Thursday, January 28, 2010

Be satisfied with sacrifice

Every day I receive in my inbox a small reflection on marriage, called Growthtrac Marriage Minute.  It offers short thoughts about marriage that help me think about marriage in a new way or applicable tips that I can try in my own marriage to improve our relationship.

The other day, I received one titled "Five Forms of Dedication That Help Keep a Marriage Growing."  The five ways were:
• Desiring the long term
• The priority of relationship
• We-ness
• Satisfaction with sacrifice
• Alternative monitoring (choosing not to dwell on tempting alternatives)

The one that struck me most was the idea of "satisfaction with sacrifice."

Many of us have been told that marriage is all about sacrifice and that we need to strive for selfless love in our relationships -- not only in marriage but in all of our relationships.  To hear it stated in such a way doesn't sound very fun.  The selfishness that we all possess rises up and we try to protect ourselves from hurt and yearning for those things that we want, when we want it, where we want it and how we want it.  We remember all those times we have given to others and long for others to serve us.

Now, don't get me wrong -- there's nothing wrong with being in a reciprocal relationship where there's give and take.  As a matter of fact, it's a very healthy model of relationship that I hope many of us have with others.  BUT the idea of being satisfied with sacrifice is really quite beautiful.  We are all familiar with the concept of sacrifice, but to add in that we should try to be satisfied with it is quite epic to me.

How does this play into marriage?  In so many ways.  There are opportunities every day to sacrifice for the one you love, from chores to decisions to usual interactions and more.  The key part in this concept, however, is to not dwell on that sacrifice that you made.  This means not even bringing it up to your spouse if he isn't aware of it or may never notice it.  We all have that innate desire to say, look what I did for you!  Praise me!  Tell me how good I am!  I know I do.  But the idea of satisfaction with sacrifice is to accept within that your praise comes from knowing you have done something to put your spouse's needs above your own, which is the purest form of love.  God sees it, and that's usually the only thing that matters.

I definitely believe this takes practice and we may never become perfect at it since we're all selfish human beings, but it certainly is a fabulous, healthy and enriching way to improve your marriage.  Something worth reflecting upon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ski trip to Keystone

I know, I know ... I haven't posted in two weeks.  Slap my hand -- bad!  Sorry.  Since our trip to Keystone, I haven't been able to catch up!  Life's been super busy and it's only going to get busier this spring and summer, but in a joyous and fabulous way.  I'm not complaining.  Just explaining. :)

In any case, our trip was simply fabulous!  Since I've known him, Mark's gone skiing on average of two to three times every year and I've never been able to go with him.  Be it work or timing, it just hadn't worked out.  Needless to say, I was determined to go this time around since we kind of come as a pair now that we're married!

It was so fun.  I had been skiing twice before, the last time being five years ago, and I'm in no way an athletic person.  Coordinated, yes.  Graceful, yes.  Sporty?  Ha!  No.

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about Mark's patience and if we would even be able to ski together much since he's a regular black and double black diamond skiier and snowboarder.  It turns out I improved a lot more than I had hoped and much faster!  When we got there, I was determined to not leave a green mountain but ended up skiing mostly blues and even two black diamonds on the last day.  Woo!  Mark was a very patient, encouraging and loving teacher.  I was pretty blown away by him, actually.  It's a good reminder for me to return the generosity if ever the roles are reversed in coaching.

I'm excited about my improvement and look forward to going again!  I hope I'll be able to pick it up as quickly next time and improve even more.  I discovered a lot of it is about your confidence, so I'll try to let that lead me.

What a fun trip!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Couple to emulate: the Merhars

"Oma" and "Opa" make up one of my very favorite couples in the whole wide world.  Oma, the beautiful blondie on the left aka Jan Merhar, and Opa, the distinguished gentleman on the right aka Dave Merhar, are two amazing people who have been married for 40 years.  Almost 41!

I was blessed to befriend them when I worked at Saint Mary Cathedral, when I quickly took it upon myself to adopt them as my Oma and Opa. They would do anything for those they love, and it's perfectly natural for them to treat strangers like family.

If Mark and I are so blessed as to live at least 40 years together (more, please God!), not much would make me happier than to have the strong, loving, giddy type of marriage the Merhars have to this day.  Sitting in my office at the Cathedral, I would listen to Opa call Oma and act like an excited and infatuated teenager the moment she picked up the phone, just to hear her voice.  He would spot her across a parking lot or approaching the office and tell everyone in the office to turn their attention toward the beautiful blonde walking in the door.  I witness the loving gazes Oma gives Opa and the warmth of her love when she is with him.  Being in the presence of their love is pretty overwhelming, actually. 

They've been through it all together, life, death, the military, living in Europe for 10 years, children, grandchildren, travel ... you name it. They've done so with such grace and still with the strong fire as a newlywed couple.

I, personally, think they should write a book on lessons learned (I think everyone in this world has a book to write on something, life lessons to share with the rest of us) in regards to marriage.  They'll tell you anything if you ask, and they have much advice to share for anyone who is wise enough to listen.

One of my favorite things Opa does is always send flowers to wherever Oma is staying when she travels without him.  The flowers are there when she arrives to greet her!  He also buys her one rose for every anniversary they celebrate.  He does an excellent job of continuing to "woo" his wife -- an important way to keep the spark alive, I'm sure!

The Merhars are good people.  Good people everyone, especially married couples, should meet.  Who are your "Merhars?"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Europe-bound this summer!

For almost two years now, I've been planning to go back to Europe this summer, and I'm excited to report I think it's actually going to come to fruition!  Mark's never been before, and we'd like to go before we are blessed with children, God-willing.  I've been to Europe once before when I went with my best girlfriend to France in June 2005.

Now I want to make sure to visit Italy, and I'd love to go back to France.  In a perfect world, I'd also like to stop through another country (or two!) during this trip as I have no idea when we'll make it back over there.  London?  Spain?  Greece?  I have no desire to visit Germany, truth be told.  I don't think I'd like the food. ;-)

I imagine we'll plan to venture over there in late July / early August, and I'm itching to start planning!

Going to France with my best girlfriend was an experience I'll never forget.  It was amazing being over there with her after we'd grown up together loving French culture and studying the language through high school (and me, through college).  Talk about a girls' trip extraordinaire!

And now I'm so excited to go over there with just my husband!  I imagine it'll have a totally different feel to it, with a touch of romance and even faith devotion as we plan to visit the Vatican and hopefully several other religious sites.

Where to go, where to go??

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Good Marriage is the Enemy of a Great Marriage

Below is an excerpt from a post from the blog, Simple Marriage. Click the "read more" button at the end of the excerpt to read the full post!

A Good Marriage is the Enemy of a Great Marriage: "
Post image for A Good Marriage is the Enemy of a Great Marriage

A good marriage is the enemy of a great marriage.

So how do you move from good to great?

Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
  1. Read books. There are some tremendous resources that will help improve your relationship and life. While many of the books shouldn’t be taken hook, line, and sinker (except of course A Simple Marriage, wink), there are usually some great nuggets and ideas that can be applied to your situation.
  2. Read blogs. You obviously already have a jump on many people because you’re reading Simple Marriage. But there are many other great sites that will help as well (here’s a list of 20, plus you can check out the ones on this top 10 list). The greatest thing about blogs is you can do more than just read, you can join in discussions with other readers in the comments or you can join a community and talk over life and marriage more.
  3. Disconnect and connect. There are many people who believe in the power of the “date nights.” I like the idea as well, although I will add that you don’t have to find babysitters, get out of the house and go somewhere together. Steal time together after the kids go to bed. Play a game. Watch a movie. Head to the bedroom and lock the door. Whatever you do, do it together. No phone. No work. No kids. You can find time to connect at home if you look for it.
  4. Find a marriage retreat or seminar. There are many churches and organizations that offer marriage retreats or seminars. I’ve been to several. Some are good, some are not. But like the marriage and relationship books out there, all of them have some nuggets to offer. If nothing else, you get time together while you’re there. In fact, if there’s enough interest, I say let’s all head to the Caribbean some time soon for a 3 – 4 day Simple Marriage Getaway. Any one else?
  5. Share marriage with others. Live life with other people. Find other couples to hang out with. Go to dinner. Laugh. Tell stories. In other words, share your life with them. Everything is so much better when shared with others.
Photo courtesy Sir Mervs
Read more here

Monday, January 4, 2010

31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Improve Your Marriage

Some great tips from the blog, "Organizing Your Way."

31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Improve Your Marriage: "
Whether your marriage is struggling, surviving or thriving, there’s always room for improvement. It’s interesting that this is not actually a very popular resolution. Too many marriages stay stuck in a “good enough” rut without realizing that marriage can become more beautiful and more fulfilling the more you invest in it.

1. Set concrete goals.

Corey shares four questions in his post to help you set goals. I’d also encourage you to consider these areas:
:: the time you spend together
:: how you treat and talk to each other
:: areas of frequent conflict
:: how you can serve each other
:: the respect and love you show one another
If your spouse is on board, talk through and set goals together. If not, make some of your own. Your main goal, like mine, may be broad, but remember that it’s important to set measurable concrete goals as well that will help you move toward your overarching goal.

Read more

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy new year!

Woo, it's 2010!  So, I guess we pronounce it, "Twenty ten," right?  Not "Two Thousand Ten?"  What will we refer to as the last nine years -- the "Two thousands?"  The "0's?"  Weird!

This weekend, I plan to reflect on what my new year's resolutions will be.  Yes, that is resolution with an "s" at the end.  I hope to make four goals: one personal, one professional, one spiritual and one for our marriage.  There are countless ways I can learn to be a better wife, and I have so many beautiful role models from whom to learn. 

Today, Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and Msgr. Mike Sis at our home parish focused his homily today on how reflective and prayerful Mary was during her life here on Earth.  Contemplation in our marriage would be a good thing -- being purposeful in our actions and decisions and savoring all the events that we now call our life together.  Having less rigid expectations is something I discussed several posts ago; maybe I could make a resolution toward that idea.  Of course there are the obvious ones -- being more patient, less stubborn (yes, I know that one's a special challenge for me), more selfless, more charitable, etc. 

I will have to be quiet with God and see where it is He wants me to focus my efforts this year.  Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...