Categories
Marriage

Busy seasons in your marriage

I haven’t been posting nearly as often as I should. I’ve been working on my novel. Lately, I’ve discovered that I’m really good at writing words, but what my readers want is quality words strung together into a beautiful narrative. And hey, by the way, I know I normally write non-fiction on here, but if you also read fiction, can you let me know? I’m trying to figure out how to best serve my audience.

In addition to this, my husband has also been working a tremendous amount of overtime hours. Of course I am thankful for this. My husband’s company has been very gracious in letting him work overtime and making sure he’s putting money away toward our down-payment-for-a-house fund. And my husband has done a great job in showing up, being present at his job, and giving his best.

Our marriage is not suffering. We don’t have any problems. But we have big-kid responsibilities now, like paying rent (and taking care of our apartment), buying a house, starting a family, and (gulp) paying taxes!

If you’re in a busy season like we are, don’t be afraid. Your marriage is not in jeopardy. You just need to be intentional with your spouse about the time you spend together and the love in your marriage. Here are some points to remember!

This is a season. Before we even started dating, Lenny and I had conversations about our dream jobs and what it would look like for us to pursue them. At the time, we were in great jobs, we had no idea that Lenny would be doing IT for a law firm and I would be working in the editing field. But even at the beginning, we made it clear to each other that we would never let our jobs come before each other. We would never spend so many hours in the office that our marriage or our future kids suffer. And while I was tempted for a while to fear that it was happening, that we were placing our jobs above our marriage, I realize that it is just a season. We are busy now, but we won’t always be. We are saving for a house, and we are building wealth for our future. We’re living that DINK (Dual Income No Kids) life. And, quite honestly, staring googly eyed at each other isn’t going to pay the bills. We need to be busy right now, in this season, so that we can survive and enjoy the blessings God has given us. If you’re in a busy season, do not let it become a lifestyle. If you have years where you are busy, maybe you need to sit down and reevaluate your priorities.

Your marriage isn’t taking a back seat. If I really sat down and thought about why I write, it’s because I enjoy writing. My writing doesn’t necessarily help my husband, but it helps me express myself in a way that makes me happy. Happy wife, happy life. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is start working on my manuscript. No questions asked. But I get up before my husband is awake, so that when he is awake, I can make sure he has what he needs to get to work, and I make sure I can give him my attention. While my husband loves his job, he’s not working just because he likes to work. He’s also working because he wants to fund our future, because he believes in my dream as a writer and he’s helping me be able to make time for that, while also saving for a house. No matter what your job is, remember that you are working to support you and your spouse. May that fuel you to work your best and be intentional at your job.

Make time for each other. No matter how busy we are, Lenny and I always have one meal together each day. We sit down and read the Bible and a book on marriage. One day this week, when he was gone for more than twelve hours, he wasn’t hungry, so we just sat on the couch and watched a TV show. I know all the marriage counselors frown at couples watching TV together, but…You try talking to your spouse when he’s been working ten hours straight, and then had to sit in an hour of traffic. At that point, he just wants to decompress and sit with me. And I’m happy to do that. Besides, if you know me, you know that I talk through the whole show anyway! (Blame the writer in me that sees every plot hole and can’t sit still until it’s resolved!). Since my love language is quality time, it is essential for us to have at least an hour a day to sit together and talk.

What do you do when you and your spouse are in a busy season?


Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

“If you can’t love me at my worst…”

“…You don’t deserve me at my best.” This saying was popular when I was in high school. In the days before memes, we had AIM icons, away messages, and MySpace graphics. The context in which this phrase was used when I was younger is for friends and relationships. It’s hard being a teenager. If you are having a bad day, people don’t want to hang out with you. But when you’re all dolled up and you have a smile on your face, everyone wants to be your friend.

After I did a quick Google search, I realized that this phrase is still popular. The memes aren’t quite appropriate for this blog post, but you can make the decision for yourself how funny they are!

Unfortunately, there have been people in my life who could not love me at my worst. I’m not perfect, but I enjoy helping people, almost to a fault, when they are broken. But when it was my turn to be depressed, bitter, anxious, and broken, they decided I was too much work. When I needed them most, they turned their backs on me.

Then, when I would figure it out (generally on my own, but sometimes with friends and family I had allowed to speak into my life), suddenly they were back in the picture. And guess what? They would want me to fix their problems. When they would hear about my struggle with depression, anxiety, etc., they would act shocked. “Oh no! Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you reach out to me? I would’ve helped you.”

Yeah, right.

It turns out that, while there were some good people in my life who have supported me through tough times, there is only one person in my life who has truly loved me at my worst.

Before I knew Jesus, I literally was at my worst. Anxiety and chaos defined me. Sure, I looked happy, but that was just my shell. I was sitting in silence, plotting my next move, preparing myself for the unknown. As a result, I wanted nothing to do with God. But, as Romans 5:8 says, Jesus died for me anyway, knowing that I didn’t love Him, so that He could give me a better life.

I wish I could say that I came to God on my own, but His Spirit literally dragged me by the heels to youth group one night. And that’s where I found love. That’s where I found acceptance. That’s where I found Him.

And that’s when I knew that Jesus truly loved me at my worst.

My youth pastor told me that Jesus wanted to be my best friend. I have never heard it so eloquently put since then, probably because those were the words that the Holy Spirit used to tug at my heart and invite me into a relationship with Jesus. Although I couldn’t phrase it this way at the time, in that moment, God was inviting me to have a different life. He was inviting me to surrender my old way of doing things so that I could do things His way.

He was willing to give me His best. Now, only He is worthy of my best.

What does it look like to give God my best? For me, it’s being intentional about spending time with Him every day. It’s inviting Him into every aspect of my life, from the time I wake up to the time my head hits the pillow. It’s honoring Him at work. It’s writing the books He has called me to write. It’s treating my friends and family with respect.

When I’m at my worst, God still loves me. I’ve learned that my friends and family cannot fully love me at my worst, because they are all broken. We are all broken. But we can try. We can encourage each other, and point to the One who truly loves us at our worst, and wants to give us our best.

What are you willing to give Him in exchange?


Photo by Tiago Bandeira on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

embracing your risk zone

Guess what? I have another ship metaphor for you. Our ancestors spent a lot of time on ships, before there were planes and such, so I guess the idea of being a ship was relatable for a period of time. I for one am grateful for planes, even though I am terrified of them, because I get seasick on boats. But, for now, if you’re ready for some encouragement, let’s get sailing!

Around this time last year (wow, it was last year already?), For King & Country released an album called Burn the Ships. The title song for the album was inspired by Luke’s wife Courtney, who struggled with addiction to anti-nausea pills during their second pregnancy. After consulting with a doctor and getting treatment, she decided to flush all of her pills and break the chains of guilt and shame off of her life. The song “Burn the Ships” is my favorite song on the album, not just because of the video, but also because of the inspirational story.

It turns out that there is another story attached to this phrase. Although it is not confirmed to be true (please research this on your own), it is still a great story that is motivational and worthy of sharing. It is rumored that a conquest crew wanted to return home, but the explorer commanded the crew to burn the ships. There was no going back. They were forced to face their risk zone.

We have many “ships”, sources of comfort, in our lives. For me (and I’d never thought I’d say this!) my cell phone has become a source of comfort. To prepare for writing a novel about an internet shutdown, I turned off my phone this weekend to see how I would survive. A couple of years ago, it would have been like a vacation for me, but this weekend was very difficult. I would compare it to walking around with one arm tied behind your back. I actually had to pay attention to my surroundings and deal with the issues in my life. I couldn’t hide. I couldn’t isolate myself. I had to rely on other people (namely, my husband) for information.

What is your source of comfort? Maybe it’s preventing you from moving forward. In case you were not aware, you were created to fulfill a purpose on this Earth. Nobody is here on accident. That means you were designed with unique gifts, talents, and passions to change the world. We need you. And often, you need to leave your comfort zone in order to grow.

Before we start burning ships and leaving our comfort zones, we have to understand where we’re going. While the human heart thrives on adventure, it is not wise to take risks just to check “risk taking” off your to-do list. You need to have a goal, a destination, in mind.

Where is God calling you to go?

My destination is writing and editing. I love what I do, but sharing my writing with the world is the scary part.  I feel led to write novels. As a matter of fact, I’m writing a Christian dystopian novel that is way out of my comfort zone. I even started writing it sort of as a satire because of how much I loathe technology! But each time my hands touch the keyboards to write, God stretches me. He equips me for the next step. He helps me reach my destination, and He gives me strength and courage to leave the past behind me and make this new normal my home.

Burning your ships may be scary, but it’s worth it. When you keep moving forward, you will discover that the future isn’t so scary anymore. What is even scarier than moving forward is staying in the same spot for your entire life.


Photo by Nick Jio on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

where is your ship?

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took a little canoeing trip. Although it was supposed to be relaxing, when we first got into the boat, we were freaking out. The boat was much smaller, and much less stable, than we had expected. This thing was supposed to carry the two of us down a river? To top it off, I also struggle with emetophobia, and the last time I threw up, I was on a boat. So, as only people afraid of throwing up would understand, I was certain I would get sick on this rickety little canoe.

My husband, being much more calm than I am, took no more than five minutes to fully get over it. I, on the other hand, felt nauseous, then started hysterically crying and asking if we could go home. I negotiated with my husband, politely asking him to turn the boat around. Then I threatened my husband, reminding him that I was also carrying an ore and would bring this canoe right back to the dock (which, by the way, was only a couple of feet away).

To get me to go further out into the river, Lenny started to challenge me. “Let’s make it to that boat up ahead. If you still want to go home, we can go home after that.” I made it to the next boat. And the next one. And past a bird. And past the dock. And past that patch of low tide where we pitched our boat for a couple of minutes to catch a breather. Lenny ultimately wanted to go to a bird sanctuary that was at least forty minutes away. I was scared, but I wanted him to enjoy himself. I also wanted to show my anxiety who’s boss!

After about a half hour, my anxiety had fully subsided. Birds flew overhead, and the only sound we could hear was our ores swimming in the river. It was so calm and peaceful, I wanted to stay outside all day. We even thought about the possibility of buying a boat!

Going out on the canoe for the first time, I didn’t understand how the disciples did it. I didn’t know how Peter had the audacity to step out of the rocky boat and attempt to stand on the stormy waters (see Matthew 14). I couldn’t comprehend how these men could earn their living catching fish, spending most of their waking hours rocking back and forth in the choppy sea.

But then I understood.

John A. Shedd wrote, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Ships are incredibly dangerous. Not only can you get seasick (which is scary enough for me to avoid a cruise), but the weather is also out of your control, and you can get lost at sea. Have you ever seen a movie where there’s so much fog, and the boat is so far out, that the people in the boat can’t see land in their field of vision? Ugh, I’m shuddering just thinking about it!

And yet, there’s something within all of us that desires to go through it anyway. We desire to do the impossible, the scary, the dangerous. That’s because we, like ships, were not created for “safe” lives. We were created to make a difference. We were created to glorify God by doing the impossible through His strength.

Although God has an adventure of a life for all of us, He also is the only one that allows us to have true peace. We can plow through white water rapids, or we can keep our ores still as we soak up the sun and float over calm waters. Each season of life provides a new way for us to travel on this river of a race that God has marked out for us (see Hebrews 12:1).

So, where is your ship today? Is it safe in the harbor, is it sailing the rough seas (even making you a little queasy), or is it simply enjoying the ride?


Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

you’ll work, but you’ll love it!

My husband and I are very thankful for the team at Ramsey Solutions. As most of you know, Dave Ramsey has been teaching for 25 years about how to win with money. His motto is, “Live like no one else so that later you can live and give like no one else.” Along with his radio show, where he helps people get out of debt and build wealth, he has also employed several “Ramsey personalities” to focus on specific areas of financial struggles. One of those personalities is Ken Coleman, who talks about what you were born to do. He helps you find your dream job, and discusses practical steps of how to get there.

A couple of weeks ago I was starting to feel discontent at my job. But, after listening to Ken Coleman’s podcast, I realized that I’m doing exactly what I enjoy doing. I’m doing exactly what I’m good at doing. As he would say, I’m in my “sweet spot.”

Ken Coleman taught me how to truly pursue my dream. My dream is to work from home as a freelance editor. I’ve always imagined working in my home office, typing away at my computer, making myself available for my friends and family. What’s stopping me from pursuing a freelance editing career? If I really thought about it, nothing. (Visit this page if you need me to take a look at your novel!).

Through this season of self-discovery, God affirmed my identity in Him. He truly has called me to work where I am now. After years of uncertainty, now it is clear: He loves me, and He is pleased with me. Thank you, God!

Did you know that God intended for us to enjoy work? Work was actually assigned to us before the Fall, so it is not a punishment for our sin. God gave us land to work and oversee (see Genesis 1-3). As a result of the Fall, we now struggle in our jobs (and have work anxiety), but we don’t have to.

Here are some ways to fall in love with your job again!

  • Discover your dream job. Ken Coleman encourages his listeners to find our talents (what we’re good at) and our passions (what we enjoy doing). That is where you will find your “sweet spot.” Take some time to think about what you’ve always loved doing, and what you are good at doing. Then, think about what jobs will help you feel that sense of fulfillment. You now have your dream job!
  • Remember why. Sorry to break it to you, but most likely, you will not get your dream job overnight. You might have to go to school. You might have to get a dead-end job to build up experience or an income to fuel your vision. You may need to pay off debt! If you are not in your dream job, remember why. Why are you pursuing this career path? How is this job going to help you in the long run?
  • Maybe it’s not about your dream job. You may not enjoy your job for legitimate reasons. Your boss treats you like garbage. You have a conflict with your co-worker. The commute is way too long. The pay may be terrible. Before leaving the field where you work, try to pinpoint what about your job you don’t like. Do you fundamentally not enjoy what you do, or do you need a change of environment? Knowing the difference between a toxic work environment and not being in your dream job can change your attitude about your work ethic, and, dare I say it, your identity as an employee.
  • Search wisely. If your current job isn’t going to help you in the long run, maybe you need to look for another job. Before making the jump, consider why you want to leave your job. Holding nothing back, write down all the reasons why the idea of going back to work makes you sick to your stomach. Then, when you search for a new job, make sure the company doesn’t have those things on your list! Ask employees of those prospective companies about the work culture. Research the salaries they offer. Check the job description!

As the popular phrase goes, “If you love your job, you’ll never work another day in your life.” Unfortunately, that’s not true. You will work, but you will love what you do. According to Scripture, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). What makes your heart come alive? Pursue a job where you can love what you do, and your work will bring glory to the One who created you.


Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

Categories
Marriage

what about me?

Over the summer, we’ve seen so many of our friends and family go through various life events, including buying houses and having children. We are genuinely happy for them. We know some of their stories, and the hard work and grace it took to get to where they are today, and we are so proud of them and so thankful to God for His faithfulness. But, although I still don’t want these things yet, as strong as my contentment is, the temptation is still there to want what everyone else has.

What about me?

If you feel overlooked because of your waiting period, here are some ways that I’ve learned to find contentment in this season:

  • Think about what you have. Last week, I struggled with contentment, and with the belief that I’m not enough. I realized how many people have what I want, and how I just can’t seem to get there. When I prayed, God asked me to focus on what I have instead of what I don’t. Later, in the car, Lauren Daigle’s “You Say” came on the radio. The first line of the song? “I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough.” In that moment, God showed me that He sees me and He knows me. He asked me to focus on what I have, and what I have, no matter what season I am in, is His Presence. He is always with me, no matter what I have, no matter how I feel. Do you have the assurance of God’s continual presence? If you struggle with contentment, take some time to think about how God has been faithful to you.
  • Celebrate those around you who have what you want. You may feel like you’re not enough or you don’t have enough, but you have everything you need. Often, we need to step outside of ourselves and give ourselves a little pep talk. David did this all the time in the Psalms, when he would command his soul to bless the Lord (see, for example, Psalm 103). His soul didn’t feel like blessing the Lord all the time, but he knew it was the right thing to do. Sometimes, we have to fight to do the right thing. It is right to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. When your friend tells you good news about what is happening in her life, be happy for her, even if it is exactly what you wanted.
  • Talk about it and pray with a friend. Contentment truly is a fight in this progressive, ever-changing world. But we don’t have to fight alone. My husband has been my number-one partner in fighting against contentment. I often add my own fears to the situation, but my husband, the voice of reason, helps me see what is real and what is simply based on what’s inside my own head. Thankfully, I also have friends who understand me, who can also get inside my own head and my heart and feel what I am feeling. Those friends have prayed for me and have helped me love where I am in this season.

The final point is to remember your prayers. I had asked God for a chill year this year.  (Please, no major life events in 2019!). Witnessing how good and faithful He has been these last couple of years, I know He could give me a brand new house, an army of kids, and a super-successful business in the snap of His finger, but He was faithful to answer the deepest prayer of my heart: rest. Help me find meaningful rest. These last couple of years have been like a whirlwind, and I’ve barely had time to process it all. I realize that this season is so essential for me, because, when I do have all those other things, I will need to know how to find meaningful rest.

What have you been asking God for lately? What is truly the deepest desire of your heart? Remember what you prayed for, and believe that God is working on it!


Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

 

 

 

Categories
anxiety

how thoughts affect our health

There it was, right on cue. Pains ran through my stomach, instantly nauseating me. Isn’t it suspicious that they always come when I’m about to walk into work? Sometimes I get them a little earlier, like when I get into the car or when I first wake up. But what are the chances that I have a stomachache every morning when I know I have to work in the near future?

On more occasions than I’d like to admit, I have fallen victim to psychosomatic symptoms, health challenges that stem from suppressed emotions. In this case, I experience stomachaches before work because I struggle with work anxiety. Now that I know this, I know how to stop it.

While some of us may be more driven by our feelings than by our thoughts, our feelings do not determine our reality. Our feelings may feel so real, but they are not true. Especially if our feelings are related to fear and shame.

Fear and anxiety may cause you to develop other symptoms. You may have headaches before you’re about to confront a co-worker about an issue. You may have chest pain before you go to your family member’s house. You may have acid reflux before you are about to take a long trip. 

Of course, you could just be sick. We get stomach viruses and sinus infections every once in a while. But pay attention to when you develop those symptoms. Why did your stomach start gurgling at that moment? Is there a connection between your symptoms and your circumstances?

If you struggle with psychosomatic symptoms due to suppressed emotions, there is only one solution: deal with the feelings. I personally like to journal, but you could also process out loud alone or with a friend. Be intentional about identifying what you are feeling, and why you could be feeling that way. Why are you scared? Why are you angry? You may even be joyful, but you’re not allowed to show it because of those around you. Don’t be surprised if you start to develop psychosomatic symptoms while you’re dealing with your feelings.

I’m so thankful that God knows my heart. I can come to Him at any time of the day and share my feelings with Him, knowing that He will never leave me or forsake me. He created my emotions as signals to how I’m reacting to my circumstances. God is not freaked out or intimidated when I discover fear, shame, or anger in my heart. Even better than that, He can replace those “ugly” emotions with His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The truth of God’s Word tells me that I am a child of God. I am fully loved by God. His grace covers every sin I’ve ever committed. He gives me good, not harm, all the days of my life. In light of these truths (and countless others found in Scripture), how could I be afraid? Of course, the feelings will continue to come, but we have to fight them with God’s Truth. Don’t let your feelings control your truth; use the truth to control your feelings.


Photo by Vinicius Amano on Unsplash

Categories
Marriage

friends, brothers, or potential threats? how to deal with the opposite gender

I am blessed to say that I have great friends that just happen to be guys. But for some reason, that seems to be an enigma in our Christian culture. How can you be friends with someone of the opposite gender? If you’re married, can you even have friends besides your spouse?

After doing research (I’ll post the links below), I’ve discovered there is so much controversy about whether we can truly be friends with members of the opposite gender. If you want to know more about what I think about the issue, here is one article I found that completely sums up my thoughts (I even bought the book that goes along with the article!).

The definition of the word “friend” has been diluted because of social media. I have a ton of male “friends” on my Facebook, but that doesn’t mean I would hang out with them. It just means, quite simply, that I’ve had some interaction with them in the past. According to the dictionary, a friend is someone to whom you have some sort of personal connection, someone who can support you, someone with whom you are on good terms, and someone of the same social group as you. I may have six-hundred-plus “friends” on Facebook, but, in light of those definitions, I’m only actually “friends” with about thirty of those people.

To have friendships with members of the opposite gender, we need to have clear boundaries, practice open communication, and be part of intentional community.

Have Boundaries

The key to any friendship is boundaries. Some Christians do not advocate being friends with members of the opposite gender is because of sexual temptation. You don’t want to fall into sin. You don’t want to be too attached. OK, great. Then, establish in your mind (and, if needed, out loud), that you won’t pursue a sexual relationship with anyone that is not your spouse.

If sexual temptation is a struggle for you, then you have to set strict boundaries with yourself. Be smart. Don’t sit alone with a guy in the car at two in the morning and talk about your past relationships. That has “trouble” written all over it. Before entering a friendship (and you have a choice to enter a friendship), decide how far you’re willing to go with someone who is not your spouse, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.

Have Open Communication

When my husband first asked me on a date, I was scared out of my mind. Typically, before him, boys would ask me to “hang out”, but they wouldn’t be clear of what that looked like. I would be wondering the whole time if they wanted a relationship with me or if they just wanted to be friends. I really liked Lenny, and I was kind of burnt out from all the “dating” (or not) I’d done, so I was very hesitant when he asked me to go to the movies alone with him. But he made his intentions clear: “I think you’re a really nice person, and I want to get to know you better.” And then we started our pre-relationship dating, going on a couple of dates alone.

Then, when I felt like we were going to pursue a relationship, I sat him down at the diner and explained my expectations for a relationship. Then we started our relationship. After three months of dating, Lenny told me he planned on asking me to marry him in a couple of months. Of course, we sat down over dinner at Houlihan’s and talked about what that would look like. Finally, when we got engaged, we prayed about when we would get married, and we talked about what we were willing to sacrifice in order to get married sooner. As I look back, the entire time, we were in constant communication. There was no assumption.

If you have a friend that seems to be pushing your boundaries, be clear. I know it’s hard and scary, but it is so much better than “ghosting” him. I know we’re all afraid of rejection, but honestly, it is worse to lose a really good friend than to have a really good friend simply say he doesn’t want a relationship with you.

Intentional Community

Community can help you stay accountable with these questionable friendships, but community can also help you find true friendship. We as humans have needs that others can fill. We don’t just have sexual needs (which, obviously, only one person can fill), but we also have emotional and mental needs. We need encouragement. We need a listening ear. We need accountability. We need wisdom. I am so thankful for the men who have poured into my life, who have encouraged me, who have taken the journey inside my head with me and have helped me process my thoughts, who have listened to me and have given me guidance about my next step.

If you are a Christian, you belong to the family of Christ. Your “guy friends” are actually your brothers. How would you treat your brother? Keep this in mind as you interact with all of your friends. If you are married and you have “couple friends”, think about your interaction with your brothers in Christ in light of your sisters in Christ. Would you want to let emotional attachment ruin your sister’s happiness?

So, yes, it is possible to have friends of the opposite gender. You simply need to establish clear boundaries, practice open communication, and be a part of intentional community.


Photo by Kevin Gent on Unsplash

The Billy Graham Rule: Should You Be Friends With Someone of the Opposite Sex?

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/can-christian-men-and-women-be-friends

https://www.gotquestions.org/married-friend-opposite-sex.html (musings from reading this, not actual information from it)

Relationships: Opposite Gender Friendship

Categories
Marriage

appreciating your spouse

In the midst of all we have to do, it’s often tempting to neglect the aspects of your spouse that you appreciate. It’s even possible to complain about the things your spouse isn’t doing (like helping you clean up the house or making enough money or letting you have “me” time). But we all need a reminder that our spouses are from God, ordained by God to walk through life with us and share in our ups and downs. We need to make time to appreciate what our spouses do on a regular basis, as thanks to God for blessing us with our life partners.

This past weekend, I asked my friends on Facebook one thing they appreciated about their spouses. Multiple people struggled to share just one thing they appreciated about their spouses. It warms my heart to see people who have been married ranging from one year to multiple decades find a plethora of reasons to thank their spouses for what they do. In a world that is so quick to complain, there are people out there who have the good things their spouses do at the forefront of their minds and tongues.

I also appreciate through that there was no competition, comparison, or griping (talking about what our spouses don’t do for us, or complaining that our spouses aren’t like another person’s). We truly came together, as a community, to affirm each other’s positive comments. Positivity and encouragement can truly help us see our spouses as the blessings that they are. Focusing on what we appreciate our spouse, as one woman commented, can even help us love our spouses even more.

The original post is here.

  • I appreciate that my spouse always helps out around the house in every area! Laundry, cooking, cleaning and more ❤️
  • My husband helps readily and willingly without complaint and I’m so grateful!
  • She respects and recognizes me for taking responsibility as a husband and father,
  • She likes me and that makes my day
  • She wakes up early every day of the week and prepares me a complete and delicious breakfast
  • She’s a good administrator of our financial resources
  • She did not have an outside job so she could raise our two kids from when they were born up to middle school
  • She has fully supported me all these years as I serve the Lord in different ministries
  • He knows how to bring out the best in me
  • He loves me for who I am
  • He supports me and believes in me
  • He is my best friend
  • I can tell him anything without judgement
  • He makes me laugh even at myself when I need to
  • He makes me coffee every morning which starts off my day feeling loved
  • Having someone who can challenge me on anything but from a place of love
  • Someone who knows who I really am so after a long day of “saving face,” I can tell him how I was really feeling
  • Carrying the load of children together
  • Being able to deal with financial burdens together
  • My favorite part of the day is getting into bed and just laying there both of us being able to understand how exhausted each other is but still wanting to talk about the day and then argue over who is getting up to go put the fan on 🙂
  • I appreciate that [my husband] volunteers his time in helping others. I had only known [him] a short time when I saw how he was involved in helping in his church with the young people, various church committees, involved with community service groups. Because of his willingness to help others both of our children also enjoy helping others. [We] have the same motto we live by:”Happiness is thinking of others first,yourself last and God all the time.”
  • I am truly a blessed woman to have been given such a wonderful man. He’s my anchor that allows me to soar. He is an incredible listener and wise with his words. He cherishes me. I appreciate everything he does for me and his family. He recognizes God first and honors all He does on our lives. His prayers are mighty and powerful and the praise reports are incredible to hear. I appreciate so many things about him, it cannot be limited to just one. 💖
  • Is caring and understanding beyond anything I thought humanly possible
  • Encourages me everyday to remember to include God is all matters.
  • Is undefinably the most honest and transparent man I could ever ask for
  • Brings smile to my face and a shoulder to cry on when I need it the most
  • Being each other’s best friend 💕
  • Praying for one another
  • Lo que mas me gusta de el, es que siempre da gracias a Dios cuando lo bendice de alguna manera. [What I love most about him, is that he always gives thanks to God for every blessing].
  • Many of these wonderful comments are echoed sentiments for many of our marriages including ours. But first and foremost is putting God first in all that we do. HE is the rock that’s gets us through bad times and good times. I love my husband, my best friend who has helped me grow in my journey and reminds me to love the Lord first then him. I do the same. It’s an incredible journey indeed ! 💕
  • My husband and I are United and focused on running our race together for Christ
  • I’m a rule follower so here’s my one thing unique to my hubby- he keeps me on task!
  • My husband lets me be me. He doesn’t try to change me or put me down.
  • His willingness to stand by me through thick and thin. To continue loving me faults and all. And to agree to disagree when needed.
  • The most important thing is I’m so grateful He is a man of God. He leads our family and me to know Christ more and leads our family in a Godly manner.
  • I love that he is an incredible father to our kids. He is the fun one and cares for our children in ways I never will be able to.
  • He often “talks me off the ledge” in life. There are many times I get inside my head and feel overwhelmed or lose perspective of the blessings God has given us. Instead of scolding me or making me feel worse about it he helps talk me through it, reminding me to focus on Christ and taking a step back to see it really isn’t as bad as I think it is.
  • I appreciate that he lets me be who I am unapologetically. I do not have to put on airs, make excuses, try harder, or be someone else. He lets me be me, and loves me gracefully.
  • She carries the burden of our family (3 kids and me) very well

As you read through these comments, maybe you’ll resonate with one of them. Does your spouse do the same? Today, stop and thank your spouse for doing what he or she does. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day, all you have to do is thank them.


Photo by Cerys Lowe on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

how do you recharge? (confessions of an ambivert)

I can remember the feeling as if it happened to me yesterday. The first time I ever felt overwhelmed. I had started my first semester at college in another state. To make all of us freshmen welcome, they had different events for us to attend. Every. Single. Night. The first night, I was all in. I made friends, I played games, I ate snacks, and I had a great time. The second night I was a little tired, but I still made it out and enjoyed myself. I reconnected with the friends I had made the night before, I played some games, I ate some snacks, and I had a pretty good time.

But the third night, it was like I was a different person.

My friends ran to my room and asked me excitedly if I was going to the Freshman Palooza Big Bash Day Before Class Starts Event (or something like that). Whatever it was, the name alone exhausted me. I turned down my friend’s offer with a frustrated, fatigued, “No.”

And she never came to pick me up from my room again.

Why was it possible for my friendship to change so quickly? It was sad. Since that day nine years (?!) ago, I have grown tremendously, and I have learned a lot about myself. But where was grace for me? And what happened to make me go from energetic and social, to angry and isolated?

Lately, I’ve been feeling disconnected from other people. I live a good thirty miles from all of my friends, and even thinking about driving all the way over to their houses makes me want to crawl into bed. But there’s still a desire, and a need, to be around people.

Over the years, after taking different personality tests, praying, and interacting with smart people, I’ve discovered who I am. I am an introvert, but I am also an extrovert. There’s a special name for people like me. I’m an ambivert.

If you’ve ever taken the Myers-Briggs test, your results will be a combination of different results. You are 100% a person, but you are a certain percentage introvert and a certain percentage extrovert. When I received my results, I was almost 50-50 introvert-extrovert (54% introvert, 46% extrovert). Tests like this one, in addition to journaling and self-analysis, can help you figure out how you best need to recharge.

I’m anxious when I’m not recharged. It’s called being burnt out. I need time alone, away from the noise, away from the stress, away from people. But, as I learned this past week, I need time connected, in the midst of my friends, in the midst of the party, in the midst of people.

I’m so thankful that God knows what I need before I do. Last week, I was feeling really lonely. I was seriously angry with my connection (or lack thereof) but I knew that my feelings were not rooted in truth. I knew that I had friends and family that loved me, but may have been preoccupied. I prayed that God would help me connect with my friends again. Shortly after praying, my friend invited me over for a game night, and my other friend invited me to her house. That weekend, I also went to the pool at my apartment complex and talked to some of my neighbors. In a matter of hours, my entire outlook on life had changed!

The truth is, we are ALL ambiverts. We need both solitude and people to recharge us. God has created us for both the need to be alone and the need to connect with your community. We follow Jesus’ example of retreating often to solitary places, and we also follow Paul’s teaching on the importance of connecting with the body of Christ.

How do you need to recharge today?


Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash