February 13, 2013
I planned on taking the whole family to see Circus Vargas on Saturday, 9/22, for my 360th act of love because groupon was selling cheap tickets. I waited a few hours to buy the tickets because I was busy. By the time I tried to get the tickets, they were sold out. Everyone was bummed.
Instead of taking everyone to the circus, I read this article from Focus on the Family called “Humor in Marriage” (that certainly made up for missing the circus). The central theme is that laughter does a marriage well. I’ve certainly found that to be true. We both enjoy laughing with and even at each other (though if anyone takes things too far, it’s me). And sometimes a tense situation is dispelled when one of us cracks a joke.
One thing I took away from the article was the authors’ advice to not take oneself very seriously. I get so focused on work and achievement that I often forget to have fun or to experience the little pleasures in life. But you always remind me to take time out for that. In college, I studied and did nothing else. When I met you, however, you broke me out of my shell and got me to go out every once in a while. Going out with you (and friends) became such a regular occurrence that it became a habit for me to take a break from my work to have fun. I like how you balance me out.
Another thing that struck me was the observation that different people find different things funny. What’s funny to me (Duck Soup) isn’t always funny to you. And what’s funny to you (What to Expect When You’re Expecting) isn’t
always ever funny to me. But, the article said that couples can learn the humor of the other person and learn to enjoy that kind of humor.
I’ll finish with a quote by Henry Ward Beecher that was included in the article: “A marriage without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs — jolted by every pebble in the road.”
January 24, 2013
I read this article, for my 356th act of love, on how to get along with your spouse when dealing with/discussing money matters. Dave Ramsey has been a favorite money expert of mine for a while. I’m one of the nerds that he talks about in the article: those who enjoy making budgets and have a hard time budging from them once they’re set. You, on the other had, are a free spirit: one who hates budgets and wants to be free with her money rather than put every dollar into its own budget category. Naturally, then, there is some tension between us when we go over money issues.
Ramsey had some good stuff to say, though, about being willing to compromise (which money nerds have a hard time willing) and about making a budget that we both can agree upon and that fits our income and needs. That’s so easy to write and incredibly hard to do. Even I have grown tired lately of sticking to a budget and have ignored financial matters somewhat in an effort to relieve my stress. But, long term, I think we’re on track, even though the road is long and steep! I think in 50 years we’ll be able to say (assuming we continue on our current path) that we did well with our money, even if there were bumps and setbacks (due to our mistakes) along the way.
December 14, 2012
Cameron Diaz thinks that marriage is a dying institution. At least, that’s what this article on marriage says. In the article, Al Mohler responds to psychiatrist Keith Ablow’s thoughts on marriage, thoughts which reflect Diaz’s perspective. I thought the article was good and that Dr. Mohler was on point in thinking that marriage is crucial for human happiness and the organization of society.
I really don’t have much to say about the article. But I can say that I am glad to be in a life-long commitment with you and I’m thankful for the institution of marriage.
November 9, 2012
For my 341st act of love, I read this article by Mark Driscoll on how men can better lead their families. Much of the advice he gave had to do with making sure men read the Bible on their own and with their families, and that they pray with and for their families. Through 365, I’ve definitely made great gains in these areas. Over time, I’m sure this will have a huge impact on the health of our family.
Another aspect of his advice had to do with physical touch. I’m glad to say that I hug and kiss each of our kids each day when I put them to bed and often hold them while sitting on the couch either reading to or talking with them. I’m also glad to say that you and I often snuggle together on the couch after the girls are in bed.
The other day, our pastor said that his wife is his best friend. He said that sometimes, they’ll sit at the dinner table and talk for a couple of hours after they’re done eating, not because they’ve scheduled that time, but because they can’t help but talk with and enjoy each other. I think that we lack in this area. Though I think we spend a lot of time together, we don’t often talk to each other just to talk or because we’re really enjoying each other. I don’t think we should be too hard on ourselves, though, since much of our energy is spent making sure our kids our happy and healthy. Still, I think we should make time for talking.
September 8, 2012
For this act of love, I tried to take you out on a bike ride. I even found someone to watch our kids. But alas, something came up and we had to postpone the ride. Instead I read a chapter from Every Man’s Battle on cherishing one’s wife.
The book is about sexual purity and the chapter that I read was an exhortation for men to find sexual gratification only in their wives. At one point, the authors remind their readers that wives have given up much to be with their husbands and husbands must honor that sacrifice:
Your wife gave up her freedom for you. She relinquished her rights to seek happiness elsewhere. She exchanged this freedom for something she considered more valuable: your love and your word. Her dreams are tied up in you, dreams of sharing communication and oneness.
You gave up much to be with me. I promised to commit myself to you. I need to honor that by being sexually faithful to you with my eyes, my mind, and my heart. I promise to cherish you. Let Solomon’s song be my song:
How beautiful you are, my darling, Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves . . . Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon, your mouth is lovely . . . All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you . . . You have stolen my heart, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes . . . How delightful is your love, my bride! . . . Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights (Song of Songs 4:1,3,7,9-10; 7:5-6).
August 29, 2012
For this week, I reread a chapter from Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage called “Loving the Stranger.” Keller talked about things a person can do to love his/her spouse even as the initial passion of their relationship fades and his/her spouse changes over time. Though he had much more to say, he claims (and I agree) that love needs to be sustained by a deliberate choice to love.
My realization of the importance for our marriage of making the daily choice to love you lead to the formation of this blog and helped to sustain it. I don’t know that I could’ve made it this far in this project without that realization.
August 6, 2012
For act 295, I read an article from Focus on the Family called “Keeping Romance Alive.”
At one point in the article, the author quoted Bill Maier, who was trying to identify some possible reasons why a certain husband wasn’t romancing his wife anymore. One of the possibilities that he identified accurately captures what was going on with me before 365 Acts of Love:
[It] may be that he is feeling fine and thinks your marriage is going great. In other words, he’s pretty clueless and hasn’t noticed anything wrong with the relationship. He loves you and feels warm feelings toward you, but simply doesn’t express them.
I’m so glad that you were able to bring this issue in our marriage to my attention and that I’ve since worked hard to express my feelings for you in ways that you appreciate.
July 31, 2012
For act 292, we attended a marriage seminar at our church centered around Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage. How is this an act of love by me? Well, I took the initiative to sign us up, put it on our calendar, and find a babysitter.
The seminar was good. We first listened to our pastors talk about the book, then broke out into small groups for discussion, the latter of which was the most helpful. We talked about our strengths and weaknesses, communication and fighting, the purpose of marriage, the importance of romance for marriage, etc. Two of the couples had been married for over 30 years, so they offered good advice on each of these areas.
When they asked us questions about romance in our relationship, it was fun to tell them that we make a good effort to foster that. We told them about some of the dinner dates we’ve had in our home and everyone thought such dates were a great idea.
But, not everything we said about our relationship was rosy. We told them about some of our struggles as a couple, which wasn’t very fun to discuss.
I’m looking forward to the next and final seminar at our church based on Keller’s book. I know we can benefit greatly from hearing other couples share their advice and even their struggles.
July 16, 2012
For several weeks, I’ve been reading about marriage for one of my acts of love each week. This has really helped me to go deeper in my understanding of marriage.
This time, I read an article about listening and communicating from Focus on the Family. I really want to become a better listener because conversations like this are commonplace in our marriage:
YOU: Okay, I’m leaving for my meeting. The kids are all yours.
ME: What? You have a meeting tonight? Why didn’t you tell me? I have lots of work to do.
YOU: We talked about it on Tuesday night. You said you would watch the kids.
ME: No, I didn’t. I would remember agreeing to something like that.
YOU: Well . . . you said you would do it.
ME: Fine. Go to your meeting. But I do not remember agreeing to this.
As much as I hate to admit it, I think the problem lies with me. How could you distinctly remember that I agreed to watch the kids if I didn’t actually do it? I think that I zone out when you talk to me and I’m really not sure how to change that. But I’ll start by trying to be more conscientious about listening to you when you talk.