Lately I’ve Been Learning to Say Yes Daily

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Eighteen years ago today on a cliff overlooking the San Francisco Bay, a seemingly cool, calm and collected Steve Lind invited me into ever after.

I’m glad I said yes.

What I didn’t realize then that I am learning now is marriage isn’t as much about the initial “Yes!” or “I do,” but more about a daily yes. The purpose of marriage is oneness and every single day is a choice to say yes to that oneness or to something else that has the potential to divide.

Every day I get to choose to say yes to Steve, yes to our marriage and yes to our ever after which helps determine just how “happily” it will be.

Unfortunately, sometimes I say yes to other things. 

I say yes to my iPhone.

I say yes to my boys when they should see my first yes belongs to their dad.

I say yes to work.

I say yes to the tyranny of the urgent.

I say yes to the fear of the future instead of the gift of today.

I say yes to my friends who make it easier when I share my heart with them at times.

Lately, I’ve been learning there is nothing sweeter than oneness when the yes is said emphatically over and over again even when that yes is hard.

Yes, we should go from our community because together we are being called to something new.

Yes to new dreams and vision.

Yes, we should take that job that will require us to walk in faith.

Yes, we will choose to slow down and rest so our family can thrive.

Yes, we will step into the unknown and trust that our very first yes, our yes to God, will help us see abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.

Yes, we will sacrifice and be brave even when it doesn’t make sense.

And even yes to everything mundane. Yes to dishes and cleared kitchen sink. Yes to preferring the other person over self. Yes to the laundry being folded and put away and yes to the grace when it isn’t {most of the time}. Yes to creative meal plans and yes to a few moments of quiet together when the boys are finally in bed or the early hours when they are still sleeping. Yes, to the Adirondacks on the back porch and yes to one more episode of Netflix.

Yes because yes together is way better where ever it may take us than when we are apart.

What have you learned about saying yes in marriage?

 

Oneness and the Gritty Realities of Every Day Life

Photo Credit: Rice and D via Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Rice and D via Creative Commons

Tonight is the first of twelve weeks we will be walking alongside two couples we love dearly in preparation for marriage.  Over dinner and conversation, our goal is to put as much stuff on the table for discussion to prepare them for what every couple encounters during their marriage.  When we went through our own premarital counseling, I saw the benefit of talking through issues and topics preemptively which would otherwise surface during an argument.

Last week at Allume I attended a marriage workshop led by Myquillin Smith and her husband Chad. The topic, “Blog and Marriage: The Gritty Realities of an Everyday Life” was pertinent to every married couple, not just bloggers.  The statement was made:

The purpose of marriage is oneness.  If anything divides or gets in the way of your oneness, you need to reevaluate.

Of course, so much of this is rooted in expectation.  I have found in my own marriage, expectations unmet or not communicated well can lead to disappointment, division, and vain imaginations.  We enter into marriage with expectations of one another and of our marriages. Reality and our every day lives together are shaped by our expectations from little things like who will do the dishes, how and with will we celebrate holidays, how love will be expressed and how money is stewarded. Unless these things are talked through, expectations can lead to resentment.

In unpacking the purpose of marriage being oneness, Chad said (paraphrased by me) our goal in communicating expectations is not to be convincing, but to be engaging.  Our goal is to stay unified with an understanding of what we each need, want and desire as an outcome. “Informed people are cooperative people,” and let’s face it, a marriage with two people who are uncooperative with one another is the pits.

I think the same thing is true for all our relationships… friendships, work relationships and extended family relationships.  When we are able to communicate what our expectations are and why we have them, it’s much easier to adjust the expectations on both ends when necessary so they are measurable and more importantly beneficial to the relationship.

So today… what is threatening the oneness of your relationship? What do you need to reevaluate and communicate more effectively?

Twelve {31 Days of Wisdom}

“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” {Proverbs 12:4, ESV}

The crown of a person is the outward, public display of their nobility. When a king wears a crown, it’s for all the kingdom to see and understand his noble position.  When a wife speaks well of and respects her husband publicly, she crowns him and esteems him before her community.

A struggle very common to women, especially when we are in groups, is to speak openly and honestly about real life and marriage without trashing our husbands.  Don’t get me wrong. Marriage is difficult and being in a relationship with a human being who has been wired completely differently than you is hard.  Transparency should be welcomed along with laughter and tears. Yet so often, our “sharing” goes too far to the extent of literally bringing shame upon our husbands.

I have a good friend who is married to a man that she lovingly describes as “God’s provision for her holiness.” It is no secret, they have dealt with things in their marriage that most couples don’t survive.  She is also known and deeply loved by many for her openness and her raw sense of grace towards others.  When she talks about the messy parts of their marriage, she is able to do so in a very real way that never puts her husband in a rotten light.  Those of us who know her, love her and we also love her husband and see a good marriage which God has ordained for their holiness and His glory.  It’s truly amazing.

As a result, my friend {her husband}, by the grace of God, has overcome a lot.  He has seen victory and experienced grace as needed, when needed.  God uses his wife again and again to win him over, undo his heart and make him a catalyst for God’s transforming work in others.

Ephesians 5 tells us a man’s greatest need is respect, while a woman’s greatest need is love.  When we publicly criticize, fight with and little by little strip away our respect for them, we literally cause decay. But when we pump up our men when they do right by us, when we speak well of them to those we love, when we remind them how proud we are of them, how thankful we are to feel safe with them, when they provide for us, when they do something to love us well…we are crowning them with respect. And that crown actually makes them stand a little taller, a little broader and more confident.

Another wise friend is always reminding me, “men follow the cheers.”  What dude doesn’t want to follow a woman who puts a crown on his head?

This nugget in Proverbs 12 moves me to be truthful about the challenges Steve and I face in our marriage, but also honest about how good my man is to me and how he really does love me well.

After all, I’m not big on all the princess stuff {for another blog post}, but seriously…what woman doesn’t want to stand by a dude in a crown?

 

Six {31 Days of Wisdom}

This month I’m spending 31 days writing and reflecting on wisdom found in the Proverbs.  This is part of the 31 Days of Change blog link up started by The Nester. I confess, it was hard to get going today.  But the purpose is change… that comes with discipline and building a new habit.  I choose wisdom and pray it gets ingrained in my soul. If you’re reading along, I’m praying the same for you as we go.

“My son, keep your father’s command
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Bind them always on your heart;
fasten them around your neck.
When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
For this command is a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
are the way to life…”

The father’s command and the mother’s teaching.

The command is a lamp and the teaching a light.

They are inseparable in their purpose. 

 

I interrupt the one who is sitting near me reading:

Son, what do you think the difference is between a lamp and it’s light?

The lamp is the structure, the light is the electricity.

Together, they light the way.

I doubt the writer meant mom is electricity and dad is the lamp.  He is explaining to his son the command is followed with a teaching and the message is consistent from both parents. Consistently working together, lamp and light are joined together to light the path for the sons and daughters of wisdom. The persistent message enables his son to write it on his heart and wear it around his neck.  Remember a time as an adult when you were caught in some precarious situation and you heard the voice of your parent, distantly ringing in your ear?

I recall one night as a college freshman walking alone at night in Azusa.  The darkness was haunting and I thought to myself, This is why my parents never let me go anywhere alone.

There is safety to be found in wisdom.

The worst times in parenting are when we are on different pages.  The light isn’t as brilliant when it doesn’t shine from the lamp.  I have many friends who are a single moms and I marvel at the grace given to them for the job at hand.  They are both lamp and light.

I often take for granted the fact there are two of us but when the two are not one the wreckage is in plain sight.

Recently I was talking with a friend about leadership development and the difference it makes when you like those you lead with.  When you like those you lead with, you laugh together, have fun together and head down the same path. When {not if} problems come, you defer to one another with understanding and compassion, believing the best about each other. People want to follow leaders who have electricity together.

Parenting in marriage requires the marriage to be strengthened.

If you’re reading this and you’re married with kids, will you please pray with me?

Lord, help us to look to you first and foremost above anything else in this world.  Help us to put our marriages second and prioritizing our spouses before all else {forsaking all others}.  Turn our hearts toward one another so our kids can find safety and that a united front would be so much more than just a front but a place of refuge and safety to grow. Amen

How do you find it challenging to prioritize your marriage before your parenting?

Have you noticed a difference when you do?

This is the 6th post in a 31 Day series: Wisdom. Start from the beginning here

You can also find over 1000 other topics from bloggers also participating here.