The Hard but Good Work of Being Sanctified by Marriage

Prior to marriage, I thought a spouse would always build me up and just make me feel good about myself. At times this is true. However, there are also moments where God is using my husband to teach me things about my own heart that I need to work on.

As much as I don’t like to admit I can be a pretty sensitive person. I don’t like hearing or accepting criticism. I tend to already be harsh on myself so when others point to something negative about me it can sting.

I especially become defensive when my husband makes a comment to me about something he has observed to be true. Yet, from my perspective, I perceive he is wrong.

For example the other night he made a comment that “I’m only happy when we do extravagant things”. At first, I was dumbfounded because I enjoy staying home and cuddling on the couch with a movie and pizza. However, I do love dressing up and going out for a nice dinner (which rarely, like once a year happens).

I don’t think my desire to go out is unreasonable. I’m female, I like the anticipation of a special night. Plus it’s fun to take my time getting ready and to have my husband’s undivided attention. Plus as a new mom, I need to get out of the house.

However, perhaps in his eyes, I place too much value in going out and spending money. Whereas, in my mind, I’m happy saving money and staying home. Either way, it doesn’t matter who is right.

The point I’m making is instead of reacting defensively what if I took his critique of my behaviour and analyzed it from a place of humility. A goal I have this year is to become less defensive and more open to change.

Less pride and more humility

I hope I don’t come off as a spoiled brat to my husband, but what if sometimes I do? Are there areas in my heart I need to work on? Can I accept his insight from a place of humility instead of pride and insisting he’s misinformed? Yes.

I am not perfect, neither is he.  Yet there is a lesson I can glean from this interaction.

In reality, my response shows the state of my heart. A closed heart would insist I’m fine, I have no areas to improve. An open heart would be willing to listen to my husband and examine if there is truth to his statement and what changes could be made.

I love my husband but sometimes his words can pierce my heart in a sensitive spot. I have a choice to make. I can either let his words draw us apart or together. It’s my choice.

I want to have a healthy marriage. I want to continue to grow as a person and become more like Christ. When situations like this arise instead of letting them weaken me I choose to let them be a tool to strengthen me.

Sometimes though I have to overlook comments that I know are untrue and remember what I know my husband thinks of me. There are times where I need to give him grace as he also does to me. (I just had a baby so he’s been putting up with a lot of hormones lately).

To clarify I’m not advocating to be a doormat or to be passive. Scripture should be the starting point to determine whether a comment is valid. If something you husband says directly goes against scripture hold him accountable. At that point, it’s not your opinion he’s against it’s God’s.

Instead, I’m asking that we show more humility towards our spouses. To consider we don’t have it all figured out.  Perhaps God has put this person in our life to help mould us into the person He desires us to be.

One final point, pray. Pray for yourself but also pray for your hubby. Pray that you would allow God to strengthen your marriage and make you both more like Christ.

The next time your spouse makes a comment that at first feels unloving before lashing back with a prideful response take a moment and humbly consider their words. Are they in line with scripture? Is this an area you need to work on? Will you let this interaction draw you apart or closer to your spouse?
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4 Ways To Stay Connected with Your Husband After Having a Baby

Becoming a mother has been a transformative experience. I can live on a lot less sleep than I thought, I can be awoken from the deepest of sleep if I hear my baby stirring and I care much less about my needs or wants now that I have this little life depending on me. However, it can be easy for me to get so caught up in baby care, especially during the newborn weeks that my husband can take a backseat. Of course, this isn’t intentional but her needs often take priority during this season of life. Now that our baby is just over five months and we are more settled into our parenting roles this is the advice I would give to a new mom who desires to keep her marriage connected while navigating into parenthood.

1. Know Your Love Language and ASK FOR IT

A lot of the time we are told to know our partners love language so we can love them better. I agree it is important to study your spouse and learn how to fill their love tank. However, when you are postpartum and sleep deprived it’s so important to take care of yourself so that you, in turn, can care for others.

Personally, my love language is physical touch. For me, I need at least 20 seconds of a good, cuddly hug from my husband. After that, I feel so energized, cherished and taken care of. Instead of expecting my husband to read my mind when I’m feeling down I will ask or tell him I need a hug.

If you don’t know your love language take this quiz and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to help you be the best version of yourself for your family.

2. Get Creative With Date Night

Pre-baby date nights were easy. We could stay out late and be spontaneous. Post-baby we’ve had to make a few adjustments. Such as bringing our baby to dinner with us, eating out on a less busy night like Sunday and bringing my nursing cover. As long as we don’t stay out too long, our baby has done great whenever we’ve gone out to eat.

Another option for date night is having your hubby run out to grab a pizza (feta, pineapple, peppers and buffalo chicken was a recent favourite) and then watching a movie after your baby is in bed.

Date night can be tricky with a new baby but it’s not impossible to set aside time for just you and your hubby. Even if the baby has to tag along with you it is important to have intentional couple time.

Have You Downloaded My FREE Guide of 10 Cheap + Fun Date Night Ideas?

3. Check in with Your Hubby

One thing that helps me feel connected to my husband is our chats before bed. This doesn’t happen every night because he works continental shifts. However, we often catch up when he gets home.

If we don’t see each other at night we will text throughout the day. I try to be intentional to encourage my husband. I thank him for working hard for our family or I’ll send him pictures of our baby.

4. Affirm Actions You Appreciate in Your Husband

Along with encouraging my husband, I try to notice the things he does well and point them out to him. When we magnify positive attributes in our husbands they are more likely to keep doing those things. If your hubby is really good at responding to your baby’s needs or comforting her be sure to point this out to him.

Positive affirmation is rewarding and people will keep doing things they are appreciated for. Refrain from criticizing and try to speak about the good your husband is doing instead.

A new baby brings a lot of changes to a couple’s dynamic. It can be easy for both mom and dad to shift attention off of each other and onto the new bundle of joy. However, it is important to remember that the best thing you can do for your baby is to have a healthy and thriving relationship with your spouse.

The point is to not put pressure on yourselves, these are just suggestions you may not have thought of or already do. Either way, it’s important that you make an effort to keep your marriage connected.

Remember keeping your marriage connected doesn’t have to include a formal or scheduled date night. It just takes remembering to communicate with your spouse, telling them what you need to feel loved, affirming what they are doing well and making time to do things you enjoy together with or around your baby’s schedule.

How to keep your marriage connected as new parents while navigating life with a newborn baby.

My Husband Bought Me Donuts and I Cried…

My husband bought me donuts and I cried.

Maybe it’s because I’m hormonal. Even though I’m six months postpartum.

I cried because of his kindness.
These six donuts were around $20.
These were not ordinary donuts. They were locally made foodie, novelty, bakery donuts.

That we drove 20 minutes to get at a chic downtown shop.

I didn’t find out the price until later that day when he casually mentioned that he wanted to tell me something about the donuts.

At the time I was setting up the tv to watch the hockey playoffs with him.

He explained how the bakery didn’t sell donuts by the dozen or half dozen. Instead, they are individually priced. Therefore for our six donuts, it had cost about $20. 
I stopped what I was doing and went over to him and hugged him. With my face in his chest, I started crying.

Previous to buying the donuts, on the car ride there he informed me I had gone over my data limit for the month on my phone. As a result, we would have to pay an extra fee. With one income it’s not very considerate of me to be so careless.

My husband graciously explained to me how I need to be more careful and consider the time he puts in at work to pay for our families needs. I totally understood and felt awful. I also felt like I had let him down and I was disappointed in myself.

To me, our donut trip was ruined.

Until later that day when I learned despite what I had done, he still bought us donuts and coffee because he knew how much I wanted to try this place.

My husband was a picture of the gospel to me.

He showed me love and favour when I didn’t deserve it.

I cried when I found that out.

If I’m being honest I feel like I disappoint my husband a lot of the time.

I’m often too critical towards him or I complain too much about our circumstances.

I fear that he doesn’t like me.

My thoughts are wrong. He loves me.

He loves me despite my shortcomings.

I want to remember the day he bought me donuts and coffee.

 

My husband bought me donuts. These were not ordinary donuts, but  specialty $20 for a half dozen donuts I didn't deserve. Through his actions he demonstrated the gospel to me.

Loving My ADD Husband

My husband was diagnosed with ADD as a child.

As a result, he found it difficult to focus in a traditional school setting. The decision was made to homeschool him. He thrived being able to complete his schoolwork in the morning and expound his boundless energy playing the rest of the day.

His ADD wasn’t a bad thing it just required a few adjustments and some understanding of how his environment can help him thrive or struggle.

Although with age and maturity he has outgrown a lot of his ADD tendencies at times I can see evidence of it.

For example, he doesn’t like to sit still for long periods of time. Often he will pace the room while we’re having a serious conversation or start tapping rhythms with his fingers (he’s a drummer) when bored.

At other times he can be highly sensitive both emotionally and physically. I have to be aware of how I share something that’s bothering me in order to not be overbearing or insensitive to his feelings. On the physical side, he doesn’t always like to be touched while my love language is physical touch. He is also sensitive to the feel of certain fabrics and prefers very soft fabrics over anything rough, satiny or overly smooth.

Change for him provokes a lot of anxiety. Starting a new job, moving, me being 39 weeks pregnant are all things he is constantly concerned about.

He goes through phases of being very dedicated to certain hobbies or activities. Not to an extreme or unhealthy level but with a strong desire to be successful. Usually, this habit manifests through various types of games, sports or his cars.

His dedication also extends to me, family and friends. He makes connecting with others a priority. Whether it’s a text throughout the day or driving long distances, relationships are important to him.

Finally, he has incredible attention to detail and is skilled at spatial orientation. He can at times be a perfectionist, while I could care less if something is less than perfect. He is also a confident AZ licensed driver.

I may not understand all the aspects of his ADD but I can appreciate all the ways it makes him a great husband.

For starters, I’m happy being a homebody but he gets bored if we never go out. He encourages me to be more social and introduces me to active things we can do together like working out, going for walks or seeing a sporting event.

I also appreciate his go-go-go approach to life because it allows him to be a tireless provider when he has to work 12-hour shifts.

How He Helps me be a Better Person

Secondly, he has taught me to be a better communicator. At times I can be too brash or dramatic in expressing myself. Instead, I’m learning to state the facts, not get caught up in emotion and to have more empathy when needed.

Furthermore, although I don’t like seeing him worry or feel anxious about things I appreciate his deep care and concern for my wellbeing and our growing family. I know I can count on him to take care of us. Even if for him, that means starting a new, more challenging job while his wife is very pregnant and having to relocate soon after the baby comes.

Finally, when my husband commits to a task he’s all in and he will do his very best to achieve a good outcome. For example, I have never questioned his dedication or commitment to me. Every day he affirms his love for me. He’s the one who makes sure we resolve conflicts. He stresses the importance of our relationship with Christ over our relationship with each other. He prays for us, for me and for our life together. He encourages me in my pursuits. He stands up for me in front of others. He’s certainly not perfect but I know his commitment to our marriage does not waver.

Perhaps at one time, his ADD was seen as an obstacle to succeeding academically or otherwise. I don’t see his ADD as a flaw or hurdle to overcome. Instead, I see it as a gift that has made him into the most amazing, caring, sensitive, driven and talented husband and soon to be father.

I hope that our baby girl can learn these same incredible traits from her daddy.


My husband was diagnosed with ADD as a child. I don't see his ADD as a flaw or hurdle to overcome. Instead, I see it as a gift that has made him into the most amazing, caring, sensitive, driven and talented husband and soon to be father.

5 Things I Would Say to a New Bride Newlywed Reflections~Month 11

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections
1. Accept your spouse for who they are

While you were dating you had the chance to evaluate your spouse and determine whether or not you could commit the rest of your life to being with them. By now you realize they are not perfect.

Perhaps at times, they say something embarrassing or they tend to leave clothes on the floor. In these situations, it’s important to remember that you’re not going to like or approve of everything they do. At the same time, you have faults too and still expect them to accept you. Everyone has their annoying habits but these don’t need to be an issue if one can learn to extend grace to their spouse and not have astronomical expectations of their behaviour.

Furthermore, you and your spouse probably approach the same situation differently. This doesn’t mean your way is superior, it means you do things differently. Perhaps you don’t agree with their method but it’s important to respect that this is how they do things and to appreciate why you married someone different from yourself. For example, I like to take a few days and think before making a decision whereas my husband is very decisive and can make a decision within a day. Neither of these approaches is wrong but we have to respect how the other person operates. As you go on in marriage you begin to discover more and more how your spouse is wired and you can anticipate these moments rather than letting a conflict ensue.

2. Always think the best of your spouse

This point builds off the last one in that when your spouse does something wrong (like not washing the dishes properly) or hurtful (whether intentionally or not) or is just irritating you try to approach them with understanding and the belief that they are trying their best. It’s often easier to dwell on the negative thoughts that enter our mind about our spouses. Yet the more often we do this the more magnified these thoughts become and they can begin to cloud to the true picture of who your spouse really is. Maybe they don’t always take their dishes to the sink or they leave dirty socks on the floor, try not to see this behaviour as them being spiteful or treating you as the maid. Rather reframe the situation and give them grace, perhaps they were tired or they forgot or they were going to do the task later.

It’s important to not assume their motives are negative towards you. If it becomes an issue gently approach them and tell them how the action makes you feel rather than blaming them for being lazy or unappreciative of you. Another way to approach an issue is to put the negative item or request between two positive or encouraging sentiments. For example: “I really appreciate it when you compliment my cooking, it means a lot to me because I worked really hard in preparing the meal. It would be really helpful though if you could bring your dishes to the sink after eating. I’m so glad we could have dinner together tonight, sometimes things are so busy”.

3. Love them when they are being unlovable

This one is super hard! It’s the complete opposite of what human nature wants to do when being disrespected or treated unfairly. Yet this is exactly how God treats us. He loved us when we were still sinners and did things that hurt Him.

Jesus is our ultimate example of how to love others when they are being unkind to us. This type of reaction is far better than reacting with the same disrespect or unkindness one is being shown. It shows the other person that you will not tolerate their behaviour but you still love and respect them as your spouse. This can also extend to not letting resentment about your spouse build up within you. This is still something I’m working and probably will be for the rest of my life. Through prayer and God’s strength, it is possible to love the sometimes unlovable.

If your situation includes a pattern of disrespect or maltreatment please consult a counsellor. Sometimes our issues in marriage need to be addressed by a neutral party who can help us build a healthy relationship.

4. Never talk badly about your spouse to other people (friends, parents, children)

When you talk down your spouse in front of others it gives a bad impression of your spouse. Your audience is likely to internalize this view about your spouse. In contrast, seek to uplift and edify your spouse around others. Our opinions hold a lot of power over how others view our spouses. As, we know their deepest secrets, their fears, and insecurities.

At the same time, we are also deeply aware of all their wonderful qualities that may not always be showcased publicly. Remember one always has a choice in what is shared about their significant other. It’s always better to vent your feelings to God in prayer or to take up journaling rather than confiding in a friend. As I mentioned above if your marriage has serious issues that need to be addressed consult a professional counsellor.

5. Communicate

Communication is imperative to a thriving relationship. This is definitely something I’ve had to work on as I tend to be introspective and don’t always actively say what I’m thinking.

As I’ve been in a relationship I have realized how important it is to be in continual communication with one’s partner. This ranges from checking in before you buy something, to running plans with your friends by your spouse to not accepting dinner invitations until you’ve confirmed with your spouse you’re both free and want to attend the event. It really is very simple but it takes discipline especially when one is used to making all their own decisions.

 <3 <3 <3

I’ve only been married for a year but I try to daily remind myself to implement these tips because I want a thriving, healthy marriage. I realize this takes effort and is not always easy. Yet at the end of the day, I’m going to be proud of myself for giving my best to my marriage. I hope that at whatever stage of marriage you are at that you are encouraged to keep striving!

Marriage is a great honour and blessing to be a part of.


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In Summary:

1. Accept your spouse for who they are

You can’t change them and you married them for a reason

2. Always think the best of your spouse

Remember they are doing the best that they know how

3. Love your spouse when they are being unlovable

Because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)

4. Never talk badly about your spouse to other people (friends, parents, children)

Your words have power, seek to edify your spouse

5. Communicate

It shows respect for your spouse and keeps you both on the same page

Tell me below, what are some tips or advice you would give new brides? Or what are you daily striving towards in your marriage? I’d love to hear!


CLICK HERE TO READ: And Baby Makes 3 ~Newlywed Reflections Month 10

5 Things I Would Say to a New Bride

The First Year is Hard: What I learned from one year of being married

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Photo: Camille Marie Photography

Thoughts on Singleness: How I Conquered Feeling Lonely, Unwanted and Not Good Enough

I write a lot on this blog of marriage and my experiences being married. I write about this topic because it’s relevant to my life at this point. However, before this current season, I spent a lot of time being single. I’ve written a few posts about those days: Just Wait, When Everyone Else is Getting Engaged and Encouragement for Single Women. Although those were not the most favourite or preferred times in my life, they were necessary and one lesson I learned was to be content on my own.

I understand that being single is not easy in a culture that is constantly pushing the mantra that you need someone to be happy or complete you. I say -lies! I also know that deep down we all accept the arduous truth that no one person can truly satisfy us. Yet we still seek a person or relationship to make us feel good, increase our ego and validate our worth. I understand the endeavour because we see the couples all over social media professing their undying love and affection to each other. They look so happy. Meanwhile, on the inside, we’re hurting or we’ve been injured by someone we trusted and we just want to feel loved and accepted. These feelings are not wrong, we were made to be loved.

Thoughts on Singleness: How I Conquered Feeling Lonely, Unwanted and Not Good Enough

Singleness is often perceived as not being wanted. Internally this may be felt or an ascribed label. Unfortunately, this definition deepens the pain of being ‘alone’. Not only do you not have someone to share life with, you’ve labelled yourself at not being worth someone’s time or affection. You persuade yourself if “I was attractive enough, or witty enough or…” then someone would notice me and validate my value, then someone would tell me I’m beautiful, then I could live out my romantic comedy dreams… I’ve felt all of these thoughts and emotions when I was single. It was hard. I often wondered if I would ever meet someone if I would get married before 25. I went through feeling bitter, jealous, and envious of other’s relationships. I wondered what is so wrong with me? Why can’t guys see my attractive qualities and character? I prayed many nights that God would bring a godly man into my life.

In an effort to change my situation I sought a relationship. Alas, trying to seek out a relationship often has the opposite result. All of my efforts to secure a guys attention usually failed. I tried to look pretty, be outgoing, laugh at their jokes, go to events where I knew there would be guys, talk to them, be available. To no avail did any of it work. I ended up feeling rejected. Eventually, I got to the point where I was encouraged to try online dating. (Which in some circumstances can be helpful to meet people, at the time I wasn’t ready to take this step). Everything I was trying was giving the same hopeless result. Until one evening where God changed my perspective.

I was over at a friends house from church with a few other young adult friends and my friend’s parents. We were talking about our church’s Young Adult group where once a month we had an event called Lunch & Learn where all the other young adults would gather after the Sunday morning service to share a meal and fellowship together. Our church was quite large and the group usually consisted of over 50 people. I always viewed it a perfect opportunity to meet guys (; On this night my friend’s parents encouraged us to go to Lunch & Learn the next day and seek out individuals who were alone or needed friends. We had a pretty solid friend group and it would be easy for us to reach out to others. The following day I went to the event resolute to seek out anyone who needed a friend. Instead of focusing on myself and how I could attract male attention, my desire’s were turned towards others needs. I and my friend ended up sitting away from our other friends to try meeting new people. As a result, I focused on showing kindness and interest to those around me instead of seeking validation from others.

This change in perspective was a pivotal moment for me to move past my selfish desires to meet my needs and to look around at how I could serve others. I wasn’t automatically content with my circumstances, but I began to not obsess over what I didn’t have to what I could give. I still felt lonely as I prayed about a future husband, but God began to change my heart and teach me to trust His timing.

A few weeks later I went home for Christmas and I focused on spending time with my family and doing fun things with my friends. Later my mom commented that she could sense I was lonely, but that I was also subtly content with my circumstances.

Eventually, I did meet a guy, and shockingly (to me) he asked me out on a real first date. From then on I entered a whole new exciting, surprising and unfamiliar season of life. Before that time I had spent a lot of time alone, single and wondering if that time would ever come. Looking back I’m grateful for the time I spent unattached. I realize it allowed me to cultivate lifelong friendships, to participate in a bible study that provided these friends, to spend in-depth time studying God’s word, filling my mind with truth and promises, and to learn the difficult lesson to be content in all circumstances.

I’m thankful I met Mike when I did because I was in a really good place personally. My sole desires at that time were not to find a relationship. Therefore, upon first meeting him I assumed he probably had a girlfriend so why waste time being overly friendly with this really attractive guy (as was my previous practice).

Still today, I haven’t mastered the virtue of contentment, I still struggle with it, although in different areas. In all season’s of life, we are faced with angst. I still have unmet desires and goals I hope to accomplish. Although I don’t know when those will be accomplished, I have learned to be content while I wait. I needed this timely reminder of how changing my perspective changed my situation.

Every season of life has a purpose and if one’s heart is open God is graciously teaching one a lesson. Don’t let your pride or personal preferences get in the way of His purpose. God doesn’t withhold good from those He loves. Although He gives us boundaries in His word to keep us away from situations and acts that are harmful to us, He does this to sanctify us and make us more like Him. At times it’s painful but the reward of obeying Him and living in submission to His commands far exceeds the pain.

Whatever your going through pray about it and trust that God is faithful in His timing.

Click here to read about one of my favourite go-to websites for solid, biblical advice on dating and relationships: Favourites Friday>> Boundless

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