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Tomorrow is my husband’s 30th birthday. In honor of that, I have compiled a list of 30 reasons why I love him. The list goes far beyond 30 but I doubt he’ll live to 10 million.

30 Reasons Why I Love You

1.      Whenever you get up before me in the mornings, you push your pillow up against my back because you know I don’t sleep well without something to cuddle with.

2.      You’re so unbelievably smart about computers and math and all of those left-brained things.

3.      You make me feel beautiful every single day.

4.      You laugh easily and loudly and truly enjoy life.

5.      You don’t let things ruffle your feathers and whenever shit happens, you deal instead of having a meltdown.

6.      You always tell me the truth, even when it hurts.

7.      You have beautiful eyes.

8.      You dance with me in parking lots and catch me when I trip because I’m wearing flip flops.

9.      You hold me when I need you to.

10.  You clean and go through closets and organize because I ask you to.

11.  You don’t get mad when I move things and you can’t find them.

12.  You dream with me.

13.  You always kiss me goodnight.

14.  You don’t expect me to pack your lunches but you’re always appreciative when I do.

15.  You are good at compromising.

16.  You worked your way through JustFaith even though reading isn’t your thing.

17.  You love the Colts and very vocally watch them play.

18.  You make me laugh.

19.  You care about the people in your life and make time for them.

20.  You’re good at what you do and, even though you’re confident about it, you don’t let it go to your head.

21.  You care about what happens to people in other countries and those who have less than we do.

22.  You do things for the right reason because you believe they are the right thing to do.

23.  You honestly don’t give a damn about being popular or cool or any of the high school antics that people should outgrow. In fact, you didn’t care even when you were in high school.

24.  You aren’t concerned about keeping up with the Joneses.

25.  You show me that you love me even in the smallest of ways.

26.  You have strong convictions.

27.  You are willing to grow and change.

28.  You deal with all of my neuroses and OCD quirks and the millions of things I do that would drive most people crazy.

29.  You think for yourself.

30.  You chose me to be your wife. 🙂

Happy birthday, beloved. I am so lucky to be married to you. I love you!

Nothing about our big wedding is going to be typical. For starters, it’s not the day we’re getting married. We will have been married for a year (which will hopefully take at least a little of the stress out). We’re also not registering for gifts. We’re not renting a regular reception hall and we’re not getting married in a church. In fact, I plan to give the bridal industry as little of our money as possible.

Yes, that includes my wedding dress. And my bridesmaid’s dresses. I told the 5 of them to pick out a dress that they loved and felt beautiful in in a certain color. I gave them some guidelines for what I’d like to see so that they don’t all look COMPLETELY different. But we are not going to David’s Bridal and picking out a style that everyone likes and looks good in. I don’t have the time or the patience to do that again. I’ve been a bridesmaid too many times.

Which is what led me to the decision that I am not buying my dress from a traditional bridal store. Absolutely not.  The practices of bridal salespeople alone make me want to shake them.

“No, I’m not going to tell you my budget because then you will bring out a more expensive dress than I told you I could afford because you know that women generally fall in love with the first dress they try on!”

Not to mention I have experienced the RUDEST women working in bridal stores. They suck up to the bride but the bridesmaids get looks and eye rolls and short answers to their questions. (I’ve also heard stories of the BRIDE being treated rudely. Um, she’s about to give you hundreds to thousands of dollars for a dress that she will wear ONCE in her life. I’d be nice if I were you.)

Originally I didn’t want to even enter a bridal store but I have since realized that I probably should at least try some on so I know what looks good. Then when I either A: order it online or B: make it myself, I can do so with much more confidence then I can right now. I generally know what looks good on me and what I want but that’s a lot of money to risk going completely blind.

Also, my mother-in-law expressed a desire to go with me when I try dresses on. So off the bridal store we shall go.

Though this will probably be me torturing whichever unfortunate associate gets stuck helping me. 😉

Shane and I got our first two “preparing for marriage books” from our pastor yesterday. One is ‘As For Me and My House’ by Walter Wangerin and the other is ‘Marriage Made in Eden’ by Alice P. Mathews and M. Gay Hubbard. However, anyone who knows me knows that when I am starting something new, I love reading and reading and reading about it.

When Shane and I started trying to figure out how to “go green” (further than recycling and even how to better recycle), I immediately went to the library and got all the books I could find on it. When I started learning to cook, I immediately started gathering all kinds of cook books. I am, at heart, a nerd and love reading about things that I get interested in.

Now obviously our marriage is not just a passing interest. This is a lifelong commitment. But I am still a nerd and still want to read everything I can. (Okay, wait….everything good. Our other pastor gave us a book full of Christian-ese crap that I already knew from growing up in church. We don’t need a book that is just telling us “Don’t have sex before you get married” and “Your marriage is you, your spouse, and God”. Yes. We know. Now tell us how to have a successful marriage.) <— side rant. Anyway, if you have read a good book that has really helped you in your relationship/marriage, please leave a comment with the title and the author. (And I want one that you have actually read. Do not recommend a book that you have not even read yourself.)

Also, even if you don’t have a book to recommend, feel free to leave any advice that has helped your relationship. (Even if it’s what not to do. 😉 )

Listening: ‘Don’t Leave Home’ by Dido (I have issues with some of the lyrics (“You won’t need other friends anymore”?! Uh, no.) but I still like the song.)

Enjoying: “God loves a “trier”!”

Thinking: Oh, for the money to do what I want…

How to Annoy Me: Keep us waiting by the phone all day. You’re lucky we love you. 🙂

How to Charm Me: Make my chai exactly the way I like it.

How to Make Me Blush: Mention me during your sermon. 😀

Quote of the Day: Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. – Martin Luther

In him I found the person whom I knew I would never get tired of, even in the most monotonous of times, even in the routine of being together every single day. I never thought I would find that.

If you haven’t already, you will, too.

I’m glad you did, Dooce, but tell me one I haven’t heard. Thankfully, I didn’t have to hear it at the wedding this weekend. Because after the stress-filled, sanity-losing, please-don’t-let-me-jump-off-this-pretty-pretty-cliff week I had last week, I don’t think I could have handled it. The look of pity and disappointment that I am 23 years old and *GASP* not anywhere near being married! Scads of horror!

I haven’t told Grandma S. that I don’t see myself as married because I really don’t want to be responsible for giving her a heart attack. (The skinny dipping incident was close enough.) Finding a man that I wouldn’t kill and who wouldn’t kill me (because, contrary to popular belief, I am not a bowl of joy and sunshine 24/7) and who I could live with in the monotonous day to day just seems like a huge production. I am thrilled for people who do find it. It makes me happy to see women like Dooce content in their marriages. Women and their husbands who are not trying to make each other’s lives miserable. Because I have witnessed *plenty* of the other. (Hello, therapy…..)

As I told the Best. Boyfriend. Ever. recently, I would much rather be single and occasionally wishing I was married than married and always wishing I was single. But I will always raise my glass to and commend women and men who, despite any insanity or baggage they bring to the table, are able to make it work.

Here’s to you, Dooce! May your marriage and family be abundantly blessed!

“I would marry a “Girl With Skills” tomorrow, if one would have me. She’s patient, reliable, hard-working, and passionate about ideas. When she loves you, she loves with a special passion emanating from her joy that someone loves her for her brain, body, and soul at the same time without rejecting any of the three. She’s the woman you want to mother your children, because she patiently will run them to 21 extra-curricular activities, just so they can have a better life. Sure, you have to make sure her work-aholic tendencies or occasionally overly analytical heart don’t get the best of her. And yes, it is not fun to have her put your skills on trial, or to dispassionately analyze you. But once you pass those tests, she’s a wonderful woman to have on your side.”

By my understanding, GreekPhysique’s claim is that these types of girls don’t get asked out. Just like the “Nice Guy” is always the “friend who is so sweet” or the one you can “talk to about anything”, these “Girls with Skills” are the ones that guys like to hang out with but never ask out. Here is my question though: if I fall into this category, why do I still have guys asking me out? It’s not that I don’t have guys asking, it’s that for one reason or another, my answer is “hell no!” You’re 30 and still live at home? Uh, no. You have an AWFUL relationship with your mother? Definitely not. You can’t hold down a job (for reasons other than legitimate medical problems or some type of family emergency)? Not a chance. When I ask if you are a Christian, your answer is “Isn’t everyone who lives in America a Christian?” *buzzer sound* (Lest we forget the Steak n’ Shake Stalker incident. Thank God he never got up the guts to call. If he asked now, I’d laugh and walk away.) Or, in a lot of cases, we just aren’t compatible. He lives for rock climbing and I’m terrified of heights. He wants to be a missionary in Africa and while I love traveling, I like living in the U.S. (Most of the time.) He is *majorly* into computers and I can blog, check email, and know a tiny bit of technical stuff. Or something in our personalities conflict so that conversation is strained and awkward.

My problem is not the quantity of men. But I have standards. I have asked people I trust if they are unreasonable and the answer is always no.  Are these the men that I scare off? It makes absolutely no sense to me. The strong, confident, Christian men who know how to treat a woman I scare off but the random guys on the street who yell at me from the car, they have no problem. Is it because they are used to rejection and figure “What the hell?”

I have been told by various people that I would make the perfect wife. (To which I reply “Have you seen my attempts at cooking?”) I am *definitely* not perfect. Far from it. And I don’t expect my hypothetical man to be either. If I want grace and understanding when I screw up, I better be giving it out when others do. (Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.) But that doesn’t mean that I’m willing to look past major character flaws or simple incompatibility.

So I guess my question is this: do nice guys get the incompatible girls asking them out too? Because the way my “nice guy friends” talk, they *never* get asked out. What do you all look for when you’re looking for a significant other? Would you date a ‘Girl with Skills’ or a ‘Nice Guy’? What makes or breaks a potential relationship for you?

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No, I’m not re-thinking my “I don’t see myself married” stance. Even if “Mr. Right” did come along, I wouldn’t know what to do with him. “You’re great but that whole marriage thing……”

Listening: ‘Come On, Get Higher’ by Matt Nathanson

Reading: ‘Marriage and Love’ (If you think *I’m* cynical about marriage, read this! And if I ever get married, this is going on the programs. “Ye who enter here leave all hope behind.” :-D)

Thinking: Oh noes!

How to Annoy Me: Try to control me.

How to Charm Me: Laugh at my stupid jokes when I’m exhausted from not sleeping.

Quote for the Day: Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

Book Recommendation: ‘Crunchy Cons’ by Rod Dreher (It’s a “political” book but I don’t know much about politics and I found it an easy read.)

I still haven’t seen the movie but from the clips I’ve seen, this movie sums up my life. Always a bridesmaid, never (thank God) a bride.
I don’t have any digital pictures but when I was in high school, I was a bridesmaid in my aunt’s wedding.

The summer after I got home from Liberty, I was in Jodi’s wedding:

Chris and me

Two years later, I was in Jenn’s:

Tam and me

And then Ro’s:

Ro's

Now I’m in Annie’s:

Annie's

At this point, most girls would be going “Woe is me, I’m never getting married.” But “not I”, said the cat. (What book is that from? Name it and you get a cookie.) While I am not against marriage, per se (despite what Shane thinks), I simply don’t know if it’s for me. Yes, I get on here and rant about how I hate men and marriage is a trap and all that but a lot of that is for humor sake. While I do mean some of it, most of it is me exaggerating. I don’t really think all men are scum. I don’t really believe that marriage is a trap. I think that a LOT of men need to work on becoming real men instead of little boys pretending to be men. I think a lot of men need to be taught how to treat a woman with respect. I think a lot of men need to stop making excuses and own up to their own mistakes and move on. However, so do a lot of women.

I don’t know if this is true worldwide but here in America, the whole teenage phase seems to have done us a disservice. A lot of American teenagers get used to sailing through life, having mommy or daddy pay for everything, not ever really having to grow up and take on real responsibilities. (And I don’t mean simply taking out the garbage once a week.) Then they take that with them to college and into adulthood. At Liberty, I lived with people who expected everyone else to clean up after them like they were two years old. It was absolutely uncanny to me.

I think that we then take these attitudes into dating and marriage. We expect to still have someone to take care of us and clean up after us and pay for everything. And I don’t think that’s what marriage is about. It’s a partnership. It’s balance. Yes, I take care of you, but you also take care of me. Where you lead, I will follow, but sometimes I know a better direction to go and you need to listen to me. Yes, you’re stronger than me. Yes, I have power over you sexually. But that doesn’t mean we can use these things against each other to get our way. We wonder why there’s so much divorce and I think it’s because we’re marrying off teenagers.

Marriage is a good thing. God created it. But it is not for everyone and that’s where my problem comes in. When people act like I’m incomplete because I’m not married or that I need a man to do such and such for me, that’s when I get irritated. I was at a wedding shower and one of the ladies that had led a bunch of us girls in a Bible study said that the point of the Bible study had been to prepare us for marriage. “I *beg* your pardon?!” Don’t remember *that* discussion. I thought the point of a Bible study was to help prepare us to be Godly women who can in turn bless the world with their unique gifts and talents. Whether they are married or not. Whether they have children or not.

So though I may be rather sardonic and cynical, and though I can’t for the life of me figure out why you all want that in a bridesmaid, I will continue standing up with my friends. I will continue being happy for them and wishing them well and hoping that God blesses them abundantly. Just please keep the well-meaning relatives away so I don’t have to hear “When is it going to be your turn?” 1000 times in one day.

never

An “online friend” posted this on his blog and it had me giggling. Here are my responses to the author’s 11 “secrets”.

#1. Yes, we fall in lust 10 times a day – but it doesn’t mean we want to leave you.

Okay, aside from the lust part (the Bible says it is wrong to lust after a woman (or a man) with your eyes), I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this. “Were you looking at her?” “Yes.” If she was that pretty, I probably was too. It doesn’t mean that your guy is a pig or that he wants to be with her. It means she’s pretty and he has eyes. *You* have to be the one confident enough to know that if he does go after her, he didn’t deserve you in the first place. (See #9 and #10 on my Girls vs. Women list and #12 on Jon’s Boys vs. Men list.) And guys, vice versa. If a girl leaves you for a “hotter” guy, she didn’t deserve you.

#2. We actually do play golf to get away from you.

Good! Go! You know why we have girls nights? To get away from you. You know why we go to Starbucks to read? To get away from you. It’s not that you don’t love us and we don’t love you, it’s that we’re human. I get sick of my best friends when I see them too much. (Love you all! 🙂 ) Breaks are good. Breaks are necessary. If I was dating, there would be days I wouldn’t want to see you, talk to you, or think about you. Because I have a life and I’d expect you to have one as well. Otherwise I feel smothered.
#3. We’re unnerved by the notion of commitment, even after we’ve made one to you.

Uh…….yeah. One person for the rest of my life? That’s a tad unnerving. Promising to love, honor, and cherish til death do you part? Sounds tough to me. Commitment is hard and messy and I certainly understand not wanting to make one. The only time I will be mad at you is if you are dragging some poor girl (or, ladies, some poor guy) along and she wants a commitment and you aren’t giving her one. Let her move on if that’s the case.

#4. Earning money makes us feel important.

That’s fine. It makes us feel important too. Again, I won’t have a problem unless you are trying to lord it over me or tell me I can’t make/have money of my own. Balance, baby.

#5. Though we often protest, we actually enjoy fixing things around the house.

Then why be such a drama queen and complain about it? You get to do something you enjoy and I get to enjoy it being fixed. Everybody wins. I promise to say thank you every time.

#6. We like it when you mother us, but we’re terrified you’ll become your mother.

Hey, thought terrifies me too. I love my mother but I don’t want to be her. I also don’t want to marry someone like my father.

#7. Every year we love you more.

Now why keep that a secret? (Of course, that does remind me of a joke. “One day a husband told his wife that husbands are like wine and that they get better with age. The next day she locked him in the cellar.” :-D)

#8. We don’t really understand what you’re talking about.

That’s okay. When you’re going on and on about that football play or how this part of the car works or why fart jokes are still funny to you, I don’t understand either. That’s part of any relationship. Learning from one another and doing our best to understand each other. And quite often, it doesn’t matter if you understood or not. Sometimes we just need to vent or to work things out outloud.

#9. We are terrified when you drive.

Right back atcha, babe.

#10. We’ll always wish we were 25 again.

Since I’m not yet past 25, I don’t quite understand this yet. But the way I hear it, everyone wishes they were still 25. Perhaps with the wisdom they’ve gained over the years though. (I do wish my body was 16 again. Dance was so much easier back then.)

#11. Give us an inch and we’ll give you a lifetime.

“I was on a trip to Mexico, standing on a beach, waxing my surfboard and admiring the glistening 10-foot waves, when I decided to marry the woman who is now my wife. Sure, this was three years before I got around to popping the question. But that was when I knew.

Why? Because she’d let me go on vacation alone. Hell, she made me go. This is the most important thing a man never told you: If you let us be dumb guys, if you embrace our stupid poker night, if you encourage us to go surfing — by ourselves — our silly little hearts, with their manly warts and all, will embrace you forever for it.”

Okay, I have heard of women who don’t give their guys any space but really? I’d be shoving him out the door. (See #2 on my Girls vs. Women list.) However, this is with the understanding that I get “me” time as well. If I let him go to Vegas with the guys, that means I get to go to the Bahamas with the girls. If he gets poker night, I get girls night out.

Those were just my thoughts as I read through the article. Take them for what they’re worth.

Today was absolutely gorgeous out. The sun was shining, there were hardly any clouds, the sky was a lovely shade of blue. I remember walking with my friend Lisa at Liberty and it was one of those “beginning to get warm after too many months of snow” days and she looked up at the sky and said “That is my favorite shade of blue.” Blue is my favorite color but I don’t know that I can narrow it down past that.

Less than a month until I can get a new cell phone. Thank God! If I have to put up with many more calls where I can barely hear whoever I’m talking to, this phone is going in a pond somewhere. I don’t care where but it will be sleeping with the fishes.

Hung out with Shane and Adam tonight after our Maundy Thursday (I *always* think of ‘The Godfather’ when I hear that) service. I swear every time I hang out with Shane, somehow we start talking about horrific scenes in movies and we always cover “the curb scene” in ‘American History X’, a torture scene in a George Clooney movie, and a scene from ‘Payback’. Every frigging time! And then Shane and Adam started talking about ‘American Idol’ and I was out. Sometimes I think I should watch some of these shows so I know what people are talking about but mostly I just don’t care! I’ll watch the dance ones but only ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’ and ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’ have kept my attention. At any rate, apparently there is a girl with a really thick Irish accent on Idol and those two were going on and on about her. So now I want to at least see her sing. I guess her accent disappears when she sings and that always fascinates me.

My body is still aching from my class Tuesday. I’m gonna have to be careful not to hurt myself because I was having a rough time of it in dance last night. And of course we were doing shoulder rolls but I just couldn’t do it.

I got an A on my first composition portfolio of the semester. That made me very happy. My teacher was all “Wow, you *really* knocked that one out of the park.” And I’m all “*blush* Thank you.” and then she’s all “Of course, you realize that you have set the bar really high for yourself for this next project, right?” Darn my brilliance. 😉

I’m beginning to wonder if Mikayla has developed OCD traits from having me as a big sister. It’s either that or she just can’t think of anything else to talk with me about because we have the same freakin conversation at least twice a day.

Her: How many days until your church? (She still calls it “your church” even though I’m typically the only one who takes her to church.)

Me: x number of days

Her: Are you going to wear your Easter dress?

Me: Yes.

Her: Are you going to iron it? (I made the mistake of ironing in front of her and telling her I needed to iron both our Easter dresses.)

Me: Yes.

Her: Are Reese and Malcolm gonna be there?

Me: Yes.

Her: What about Emmy and Bubby?

Me: Yes.

Her: What about Elijah?

Me: Yes.

Her: Okay!

Two hours later, lather, rinse, repeat. Maybe she’s hoping to incite me to a murder/suicide. If that’s the case, we’re well on our way. Actually, it would be a murder/suicide/suicide. Because she’s driving Mom up a wall too. *I* at least had the decency not to give into the impulse to throw my cup of ice water in her face when she was being obstreperous. Then again, my mother is the woman who, when I was two and decided I wanted to wear my food instead of eat it, got so frustrated with me that she took a big heaping spoonful of whatever it was (oatmeal maybe?) and proceeded to dump it on my head. I, of course, have no recollection of this. Partly because I was two and partly because I have the memory of a gnat. However Mikayla has a steel trap of a mind (she still remembers where I worked in high school) and will probably be on some psychiatrists couch talking about the time her mother threw Easter cookies at her because she was having a fit. That is how the women in my family resolve our frustration with you: we throw food at you. *Now* who wants to marry me, eh?! 😀

Speaking of the ‘M’ word, a friend recommended a book to me called ‘Getting Serious About Getting Married’. I plan to read it, hopefully once school is out. I’m curious because for one: it’s a Christian book. And the Christian books I have read on dating/marriage are, well, picture me with a spoon down my throat. I have a feeling I’m going to be doing nothing but mocking it as I read but my friend said that she wasn’t sure she’d agree with it either and ended up liking it. So I will do my best to read with an open mind.

My sewing machine needs fixed. Grrr. In case you’re wondering, yes, that means none of the sewing I intended to do on Spring break got accomplished. But I found a site today that totally inspired me. I’ve been itching to make another costume but just don’t have the time. Maybe over the summer. (Haha, Annie! “Not brave! Stupid!”) But that was pretty much the only thing that I didn’t get at all done on my list. I got my hair cut and dyed. (It’s not black but it’s a *very* dark brown. I’ll probably take pictures of us in our Easter attire and I’ll post them on here. I need to figure out that whole photo thing.) I got a ton of homework done. Not all but a lot. I got my Easter dress, obviously. And it meets Mikayla’s standards. 😛 (Since when do I let the 8-year-old dress me?) I didn’t get around to that whole curing cancer thing but I was a tad busy fighting with the sewing machine and my computer. Maybe next Spring break.

Okay, I think that’s it for now. If you made it past Mikayla’s and my inane, repetitive, and redundant conversation, give yourself a cookie. Ciao!