Sunday, October 4, 2015

Love you forever

Hello friends,

Are you enjoying fall?  Here in New England we are enjoying, in no particular order: football (college & professional), apples and all the yummy ways to make them unhealthy, crisp mornings and evenings, foliage, fires, return to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and even though I'm embarrassed to admit it, the return of my TV series - Nashville.  Now before you go judge me for putting a TV show on my top fall items, know this.  It's the only show I watch.   Well I might watch Downtown Abbey this winter, but based on last seasons plot line, I may just skip that one, so it's the only show I watch currently.  Also, I watch it from a DVR recording, so I'm not a slave to the network programming.  So, it's 1 hour a week, and it's my one guilty pleasure.  Well, I do read people magazine {gasp} so it's one of two guilty pleasures.

One of the fun things for us about the fall is that we celebrate our anniversary.  While most of you are celebrating x number of years of wedded bliss in the summer, Bob and I get to have our celebration at the end of September.  Since this year marked 30 years of wedded joy, we took two days off and headed to a luxury historic hotel for a night.  Know what we discovered?  The only people out and about on a Monday or Tuesday in September in a resort town are retired people in bus tours.  We felt so young!!  No seriously we bumped into several very nice couples, surprisingly most from New Jersey while exploring Bretton Woods for 2 days.

So of course I had to make Bob an anniversary card.



And you probably want to see pictures of our little getaway too.

The fancy hotel gave left us these chocolate strawberries in our room.  Yum!

We took the Cog Railway to the top of Mount Washington
We were happy to be on the summit, but glad we didn't spend the day hiking!
The resort had a very special spa.  I hope to get back there again someday.  Really lovely!

Lastly, I saw this great post about wedding vows.  I wish I could say that I do all these things, but I can say that if Bob and I both did these, we would have an awesome marriage.  Don't get me wrong - we have a great marriage, but we are not perfect.  A good read if you have the time.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Have a great day.

http://www.faithit.com/12-honest-vows-wont-hear-at-a-wedding/

Wedding

After years of marriage I’ve realized…I know nothing about marriage…
honest
It’s been six years since Tiffani and I exchanged vows. Like most soon-to-be-married couples, we had an idea of what marriage would look like. After all, we watched “chick flicks,” read a few marriage books, and spent time with older married couples.
Looking back, however, I realize I didn’t know much at all about marriage. The words I promised Tiffani at our wedding were idealistic and romantic. This isn’t much different from the traditional vows you hear at almost any wedding. “To have and hold, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
There’s nothing wrong with these vows. But, seriously. Who really understands what they mean?
I know what you’re thinking. Why do marriage vows matter?
Here’s why. Vows are promises. But not just any promises. Vows are markers that guide your marriage. So, while I’m not against writing vows Casanova would applaud, I am against vows that are more romantic and emotional than practical and honest.
Let’s be real. In a culture that idolizes romantic love, we don’t need any more Shakespearean vows. We need vows that will shape and impact marriages.
Here are 12 truthful marriage vows you won’t hear at a wedding.

1.) I PROMISE TO NEVER FLIRT, LUST, OR DESIRE THE ATTENTION OF SOMEONE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX. 

When you get married, you vow faithfulness to your spouse. You vow exclusivity to them. You promise to never flirt, lust, or seek attention from the opposite sex. You promise to protect your mind from images that aren’t your spouse.
You don’t listen to music that degrades people. You don’t allow your eyes to view images or watch shows portraying people as objects and relationships as indispensable. These are obvious, right?
But when you vow exclusivity to your spouse, you vow more than physical purity. You vow emotional purity as well. You promise to never confide in a secretary at work or be flattered by someone of the opposite sex.
Emotional purity is much less obvious than physical purity, but it’s just as destructive. You must fight to give all of your emotions, your desire to impress, your attention, struggles, heartaches, and everything in between to your spouse. These don’t belong to other people. Fight for purity, both physically and emotionally.

2.) I PROMISE TO NEVER EXPECT A 50/50 MARRIAGE. 

There’s no such thing as a 50/50 marriage.
You can’t keep score in a marriage. There’s no such thing as a 50/50 relationship. That’s a contract.
Give 100% of yourself every day. Some days, 100% won’t be much. But on those days, trust your spouse will pick you up. Regardless, let go of this give-and-take idea.
Just give. Giving is the essence of love and the heart of the one who created marriage, God.

3.) I PROMISE TO MAKE THE GOSPEL THE MISSION OF OUR MARRIAGE.

Most marriages struggle because the relationship is the end goal. The mission of most marriages is to provide stability to your life, to have a family, to have a companion. Get the idea?
But God created marriage, and because he created it, the goal is larger than selfish desires. The goal is to glorify him. Even in Christian circles, few couples make the gospel the mission of their marriage. And this explains why Paul said it was better NOT to marry (1 Cor. 7). Your interest would be divided between your spouse and God.
Your mission on earth is to serve God. Everyday. This mission doesn’t change when you get married. But if you’re not intentional, pleasing your spouse will take precedent over serving God.

4.) I PROMISE TO LOVE WHO YOU ARE TODAY, NOT WHO I WANT YOU TO BE.

For the sake of your sanity and your marriage, please listen. You can’t change your spouse. You don’t have that power.
If this is your goal, two varmets will infest your relationship: bitterness and resentment.
For years, Tiffani and I tried to change each other. It wasn’t until we stopped trying to change each other and started enjoying one another that we experienced intimacy.
One of the profound mysteries of marriage is two people with different values learning to love, flourish, and celebrate one another. It’s not easy, but that’s why you must rely on God and embrace the unique values He places in every person, including your spouse.
This sounds overly simplistic because it is…just love the person in front of you. Don’t long for a “fixed” version of your spouse. Don’t hope for a day when your spouse changes. Just love the current version of your partner. Doing this will transform your marriage.

5.) I PROMISE YOU WILL NEVER BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MY HAPPINESS.

Marriage isn’t a quest to find happiness or completion. God created you complete. You must learn to love yourself before trying to receive or extend love.
When another person is responsible for your happiness, you idolize that person. You obsess over everything. You check Facebook profiles, text messages, and missed calls. It’s a miserable way to live. It’s a terrible recipe for a quality relationship.
Be confident in the man or woman God created you to be. Then you will be free to love your spouse the way God intended.

6.) I PROMISE TO MAKE MY EXPECTATIONS CLEAR.

This was probably the greatest barrier in my marriage the first few years. Tiffani and I had expectations that influenced our decisions and shaped our understanding of marriage.
Tiffani’s expectations for me were influenced by her dad. Tiffani has an amazing dad. I respect him. I’ve learned a lot from him. But I’m not Tiffani’s dad. Likewise, my expectations for Tiffani were shaped by my mom. I have an amazing mom. But it’s unfair to expect Tiffani to respond the way my mom responded. And these unrealistic expectations created a lot of disappointments.
Your spouse should never endure disappointments as a result of ignorance. State your expectations clearly. All of them. Be thorough. What do you expect from a wife? A husband? What does marriage look like to you? What does sex look like?
If you can’t state your expectations, either because you don’t know them or you’re too shy to say them, it’s a red flag that you aren’t ready for marriage.

7.) I PROMISE TO NEVER SAY “I FORGIVE YOU” UNLESS I TRULY MEAN IT. 

Your spouse will hurt you and vice-versa. When this happens, search your heart, seek God, and forgive your spouse the same way God forgives you.
Don’t forgive with conditions. Don’t say, “I forgive you” when you’re really storing your spouse’s mistake to use as ammo in a future argument.
Unless you forgive the way God forgives you, completely and unconditionally, a wall will grow taller and taller in your relationship. Eventually, bitterness and resentment will make intimacy impossible, and your marriage will be nothing more than two roommates living under the same roof.

8.) I PROMISE TO BE FOR YOU, TO ENCOURAGE YOUR DREAMS, TO HELP YOU BECOME THE MAN OR WOMAN GOD CREATED YOU TO BE.

Many days you won’t feel like being for your spouse. But you must be for your partner if you want your marriage to grow. What does this look like? Here are a few examples.
  1. You pray for your spouse.
  2. You affirm your spouse’s strengths and gifts.
  3. You focus more on the positive aspects of your spouse’s personality and actions than the negative ones.
  4. You help your spouse pursue his or her dreams and talents.
  5. You make your relationship a safe place for hard questions and deep conversations.
When you are for your spouse they open up like a flower, stepping into their relationships, workplace, etc. with boldness and courage. Is your spouse living with boldness and courage?

9.) I PROMISE TO NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR MARRIAGE, IN GENERAL, OR YOU, IN PARTICULAR, TO OTHERS.

God created marriage to be a private relationship between two people.
God created marriage to be a private relationship between two people. In the social media era, virtually everything is available to the public. Privacy is viewed as stinginess, almost as though six billion people are entitled to full access of your life.
Don’t buy the lie.
Your marriage is private. When you fight, your girlfriends don’t need to hear your husband is a jerk. Your homeboys don’t need to hear that your wife is irrational and ridiculous. No one, other than your spouse, should know intimate details about your sex life.
Don’t publicize a relationship God designed to be private.

10.) I PROMISE TO BELIEVE THE BEST IS YET TO COME, REGARDLESS OF HOW GOOD OR BAD THINGS ARE TODAY.

Regardless of the circumstances in your marriage, never spend more time looking in the rear-view mirror than the windshield. You must always believe the best is yet to come.
Why? God is a futurist.
He always leads people towards the future, towards the unknown. This forward movement is rooted in hope. Hope that the unknown is better than the known because God forges the path.
But here’s the lie our world says: future circumstances are tied to current actions. So, if your marriage is miserable right now, it won’t get better in the future. But the future isn’t dependent on external actions. It’s dependent on internal perspective.
In other words, you must choose to believe tomorrow will be better than today. If you choose this, it will be true, regardless of the actions of your spouse.

11.) I PROMISE TO PROTECT OUR MARRIAGE FROM OUTSIDE INFLUENCES, INCLUDING KIDS, WORK, AND IN-LAWS.

Marriage is about intimacy, and intimacy requires time and exclusivity. Here’s what this means practically. You must learn to say no. Go ahead and practice now.
Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book Boundaries In Marriage, says, “A marriage is only as strong as what it costs to protect it.”
Saying yes to outside influences means saying no to your marriage. You will hurt people’s feelings. Your parents won’t understand. They might even call you selfish. Your golf game might take a hit. Your friends will send you passive-aggressive text messages because you aren’t spending time with them. Your co-workers might think you’re uncommitted because you choose to spend a night with your spouse instead of working late on a project. Unfortunately, even your church might make off-hand comments.
I’m giving you a heads up because these are the costs you must take to protect your marriage. If you don’t do this, your marriage will fail. And, trust me, it’s must easier to implement this vow on day 1 of your marriage than several years in.

12.) I PROMISE TO SURROUND OUR MARRIAGE WITH A COMMUNITY OF CHRISTIANS WHO WILL ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT US.

I’m going to be real here. At some point, you will want to give up. I know what you’re thinking. “Not me. I would never leave my spouse.”
That’s real sweet and all, but you’re naive.
Marriage is crazy hard. Eventually, your spouse will wound you deeply, you will lose the will to invest in your relationship, or you will come to the realization that marriage is more work than you signed up for.
When this season comes, the line between giving up and pressing forward will be drawn by your community. If your community caters to your ego and feeds your “woe is me” attitude, the line will be easy to cross. If you aren’t plugged into a local church, doing life with a group of Christians, the line will be easier to cross. If, however, you surround your marriage with a community of Christians who are for you, the line will be much harder to cross.

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