Thursday, February 25, 2010

Come Rain or Come Shine

Our wedding first dance song 

I'm gonna love you, like nobody's loved you
Come rain or come shine.
High as a mountain, deep as a river
Come rain or come shine.

I guess when you met me
It was just one of those things,
But don't you ever bet me
'Cause I'm gonna be true if you let me.

You're gonna love me, like nobody's loved me
Come rain or come shine.
We'll be happy together, unhappy together;
Now won't that be just fine?
The days may be cloudy or sunny,
We're in or out of the money,
But I'm with you always.
I'm with you rain or shine.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning to be silent

This post from The Marry Blogger is definitely relevant to me. I absolutely process thoughts by talking them out and need to focus on the art of listening, reflection and even silence.

The Silent Treatment Can be Good for My Marriage!: "
Silence - Nothing at all

If ”Silence is an art”, then I need to go back to art class!

Recently, I have noticed that silence can be good for my marriage. 

I am not talking about the traditional ’silent treatment’! I am talking about asking My Incredible Husband™ a question and then being silent. For some, this may be easy, but for me, it’s a hard thing to do.

When I was a kid, I always got the “talks to much” box marked on my report card. If I didn’t, my mom would ask me what was wrong!

Read more here.

Entertaining as a ministry

Mark and I have yet to establish an official ministry commitment together as a couple.  Separately we have our own ministries: Jen: seven different parish ministries, Mark: Young Life and a few parish ministries.  We expect to discern this year what we can commit to together as a couple.

I was thinking about it the other day, though, and I think we already have an unofficial ministry together -- we love to entertain in our home.  How is this a ministry, you ask?  Let me explain my thoughts.

At the minimum of once a month, we invite a couple or family into our home for dinner.  We treasure this one-on-one time with close friends of ours and love to catch up with what's going on in their lives, giving them our undivided attention.

I've told miscellaneous friends of mine before that it almost stresses me out, sometimes, when I walk into a room full of people I know because I don't know whom to talk to first, and half the time, I'm distracted in conversation because I want to make sure I, at least, say hello to my friends so as not to be rude and miss them.  By doing so, I'm not being uber-friendly by not giving whomever I'm speaking to my full attention and listening ear.  Therefore, being able to get the intimate time with friends in our home is something Mark and I have grown to love.

I liken "entertaining as a ministry" to the ministry of hospitality. 

"Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality." Romans 12:13

Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible!  It was the second reading at our wedding.

"Above all, let your love for one another be intense because love covers a multitude of sins.  Be hospitable to one another without complaining."  1 Peter 4: 8, 9

Hospitality is just loving.  Loving on those whom God places in your path.  What better way is there to love them than to welcome them into your most personal space, your home, and treating them as guests of honor, as family?  Welcoming people into your home may not be an official parish ministry or community nonprofit organization, but I like to think it's an important ministry in which Mark and I try to love as Jesus loves and treat others as we would treat ourselves.

"'Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?'  He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.'"  Matthew 22: 36 - 40

June 2008, Destin!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marriage enrichment blogs

I talk often about the many blogs I read daily -- ranging from blogs about Austin, marriage, fashion, home life, volunteerism, living, event planning, faith, blogging and my friend's blogs.  That's actually exactly how they're categorized in my Google Reader.  Now, I don't think everyone needs to go out and read the plethora of blogs that I do.  I read so many because I enjoy the tidbits of helpful information so many of them share.  I have a hard time sitting down and reading a book cover to cover as I always get distracted and start thinking about what else I could be doing with my time.  Therefore, the short, get-to-the-point blogs work for me.  Thank goodness for Google Reader, too!  I just have to go to the one portal to receive all of the information from one site instead of having to visit each and every blog.  The reader highlights all new posts, so you can quickly find them.

What I want to feature this morning are the marriage enrichment blogs I find inspiring.  Some of them are faith-based while others come from a general point of view:
  • Dr. Michelle Gannon.  Psychologist specializing in relationships, wellness and women issues.
  • Engaged Marriage.  From marriage preparation to an awesome family life, Engaged Marriage provides candid marriage advice to help today’s active couples achieve the extraordinarin their lives.
  • For Your Marriage.  Daily marriage tips (a few sentences).  An initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • The Generous Wife.  Short daily tips on becoming a more generous wife.
  • Golden Wives Club.  Points on the style, grace and poise of a wife from a Christian perspective
  • Life Gems.  Encouraging and strengthening marriage and families.
  • The Marry Blogger.  Christian perspective, talking about real life issues like sex, communication, money and kids.
  • Project M.  Musings on love, marriage and the madness that ensues.
  • She Just Got Married.  The journey of married life as a newlywed.
  • Simple Marriage.  Aimed at individuals involved in a committed relationship who wish to experience more passion and adventure in life and relationships.
  • Zen Family Habits.  Living simply with presence of mind. Cultivating healthy, meaningful, relationships with loved ones.
Check one or more of them out!

April 2008, my 27th birthday

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

5 fruitful things you can do for your marriage right now

1.  Pray.  Pray for you two as a married couple.  Pray that God would enter into your relationship in a new way and renew your love for one another.  Pray that your marriage will stand the test of time and be protected from all temptations of evil and sin.  Pray that every purpose God has for your marriage might be fulfilled and that He would make something beautiful out of your relationship.  If you don't have children yet, pray that in the fullness of time God would allow you to become stewards of some of His children, if it would be good and pleasing to Him.  Pray that you and your spouse might reflect that of the Holy Family -- as a wife, striving more to be like our Blessed Mother Mary, and as a husband, striving more to be like St. Joseph.  Pray that you two would be given what you need to be a good husband and a good wife and that you would have the desire and courage to use those gifts to be what you've been called to become.

2.  Do something unexpected for your spouse.  If you are apart, send him a text message or e-mail for no reason other than to remind him that you love him more than anything.  If you are together, go find him, give him a big hug and tell him that you love him more than anything.

3.  Plan a date night within the next week.  If you haven't already, do everything you can to establish a regular date night to keep your love alive.  This is the most important relationship you will ever have.  Ever.  Spend time on improving it.

4.  Ask forgiveness.  I guarantee you there is something for which you can apologize.  Being grumpy last night or not following through with something you said you would do.  How have you put yourself above the needs of your spouse lately?  Recognize it and make amends.

5.  Work on yourself as a spouse.  Take some time to really reflect on how you, personally, can be a better wife or husband.  What is an honest answer to the question of what's keeping you from being the best spouse you can possibly be?  Is it trust?  Patience?  Not making enough time for him?  Make a commitment to try to go the rest of today working on that one area.  "I'm going to work on being more ______ today."  Then wake up tomorrow and commit to working on that one area again that day.  Repeat daily until you feel like you're making progress.  If you focus on a specific area of improvement, you will feel more fruitful and have some measurables in feeling like you're truly doing something to improve your marriage and yourself as a spouse.

February 2009, Engagement Celebration dinner at the Merhars'

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Love Everyday": Get the free ebook

"Love Everyday": Get the free ebook: "
LOVEveryday Pink Cover1 Love Everyday: Get the Free Ebook

"Love Everyday" is a collection of ideas, thoughts, tips and the like complied from over 25 of love and relationship bloggers. This ebook definitely sounds like it's worth the read. And the best part – it’s free.

Download it here.

Here’s where you come in. Download your copy now, tweet about it, post about it on your site or Facebook or print out a bunch of copies and place them on windshields in your city. However you choose, spread the word!

Friday, February 5, 2010

I choose you today, tomorrow and every day

A few months ago I was at happy hour with a friend of mine, and we were talking about how his relationship with his girlfriend was going.  When the question of their potential marriage came up, he paused.  Now this friend is one of the most, if not the most, reflective friends I have.  His answer was, "Yea.  I could choose her everyday."

What a beautiful way to think of marriage.  His statement struck me so much that I went home and told Mark about it.  I think at the time, Mark and I had actually had a recent disagreement, so the idea of waking up every morning and again choosing Mark, no matter what's going on around us, was powerful to me.  We all hear that love is a decision.  Therefore, it makes perfect sense that we wake up everyday as a married couple and again choose each other as husband and wife, over and over again.  It's a deliberate decision, not based solely on emotion but also on the idea of commitment, loyalty, sacramental love and even sacrifice.

I wanted Mark and I to keep this reflection in the forefront of our minds, so now every morning before we part for our days, we leave with saying, "I choose you today," to each other.  I like to believe it starts our day out with our priorities in the right place, putting each other above everything else, under our relationship with God.  If we have each other, not much else matters.

One of our very first pictures together!  January 2006, Enchanted Rock, 20-Somethings Camping Trip

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Planning for Valentine's Day

Sometimes Mark and I have taken turns in planning the various celebrations in our lives: Valentine's Days, anniversaries, date nights.  When I asked him this year what we wanted to do for Valentine's Day, he came up with a new idea for us -- we each take half the day.  Oooh, a whole day of celebrating our love for one another??  Sounds much better than just a few hours at dinner!  We agreed upon him taking the morning and I'm taking the afternoon.  As it turns out, he now has something planned for us until 5 p.m., so I take charge for our evening plans.  I've gone back and forth over what I want to do, but I think I finally settled on the bulk of it.  Details need to be pinned down, but I think it'll be a fabulous evening!  What I'm really excited about is his gift, though ... been planning it for a while!
An oldie but a goodie ... my 26th birthday '07

Monday, February 1, 2010

Look in the mirror

An interesting question to ponder ... would you want to be married to you? 

I see this periodically in one of my blogs on marriage, just to remind readers to take some time to reflect on how they're doing and see what obvious, and not so obvious, areas we can work on.

Would you want to be married to you?  Think about it.  No.  Really.  Think about it.  Take some time and maybe something will be brought to light in which you can focus some improvement.
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