Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Frog Prince

This is one of those posts that I am always relearning. Lol! I do love my manly man! 

He is not your girlfriend.

He will not sit and watch girly movies with you every night.
He will not assure you that you look skinny in that dress. 
He will not notice your new hair cut, or purse, or pair of shoes.
He will not care who's dating or marrying or having who's baby.
He will not hold your purse or your shopping bags at the mall.
He will not share his food at the restaurant or the movie theater. Get your own.
He will not order a salad when there's a perfectly good steak available. 

He is a man.
He will sit on the couch and play video games for hours.
He will go out and have a beer with his buddies. 
He'll shave and leave the hair all over the bathroom sink.
He will burp, and fart, and scratch, and readjust his man parts.
He will ask you if it's "that time of month" whenever you start crying.

There comes a day when every woman realizes her Prince Charming is less charming and more frog. And we have a few choices. We can badger and nag our men to become the man we envisioned him to be. We can give up and live life in resentment toward this creature. Or we can remember what it was that drew us to him in the first place. 

He is your husband.

He will try to provide everything you need (but you need to ask for what you want).
He will try to make you happy (but you need to tell him plainly what that is).
He will try to solve all your problems (but you need to tell him you just want someone to listen).
He will protect you (but only if you'll let him).
He will think you're beautiful all the time (but you need to learn to accept it).

There are many days when my husband does something that I regard to be rude or unloving, and then the Lord reminds me, "Well, what did you expect? You married a man!" That's not to say women should put up with abusive behavior or words of any kind. Situations like that need professional help. I am saying that we need to cut our guys a little slack. Remember that his manliness may make for moments he's going to be gross or crass.  But also remember it was his sheer manliness that made him irresistible in the first place! 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Becoming His Best Friend

Last week my husband was showing me how to drive our new ride-on lawn mower. I was a little nervous to get on by myself, but an hour later I was happily cutting grass all over our property! It made me think of how many things I've learned from my husband that I was once too scared to do. And it reminded me of this post I wrote 4 years ago that still is true for our marriage today...

Being boys.
I am by no means "one of the boys." I am not competitive. I have no problem being called a wimp if I decide not to jump off, over, or onto something. I prefer to sit on the sidelines and cheer, or read a book, or daydream while someone else tackles, slides, or kicks their way to a goal. But my husband is one of 7 boys, and he certainly is competitive, and he does like to climb and crawl and relishes every minute of it. As much as I love to watch him strut his stuff out on the field, or on a skateboard, or on the water, I know he loves it when I do these things with him. I groan, I mumble, I drag my feet when he asks me to do something with him. But you know what? I always end up loving it. True, I end up sweaty or dirty or wet, and my hair ends up a mess, and I find rocks in my shoe, or a scrape on my arm, but I end up laughing til I cry and making the best memories.

My first time on a four-wheeler.  My clothes indicate
I was not planning on four-wheeling that day :)
This is life lived alongside my husband. This is the true meaning of friendship with him. It is being a part of what he loves, even if it's not the way I was made. It is listening to him talk about his newest project, even if I know that he will have a completely new idea the next day. It is watching him build something and being excited about it, even if I don't know where it's going. It is riding along with him in the van and picking up supplies at Lowe's, even when I feel I am completely useless there. I want to be my husband's wife, but I also want to be his friend. I want to cheer him on when the rest of the world doesn't. This is how I do that. Without asking him "Are you sure?" or "wouldn't this be better?" or "why did you do that?" I want to trust him completely, and bring out the best in him. Isn't that what friends are for?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fear and Marriage

I originally published this 4 years ago. I came across it again today and felt it needed restating. I don't think any of us is ready for marriage. It can be hard, lonely, boring, overwhelming, and chaotic. But to grow and learn with another human being? There's no closer friendship than that. 

When I was 18, the last thing on my mind was marriage. I was going to be a single woman the rest of my life, serve as a missionary in India, live in a grass hut, and adopt all my children. I could not stand the thought of any man running my life, or worse using up my best years and then leaving me for someone younger. I walked through high school and most of college with an iron shield around my heart, determined to make any interested guy's life miserable. I was not going to end up like my parents, so I wasn't going to give in to any romantic notions.

Even if my husband didn't end up leaving me, it would be hell to live with a man anyway. I would be stuck at washing his smelly socks, wiping toothpaste off the sink, and picking up used tissues from around the house. I would have to sleep next to a snoring human heater and put up with cold feet all night.
Then of course, I would have someone watching me 24/7, like a surveillance camera. If I told a lie, cheated on taxes, gossipped behind someone's back, or forgot to simply flush the toilet, they would be there, telling me what I had done wrong.

And probably most importantly, I would have to be naked around another human being for the first time, well, since I was a baby. This was probably the most terrifying part of getting married. I'm not thin, tall, or even proportionate. I don't always like to shave, and I still have retainers that I wear when I go to bed. How is that going to going to be attractive to any man?
Men were disgusting, unfeeling, and had only one thing on their mind. I wanted nothing to do with them.

I was explaining all these fears to Joseph one day, and he chuckled. He wanted to know what had made me change. I think it started in college, with a tell-it-like-it-is psychology professor who was teaching Marriage and Family class the one semester I happened to be taking it. Above all, he said, marriage is a choice. He explained that we can "fall in love" with anyone, but to make it last is a choice both parties make. He challenged us to not become a divorce statistic and to choose our partner wisely. It was the first time in my life I had heard clearly about what a man felt in marriage. I had been raised under the shadow of my mom's complaints against men, and so I had adopted the same attitudes toward them. To hear my professor speak about the man's role as provider and protector and his reflection of the Father's heart was refreshing. I devoured his lectures on keeping communication open, avoiding unfaithfulness, and honoring each other. The Lord began to unravel the misconceptions I had about men, and showed me that men were just as sensitive as we were and that good men did indeed exist. The best part was learning that husbands and wives "are heirs together in the grace of life." I was sad to see the semester end, but I knew that my whole outlook on life and marriage had changed.