I’ve gained, the patience I’ve lost, and the slow change of personality that happens with experience and time. We all doubt ourselves, and need the reminder and reaffirmation that our marriage is still strong in the midst of challenge or change.

Even in a healthy, loving, committed relationship, I’m glad to still hear I love you.. still.

It is important to remind each other that we did, do, and will always love one another, despite the surfacing flaws, bumps in the road, and challenges we face.

And in a world that pushes divorce, selfishness, and the pursuit of happiness over holiness, it’s good to see love conquer.

How about you? Will you be joining the challenge? Why or why not?

 

Learning to Stop, and Love

The other morning as I was driving to work, I was talking to my sweet husband. He had decided to give his day off-after a long hard week- to paint furniture for our new apartment.

I’m so incredibly blessed by him, it was supposed to hit the 90’s, and furniture painting isn’t the most fun of activities… I had helped him back on Memorial Day and 6 chairs and 3 coats later I was more than done with it!

So all of this to say, my husband is awesome, and yet I am so so far from it.

On the phone he asked me a question and I thought it was a silly one- I pointed it out and got on the weirdest little soapbox, as if I was performing for the debate team.

My case was solid from every direction, backed up with facts and snarky comments… until Tap broke in and tore my case apart with one line.

“Honey.. it was just a question, you don’t have to treat me like a moron.”

And Smack.

For a moment I was rolling around in my own glory and the feeling of being right, to find I was just rolling in the mud of pride and self-righteousness.

For a moment I was rolling around in my own glory and the feeling of being right, to find I was just rolling in the mud of pride and self-righteousness.

Such an ugly pride.

It hurt, because I had hurt him and he was right.

I need to learn how to stop.

People rarely need a reminder of their faults and shortcomings. We are all so aware already- burying ourselves in grief. We do not need to add a single thing to this pile of self-loathing in ANY way.

But rather we should lift this burden off others, especially our men. And begin to build them up.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-15

Stop rolling around in the feeling of “being right” to only come up filthy. Let us stop our silly debate teams, soap boxes, and self-righteous monologues, and start being cheerleaders, builders, teammates, and dreamers.

 

Thank you honey, for painting the rest of the furniture. For being my team mate in making a house a home. You are strong, talented, and becoming quite the handy man!

Love,

Emilie

Build Each Other Up

Kids tend to make people the punchlines of their jokes.

They often grow-up, but don’t grow out of it. The jokes may take different set-ups, forms, or turns… but people still end up battered on the other end. Their bruises covered by laughter.

In highschool, I was blessed with a positive influence. My youth pastor, Brian, made it our mantra that we would not tear each other down, but that our job was to build each other up.

Whenever we said something negative about someone else, we had to apologize and list three things we liked about that person- and the mantra would be spoken again “Build Each other up.”

Ryan McGuire at StockSnap.io

Life is hard, why make it harder for each other? We have the power to tear down and the power to build up. Why not stand together to make the burden lighter?

How are you using your voice?

As I get older the challenge has changed.

Instead of redeeming negative comments with positive ones, I should be keeping my mouth shut before I say anything negative in the first place.

Bob Goff shared that every time he says something critical to another person he logs into his bank account and gives away $500.  He said this helps him stop and think, “Do I really want to say this, or would I rather take my sweet Maria on a trip?

Most of the time he picks a trip with his wife, keeps his mouth shut, and instead focuses on speaking words of “life and encouragement.”

This is the next step… Speak life and encouragement into others without prompting.

I want to live my life as an encourager… a builder.

This is especially important in my marriage. As a wife, my sole job is to be a helper and encourager to my husband.

As a wife, I get to see the worst side of my husband, but I am called to be his greatest cheerleader despite it. This is oxymoronic, but that paradox gives it even greater power.

Knowing his faults, yet respecting, loving, encouraging, and believing in him anyways is what makes it mean more.

As I try to master being an encouragement to my husband, I need to let that habit flow into all of my relationships.

What would it be like if we used our words to build instead of tear down?

Build up our family, friends, leaders, servers, or the next generation.

I think we will find that a kind word goes much farther than a critical one.

 

Is it easier for you to speak negatively or positively about others? Is there someone you are specifically speaking life into during this season of your life? Who do you know that could use some life-giving words right now?

 

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

-Philippians 4:8

 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

-1 Thessalonians 5:11

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

-Proverbs 14:1

5 Ways FitBit has Encouraged Me and Improved My Health Routine

60 days before our big summer vacation (another Disney Cruise) and I am 5 pounds under my heaviest weight ever, yet still 10 pounds over what my goal weight is.  I don’t mind how I look… in clothes, but when it comes to a Swim Suit there is some tonage that should happen, but most importantly, I need to make some healthy life changes.

Icecream or Brittney’s Cake? This shouldn’t be a daily decision I make. Instead I should be eating more vegetables and deciding if I want to do a Jillian Michaels DVD or go to Zumba.

To get motivated, I got my husband on board.  We made a deal: If I walked five days a week for the next 50 days I could buy a FitBit Zip. One extremely on target week later, my husband surprised me with an early award. A bright pink Zip was now a new ligament of my body… In my pocket, or clipped to my clothing, this thing quickly became a part of my flesh and blood.

fitbit

I thought that getting this reward so soon would deter me from accomplishing my goals, but instead it has made this journey more fun!  The zip has encouraged me, or rather the community of FitBit has.

Shortly after my purchase, two other girls in my office ran to Dick’s to get their own.  We celebrated this united effort for healthy lives by participating in a Weekend Warrior challenge.  From midnight Saturday morning until 11:59pm Sunday we would wage war, and whoever out-stepped the rest won the virtual trophy.

So how did FitBit help? Fitbit:
  1. Gave me some healthy competition
    • Let me just say, I did NOT KNOW that I was competitive until this challenge.  After a long and busy Sunday, I went on a run with my husband in the sprinkling rain at 9:30 at night until I could catch up with my colleagues!  I would walk during an hour long netflix episodes, step in place while blow drying my hair, and file my nails while pacing the living room.  It sounds ridiculous, and perhaps too simple, but even standing burns more calories than sitting.  In the end I won the trophy with 28,795 steps!
  2. Showed me that I wasn’t drinking enough water
    • In the FitBit App they have an easy to use Water Tracker. You can either type in the amount of ounces you drink, or you can click on one of 4 standard cup sizes and log it after you drain your glass.  Throughout the day it fills up a human figure with blue water.  So far, I have not once filled up my little human… With effort, I have only made it neck deep in water.
  3. Helped me celebrate my small accomplishments
    • This is one of my favorite aspects of the FitBit.  Several fitness gurus state that you need to break down your Big and Long-term goals into small, achievable steps.  FitBit does this for you by acknowledging your improvements.  I have received 4 badges: 1st: Boat Shoe Badge (5,000 steps in one day); 2nd: Sneakers Badge (10,000 steps); 3rd: Urban Boot Badge (15,000); 4th Marathon Badge (walking 26 miles over the course of my “fitbit life”)
  4. Made Health a Daily decision
    • I make a daily decision to put my Zip on.  I get push notifications from the app and the friends in my FitBit community.  I walk every day: to get to the car, to get into work, to shop for groceries, but zip helps me acknowledge the days that I sit on my tush a little too long at work and when I need to get a few more steps for my fay.
  5. Helped Me Set Goals
    • When you log into FitBit for the first time it asks questions and helps you focus on your goals.  It does all the heavy calculations for you, and if you follow the plan you should succeed.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you have a fitbit on your hip or not.  What really matters is that we take the steps to become healthy, and we make the small sacrifices it takes to keep us motivated and moving.  For me at this time, the FitBit has done that.

What works for you? What keeps you motivated and on track for your health and fitness?
What creative ways do you get more steps in your day?

“One Moment Can Last Forever”

At our all staff Christmas party, our guest speaker read from Wess Stafford’s book, “Just a Minute: In the Heart of a Child, One Moment…Can Last Forever.” Full of stories, she picked just a few to share with the staff; Stories that told how one person in just one moment breathed life into a child that altered their path – or – how in one moment one phrase could dash their dreams and begin a downward spiral.  The book was filled with pages of inspiring stories that began to make you wonder.

After one story, different Heads walked forward to share the one person who inspired them to be who they are today.  Another story, and we were encouraged to share at our tables about one person who encouraged us.  Closing with a final story, we were reminded that our business has a story too and that each of us were a part of it.  At our table we all shared about how we got our position and what led us to this career.  It was a great way to feel a part of something bigger and better than we could be alone.

However, I had a hard time choosing just one person who influenced me. I have been blessed to cross paths with so many wonderful, encouraging, and inspiring people.  My life is full of friends and family members that I cherish and who have loved me into the person I am today.  So I want to begin a journey of thanking all of these individuals for what they taught me or how they loved me.  In the next couple months I’ll be sharing my stories with you here.  I hope that they can remind you of the many people who have blessed your life, and perhaps encourage you to tell them thank you.  Maybe you can reflect on the many opportunities you have infront of you to be the one who inspires.