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?

 

“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.

Valentine Cards for 2013

 

My parents used to run several Hallmark stores in our area.  All growing up, Valentine’s Day was a big day for us to pick out the cards that said just the right thing for each sibling.  We would swap them at the dinner table and read the encouraging & loving words, that were sometimes too hard to say the other 364 days of the year.

Since they sold their last store a few years ago, we started making our own cards.  Card making has become an even more valuable tradition!  All the ladies get together in every free moment we have for a whole week, sharing products and ideas, and making memories together.  It is so rewarding to create something, know that it’s from the heart, and delivered to build each other up.

For anyone who makes their own Valentine’s, I thought I would post a sampling of mine this year to inspire you!  For a lot of them, I used the same basic structure, but used different papers, twine, and images.

Valentine1 IMG_2226Valentine2 IMG_2228 IMG_2229 IMG_2232 IMG_2249 IMG_2251 IMG_2252 IMG_2253 IMG_2254 IMG_2255 IMG_2256 IMG_2257 IMG_2258 IMG_2260 IMG_2261

 

 

Life as an Encourager

Not too long ago I attended the Hearts At Home Conference in Illinois to assist a former teacher of mine, Juli Slattery.  I admired her wisdom, counsel, and the testimony her own marriage shined at Focus Leadership Institute.  Because she was coming all the way from Colorado to speak at a local conference, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit with her again.  During the conference I was able to hear her main study, and spent the rest of the day with some lovely women managing Slattery’s book booth.

While visiting with the ladies, a Pastor’s wife came up to us and shared a piece of her story.  She ended with an exasperated sigh and said she was discouraged by the other wives around her.  Whenever she gathered with her girlfriends the conversation was dominated by complaints and sarcastic jokes about husbands.  Instead of partaking, this Godly wife always spoke highly of her husband.  Her friends immediately blushed and turned to anger.  “Is it wrong, that I don’t want to talk badly about my husband?” she asked.  She wanted to fit in, but she wanted to uplift her husband instead of tear him down.

How often have you been in this situation?  It’s so easy to understand the stories of the other wives, and want to chime in with a related story of our own.  Sure it is a good thing to connect and sympathize, and to even share life with others, but to what detriment?

After speaking with this lovely lady, I decided to take a vow of my own.  I will try my hardest to “never talk bad about my husband, to anyone, ever.”  But, why?

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life….She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 31:10f paints a beautiful and challenging picture of what a Godly wife is supposed to look like.  Be encouraged to read Proverbs, and continue the study of “wifehood” in Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, and 1 Peter 3.

Another good reason to make this promise, is because your husband will love it!

Being married offers the most unique and intimate opportunity to know another person.  Marriage unveils all the bad along with all the good.  Not only does marriage challenge an individual in the deepest sense, but those challenges unveil new faults and uncovers dirty truths that had not been found outside the shallower relationships of their life.  With all of these dark secrets, a spouse has a lot of power.  They need to decide whether they want to use this power for good, or for bad.

Tappy and I have both made this promise together.  After an argument, I have the confidence and trust to know that my weaknesses won’t be flaunted.  I know that he will only use the information of my faults to help me weed them out and become stronger.  Similarly, I plan to build his confidence.  I want my husband to know that I love him, admire him, and am constantly in a state of excitement to see the new places God will grow in him.  These secrets create confidence, respect, and a bigger sense of trust and intimacy than what we were originally granted.

Furthermore, in the lack of complaints, we are given the opportunity of compliments.  I love to know the ways my husband brags about me.  Currently, we both work at Walmart, and I have heard so many coworkers come up to me to tell me the latest way my husband had bragged about me.  “Your husband never calls your ‘my wife’, did you know he always says ‘my BEAUTIFUL wife,’ it’s so sweet!”  or “The other day I kept seeing that all the magazines were backwards, I’d go to fix them, and the next time I turned around they were backwards again!” they eventually found out Tappy was doing it, so they asked him about it, “Your husband said he does that because you’re the only girl he wants to see in a swimsuit!”

Now tell me that isn’t encouraging?!

I hope that you choose to use your power for good, too, and build the confidence in your spouse.