Category Archives: Marriage

Scratching the Itch

Standard

This week I’m going to walk you through a bit of our personal story about how my family and I ended up on the mission field.  I hope you enjoy our story and find encouragement and inspiration for your own journey.

I grew up in a Christian home.  As a matter of fact, when I was in 4th grade, my Dad was hired as the Youth Pastor at our church.  As a preacher’s kid, I was in the church every time the doors were opened.  But my favorite times, by far, were Sunday nights when missionaries would come with their tables spread with snake skins and bobbles from far away lands.  I love their costumes and slide shows.  I loved their stories and their altar calls.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have responded to the plea of “who will go?”  My little heart was like a hand waving desperately from the back of the room, “ooh-ooh pick me!  pick me!!” I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could be called by God to go somewhere- anywhere.

I had Sunday School teachers and girls’ club leaders who read aloud exciting missionary stories of miracles and dangerous escapes and prayers answered and visions and angels and spiritual show-downs in witch doctor infested jungles.  Oh the adventures!  The thrilling adventures kept me coming back for more.  I searched the library for missionary biographies.  I collected the little picture prayer cards that the missionaries left in the back of the church lobby.  I studied maps and located the countries that I was interested in.  (I was the weird girl who lined her bedroom walls with maps instead of boy band posters.)  I couldn’t get enough of the world!

Time progressed and in Junior High we started studying languages.  I chose French.  Four years later I was a true Francophile.  I was convinced that someday I would live in Paris.  I was sure of it.  My teacher said I had a pretty accent.

The years still continued to slide along evenly, yet too slowly for my tastes.  When the Berlin Wall fell, I remember standing in front of a newspaper stand near our home in a suburb of Chicago and looking with disbelief at the first photos of people embracing across the span of that horrid barrier.  I remember thinking, “I should be there!  I was born too late.  I should be there by now.”  My Europe was changing without me.  And I didn’t even have a drivers’ license yet, let alone a passport.

College came.  I fell in love with a Youth Ministries Major.  I schemed and plotted and maneuvered until he caught me.  🙂  The only problem was, Josh was kind of a home-body and I had the itch to travel.  Before we got married I looked at him and made him promise something.  I said, “Promise me someday we’ll do missions.”  Of course he confessed later that he just wanted to get married, so he said Yes.  But God heard.

For 8 years we worked as youth pastors at the same church where my Dad had been youth pastor.  Life was coming full circle for me, but I longed for what was outside of my circle.  Every other year we took our youth group kids on a missions trip overseas.  This trip was the highlight of my year, and I would beg, borrow and steal to make it happen.  Once it meant I weaned my nursing baby earlier than I wanted to just so I could go on a missions trip.  I was serious about this!  In 8 years, we visited Panama, England, Thailand, and Mexico in addition to a personal trip to the Czech Republic just because I’d always wanted to go to Prague.  For me, those trips were scratching the missions itch.  For Josh, each one was a stretching exercise.  In each country he would ask himself, “Could I live here?” and each time, the answer was No.

To be continued tomorrow…

I hate you, Victoria’s Secret

Standard

A few years ago I was sitting on the couch watching T.V. when a commercial for Victoria’s Secret came on.  Normally I reach for the clicker, but since I was all alone I let the commercial play.

Big mistake.  In under 30 seconds I felt terrible about myself.  Just moments before I was completely UNself-conscious, now I felt like a fat slob.  I reached for another Oreo and wondered, “How can a 30 second commercial make me feel SO inadequate?”

The power of those airbrushed images of women with beautiful, plastic bodies was staggering!  Suddenly, what I WAS was not enough.  I was not beautiful enough.  I was not skinny enough.  I was not immune to gravity enough (which doesn’t even make sense!).  My hair was not full enough.  My eyelashes were not long enough.  My undergarments were not sexy enough.  I was inadequate in every sense of the word, in my mind.

So I fought back with the only tool I had available- I posted a snarky remark on Facebook about how much I hate Victoria’s Secret for making me feel so disgusted with myself.  I only received a few comments, but the one from my brother-in-law still sticks in my head.  He simply said, “But Josh thinks you’re pretty great.”  And that’s all I needed to hear.  I only needed to be reminded that my loyal husband was the only one I wanted to please.  And never once has he complained about my figure.

It’s true, I am not what I was when I was 16 years old.  But then neither is Josh.  One time when I was complaining about how Motherhood had changed me, my husband casually asked me, “Which kid would you like to exchange for your youthful figure?”  That brought me back to reality.  I go back to this powerful thought over and over again in my battle against the images that the world tries to convince me to strive for.  I will never look like a Victoria’s Secret model, but my husband and children are not complaining.  So I should quit being so hard on myself.  After all, there’s more to me than the image in the mirror.

Growing old together is the main goal, not hanging on to your youth.

Why I deleted my Pinterest Account

Standard

If you don’t know what Pinterest is, then you are either a man or have been living under a rock for the last 6 months.  Either is fine, it just means you won’t have much interest in my Pinterest drama (did you like my pretty little play on words?).

This morning I deleted my Pinterest account because of one thing:  pornography.  Up until this point, I had seen a few images of scantily clad women floating around the site, and I had naively assumed they were posted by misguided girls who believed that sexy and pretty were the same thing.  Oh well, I thought, I just won’t browse through the clothing category.  It occurred to me that there might be real nudity out there, but I again assumed that my filters on my computer would block that and warn me if I clicked on anything “adult”.  I was wrong.

The other day I innocently clicked on something that said nothing about clothing or lack there of and up popped what I can only assume was an image intended for homosexual pornography- because it made this heterosexual girl disgusted!  I searched around the margins of the picture for a “report” button and found none.  So I headed to the “helps” tab to find out how to report an image.  It turns out that you have to click on the picture to expand it to full screen in order to see a “report” button.

I then went to the Policy page to see what the “rules” are.  It said that though Pinterest doesn’t permit nudity, it relies on it’s users to report it when they find it.  Well, that’s a fine kettle of fish!  That’s called “not taking responsibility” in my world.  And in my world, when you rely on the goodness of human nature too much, you are destined for disappointment.  This required an email.

I quickly fired off an email to their customer service center to present my complaint and to ask if there was a better way to filter out bad things.  I got a reply back fairly quickly.  They said that they are currently understaffed and only have the time to reply to log-in problems.  They kindly (hear the sarcasm) sent me links to their policy pages that I had just read and said that maybe someday they would have enough staff to answer every email personally.  Boo-hoo, they can’t be held responsible because they are understaffed.  So my next step was clear.

I deleted my account.

The thing that I just don’t understand about pornography is how predatory it is.  Maybe it’s because I’ve never, ever felt the inclination to take my clothes off in public that I’m just not seeing the allure (again sarcasm).  I’m much more inclined towards leniency and tolerance for what you do in the privacy of your own home.  But once what you do in your home invades my home- then I get vicious.  I get angry.  Mamma Bear rises up!  Keep your private parts to yourself please!

Why would anyone want to put those kinds of pictures on a neutral website frequented mostly by women… or worse, a website for children!  If I wanted to see that kind of junk, I would go looking for it.  But since I’m not looking for it, I don’t want it shoved in my face!  It’s like what a Facebook friend of mine commented, “The wolves are out there.”  So true.

So because I want to protect my children, I have deleted my Pinterest Account.  To honor my husband who is faithful to me in mind and body, I have deleted my Pinterest Account.  And I will probably get several more books read this year without having that black hole of time suckage sitting in my desk top tabs.  Good bye Pinterest.  I probably won’t even miss you.

The difference between Dad’s Way and Mom’s Way: or How my husband won a trip to Europe.

Standard

This morning I left the house at 6am and arrived back home at 5:30pm.  The kids were in Dad’s care all day long.  Walking in the house I thought possibly a Midwestern tornado had struck us.  Josh and the two girls were cuddled on the couch watching an old episode of Wipe Out and the boy was no where to be found (he’s a teenager, he hides in his room a lot.).  Not only was the house a disaster, but the water had been turned off all day long because the city was doing some work on a main line.  This left all the toilets full of WWII carnage.  I gagged when I walked in.

“So, what did you guys do all day while I was gone?”  They informed me that they watched a few movies.  I looked around surveying the wreckage of movie watching.  The dinning room table was lost under papers and clothes from the girls’ room, the dog dishes were empty, there were crumbs over every surface of the living room.  Pillows and blankets were strewn in the ruins of a fort.  The dishes were piled high (which can’t be blamed since there was no water.).  The mountain of shoes behind the door had grown feet and walked into the living room.  Upstairs the load of laundry I had dropped on the bedroom floor at 5:45am was untouched and the bed was unmade.  Children’s books and blankies cluttered our bedroom.  I walked back to the kitchen, ignoring the mess, and started making dinner.

**Sigh**.  Welcome home Mom.  We missed you, now get back to work.

Mom’s way is different than Dad’s way.  When I’m home with the kids, the house ends up clean again by the end of the day because I can multitask.  Chores get done and the kids are cared for at the same time.  When Dad watched the kids, I’m just thankful that everyone is still present and accounted for at the end of the day.  Dad’s Way is just different.

Daddy and the girls eating popcorn and watching TV

This reminds me of the time that my husband won a trip to Europe.

For Christmas one year, Josh surprised me with a plane ticket to Prague, Czech Republic.  I had always wanted to go there and that year a friend of mine was teaching English in that city.  Josh had secretly made plans with my friend to surprise me with a trip to visit her.  I was totally thrilled on one hand, and a bit confused on the other hand.  Why didn’t he buy a ticket for himself too?  If it was because we didn’t have the money for two tickets, I didn’t want to seem ungrateful.  If it was because he wanted to spend a week of quality time with our two young children, I didn’t want to take that from him.  But I really would have preferred to travel with my husband.  So I bided my time until I could discern the reason why he only bought one ticket.  And I worried.

Secretly I worried about leaving Josh alone with a 1-year old and a 6-year old for an entire week, and for good reason.

A few nights later I spent the evening bathing the children and getting them ready for bed while Josh sat on the couch like a lump and watched Monday Night Football.  I wanted to take a relaxing bath myself.  So I handed the wet, towel-swaddled toddler to Josh while he sat on the couch barely conscious.  I handed him a diaper and PJs and said, “I’m going to relax in the bath, don’t interrupt me unless someone is bleeding.”  No response from Dad.

A few seconds into my bath I hear a sickening thud followed by intense screaming from our toddler.  She had fallen off a bed and knocked her head on the wooden floor… but no blood, so I didn’t come out of the bathroom.  “I’ll let Dad handle this,” I decided.  A half an hour later I exited the bathroom and was greeted by a naked baby with a sucker in her mouth and red sticky stuff all round her face.

I scooped up the child and carried her to her father.  “What is this?  Why is she eating candy right before bed?  Look, she’s all sticky!  I just bathed her!  And why is she still naked?”  The only response I received to my inquisition was, “She brought it to me, so I opened it.”  Obviously.

Another sigh.  I again scooped up the naked, sticky child and headed towards her darkened bedroom.  With my hands full, I did not turn on the light.  Big mistake.  Suddenly I slipped on something tube shaped, warm and squishy.  “What on Earth?  Did he give her a banana too?”  I thought.  I quickly turned on the lights and to my utter horror I saw my bare footprint in a pile of poo on the bedroom floor!  I gagged.  Dad had let the baby run around naked after her bath and she had pooped on the floor while he sat catatonic in front of the football game.  I was furious!!  There was a very minimal reaction from Dad.  “She didn’t smell poopy.”  No, it looks like it was a clean drop!

Later that night, I carefully brought up the subject of Prague.  Without directly saying, “I fear for my kids’ lives if I leave them with you for a week.”  I asked Josh what he thought about me asking my mom to watch the kids so he could come to Prague with me.  He was absolutely elated… I secretly think the whole “inept at diapering the child” thing was just a ploy to get to come with me to Europe.  Well it worked. And my children are all still alive, thanks to my Mom.  She knows the Mom Way too.

Happy Wife, Happy Life

Standard

10 things I love about my husband (I had to limit myself to 10 or you would all quit reading my blog!)

1.  I still get butterflies in my stomach when I see him across the room.  Sorry Ladies, but I have the best looking husband around.  Your guys might be nice, but they just can’t hold a candle to My Man.

2.  He buys me flowers for no reason, just because I love flowers.  And he knows which kinds I like the best and why.  One time he mentioned that he liked a particular flowering bush that we walked past.  I told him, “That’s a gardenia.  I wear gardenia perfume.”  He replied, “Oh THAT’S why I like that bush so much!”  Gardenia is one of my favorite flowers.

3.  He works.  He’s responsible with money.  He pays the bills on time, I never have to worry about that.  He puts away money in savings for us and our kids.  He doesn’t believe in having debt.  I can trust him with this part of our lives and I never have to worry about it.  He’s also a really good Father.  He’s involved in the kids’ lives and helps out around the house more than most husbands I know.  He works for the good of the family.

4.  He’s generous.  When we looked for a house to rent we agreed that it needed to be big enough to host large groups of people.  We have people over for dinner all the time.  When we chose a vehicle we agreed that it needed to be for more than just our family.  We wanted to be able to give people rides and haul stuff for ministry.  My husband’s thoughts are always for the wellbeing of others.  He is generous with his time, money, resources, and talents.

5.  He’s athletic.  I know I give him a lot of teasing about watching a sport for every season, but I actually like that in a guy.  Being athletic, to me, is synonymous with MANLY.  I may not enjoy sports personally, but I enjoy watching my husband enjoy sports.  (And sometimes when he’s not home, I turn the game on just to make it sound like he’s in the living room watching TV.)

6.  I miss him when he’s not around.  If we go for too many days with out spending time together I get really cranky.  When I’m with him, everything feels better.  Even if we have to be apart, we talk on the phone every day.  We just like being together!

7.  He makes me a better person.  Left to my own devices, I’d be a pretty difficult person.  He keeps me from saying things I’ll regret later, he helps me see the other side of the situation, he takes me down a few notches when I need it.  He lets me talk through my thoughts even when he thinks my ideas are crazy.  He encourages me to develop my dreams and talents.  One time when I was upset about something he actually told me, “You should go paint, you’ll feel better then.”  He’s my soul mate

8.  He knows what I look like first thing in the morning and he still loves me.  He has seen me pregnant 3 times and knows the havoc that wreaked on my figure and he still loves me.  He has seen me with really bad haircuts and he still loves me.  He has seen me in the hospital all drugged up and sick and he still loves me.

9.  When I was facing cancer treatment he cleared a month and a half off his calendar just to be with me the whole time.  He had to call and reschedule meetings and preaching engagements with pastors and churches.  He had to UNDO literally months of work to be with me when I was sick.  He took care of the kids while I slept for days and days.  He was there when I would wake up.  We walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death together, and I love him for that.

10.  Finally, he makes me laugh.  I laugh nearly every day at something he says or does to entertain me.  He does funny little dance moves with the kids.  Together they play with their stuffed animals and make them dance and sing.  He loves lip syncing to 80’s music which cracks me up.  He messes up EVERY movie line and punch line and story he tries to quote… and it’s always funnier when he does it.  He makes me happy.

I love you Josh!  I’m a happy wife.

Orosi Valley, Costa Rica on our Anniversary

God’s Pet Peeve

Standard

We’ve all heard that God sees all sin as equal.  Well that’s not exactly true.  Yes it’s all bad, but he calls some sins an abomination and there were only 10 Commandments- not every sin is mentioned in that list.  And there are some things that we accept as normal, part of our every day lives, but God doesn’t like them.

Does God have a pet peeve?  I think so.  Wanna know what I think it is?  Complaining.

Without throwing a bunch of scriptures at you, let me give you a few examples.  The Children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years… and complained the whole stinking time.  Some of it was stuff that we would consider every-day, “normal” complaining.  The weather was hot.  There was sand in everything.  They were living in tents.  They ate the same foods every day with no variety.  The scenery was getting boring.  There was no water.  They were just complaining about the nitty gritty hardships of living and traveling in the desert.  Most of us would think of these as “normal”.  We would have posted these complaints on our facebook status and never considered them to be a sin, but we see that they angered God so much that he sent fire from Heaven to consume some of them!  Clearly even this kind of “normal” complaining makes God seriously angry.  He got sick of those guys!

We don’t think complaining is such a big deal because we are surrounded by it all the time.  Unless it’s directed at us, we hardly notice it.  But God is not indifferent to our complaining.  He takes it really seriously.  In Phil. 2:14 we are commanded “Do all things without complaining and contention.” And 1 Cor. 10:10 commands us not to “grumble as some of them (The Israelites) did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.”

When we complain, there is a deeper root of sin that is present.  Complaining is like the runners that spread the sin around.  Think about it this way.  We believe that God is sovereign.  We know that the Lord always has good reasons for sending hardships our way.  When we become discontent with how God is managing things, we show that we do not trust God.  We show that we don’t believe that He is in control or, even worse, we don’t believe that he is a Good God.  In our pride, we think that we know what is best for us, we can conceive of a better way of doing things, and we degrade God into a pitiful, weakling who doesn’t care about us as much as we care about ourselves.  “God knows that complaining is an expression of our pride, and not only pride in general, but more specifically, arrogance against God Himself.”  ALL OF THAT IS CALLED BLASPHEMY.  And that is why complaining is a sin- because it has its roots in blasphemy.

In the Old Testament, God sent fire to consume the complaining Israelites.  Under the New Covenant of Grace, God doesn’t burn us up with fire but He sends dryness into our souls.  Our spirits become a dry and barren, scorched land.  Ever tried to use a dry sponge to soak up a spill.  A dry sponge just pushes the mess along, only  a damped sponge can soak up the liquid.  Our spirits can get dry and unable to soak up God’s goodness, his Word, or his blessings.  We just don’t take it in.  Our complaining has dried out our spirit.

So how do you stop complaining?

First, Speak God’s words.  Start memorizing scriptures that confirm God’s goodness to you.  Repeat these good words rather than spewing your spirit sucking complaints.  Second, Be thankful in ALL circumstances.  Good and bad, God has sent these circumstances to you for a reason.  Thank God for everything.  Third, Do something good for someone less fortunate than you.  When you see the circumstances of homeless people or poor people or people living in a third world country you will realize all that you have.  You really are blessed!  Counting your blessings is the quickest way to saturate your spirit with the goodness that God shows to you every day.  Soak it up!!  The goodness is everywhere, every day.  Quench your thirsty soul with thankfulness.

Real

Standard

I have very sweet memories of being with my Grandma when I was a child.  She’s still alive, but we don’t live close to her anymore so I only see her every few years when we are back in America.  But we used to live in the same town when I was small.  From a child’s point of view, she was exactly what a Grandma should be.  She was soft.  Her lap was soft, her arms were soft, her cheek was soft. 

I have looked at pictures of her when she was younger, and squinted and strained to see my Grandma in those sepia tones.  She was pretty when she was young, but it was my soft Grandma with the white hair that I loved.  We women work so hard to maintain that youthful prettiness, but it’s our softness that will be loved.  For a woman, soft is real.

Fake is popular right now, as I imagine it has been since the days of Cleopatra, the Egyptian Pharaoh know world wide for her allure and beauty.  Fake is IN.  Fake breasts, fake lips, fake eyelashes, fake tan, fake hair, fake thin.  But without Photoshop, time erodes all such beauty.  (Don’t they ever get tired of fighting against time?)  Fake leaves a bad taste in your mouth- does anyone really like Splenda?  Fake is jarring and harsh, stiff and uncomfortable.

Real is what you are deeper down.  Real is underneath all that.  Real is what God looks at when he sees what is in your heart.  “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”  Time reveals what you really are when the paint chips and the plastic cracks.  Those who have given no thought to their depths can never be Real.

            “What is REAL?”  asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day…

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?”  asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.  “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.  “You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

  ~The Velveteen Rabbit

                                                               By Margery Williams

When I am old, those who love me best will be those who see me for who I really am.  Look at old married couples that are still in love.  In the eyes of the other, each one is more handsome than ever, lovelier than when she was young.  They are both soft and faded, loose in the joints and very shabby.  But they can’t ever be ugly, because they are Real.  That’s what I want to be like.  I want to be Real.

Well I’m not June Cleaver

Standard

Well I’m not June Cleaver, but I might be able to pull this off anyhow.  This is a goal to strive for and an image to grow into.  This is my version of the famous Perfect Wife in Proverbs 31.

It’s hard to find the perfect wife!  She is worth far more than jewels.  Her husband depends on her.  He will never be poor.  She does good for her husband all her life.  She never speaks disparagingly about him to others.  She never shames him.

She is always gathering necessary supplies and enjoys making things with her hands.  She’s creative and resourceful.  She is like a ship from a faraway place.  She brings home food from everywhere.  She wakes up early in the morning, and cooks food for her family (or at least makes sure there’s cereal in the house).

She’s a working woman.  She has a good head for money and business matters.  She looks at land and buys it.  She understands savings and investments, and is responsible with her money.  She works very hard.  She is strong and able to do all her work.  She works late into the night to make sure her business earns a profit.  She is very industrious and resourceful.

She always gives to the poor and helps those who need it.  She doesn’t let fear make her stingy or self centered.  She plans ahead.  She does not worry about her family when winter comes.  She has given them all good, warm clothes.  She makes sure all the beds in her home are warm and comfortable.  She’s not frumpy, but she takes care of herself and her appearance.  She knows how to dress herself and her children well.

Her husband is a respected man and a leader wherever he works.  She knows how to talk with business men and associates.  She is a strong person, and people respect her.  She looks to the future with confidence.  Because of her planning, she can laugh at the days to come.  She speaks with wisdom and teaches others to be loving and kind.  People listen to what she has to say.

She oversees the care of her house, assigning chores to the children and working hard herself.  She is never lazy.  Her children say good things about her.  Her husband brags about her and says, “There are many good women, but you are the best.”  Grace and charm can fool you. Beauty is only skin deep and won’t last forever, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.  She deserves public recognition for all that she’s done!  Give her applause and honor!

The Bad Boy

Standard

***I must begin this blog with a huge disclaimer:  Josh told me to write about this.  So let’s all agree together that we will be laughing WITH Josh and April and not AT them.

In the fabric of our collective history there are some threads that shine more brightly than others.  Beloved moments and tender memories are the pretty pastels.  Mistakes, sorrows and pains are dark colors.  Blunders, gaffes, and faux pas are also part of the fabric of my history with Josh.  For example, my family has a knack for quoting movie lines.  We can’t remember our own phone numbers, but we can quote everything from Woody Allen to Pee Wee Herman.  My husband, on the other hand, has the antithesis of this gift.  He messes up EVERY line he tries to quote… and he makes it 100x funnier!  And I love him for that.

Another one of the funny stories that makes up the history of our relationship involves a Seinfeld episode.  It’s the episode where Elaine has forbidden her assistant Anna to flirt with George and tells her that he’s a “bad seed”.  This piques Anna’s interest in the short, balding man.  Jerry figures it’s because Elaine has made George “The Bad Boy” and Anna is into Bad Boys.  George is confused because he’s never been the Bad Boy.  “Why not?!” Jerry encourages him “You’ve been the bad employee, the bad son, the bad friend (yes, yes, agrees George) the bad fiancé, the bad dinner guest, the bad credit risk (OK the point is made!) the bad date, the bad sport, the bad citizen (George stands to leave) THE BAD TIPPER!!”  Jerry chimes.  (Here’s the clip though you might have to go directly to youtube to watch it.)

This scene rolls me into hysterics every time I watch it.  A few years ago Josh asked me why.  I finally confessed that before we met, I had a “thing” for the Bad Boy image.  Clearly, at some point I chose safe and responsible over unpredictable and… fun.  Josh was shocked!  And not for the reason that I suspected.  “But I AM a Bad Boy, aren’t I?”  he queried.  This coming from the man who thought about being a banker before he became a minister.  After laughing until tears rolled down my cheeks.  I said, “If you don’t believe me, ask your friends what they think of you.  They will tell you the truth.”

So a few days later Josh came to me sheepishly and confessed that he had told his friend Peter about our conversation.  He had asked, “Peter, am I a Bad Boy?”  (I’m giggling as I write this.)  And Peter shook his head slowly, “Oh Joshy, you’re a Good Boy.”  So there, Josh had the truth.  He was not a Bad Boy after all.

But Josh was not willing to admit defeat.  So to augment his new Bad Boy image, my husband refuses to shave more than once a week.  When I complain that he’s getting prickly he says proudly, “It’s part of my Bad Boy image.”  And why not, we’re all entitled to our own dreams.

People are Nothing like Cereal

Standard

I wrote this for our anniversary a little more than a year ago, but I wanted to share it again here on my blog.

Today is our anniversary.  Sixteen years ago, Josh and I got married.  We stood in front of 300 people, all our family, and God himself and vowed to love and honor each other exclusively regardless of what may come.  We looked into the unknown future with hope and resolution.  We asked God to help us uphold our commitment to each other, to the Divine institution of marriage, to God who loves us and gave us to each other.

But a couple of months before this wonderful day, I had a college friend try to talk me out of getting married.  Why don’t Josh and I just live together?  Why would you promise to stay with one person forever?  People change, how do you know you’ll love each other 5 years from now?  Then he said something really stupid, “You wouldn’t eat the same kind of cereal every day for the rest of your life, so why would you want to have sex with the same person for the rest of your life?”  This guy was an idiot, to be sure, but really this is how the world thinks.  And to this day, this guy is still single, lonely, and broken.  Is it any wonder?

There are many, many problems with the world’s logic here.  But the one I’m thinking about today is that PEOPLE ARE NOTHING LIKE CEREAL.  He was right about one thing, people do change over time.  And not only is that the challenge of marriage, but it is one of the pleasures of marriage too.  As time goes on and your spouse changes, a couple will have to work to stay close.  Yes it is hard work, but it’s never boring.  Think of it this way, you are never going to be finished getting to know this person.  You will never tire of exploring the ever changing landscape of marriage.  You will never get to the end of discovering the details of this person.  And physical intimacy just gets better and better because “practice makes perfect”, right?  It’s true that cereal stays the same, never changes, and gets boring over time.  But people are nothing like cereal.

I’m fully confident that God knew what he was doing when he designed humans to be monogamous partners for life.  Upholding marriage as an institution is not enough to keep a couple together when times get tough.  But trusting God and honoring his promises with our lives gives us the chance to participate in something so deep and fulfilling, so far beyond our human understanding, that anything less is a very poor substitute.  We were created by God- God gave us marriage as a gift.  And 16 years ago I took God at his word, I trusted that doing things God’s way would bring me happiness, fulfillment, companionship, security, and love.  I have upheld my end of the bargain, and God has fulfilled all his promises as well.  He has been faithful to us and we have no regrets in trusting God’s plan.

I don’t know very much about wine, but they say that a good wine gets better with age.  Marriage is the same way.  It seems to just get better and better as the years go by.  But a bowl of cereal just gets stale or spoiled with age.  And people are nothing like cereal.

Me and Josh in Bocas del Toro, Panama