Archive of ‘Marriage’ category
I will resume posting regularly on Tuesday, May 1st. The series Women Who Run With the Wolves will resume on Monday, May 7th. “Friday Favorites” will resume Friday, May 4th.
I remember when I was a teenager, about 13 or 14 years old. I was in our basement singing a song being played on the radio – in falsetto, to be sure. Yet I believed at the time that my voice was so pretty, that I sung every note perfectly. But my older brother Sidney (he passed away in 1999 of an AIDS-related illness) had different thoughts. He yelled down the stairs, “Who’s that singing? It sounds terrible! You can’t sing!”
From that time on, I never sung a song in front of anyone. That bird was caged. Her song shut up in her soul.
Subsequently, when I was in the car with any family member and one of my favorite songs came on the radio, I wouldn’t sing aloud – I might mouth the words, but not actually let a note come out of my mouth. I believed wholeheartedly that when this bird sang, the notes, out of key, were of no value. I believed they were like the sound of fingernails scratching on a chalkboard.
It wasn’t until I was 30 years old that I began to sing aloud – and that was at church. Unless I was in church singing and worshipping along with the congregation, no one ever heard me sing – until I met my husband, Manchild. But mind you, I didn’t meet him until I was 36 years old. So I didn’t sing so that others could hear for over 20 years.
Twenty years. That’s a long time to be unsung.
Yet, it was love that released this bird. God’s unmatchable love.
Sounds nebulous? Cliche-ish?
Yes on both accounts – if you don’t know that God works through people to get his purposes accomplished. And God’s love for me has been manifested through my husband.
I met my husband seven years ago. I tried to shew him away that evening I met him at Border’s Books, but he wasn’t having it. And since then, God has manifested his love through this man in so many ways.
My husband continues to demonstrate a commitment I had never experienced time and time again. At the moment, we are preparing our house to be appraised for a refi (one of the reasons why I haven’t been posting this past week – and thank you, Camille, for checking up on me!). We got started on it a little late, but needless to say, no matter what needs to happen, my husband has bitten then bullet and has done what is necessary to straighten out walls, repair nicks, scrub carpets to remove stains, paint our daughter’s room, pull weeds, redo decks, paint doors and shutters, whatever. It doesn’t matter. While I’m at school, for the amount of time and finances with which we’ve had to work, he’s working at home ensuring our house will put on its best face. And in the process, I’m learning a lot about how to repair and upgrade our home.
My husband has shown me time and time and over and over again that he is a man of integrity, commitment, and loyalty to his wife and daughter. He will sacrifice the shirt off his back to make sure we have what we need. I’ve never experienced that kind of loyalty, and over the years, it’s been difficult to get used to. But more and more, as the years pass by, I see more and more of God’s love in this man. And because of that, I can honestly say I have much to sing about.
God knew what I needed 7 years ago. He sent me a wonderful man who shows me everyday that God loves me, cares for me, and wants the best for me.
God feels the same way about you too. If you’re feeling caged, open up and allow Him to put a song in your heart. He knows just what you need.
As my husband and I were recently editing his soon to be released book, I asked him a question regarding some of the dialogue between the mother and father of the main character in the narrative, where the father “politely interrupts her” during a discussion with their young son. As I thought about the fact that the father “interrupts” the mother, I asked my husband, “Why does the husband have to ‘politely interrupt’ his wife? Why couldn’t he have waited until she finished what she was saying?”
My husband, the insightful man that he is, replied,
“Because that’s what men do…”
I couldn’t help but to crack up!!!
Any reactions ladies? Men, what do you think?
It’s that time again…the five posts I discovered this week that I enjoyed and added value to my life. Click and enjoy!
Favorite #1 — The Law of Attraction is big these days, and I can definitely subscribe to some of the tenets. Nevertheless, I can’t help but to know that the proverb that the principle most subscribes to is “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 3:27). I wrote a post on having balance with regard to the Law of Attraction, but Paula Neal Mooney really captures it on her recent post, “The Secret DVD: God On Steroids.” Take a look.
Favorite #2 — With all the talk about diversity in the world (actually, the conversation goes in waves depending on who’s being focused on in the media), this post entitled “If There Were Just 100 People In The World” at The Challenge Of Life provides a great twist. Very intriguing and gives much to think about.
Favorite #3 — Last night, I was rushing to get my daughter to bed so that I wouldn’t miss any of “Grey’s Anatomy.” I felt guilty afterward because I didn’t take as much time to read to her as I think I probably should have. Fortunately, I remembered this post at Silicon Valley Moms entitled “I Confess.” For moms who feel guilty thinking they should’ve done “this or that” with their child, PLEASE READ THIS POST!!!
Favorite #4 — There are many personality tests out there. But did you know that crayons are the true indicators of personality type? What color crayon represents the person who is ambitious, determined, and ready for anything? Jane at My Many Colored Crayons presents the opportunity to take this personality test at “Because this is my crayon box after all.” By the way, I’m a blue crayon!
Favorite #5 — My husband believes ”a woman is a man’s most valuable resource.” Of course, you all should know I appreciate that conviction quite a bit. On his blog, When Least Expected™, his post, “The Power Of A Wise Woman’s Words,” features a wonderful poem by Ms. Sojourner Truth delivered during the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio in December 1851 entitled “And Ain’t I A Woman.” Yes, I’m partial, but I also think it’s a great post.
Thus ends this week’s edition of Five Favorites For Friday…
Let me know what you think!!! And by all means, post lots of comments where those posts are featured!!!
I confess that I don’t always understand my husband very well, even after almost six years of marriage. It has been difficult at times, but his graciousness, warmth, love, compassion, strength, determination, and passion cannot be matched, at least in my book. I read a poem today by Nikki Giovanni in her new book, Acolytes: Poems, entitled “Brave Man Dancing” that describes sort of what I’m struggling with right now. Here it is:
Brave Man Dancing
(for Richard Fewell)
When brave men dance
When courageous men bask in that midnight sun
Who understands their pain
When men of hope and men of dreams write poems
Who listens to the beat
Of a brave man dancing
My husband is brave, courageous, full of hope and spectacular dreams. He, himself, writes wonderful poetry (you can see his poetry at his blog here) which articulates a vision that expands far and wide. My brave man dancing, who helps me understand, who communicates his pain, who’s teaching me to listen specifically to him.
My husband used to call me “My Dream Come True.” After almost six years of marriage, he now has another name for me…
My husband thinks that I am 99.9% better than all the other women out there in the world! This is incredible to me, because while we have had some good times, it’s been very difficult alot of the time. He even wrote about it on his blog, “When Least Expected™. (Of course, I’ve got to give my husband some link love, you know.) Before you say, “She sure is self-aggrandizing and self-absorbed,” I have to tell you a couple of things that precipitated me writing about this.
First, I read a post at “Crunchy Carpets” (I love that name and what it represents!) today entitled “What’s going on with men and women these days?” Read the entire entry, but for our purposes I want you to focus on the first half of her post and the indented quotation spoken by a woman (not Crunchy Carpets!) against her husband (please go there if you haven’t yet). To summarize, she works all day while her husband stays home with the baby, and when she comes home, the house is a mess. The quote concludes by her ranting,
“He was home all day—couldn’t he at least run a freaking load of laundry?”
Crunchy Carpets responds by saying:
“…this a very sad example of what a relationship is supposed to be about. The narcissism and selfishness appall me.”
Her comment gave me pause. I had to stop and think about what she was saying. That leads to the second thing that precipated this post.
I am a teacher. My husband is a writer (which is one reason why he started his blog – to work some things out in the process of him publishing his book soon), speaker, poet, photographer, and general and all-around fix-it man. After we had our daughter, when my summer vacation was over, my husband stayed at home with her for three months while I went to work. And while I came home sometimes to a cluttered home, it didn’t matter; he was taking great care of our little girl.
However (and this is the second thing that precipitated this post), I have had many lapses, train wrecks, and brain farts. My husband works from home. On my way to school, I drop off our daughter at the daycare (which is on the campus where I work). While I don’t get on him about the house, I will complain about other stuff, mainly the car (he knows everything about a VW Passat GLX VR6!) or anything else that needs fixing. Brakes, tune-up, oil change, water pump (now that’s particularly difficult to do by yourself on a Passat!) – we have needed it all done. But my husband is one man (and at the moment, our budget is tight, so we do what we can). He’s getting some things off the ground with regard to his business. And I need to trust him that he’s letting God lead him and let him do his thing, even when it’s hard. Even when our lives don’t seem to be the way I think they should be (based upon our ages, education, children, etc.). Even when we are looking at each other sideways.
So while we have a long way to go, my husband and I are learning how to be together, in spite of the difficulty. And I was reminded today by Crunchy Carpets of the incredible, priceless value my husband brings to our relationship. Thank you, Crunchy Carpets!
In spite of what is going on around you, in spite of your circumstances (other than abuse), what value does your husband brings to your relationship (really think about this)? What can we do to keep that impression at the forefront of our minds and hearts? Should we be asking other questions? Or am I way off?
On January 9, 2007, an article appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled “Chaos Rules” with a photo of Albert Einstein standing around his very cluttered desk, appearing to be looking for something, with the following quote within the photo:
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind,
of what, then, is an empty desk?”
For this article, Jim Auchmutey of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed Eric Freedman, one of the authors of the book, A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder–How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place. Freedman states,
“…we’d all be better off worrying less about neatness and order.”
When asked about the state of Einstein’s desk, Freedman says,
“Einstein had a fantastically messy desk. I spend a lot of time walking through the halls of academia, and I can tell you there’s a strong correlation between how spectacular someone’s mess is and how successful they are as a professor.”
Finally, there is a sidebar at the end of the article (it’s difficult to determine whether Freedman or Auchmutey, the AJC writer, penned this sidebar) which reads, ”What messy can do for you” featuring four famous men. For example, with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s photo comes the caption, “The California governor hates making appointments and has pretty much winged his whole career.” But the caption of one of the other men he features (again, including photo) states:
“…if it’s neat you want…history’s ultimate neat freak: Adolf Hitler.”
What a way to end a supposedly informative, possibly persuasive article…
I’ve not ever been the neatest person in the world. In fact, I was pretty much a slob growing up. It took me getting married to get my act together. When my desk at school is a mess, I can get nothing done. When my desk is cluttered, I feel cluttered. I am unproductive. I spend more than the nine minutes Freedman says is the average time looking for things on my desk. I feel like crap when my house is messy. I can’t stand to go to the kitchen and see very many dirty dishes in my sink – I get irritated at myself if I don’t wash the dishes and I come into the kitchen only to see the dishes saying, “Wash me, wash me!” Lots of clutter, in my mind, causes chaos (literally).
The AJC article elicited a few comments from readers. HGTV regular Monica Ricci remarked,
“I have addressed this book in my blog, and hope Mr. Freedman can accept that there is indeed a fraction of the population who loves, and indeed thrives in extreme chaos. However, most people who live in chaos DO desire to improve their life results and happiness, which is why the professional organizing industry was born. We organizers are in business to help people change their lives by changing their internal and external environments, not by judging or shaming.”
Thank you, Monica.
And John at MightyBargainHunter.com provides “Sixteen Ways Being Disorganized Costs You Money.” Five of those ways include:
- Extra trips to the store
- Spoiled food
- Buying things you already have
- Dining out a lot
- Huge amounts of lost productivity
That list is all too familiar to me. Before I got married, I ate out everyday because I didn’t wash my dishes too often. (When I was working corporate, my favorite restaurant was Houston’s. They had this fantastic Grilled Chicken Salad with mandarin oranges and this wonderful peanut dressing. Is that still on the menu?). I’d frequently forget where something was and buy a replacement, only to find it later on. Looking for bills, important papers, and books took time. And when I decided I was going to do a good cleaning, it took half the day! Productivity down the drain! I could’ve been working out or something!
For me, a little neatness makes for more peace in my soul. Instead of thinking that having an empty desk means one’s mind is empty (as Einstein’s quote above “explicitly implies,” I prefer what Monica Ricci recently posted on her blog:
“One of the side benefits to being organized is that you find you have the mental space to wonder about stuff.”
How do you process clutter? Does it help you think? Does it hinder you? Do you find yourself to be more productive — or less?
A better indicator might be, “How long does it take you to find your car keys when you have someplace to go — immediately!” Maricar’s “Keeping the Castle” addressed this in “January Is Get Organized Month…Or Not”:
“Yes, being organized saves more time than having to hunt for one’s keys for 10 minutes every single day. Surely a reasonably clean home contributes to a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Yet freaking out over every little Cheerio on the carpet is too much. Especially if, with every crumb that’s picked up, three more get added to the pile.”
Balance, balance, balance…
It was the big news story Tuesday, January 16, 2007. Due to several factors, according to Sam Roberts of the New York Times, “51 percent of [American] women are now living without a spouse,” indicating we can no longer “assume that marriage is the main institution that organizes people’s lives.”
As I heard the network news reports and read the New York Times article, it seemed the media presented only one side of the story. And if I were still single, the story would seem bleak if I were interested in getting married someday. Some of the findings from the article include:
- On average, Americans now spend half their adult lives outside marriage
- Women are less dependent on men or the institution of marriage
- For many older boomer and senior women…marriage did not hold the promise they’d hoped for
- Most girls growing up today can look forward to spending more of their lives outside of a traditional marriage
The article featured several single women, including why they were single and how they felt about it, whether it was because they had never been married or were divorced (while the article briefly mentioned those who were widowed, they did not feature any women who fit that category). Generally, these women spoke of freedom, independence, and flexibility as factors in remaining single, even if they had the option to marry. I don’t know. It seems that the media is focused on traditional marriage falling out of disfavor in American society and the state of a declining marriage institution as being normal and desired.
The report further states, “[b]etween 1950 and 2000, the share of women 15-24 who were married plummeted to 16 percent, from 42 percent. Among 25-34 year olds, the proportion dropped to 58 percent, from 82 percent.” But there is another side to the story. Although the proportion has declined over the years, 49% of women are married (for some, this indicates the glass is half full, not half empty). Indeed, some of these marriages are happy ones. Nevertheless, how do couples stay married and fulfilled? And since the article mentioned benefits of being single (from several women’s points of view), what are the benefits to being married?
According to the July/August 2004 edition of Spirituality & Health magazine in an article entitled “His and Her Marriage Benefits”, “Happily married women…have healthier profiles than divorced or unhappily married women,” citing physical benefits to being married. There are some financial benefits as well. Zen Personal Finance blog finds the following:
“According to Laura Rowley of Yahoo Finance, ‘Economist Jay Zagorsky of OSU’s Center for Human Resource Research, tracked the financial and marital status of more than 9,000 people from 1985 to 2000. Married people amassed an astonishing 93 percent more than single or divorced people over the 15-year period.’”
The financial rewards of marriage abound!
Moreover, loving marriages have significant benefits for those whose spouses have passed away. According to Spirituality & Health (May/June 2005) in an article entitled “A Loving Marriage Outlasts Death; Alas, So Does a Lousy One,”
“A good marriage seems to have a protective impact on surviving spouses…” In fact, depression is less likely to have a profound impact on a surviving spouse in the case of a loving marriage.
Well, then, if we’re married (as I am), how do we remain happily married?” Many books and resources exist on marriage and how to do it. I discovered one (there are so many) that was straight and to the point. The last article to which I will refer comes, again, from Spirituality & Health (Winter 2002) in an article entitled “Happy Couples: Don’t Hate ‘Em, Join ‘Em” which reports that happy couples:
- Are committed to building long-lasting relationships based on shared visions and goals
- Are aware of the changing nature of relationships
- Support each other’s continued growth as individuals
- Create time for each other despite busy schedules
- Are blunt, honest, and direct in their communication
- Are unafraid of conflict, viewing fights (yes, they have them) as opportunities to grow
- Still have great sex, because their physical attraction and passion for each other haven’t diminished, and their sex lives get better as their relationship deepens with love, trust, and openness
So, is there another side to the story? I am, by no means, an expert; I’ve been married only six years and I’ve got a long way to go. Nevertheless, I choose to look at the glass as being half full.
How do you view the institution of marriage? Is it dead? Is it on its last leg? Or is it that the media spins its data to generate conflict and controversy? It definitely gets the conversation started. Let me know what you think…