Be My Valentine: Marriage Challenge Week 4

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Who is still with me? This is the final week. Can you believe we have been working on our marriages and changing our family life for four weeks now? Praise God! This week’s post from Courtney was about setting the right expectations of our spouses and giving back.

Philippians 2:3 &4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambitionor vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

I am about to say something that I know more than a few of you will agree with. *clearing throat* I think Valentine’s Day on Facebook is a lot like Pinterest. If you are not careful, it can set up unrealistic ideas for us as wives. We look at the newsfeed and see dozen after dozen of beautiful flowers, candy, stuffed animals and cards. Then when the doorbell doesn’t ring, or we get just a card, we feel let down and disappointed. You woke up happy with your husband, expected nothing, he leaves for work, comes home unaware of the countless photos on Facebook you have been fantasizing over, hands you a card and there it is. Disappointment. Forget that you know your financial situation and agreed to not do anything this year. Forget that you got roses last week instead. No, none of that comes to mind or matters because, “IT’S VALENTINE’S DAY!! And everyone else got like 6 dozen roses because one was from their husband and the others were from each one of their kids. It’s not fair!!” Am I striking a familiar chord with anyone out there? OR does this just happen to me?

As we wrap up our 4 weeks there is one thing I have learned. It feels better to give than to receive. A simple lesson. A lesson I have to relearn often. Still, a lesson that applies here. This Valentine’s Day, focus on giving to him. Turn off your phone or log out of Facebook. Don’t even tempt yourself to look at the parade of roses that goes on during the day. Instead, focus your time and energy on praying for your marriage.

1. Make him a meal he won’t forget. I happen to know a place you can get a recipe for two for the occasion *wink*

2. Give him a new Bible, or a devotional the two of you can work through together this year.

3.Give him a gift certificate to have his car/truck cleaned out.

4. Load up his Starbucks card!

5. Hire a sitter so you two can get away and YOU make the dinner reservations. WHOA!

6. My favorite and the one we have done more than a few times in our marriage. Buy champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. When the kids go to bed, enjoy chatting with each other and walking down memory lane. Pull out your wedding album. Watch your wedding video. There is no quicker way to reconnect than to be brought back to the memory of when you said, “I do.”

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Guest Post: I Am Who You Say I Am

Sitting at the kitchen table, after all four Things had gone to bed, The Man began telling me how I had been making him feel the past two weeks. As he spoke I listened thoughtfully and said, women, wives, need to hear this. They need to know the impact of what we say or don’t say, do or don’t do. Will you put this down on paper for me. Can you write something for my blog that describes everything you are telling me. “Yes,” he said. “Please don’t forget!” I instructed. “I need it by Friday!” Here he is to explain the power a wife has over her husband.

“You are important to our family! We love you and are proud of you! You are a great father & husband! Have a great day!” As I sat in my office on a Tuesday afternoon with the weight of a busy work day on my shoulders, the email warmed my heart and I beamed with pride. My wife appreciates me! She thinks I’m doing a good job! Validation! (and apparently we both like exclamation points!)

Tara’s blog hits my email anytime a new post goes up and I enjoy reading her work and seeing how God is using her to impact the world. A few days prior to her post on the Marriage Challenge , she told me that she is running a “challenge” for wives on her site and asked me not to read her blog posts for a bit. I didn’t think much of it and obliged. A week or so later, she put a note in my lunchbox telling me that she loves and supports me. Then the email above. And a call for no other reason than to say how important I was to her and our family. Coffee ready to go as I walked out the door. Small gestures. Simple. No hollywood productions or lavish gifts. Just small thoughtful things that made me smile.

Tara is an amazing wife. She daily tells me she loves me. But a few days into the week, I felt slightly different toward her. I wanted to be a better husband. I wanted to make her a morning cup of coffee, and make the bed when she was in the shower, and get up with the baby so she could sleep 30 more minutes. I wanted to accomplish tasks on my honey-do list that I don’t have time or energy to finish at the end of a long day. I came home early and stayed up until 2am hanging 7 sets of blinds in our family room on a Wednesday night (frankly, a project that I had been procrastinating on for a while). I also felt stronger and more confident at work. I gave my kids an extra hug. I found energy and time that didn’t seem to exist previously. And I fell in love with my wife a little more each day.

Proverbs 18:21

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

The power that a wife’s words have over her husband are immeasurable. I found myself wanting to live up to every word that Tara spoke to me or wrote about me. “The power of life or death is in the tongue,” I began to live exactly as Tara spoke. I thought about my feelings and tried to rationalize them away. As I mentioned, Tara always tells me she loves me. But, she often asks me to do X, Y, Z. Or asks when I’m going to get to X, Y, Z. And sometimes, out of understandable frustration, complains that I never get to X, Y, Z. I’m not proud to say this, but over time it became white noise (I understood her frustration, but life would happen and I wouldn’t get to it.) However, something supernatural happened when my wife consistently spoke positively into my life without asking for anything in return. I wanted to live up to it, and I began to do that.

If you wrote down a plus or minus for every interaction you had with your spouse today, what would your sum total be? Positives being every time you built him up, expressed how important he is to you and your children, acknowledged his accomplishments, encouraged him in his work. Negatives being every time you criticized him unconstructively, complained about the honey-do list, called him in the middle of his work day to tell him he left the toothpaste cap off and it caused a chain reaction of hell to rain down on your children’s’ behavior, endless list of tasks, and your related sanity. (All hypothetical, of course.) How many times do we say, “I love you and understand how tired you are . . . but I really need you to paint over that crayon spot on the wall tonight because I’ve been asking you for a month to take care of that.” (Again, hypothetical). What is your score at the end of one day? Expand to one week? A year? A lifetime? Now consider all the additional negatives your husband faces that day from the world. Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Ladies, God has designed you with an inexplicable power to speak into your husband’s life. Everything you say to him impacts every aspect of his life. He needs to hear he is doing a good job. He needs to hear you respect him. He needs to hear you need him. He needs to hear you love him. You are the one person in this world who he will truly listen to. You are the one person in this world who he truly seeks approval and validation from. If you tell him he is a good husband and a good father, he will be that man. If you tell him that he never helps out and gets anything done at home, he will be that man. Your husband will be exactly the man you tell him that he is. What man do you want to help him be?

Be My Valentine: Marriage Challenge Week 3

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Proverbs 30:18,19 saysThere are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand; the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden.”

This week’s challenge, from Women living Well, is to pursue our husbands with a kiss. Ya’ll watch out, I am rare form tonight as I write this post! Before I share my thoughts on how it is going with us, let’s visit a video about our assignment for this week from Women Living Well and see what Courtney and Dr. David Clark have to say about kissing.

Now that we have defined what ways we are not to kiss our husband this week,… Seriously, we are totally guilty of the peck. Right? Who else out there does the peck. Peck in the morning and yeah, that about sums it up unless we have a moment of flirting in between the “I have to poopy! The baby needs a bottle! The dog peed on the floor! And the, I want a snack!” of the day. Other than that, we are in the season of SURVIVE-al. We certainly have let the passionate kissing go to the bottom of our priority list. So, I’m game. Let’s bring on the Chapstick, or Burt’s (whatever you prefer) and get some heat going between those well pencil- lined lips. I, for one, think this is a challenge I can probably get use to. When is the last time you made out with your husband? I know for us it was regularly before and after Thing 1, probably a few times between Thing 2 and 3, then got less and less after Thing 3. This will be the first time since Thing 4. Do you remember making out with your hubby before you got married? I do. That. Was. Awesome. Butterflies and goose bumps! I have a few years (soon to be 10!!) under my belt and know those lips pretty well so I should be able to do this. Shhh! I know! This is not stuff we are supposed to talk about. Certainly not on a blog. Here’s the thing, if we don’t talk about it how are we going to know we need to step up our game as wives? Let me tell you sister, there is always someone willing to do the job you aren’t as his wife. Check out how many times in Proverbs it warns the husband to be on guard for that kind of woman. And we all know what kind of woman I am talking about.

What have you realized about your spouse or yourselves? I was driving home the other night and was on the phone with my sister. She was wondering when the next challenge was going to be posted, and we started talking about how we were doing with the challenges. She told me her struggles and I told her mine. I have realized a lot. I have some junk to clean up. I realized the first week that it is extremely difficult for me to give verbal praise to my husband. To others about him, not a problem, but to his face just between us it was difficult. Not because I don’t feel like he deserves it, but because it’s not natural for me. I sing his praises in my head. I will write them out in a status update on Facebook or on my blog, but to physically say it was harder. The Man is going to make a guest appearance on the blog this week to tell you about how he felt about the first challenge. I think the first challenge was HUGE in a lot of ways. I want to revisit it and take more time going through that one and why it was so important. Take away number one: become comfortable giving praise verbally to those who need and deserve it. Week 2’s challenge about showing your husband you love him in creative ways came a little easier for me. I was able to find things that I knew he needed to get done and do them for him. This one has always been easier for me. However, every time I made progress, the devil would show up. For me it comes in the form of organization. Again, I am going to be real here. I can’t stand his dresser. Can not stand it! He piles stuff on top of it and in his mind it’s organized because he knows where his stuff is in those piles. So one minute I am all “I love you, you are an awesome father, a great provider, a wonderful husband!” and the next I’m, “Seriously? Could you please clean that up? Stop collecting books!! YOU HAVE A KINDLE!!” Now I know I can’t be the only one that was doing this the past three weeks! That being said, as we go into our final 2 weeks of this challenge, let’s pray for each other and our marriages. Marriages are under attack more than ever. Generations are affected by the atmosphere we create in our homes and with our husbands every day. Let’s give the devil something to talk about, contemplate, but not break. Find love this week. Reconnect. Pray.

The final week is next week! I am not ready to end! Also, please do me a favor. If you are doing this challenge with me, please comment below so I (we) know who to pray for this week! Calling each other out by name in prayer is powerful. Thank you!

Be My Valentine: Marriage Challenge Week 2

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Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

So how did everyone do last week with the praises and compliments towards your spouse? Did you fill up your husband’s cup?

I have to be real here. I totally did and then I emptied it as quickly as I filled it a few times last week. I don’t know about ya’ll, but as soon as I started to make progress, the devil showed up. Obviously my man needs this since the devil is so against it. I am more determined this week to fill up his cup and make it overflow. This week’s challenge over at Women Living Well is to find creative ways to say “I love you” to your husband.

How can you do this?

1.) Through a text picture

2.) Make a Valentine for your Valentine

3.) Make his lunch and throw a quick note in there

4.) Make his coffee before he walks out the door

5.) Hide a card in his briefcase or inside the newspaper where he is sure to find it 🙂

You guys are creative. If you don’t like my ideas then browse Pinterest for some more.

The Things and I made him a Valentine yesterday. This morning I had his coffee and lunch ready for him so he could just walk out the door. Sometimes, it’s the smallest things that we can do as his help mate that will change his day. Pray over him before he leaves and stay strong. I have a feeling my marriage wasn’t the only one attacked last week and as we dive deeper into this, I am sure more is to come. Try to connect this week and flirt!

Let me know how it’s going! Share your ideas under the comments!

Be My Valentine: Marriage Challenge

It’s four weeks until Valentine’s day. I always hate that we only get one day to celebrate the ones we love the most. Recently, I received a post from Women Living Well about a Marriage Challenge for Valentine’s day. I love this idea of taking the four weeks before Valentine’s to focus on one thing that can uplift your spouse.

For the week of January 21, our focus is to look for ways to verbally praise our husband. We all know that our men need verbal affirmation. Sometimes more that we do as their wives. It’s always important that we do this in front of our children, his friends, our friends, and those that we are in close contact with. We can make or break our husband’s image by the words that we speak about or over him. This week, try to focus on verbal praise to and about him. In your prayers, ask God to open your eyes to things that you may have missed about your husband. Allow yourself to fall in love with new things that make him great and share those things with him!

Will you accept this challenge this week?

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