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.
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 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 24, 2012
Chapter 6 of The Power of a Praying Husband concerned praying for and fostering a good marriage. Omartian talked about the importance of love, fidelity, respect, quality time, and communication for a marriage. It was encouraging to read this chapter, because I’ve grown and placed more importance in each of these areas over the course of the last year. I prayed that God would continue to grow me in each of these areas and that he would help us build a great marriage.
Here’s something related. At the beginning of 365 Acts of Love, we had an informal counseling session with a couple in our church in order to talk through some issues in our marriage. During that session, I mentioned that our marriage was about average, thinking that the other couple would be okay with that. They weren’t. They encouraged me to strive for an excellent marriage, one that would serve as an example to many.
That really hit me. Why would I think that having an average marriage is acceptable? I think it’s because I knew that a great marriage takes work and I wanted to focus my energies on other things that I considered more gratifying, like work and exercise. Now that I’ve focused on building an excellent marriage, an excellent relationship with you, pleasing you brings me gratification (though I still really enjoy exercise and my job).