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A few thoughts on Marriage...Updated ?
Waffles and Spaghetti!
This is kind of a personal post, nothing deep…but it’s been rolling around in my heart the past week. Random thoughts about what makes marriage sweet…what makes it good!
Todd and I do not have a “perfect marriage” (whatever that might be!) We are two very strong-willed people with deep, and sometimes differing convictions..and, we are both “big fat sinners in desperate need of grace” and can react at times out of the selfish places in our hearts...
Yet as we approach our 25th Anniversary, I love him so much more than I did at the beginning, and even more than that - I really, really like him! He is “my person” and I love doing life with him. Even the hard parts of life! Through the years, our life has included some rather huge challenges, and I have become increasingly aware of the great gift it is, to walk through tough times with someone to whom your heart is knit.
I remember when I was single, my older brother told me, regarding marriage, ”Moonlight and roses gives way to daylight and dishes very fast…” He was right. There is a lot of daily stuff in life! A 1500 sq. ft house with 2 adults, 5 kids and a dog did not lend itself to alot of “moonlight and roses”!
I think back to when Todd and I started dating…
So. much. FUN!!
First date: Dinner at Macaroni Grill and then an evening at Elitch Gardens Amusement Park. Dates that followed: Walks downtown, cappuccinos in a lovely hotel restaurant/piano bar…(loved that place…little twinkly lights on the indoor trees and great piano music), and many walks in the park in the fall. We played chess (he always beat me!), went bowling, walked in the snow, went to movies…FUN!!!
Our wedding, (8 months after our first date!) was a blast! I think the whole thing (dress included) cost only about $3,000. It was simple, we were surrounded by family and friends and we were just so excited to start out on this new life together!
Our first year was, like most first years…passionate! We both think back on that year and grin…a lot. But it was also tough. We were two very independent adults who had each been single for 30 plus years. I had my way of doing things, he had his way. We had so many silly spats that first year! (Well, now they seem silly…then, not so much.) A HUGE one, was over the proper way to hang a wet dish rag after washing the dishes…his feelings on the subject were just as strong as mine!
I remember times, lacing up my tennies, heading out for a walk after one of our seats and telling myself, “I did just FINE for 31 years on my own…”
(I know…very mature!! Not!!)
Amazingly, 25 years later, here we are…together...in love...
God is good…His grace is huge…
During the first year, at one point, I remember telling Todd,
“It just seems like we’ve had so many arguments…”
And his response to me was,
“You see them as this pile of arguments, I see them as this pile of things we have talked through, worked through and moved past…”
Whew! What a great perspective! It changed the way I viewed the times we disagreed on things.
And we do still disagree on things…we have passionate discussions as we sort things out together... But our goal is to always "stay on the same team"!
So…just for fun, I thought I’d share a couple of things that have helped in our journey so far. I know we have so much more to learn…but these are just a few things we've gleaned.
Waffles and Spaghetti…
You’ve heard this one:
Men are like waffles…they have their squares and they are focused on whichever square they are in at the moment, sometimes tuning out all other surrounding squares. Ever feel like you are jumping up and down in your square saying “Over here…look! Over here!!!!!!”?
Women, are like spaghetti…when we process things, it is all connected…our hearts and minds fly through various thoughts and feelings…even as I write this post my mind is jumping to what needs to happen today, a meeting I have tonight, the birthday party I need to plan, and, along with each thought comes the accompanying emotions. I don’t just think a thought, I FEEEEEL a thought!
This is probably not new information to any of you…but here is the little piece the Lord has taught me…(wait for it….this is SO deep! )
I need to honor my man’s waffle! (We may need to put that on a t-shirt!)
…I talk with a lot of women and often when this issue of the single-mindedness of their husbands come up there is eye-rolling and heavy sighing. (I’m sure some men do the same thing when they talk about our spaghetti tendencies!)
But I have been learning what a great gift it is that God designed men and women to function exactly in the ways that He has created us. It is a gift…it is a good gift…NOT a “factory malfunction”… it is a gift we each bring into the relationship and it keeps it balanced and interesting and fun!
I’ve learned that it can be exhilarating to dive into his waffle square and focus with him on whatever it is that he is processing! Whether it’s an issue about our business, something to do with our family finances, or some interesting thing he heard on the radio that day that has captured his attention…interesting stuff happens in waffle squares!
Lesson Learned by Eager Waffle Square Jumper: It is also important to recognize that there will be times he needs to be alone in his waffle square!
I was thinking too, that I want the “Sharon Waffle Square” to be a fun and interesting place for him to hang out in!
And, can I say, that there are times when Todd hops on the “spaghetti train” with me and goes along for that wild ride! Interesting stuff also happens on the spaghetti train!
Waffles and spaghetti really do make life good!
“Let me love him well...”
...One of the things that I often pray, is that the Lord will help me to “love Todd well”. I want to love him in ways that he needs me to love him.
When we first got married, I bought Todd lots of cards and wrote him lots of little notes…thinking that would bless his heart, because that’s what tends to bless my heart! (“Words of Affirmation Girl”, that’s me! ha ha!) Along the way, I learned that cards aren’t really what “float his boat”!
As well as I know my man, I recognize that the Lord knows the intricate places of Todd’s heart so much better. It is such an awesome thing to be able to pray to the Author of his heart and ask “How can I best love him today…” God is full of great ideas!
I want to honor Todd’s heart, I want to encourage him in the things that matter to him…I want to give him whatever strength I can give him, so that he can continue to carry the great load that he carries for our family.
Sometimes in the night when he is sleeping and I’m awake, I look at the back of his broad shoulders and think of how hard he works for our family, every single day…painting house after house after house in 90 plus degrees, 10-12 hr days…I want to love this dear man well.
I have 2 sons and 3 daughters…I pray for them, that when they grow up, if marriage is in the picture, that their spouses will love them well. And then I think of Todd’s mom…I loved her to pieces (she passed away right after Aimee was born)…I know that she prayed that prayer for her son and I want to honor that prayer daily…to love her son well!
Things I’ve learned that strengthen him…
…when we laugh together about the tough stuff of life, it lightens his load. Laughter really does do “good like a medicine”. His countenance changes, even if his body is still tired!
…when he sees that I am content and happy.
…when I keep the spontaneity and fun in our love life! ’nuff said!
…when I sit on the steps in our garage and talk with him while he works out there. (Yes…He invites me into his “man cave”!)
…when I do the little things that show he’s important to me…those “newlywed” things that should never go away! i.e. bringing him coffee in the morning, surprising him on the job with something special for lunch, picking up a good black and white WWII movie-( he is a history buff), or a great action flick! Back rubs and hand rubs (painters have all kinds of aching joints...YOU try holding a paintbrush for 10 hrs a day…ouch!) Sometimes it is taking the kids out so that he can be in a quiet house and rest when he does have some rare time off… However I can bless him, I want to do it. mature bridal wear for older women over 40/50
…And I will add in here, that he loves me well too! But that’s a whole different post!!
I have so many other little thoughts…but alas, my kids are waking up…daylight and dishes await!
One last thought…it is so good to pay attention to other marriages that are good…older couples that have come through time and still have that “twinkle in their eyes”. I’m blessed to have parents that have been married for 55 years and my mom will still grin and say, “Your dad is so handsome!” Dad calls my mom his “sweet bride”… I have asked them LOTS of questions!
So, nothing deep…I just know that when my marriage is healthy, I feel like I can take on the other hard stuff of life.