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.
October 18, 2012
For this act of love, I read this article from Focus on the Family on friendship in marriage. How important for a marriage is friendship and how important for a friendship is spending time together. Through 365 Acts of Love, we’ve developed the habit of spending our evenings together. Whether we’re watching something or reading or talking or cleaning, we’re intentional about being together and enjoying each other. I’m sure that this habit will pay great dividends in the years to come. It already has. Like C. S. Lewis said, “It is when we are doing things together that friendship springs up – painting, sailing ships, praying, philosophizing, and fighting shoulder to shoulder. Friends look in the same direction.”
The article warned against not nourishing and nurturing your friendship with your spouse. When people let the busyness of their lives get in the way of their relationship with their spouse, their friendship with their spouse can wane and the relationship becomes more like a business partnership. For us, I remember thinking of us as roommates. It’s in a situation like that that infidelity is apt to occur.
I’m glad that I’ve seen the importance of maintaining our friendship. It’s been beneficial for our family and relationship and it’s been a lot of fun.
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 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.
May 26, 2012
There are (at least) two things I’ve found that have the potential to really impact our marriage: prayer and education. The first seems obvious to me and will be obvious to anyone who thinks that Christianity is true. Prayer is a major means through which the God of the universe works. He wants us to bring the concerns of our marriage to him in prayer and wants to make changes in our marriage on the basis of those prayers. As such, I want to us to take as much advantage of that means as we can.
The other one seems obvious too: knowing certain things about marriage is a prerequisite to having a good marriage. In light of that, I’ve read up on marriage since 365 Acts of Love began. I read Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage, I’ve listened to sermons on marriage, we’ve been (slowly!) working through the Love and Respect Conference CDs, I’ve kept up with a few marriage blogs, and a few days ago, I read some John Piper articles on marriage. And for my 239th act of love, I read three marriage articles from Focus on the Family, one on commitment, one on protecting one’s marriage from infidelity, and one on fostering spiritual intimacy with one’s spouse.
I understand that possessing propositional knowledge about what makes for a good marriage is not sufficient for having a good marriage, but it certainly seems necessary.