Monday, July 30, 2012

Reflecting on Romancing Your Husband (by Debra White Smith)

I've been re-reading "Romancing Your Husband" by Debra White Smith and I have been reminded of some important lessons that I have learned that I'd like to share.

I sometimes need a reminder that I am supposed to be an active part of my relationship. If I want a romantic dinner out (at a hopefully cheap, but nice restaurant), I'm perfectly capable of planning this date for my spouse. If I focus my energy on meeting my spouse's needs, he feels loved, cherished, and awed that I would put forth so much effort. Oftentimes, an unintentional response to my effort is my hubby doing acts of service for me and making me feel loved and cherished. I'm not supposed to sit passively and complain that the romance is gone; I can work to rekindle it and get the warm fuzzies by seeing my plans come to fruition.

While Lucas and I have our own traditional roles in our marriage, it's alright to cross over and help the other one out. On my Sabbath, my hubby does the dishes for me, so I won't have to on my Sabbath or be behind the next day. While he is auditing a college class, he's getting off work late, so while he typically does laundry (including carrying a full basket up and down stairs), I can do the laundry when I get off work a full two hours earlier. If the trash is super stinky when my hubby is at work, it's alright for me to take out the trash, instead of waiting in the same house as a stinky trashcan for him to come home and empty it.

My hubby is not meant to take the place of God in my life. By both of us focusing on Jesus, we can experience life more fully. It is vital, critical for me to spend time with God each day; if I'm too busy, I need to cut back, carve out, and fiercely protect my time with God. Things like pintrest and facebook and hulu can be put on hold to insure I get my God time.

Dates!! I love dates. I love planning and plotting. I sometimes even carry them out. One thing that I love about this book is its chapter of date ideas. Each idea describes what the wife did, why, how she felt, obstacles she overcame, her hubby's response, what she wished she did, and budget suggestions. While it's delightful to create, plan, and implement our own ideas, sometimes we need a little bit of brainstorm assistance.

When I first read this book, I was blown away by the concept of space and grace. You see, I have a tendency to micro-manage. So, if my hubby was cooking, so I could de-stress, I was right there in the kitchen with him, correcting him and trying to shape him in *my* image. The author writes how if I ask my hubby to do something, I'm resigning the right to do it *my way.* If I want it *my way,* I need to do it *myself.* Lucas doesn't cook or clean like I do, but the results are still good. He feels like a man when he can do it his way and I don't diss it cuz I do it differently. Generally, different doesn't mean better or worse. I need to give him grace and space to do it his way, in his time. If I want to be married to a man, not a boy, I need to treat my hubby like a man, not a boy.

Lucas is a man, not a child. I need to treat him like a man. I am not his mother; I am his wife. If I want him to act like a man, I need to treat him as a man. When I ask him to do something and then I criticize and correct him, I'm sending the message, "Don't bother; you can't do it right." When I ask him to do something and then do it myself, I'm sending the message, "I don't have confidence that you'll do this." (For the record, according to my hubby, men don't step up to fill a role that's already being filled. So if I'm asking him to do things and then doing them myself, there's not a void to be filled. What he needs is *space.*) When I act in these ways, I'm not being my spouse's lover, wife, and best friend, I'm being his parent, his manager.

Debra White Smith offer tips for being a "lover-wife," not a "mother-wife"  (White Smith p. 49-52).

¨* Lovingly request that your husband help you with specific tasks.
* Don't do the task yourself-even if he leaves it undone for several days...or several years.
* Don't nag your husband about what you've asked him to do.
* When your husband finally gets around to doing the task, don't correct his efforts.
* Everytime you think, "My husband is helpless," correct yourself.
* Base your respect on his character qualities, not on his domestic abilities or shortcomings.
* Continually think "space and grace!"
* Remind yourself of what your husband does do.
* Remember this cycle might take a year or two to break.
* Decide right now not to utter another word of complaint to your husband-even if breaking the cycle seems impossible.
* Don't define "breaking the cycle" as "my husband does what I want him to do." Breaking the cycle means that you stop being the mother and give your hubby the freedom to make his own choices.
* If you are a mother-wife, expect a shift in your relationship with your mother-in-law when you break the cycle.¨

Taken from "Romancing Your Husband: Enjoying a Passionate Life Together" by Debra White Smith ( Reprinted (reposted) with permission of the author.

White Smith, Debra. Romancing Your Husband: Enjoying a Passionate Life Together. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2002. p. 49-54. Print.

There is a difference between doing something out of love for my hubby (cuz he has a lot on his plate or just because I love him) and doing something for my hubby cuz I don't think that he'll do it at all. When I enter the sacred man-cave and clean it up, I'm not doing it because my hubby can't or won't, but rather because I love him and want him to have a nice environment to relax in.

So if you´re looking for a good Biblical-based book on marriage geared toward women, I highly recommend this book by Debra White Smith.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Preparing for a Siege

This fall, I'll be student teaching for 16 weeks.

I've been keeping a mental list of things that I won't be dealing with during my student teaching: cooking daily, people's pointless drama, politics (above and beyond being an informed social studies teacher), and non-essential activities. Ideally, I will only get on my facebook once a week and will only check my email twice a day.

It's a big transition from being a student to being a teacher-in-training. Lesson plans, grading, and joining in my assigned school's activities will be a main focus of August, September, October, and November.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm preparing for a siege, instead of preparing to leap that final hurdle before graduation (not counting the Praxis II tests I will need to pass).

I am making sure my fridge, pantry, wardrobe, and spiritual life won´t suffer during the 4 months of student teaching. I am making plans to ensure that none of the above will run on empty.

In preparation for the long hours I will be dedicating to student teaching, I have been researching how to cook a month's worth of main dishes in the course of a day, as well as what to cook. Essentially, during my 8 weeks at a high school and 8 weeks at a middle school, I'm not dealing with cooking more than 4 days. Fortunately, I had two practice months during the summer to work out the kinks in my once-a-month cooking system. I had a good experience with my first and second months cooking.

My wardrobe is stocked with teacher clothes. Teacher supplies are being collected.

More important than having perfectly prepared lesson plans, is planning for my spiritual renewal during student teaching.

-How early will I need to get up, in order to start my day in the Word and in prayer? (And to eat a good breakfast, in an unhurried manner).

-How am I planning on meeting my need for community and fellowship, despite the mound of papers that I will need to grade?

-What are my plans to still invest time in my hubby so he won't feel neglected?

-When I am faced with 4 months of lesson plans, grading, and whatnot, will I still obey God´s command to rest on the Sabbath? I sure hope so. Knowing that I only have 6 days before I get to rest again, as opposed to anticipating Labor Day, Fall Break, and Thanksgiving Break as my only forms of rest, makes the high workload seem so much more manageable.

A 4 month siege seems long, but preparation should make for a smoother transition.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Goals Regarding My Husband-One Year Later

I was looking at notes I posted on facebook, when I discovered this note that I wrote to my hubby after 6 months of marriage. Now that we've been married a whole year and a half, I'm re-posting the note here and reexamining how I'm doing in regards to my goal.

"I've started reading a book called "Romancing your Husband" by Debra White Smith. Already I can tell that this is one book that I want to read at least once a year to refresh myself on. This book challenges the way that I interact with Lucas. Although I'm doing well in some areas, I certainly can improve in *all* areas. Below is a list of goals that I have regarding my spouse. Most of these goals probably won't ever be completely checked off because while I can improve, there will be more room to improve more. This list is *not* a list I have mastered, but it is my ideal that I am striving towards.

1.       When I married you, I married a man. You are not my child. I will not call you my child, to your face or behind your back. I will view you as my spouse, my partner, my equal, and my blessing.

2.       When I ask you to do a task, I will ask you to try to complete it by a certain time of when I would like it done by and THEN I will give you the until that time to get it done, without any nagging from me.

3.       When I give you a task, I waive all rights as to how it should be done. It shouldn’t be illegal or hurtful, but other than these restrictions, I give you the freedom to complete it as you see fit, even when I would do it a different way. I will remember that although I may have a different way of doing things, my way is not automatically better.

4.       When you do a task, I will try to compliment you within 24 hours of completion. This will make me more aware of all the things that you do for me around the house and in general.

5.       I will believe the best about you. If there are 2 possible explanations for a behavior, one positive and one negative, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the positive explanation that shows you in a favorable light is correct until I’m shown otherwise.

6.       I will remember that you do not act spitefully towards me, so any behavior that annoys me is unintentionally annoying.

7.       I will be patient with you. I will not take my anger out on you.

8.       I will speak lovingly and kindly towards you.

9.       I will not be jealous of the time you spend with “the guys” or your family. You need those relationships, just as much as I need time with “the girls” or my family.

10.   I will put your needs before my own, but I will still take care of myself. I cannot meet your needs, if I’m about to collapse from exhaustion.

11.   When we have a disagreement, I will listen to your point of view and try to understand where you are coming from. Once a disagreement is settled, I will not use it to attack you in the future.

12.   I will remember that you need encouragement. I will remember that my words are powerful and that I can build up or tear down your self-esteem.

13.   I will not take pleasure in things that cause you pain, but will take joy in what builds you up and brings you joy.

14.   I will not take the place of God or expect you to be God.

15.   I will continue to learn how to best meet your needs.

These are my goals in how I will treat you. Sometimes I will slip up, fall short, or just downright fail. If...or rather When this happens, I will admit it, learn from it, and move on."

So, how am I doing after 1.5 years of marriage? I'm learning still. Sometimes I do a really fantastic job. Other times, I learn about areas in my life that I need to improve on. Year by year, I look forward to living, adventuring, and learning with you, my spouse, my darling, my treasure. Little habits that I view as annoying, I will try to use them to prompt me to pray for you. (i.e. when I grab a glass that previously held milk and wasn't rinsed out, so the milk has dried in the bottom, I will pray for God to give you the strength to complete His work He has for you).

Taken from "Romancing Your Husband: Enjoying a Passionate Life Together" by Debra White Smith (
White Smith, Debra. Romancing Your Husband: Enjoying a Passionate Life Together. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2002. p. 49-54. Print.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Love in Action

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

Many weddings have these words read, but how do the apply after the marriage? Below is an invented checklist intended to be a self-check. I'm only looking at myself here. I'm not measuring how my hubby is doing, I'm his wife, not his judge. I control my actions, not his. It is my belief that I'm not supposed to use the scriptures as ammo to point out how others are failing, but as a mirror to see how I'm doing. This isn't saying that we aren't supposed to tell others that there is One way, One truth, and One life, but we are supposed to be examining ourselves first.

Verse 1-3: If I know the best way to do things, but don't have love, I come off as overbearing. If I notice flaws, but don't speak in love, I come off as critical. If I do the right actions without love, I provide empty gestures.

Verse 4: Am I patient with my hubby when I am sick, tired, busy, or distracted?
Am I kind to him on his difficult days?
Am I jealous of his success; do I brag about myself?
Can I admit my mistakes and accept correction?

Verse 5: Do I lift my hubby up, with my actions and words?
Am I selfish? Am I after my own pleasure?
Am I controlling my temper? Is my anger justified?
Do I use past fights as ammo? When I say I forgive my hubby, do I bring up these incidents again?

Verse 6: Am I glad when bad things happen to my hubby?
Am I grateful to share truth with my hubby?

Verse 7: Do I *ALWAYS* protect my hubby?
Do I *ALWAYS* trust my hubby?
Do I *ALWAYS*  hope for the best for him and *ALWAYS*  believe that we will stay married?
When our marriage gets hard or life gets difficult, do I *ALWAYS* persevere?

Verses 8-10: Does my love depend on  my circumstances or is it a conscious choice I make despite bad circumstances? 

Verse 11-12: Am I growing in maturity, in faith, in love? Am I learning how to be a believer, how to be a wife?

Verse 13: Do I have Faith? Hope? Love? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Practicing Contentment

Contentment seems like a worthy goal. It's to be satisfied; it's a peace of mind.

Paul learned to be content in his circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12)
If we are godly and content with having food and clothing, it's beneficial (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Hebrews 13:5 urges us to be content with what we have.

I want contentment. I want satisfaction. I don't want to be constantly working and striving after the next new thing, only to discard it when something better comes out.

Soon after I got my kindle, I became mildly obsessed with getting books for it. Fortunately for me, I was obsessed with getting free books for my kindle. Thanks to two emails a day, I was aware of all these great deals and free books on Amazon. And a lot of newly written books (the first in a series) were free. It's just the rest of the series cost monies. Soon I had 2000 books. I would go on buying binges. 20, 50, 80, 100 books might be added to my kindle in one day. And then I would obsessively sort each book into a category, so I could navigate my books with greater easy.

How was I measuring up to scripture? I wasn't content with what I had. I had a wish list costing hundreds of dollars. I would get a book and then forget to what it was about. I would feel guilty if I bought a book I was geneuinely intrested in, because I had so many free ones.

What changed? I realized that I was spending more time searching for, getting, and organizing my books then I was reading them. I realized that I was overwhelmed with my choices and would freeze if I was wanting to read one. I needed to change my behavior to become more content.

I cut back on my emails and offers. I used to get 2 emails a day, showing free and cheap kindle books. But I started to drool after the almost free books and the rest of a series. I had 2000+ books but I wasn't content. I wasn't happy. I wanted more. By blocking my view of what I could have, I'm happier. I'm more content.

I purged many of my books. I went through and weeded out the books that I thought that I should want to read or that I thought might be useful in the future. I mean, I might one day be stranded in the wilderness and need to know how to make a snare or build a shelter. I decided that I could wing it. I wanted to want to read highly intellectual books, but I really didn't have an interest in reading the founding documents our country was built on.

I set up my own set of standards. I decided that for me, new book series breed discontent, because one book is free and then I want the rest of the series. Don't get me wrong, I love the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings. But I'm hesistant to embark with new book series. Why? It breeds discontent. So I went through my kindle and deleted all of the free books that marked themselves as first in a series. Without reading them. The thing is, I still have over 1500 books on my kindle. I can afford to be picky. It's true that I probably would have really enjoyed so of the series on my kindle, but I am happy enough with what I have.

I decided what language and what behavior I would tolerate in books. Books that don't meet my standards are deleted. And I can read something that I prefer.

My hubby and I had netflix, but didn't have a traditional tv...which means no commericials...which means that I don't know how incomplete my life is without _________. Which means that I continue on as I have before.

It was odd, as I adjusted my behaviors, I began to become more content. I began to read for pleasure and enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Give Thanks

"What if the only things you had with you tomorrow were the things that you thanks God for today?"

This quote made me think. I realized that most of the time, my prayers focus on me. My need, my requests, my problems. In my prayers, I don't thank God very often for blessings or answered prayers.

I'm blessed with  wonderful husband. Now if I only talked to him when I had problems or only talked about my problems, I would not be in a healthy relationship.

If we are to pray without ceasing, I picture a conversational prayer going on throughout the day, in short little bites.

Prayers are to praise God (May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you).

Prayers are to thank God.
Prayers are to confess sins (Lord, have mercy on me a sinner).
Prayers are to intercede (who will stand in the gap?).

If you're thinking this sounds a bit like A.C.T.S. (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication), it is. It's just sometimes I hear group prayers that just ask, ask, ask, and ask. No where in the prayers is a thank you. No where is God praised.

James 4:1-3 We don't get our prayers answered if we ask for the wrong reason. Do we ask for our gain, our comfort or His? For His glory or ours?

But back to thanking God:
I'm thankful for:
-hubby, loving family, friends
-house, running water, electricity, heat, a/c
-enough (more than enough really) water, food, clothes
-tech to make life easier
-His love
-to live in a country where I am free to practice my faith

Monday, July 2, 2012

An Ode to My Darling

Several of my blogs have referenced this delightful husband I am married to, but who is this man and what are some of the many ways that I love him?

This is my beloved (he's the one with blue eyes)

Lucas is a sweet, loving, compassionate, caring, nerdy husband. He listens to me, plays video games with me, builds lego creations that transform into other creations, and watches mythbusters. He tries to build community wherever he goes. He encourages me and it is my blessing to be allowed to encourage him.
He shows me time and time again what God's forgiveness looks like in practice. He extends unconditional love toward me.

So without further ado, here is my ode to you!!

I have a handsome husband,
Who's handsome as can be.
I have a handsome husband,
Who's so very good to me!!
He's handsome kind and oh so smart!!
I love him even when he farts!!
I have a handsome hubby-kins!!
And so I say that I win.

When I think of love, I think of your behavior toward me.
When I think of joy, I think of your face lighting up when I come into sight.
When I think of peace, I think of when I'm in your arms.
When I think of patience, I think of how you put up with the pranks I pull.
When I think of goodness, I think of your encouragement and non-maliciousness.
When I think of kindness, I think of your eyes upon me.  
When I think of gentleness, I think of your shoulder rubs.
When I think of faithfulness, I think of your loyalty and how I can trust you.
When I think of self-control, I think of how you waited for me to come into your life.

So thank you. For marrying me. For loving me. For being you. 

Husband, this is my ode to you.