Book Update Marriage

Make Your Own Dream

When you first get married, you think that you will always agree with your husband. Let’s pop that bubble right now: You’re going to disagree, and it will probably be messy.

I can only speak from a woman’s perspective, but I was taught that my wedding day would be the greatest day of my life, where all my dreams will come true. But it wasn’t. Why? Because my dream wasn’t my husband’s dream. We both had a say in our wedding, so we mixed both my vision of what the perfect wedding would look like, and his, and formed our own special day. That vision required compromise from both of us.

As a couple, you will have to make a ton of decisions together. When are we getting married? Where are we going to live? When are we having kids? How are we going to raise our kids? Whether long-term or short-term, you will have to work together to make decisions on a regular basis.

Currently, our next major decision is buying a house. We still have a couple of months before we can afford a down payment, but we’re taking the time we’re waiting to figure out what we want before we buy the first house we see. We’re finding that our ideas of a dream house are both totally different. For example, I want a big backyard with a ton of lawn space, while Lenny wants to cover our front yard and backyard with cement and pavers! I grew up with a big backyard, so I’ve always imagined our kids running around a safe grassy space (Barefoot, probably, because who doesn’t love the feeling of grass on their bare feet?). Lenny, on the other hand, wants a lot of cars, so he wants to have enough driveway space for his possessions. I’m not saying my way is right and his way is wrong, or vice versa, but that we obviously have a different way of looking at our space.

How are we going to make this decision? Well, like every other decision, here is what we’ve committed to do as a couple:

  • Be clear. I could write a blog post alone about how to be clear. But before you could decide what you both want together, you have to decide what you both want individually. Like my example of finding our dream house, I generally want a space big enough for our future family, but specifically, I know that I want a big backyard, hardwood floors, and an open concept to our house. That’s pretty clear. And Lenny can work with that.
  • Make a list. I love lists! They help to make things even more clear, and they provide a visual. Write down everything you want in your dream house. I recommend making your lists in separate locations (you sitting on your couch and your husband sitting at your dining room table, for example) so you don’t influence each other’s preferences.
  • Circle similarities. Find a common ground. We both want a safe neighborhood and a good school district. We both have the same housing budget. We both have the same location desires. Those are our starting points. Those are non-negotiable. Everything else will have to be discussed.
  • Discuss everything else on the list. For whatever else is on your list, you both need to decide how necessary the other items are. How important is it for me to have a big backyard? If there is a park nearby, can I take my kids there to play instead of using our backyard space? What about for Lenny? If the current driveway is big enough, maybe we won’t need to completely get rid of the grass in the front yard. Regardless, you must talk about each point with your spouse and see how necessary it is.

If you can’t agree, don’t make a decision yet. We need to wait. Circumstances may change our mind over time. Maybe our kids will be allergic to grass, for example. Keep praying and wait it out. Don’t compromise your marriage for any decision. Whatever you do, make sure you put God first, your marriage second, your kids third, and everything and everyone else, last. You can disagree with me, but then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Photo by Andre Revilo on Unsplash


Step into His Rest

I woke up Tuesday morning with a sense of urgency.  I had a lot on my plate: the apartment was a mess, I anticipated a crazy work day, and, of course, I wanted to write my book and my blog with very little time to do so!

Despite all the activities that stood on the path before me, I knew what I needed to do first.  I needed to put my day in God’s hands.  On Tuesday, I sacrificed the small amount of time before I had to leave and trusted God to show me what I needed to know.

And wow, did He show me!

You’ll never guess what I learned in my devotional.  It was about rest and trusting God to do the impossible!  They alluded to the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand.  We always focus on that incredible story, but what the disciples did before this great miracle happened is just as significant.  Before sending out His disciples to encounter these hungry people, Jesus asked them to spend some time alone in prayer.  Time alone with God is so important, because it allows us to center our attention on Him.  We need to rest in God in order for Him to strengthen us to overcome whatever obstacles we face in the day ahead.

One of the most powerful things I did on the retreat this past weekend was just let God control my day.  Obviously, He’s always in control, but sometimes I like to think I’m in control.  We had a schedule that we were suggested to follow, but nothing was mandatory.  I set my alarm so that I could follow the schedule.  When my head hit the pillow, I fell asleep peacefully.

Several hours later, I detected the sun shining through the curtain.  My alarm should be going off soon, I thought, snuggling deeper into the covers, allowing myself a few more minutes to sleep.  After dozing off again, I realized that my alarm hadn’t gone off.  Is the sun really up this early?  I looked at my phone.  If I’d wanted to follow the schedule, I should have been up 45 minutes earlier.

I guess I had needed my sleep.

I decided, since I’m constantly a slave to a schedule, to let myself relax instead of rushing to each and every activity that weekend.  I did not rush through my quiet time with the Lord.  I didn’t care that I was a little late to breakfast and that I couldn’t find a seat.  I made new friends, and I had some incredible conversations with people I wouldn’t have talked to if I was on time.  Whatever I chose to do during the weekend was more meaningful; instead of attending workshops and meetings because I had to, I attended them because I knew God wanted to show me something through them.

Trusting in God’s timing shows your confidence in him, which ultimately shows your confidence in what He says about you.

While it is tempting to rush through life, God calls us to trust Him with every step.  Someone told me this weekend that the way in the right direction always involves the first step.  We get so focused on the steps that follow that we feel too numb to take the first step.  All it takes to get us started is to rely on God for that one step, and then the next step, and then the next.  One step at a time.

And step by step, God will lead us.

You don’t have to have it all figured out.  You don’t have to choose right now.  You don’t have to be a slave to your schedule or to others’ expectations of you.

During these next few weeks, I’m going to through rush out the window.  I can’t ignore the tasks that God has allowed me to do, and the activities that God has provided for me to participate in, but I can develop an attitude of rest that reminds me who is really in control.  I’m not in control.  My activities are not in control.  My blog readers are not in control.  My potential literary agents/publishers are not in control.

Ultimately, God is in control, and I rest confidently in the fact that He will guide me in this next step, and every next step to follow.

Photo by Julia Caesar on Unsplash