Letting Go of Unmet Expectations in Marriage

Unmet Expectations Lead to Dissatisfaction

A lot of the time life can feel unfair. Part of this feeling comes from expectations in marriage being unmet. I certainly expected my present circumstances to be different. I thought I’d work before having a baby, that I’d be in my own home, that I’d live near my family and friends. However, that’s not how life turned out. At times I feel jaded, sad and to be honest angry. I want control of my life.

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with this idea of control over my life. It doesn’t seem fair at times that the expectations of my current reality are unmet. I want to call the shots and know where my future is headed.

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Why You Should Actually Say Yes More Often

It may seem counterintuitive but I really think that instead of saying “No” more we need to start saying “Yes”.

Why You Should Actually Say Yes More Often

Why Should I Say “Yes” More Often?

First off life is short. No one knows exactly how many days are left of their life. Therefore we should use our limited time to the best of our ability.

Additionally, we shouldn’t be selfish in how we designate our time. I love this quotation my mom shared with me this past week from Beth Moore: “God what will you have me do today?”. Instead of getting caught up with the stress of life and letting it dictate our day what if we started our day asking what God would have for us? A simple mindset change can make a huge difference in how our circumstances are perceived. Plus when we intentionally look for ways in how God can use us we are less likely to feel like our life lacks purpose. This also leads to more fulfillment and a less self-centred approach to life.

Here are a few simple ways God can use you today:
  • send an encouraging text to a friend
  • bring a coffee to a friend or coworker
  • donate to a cause
  • smile to the people who serve you and be genuinely kind to them
  • give a generous tip
  • be a courteous driver
  • write down what you are grateful for and why
  • pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
Relationships Matter

Secondly, relationships are the single most important aspect of life. Our number one relationship is with God as He teaches us how to love, forgive and treat others. He teaches us all people are created equal, to love our enemies (how easy is it to just love those that are kind to us?) and to forgive as we have been forgiven. He doesn’t demand us to follow a strict set of rules instead He gently calls us to follow Him as he teaches us how to live an abundant life.

In addition to our relationship with our creator is our relationship with His created-the people around us. Our family foremost, our friends, our church, our communities. Instead of pursuing things and success more than we pursue others what if we made a conscious effort to connect with just one person a week. Personally, I am so bad about this! I haven’t made it a habit to sit down once a week and just text or message someone important to me. I am aware of this and working to reach out to others more often. One benefit of connecting is feeling more fulfilled and it’s important for my mental health.

Plus I want to share my life with others, I want to build a strong community of people who will encourage me and keep me accountable.

What Are We Saying “Yes” To?

Our Marriages + Families

I firmly believe that a strong marriage is the basis of a strong family. Furthermore strong families lead to better societies. When children know their parents love each other they feel safe and secure. Now, this doesn’t guarantee a perfect family but it does avoid a lot of potential problems.

Furthermore, parents are the primary model for their children’s behaviour. I know this may seem intuitive but I see parents all the time who yell at their child for acting out when the parent is almost acting worse than the child. Children will mimic the behaviour they see demonstrated in the home. As a mom to be this really weighs heavy on me as I think about the habits and behaviours I want to work on. Such as complaining less. I find it so easy to see the negative in situations and I don’t want Baby K to be the same. I’m almost at the point where I’m going to write down “complain less” next to “take vitamin” on my refrigerator whiteboard so I don’t forget.

In order to have a strong marriage and family, we have to be willing to say “Yes” to our families desire for relationship.

Just the other day my husband had an appointment in Hamilton and after he was going to a park to play Pokemon Go. He asked me to join him on his trip so that we could spend time together after the appointment. Although Pokemon is not my most favourite activity I said yes. I reasoned that we only have so much time together so why would I say no to spending time with him. However, I also said yes because I wasn’t committed to any other activities for that day.  We have limited time together during the week so I wanted to take advantage of the extra free time we could enjoy together. I am not advocating to be a doormat and always say yes to your husband. I firmly believe in “Courtney time” and “Mike time”, it wouldn’t be healthy if we spent every waking moment together. Yet under the circumstances, it was advantageous for me to say “Yes”. I also know my husband appreciates that I’m willing to join him in an activity he enjoys.

The Little Things

Secondly, it’s important to say yes to the little things. Perhaps your child wants to play a game with you or your sister wants to have a movie night together and buy snacks. The moments I most regret saying no to are others invitations to spend time together. I may feel tired or the activity sounds boring but once I’m doing the activity it often turns out to be more enjoyable than I thought. Don’t be afraid to do things with others that seem silly or a waste of time, because at the end of the day what matters is the precious quality time you were able to spend together.

What Are We Saying “No” To?

Saying yes to a relationship with others means we have to say no to other less important things.

Technology

First off we need to say no to technology. The emails, tweets and Instagram captions can wait. I know a lot of families schedule a period of time where technology is not used.

Activities

Secondly, say “No” to too many activities. Another great tip I’ve heard is for families is to let each child participate in one sport or activity a season. This avoids overwhelming children with too many scheduled items and while allowing for spontaneous family fun. Additionally, parents should be aware of how much time they are committing to volunteering. Even if it’s a ministry activity, the families relational needs should always come first.

Say “Yes” to Quality Time and “No” to Wasted Time

Overall what I’m trying to say is that our time is precious. We don’t know how much time we have with those we love. Although it can be easy to not be intentional with our time it is imperative we make time for relationships.

My challenge to you is to say “Yes” to one thing somebody asks you to do with them this week.

Why You Should Say YES

What are some other things you think we should say “no” to?

How do you intentionally make time for relationships with others?

4 Unexpected Ways Your Husband Wants to Make You Happy

DZZYes, your husband does want to make you happy!

You may have just read that title and thought “Courtney what are you talking about? You don’t know my husband, all he wants to do is irritate me.” Yes, I don’t know your specific situation, but I do know that if we change how we perceive our circumstances it can affect our relationships profoundly.

4 Unexpected Ways Your Husband Wants to Make You Happy

My husband isn’t perfect either. He leaves his dirty clothes on the floor even though the hamper is positioned for his exclusive convenience. Sometimes he makes annoying comments or is on his phone too much. We all have our quirks and no one is perfect. I do a lot of things that he doesn’t like either. This is expected in marriage because we tend to marry our opposites in terms of personality. Which research suggests is not a negative but rather having the same attitudes and values has a bigger impact on relational success.

Back to happiness and our husbands, if we look at the big picture of our relationship most of the time our husband’s goal is to make us happy. This was kind of an epiphany when I discovered this because it changed the way I saw my husband’s overall behaviour. As a result, I started seeing his actions as more favourable towards me.

His Career Choices

Career changes and choices can be a touchy subject, especially when it involves moving. If you can openly talk as a couple about how each of you feels and why you feel this way it can lead to a depth of understanding. In the beginning, it may feel like your husband is not on your side and wants to change everything. In the end, you realize these decisions are not easy for him either and the ultimate reason why he’s choosing this is to provide the best life he can for your family.

Honestly, as a female whose role is not to be the provider but rather the helper and support to her husband I will never understand the great burden my husband bears in his effort to provide. With this perspective, I can display more empathy in how I relate to my husband when he wants to pursue a new or different job. I realize his motive behind his choice is far from selfish.

For some, your husband’s work may look different. Perhaps he works long hours or even two jobs. I remember when I was younger my dad ran his own business during the day as an onsite truck mechanic and exhaust fabricator then at night he drove a septic truck. I would cry because I hardly ever saw my dad. Thankfully that time was only for a season and he was able to switch jobs. He chose to work that much because he had a family to care for and he was trying his best to give us a secure and happy life. At the time it wasn’t easy for us but looking back I can see his motivation was in the right place.

The Small Things

Career choices and changes are certainly a major area where males strive to make their wives and families happy. Husbands also try to provide happiness in smaller things. For example, maybe your husband surprises you with a large tea at 6 in the morning because he was thinking of you. The timing wasn’t ideal and he woke you up, but his intention was to make your day and show he cares about you.

If we can reframe how we perceive this interaction and affirm our husband’s intentions instead of tearing down their sometimes fragile self-esteem. We can encourage them to keep doing nice, thoughtful things for us (isn’t that what we all want?).

Whereas if we react in a negative or condescending way that takes aim at his pride he is likely to feel insulted and less motivated to repeat a behaviour meant to please you. Even if you didn’t want to have tea at 6 am it’s still important to genuinely thank your husband for thinking of you and being so sweet.

Treating You

Another way husbands try to make us happy is by treating us. One way they demonstrate this is by taking us out to dinner. Although I’m perfectly happy making food at home, I really appreciate it when my husband suggests we go out for dinner. I realize this is a rare treat and he wants to make our time together extra special.

Furthermore, husbands want to see their wives well dressed, with nice makeup and hair. At times the level of aesthetic desired by the wife isn’t always feasible. For example getting your hair done every six weeks or your nails. Sometimes though your hubby may spend some extra money and take you shopping. It might make the budget a little tight but to him seeing you smile is worth it.

As wives when our husbands make this extra effort to treat us it is so important we express how much we appreciate it. For him spending money, might put on more pressure to provide and if we are ungrateful he might think “what’s the point of doing nice things for her?”.

When He Gives in to You

This one may seem a little more obvious, nonetheless, it’s important to recognize that when your husband purposely chooses to put your preferences over his he is doing it to demonstrate his love and to see you happy.

A few ways my husband has demonstrated this is by going to see Beauty and the Beast with me, ordering pizza when I didn’t feel like cooking, giving me 20-second hugs (he knows that’s my love language even if it isn’t always his), letting me choose the restaurant. I know these are small examples but it’s really the insignificant things that add up to make a fulfilling relationship.


You may have heard the phrase that “Marriage wasn’t designed to make us happy but to make us holy”, while I agree with the overall sentiment of that statement. I do think God intended for us to receive great joy in being in a relationship with others. Happiness can be defined in different ways as I noted above. It can be a self-sacrificing gesture, a desire to make someone smile or to simply the daily effort put into a relationship. Overall if we can remember that our husband desires to see us happy we can avoid a lot of negative and unfounded thoughts.

What are some ways your husband tries to make you happy?

To the ladies in waiting…

I recently read an article by a man on a popular Christian magazine site giving advice to the ladies in waiting. To be honest I thought his advice was a lame excuse for men choosing to act like adolescents and waiting for a woman to fix their problems. I fear this sends a message to women that men have pretty much just given up on maturity and you must take the lead. To this I say wrong! Please don’t settle for a man-child, because real, godly, mature men still exist.

To The Ladies in Waiting

To all the ladies I have 5 things to say:

1. Get serious about your relationship with God

A personal relationship with God has to be a priority no matter what stage of life. It can be especially easy to neglect God (or even friends or family) when feelings of romance start. Your attention is directed at keeping this new interest attracted and happy. As a result, other priorities tend to take a backseat.

To prevent God falling by the wayside I would encourage you to get in the habit of reading your Bible + praying daily (She Reads Truth is a great resource). Once you get into this routine it is so much easier to fight off temptation and have a right view of what God desires for your life. If you are walking in truth and living accountable to God you will be much more sensitive to His leading in your life rather than letting your flesh or your heart lead you.

 2. Respect Yourself

In the vein of trying to keep a potential match interested, it can be easy to compromise your standards.

For example, maybe you start showing a little more cleavage or wearing tighter pants when you hang out with him because he’s told you he likes those things. In the moment his affirmation feels good so you keep dressing this way. Yet in your heart, you know that dressing this way is not the best for your relationship because it can cause him to stumble and he is not respecting your values. Although, when one is married go ahead and dress provocatively for your husband because you want him to look at you and be attracted to your body. When one is dating or even engaged the partner does not have these rights to your body. Furthermore, as a Christian, God-fearing woman you are an example not only to the world but younger woman and girls. Even if you don’t realize it especially in the social media age one is always being watched.

Although, when one is married go ahead and dress provocatively for your husband because you want him to look at you and be attracted to your body. However, when one is dating or even engaged the partner does not have these rights to your body. Furthermore, as a Christian, God-fearing woman you are an example not only to the world but younger woman and girls. Even if you don’t realize it especially in the social media age one is always being watched.

Furthermore, as a Christian, God-fearing woman you are an example not only to the world but younger woman and girls. Even if you don’t realize it especially in the social media age one is always being watched.

Overall don’t compromise your standards or values to be with a guy. Either he needs to learn to respect you and understand the biblical principles you are choosing to follow or there is another guy who will.

3. Don’t Settle, but Do Settle

You marry who you marry and you have to accept that, to some extent. I am all for men continuing to mature and become better people. However, if you decide to marry someone you are choosing to accept them just as they are without hoping marriage will suddenly change them.

For this reason only date and marry a man who is mature, who is solid in his faith, who handles his money well, who is connected to a community and loves you well. Beyond these basic character qualities be willing to settle on less important attributes.

4. Be Honest with Yourself and Him

This one is hard. Especially if you have trouble confronting people or speaking up. Yet it is imperative to a healthy relationship. If something in your relationship doesn’t feel right or you are really bothered by something your partner is doing have the courage to speak about it. No one wants to date someone is holding resentment against them because eventually, it’s going to kill the relationship.

That being said, before you raise an issue pray about it, seek out what God says in scripture and talk to a trusted mentor. This will prevent an eruption one day of all your problems. Which can a small problem big and catch your partner off guard. Try to take a few days and collect your thoughts. Perhaps the issue is not as big as you first thought.

Whenever I have needed to confront a problem I have always found it helpful to start with scripture to establish that I’m not just basing this issue off of my opinion but the authority of God’s word. If your partner is a Christian they should feel convicted by God’s word.

5. Stay in Community

Finally don’t be a lone wolf. If possible attend the same church as the person you are dating. This allows you to be under the same teaching each week but it also provides a group of people that can get to know both of you and possibly mentor your relationship.

In my experience older couples are usually very willing to get to know a younger couple. We had some very close friends around our parent’s age who made an effort to get to know us, they invited us over and the husband even sang at our wedding. We will always treasure these friends and appreciate their godly influence over our relationship.

I know at times it can seem like there are no good Christian guys left out there. Although this can feel discouraging don’t let it tarnish your standards. There are good godly men out there seeking a godly wife. Don’t settle for an immature, kinda Christian man-child because even if you marry him you will encounter a lot more heartache than if you had waited for a solid Christian guy.

Waiting is hard and dating is not always easy but the rewards of being intentional and standing by your values are worth the marriage they produce.


Summary:

1. Get Serious About Your Relationship with God

God should be a priority at every stage in life, but especially before you enter a relationship because dating can really affect who you are.

 2. Respect Yourself

Don’t compromise your values to keep a guy interested.

3. Don’t Settle, but Do Settle

You won’t marry a perfect man, but still set baseline standards for who you will date.

4. Be Honest with Yourself and Him

If your relationship has a problem or something doesn’t feel right pray about it first before confronting your partner. Remember to have courage and don’t let issues build up.

5. Stay in Community

Find a good church you can attend together and get involved in it!

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For more encouragement check out my most popular post: Encouragement for Single Women

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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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The Only Good Thing Newlywed Reflections~Month 8

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2

Sometimes it feels like life won’t stop throwing snowballs at you. I know that sounds like a terrible analogy but it’s winter and we’re going to roll with it. I think we can all relate to feeling discouraged and overwhelmed at times with our circumstances. Too often I focus on the negatives in my life. I don’t want to do that here. Instead, I want to share how I cope with the less than ideal parts of life.

The Only Good Thing

At first, when dealing with a tough situation I tend to be all downer. After a while or when I have to be productive and leave the house my perspective changes. I change my focus to what I’m thankful for or what I’m glad didn’t happen. For instance, the other evening as my husband was driving home from work a wayward deer ran into his beloved red honda civic (I adore this car too). As a result, we are now down to one car. Yes, this sucks because it’s another obstacle we have to deal with at a time where we are trying to get ahead in life. I’m in school, he’s working and we don’t have a ton of extra resources to deal with these situations.

When he came home and told me what happened, I was incredibly grateful he was okay. After it all sank in though, I cried. I cried because I really like his car, we have a lot of memories with it and I like that he has something for himself that’s fun and he’s proud of. I don’t want to lose this part of our life. I also cried because we just bought a newer car for myself and now his car isn’t road worthy. It’s just hard.

Not long after this news, I had to head out to school. As I was driving and processing what had happened I realized I could either dwell on what sucked about the situation or what I was grateful for. I chose to make a list of the good:

  • Michael was completely fine, other than being shaken up
  • The deer didn’t go through his windshield, despite driving a lowered car
  • He didn’t have to wait in the cold for a tow truck
  • He didn’t have to miss work
  • He was able to drive his car home, despite losing a headlight and his lights not working
  • We can share my car and still get to school and work
  • He’s getting another car from a friend and his brother can safety it
  • Our other car is in good condition and safer to drive

I’m most grateful God spared him from further harm. The altercation could have been a lot worse. Michael explained that the deer ran straight into his car and instead of launching toward him through the windshield it flipped in the air and landed away from his car. It is so clear to me that God heard my prayers to keep Michael safe.

I’m also grateful for God’s continued provision for our lives. He always gives us just what we need, such as another car for Michael.

At the end of the day, I enjoy reading my Bible before falling asleep. The other night I came across this verse in Psalms: I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”. This passage really resonated with me, because I’m realizing more and more each day just how temporal life is. All I really have is God and no matter what He is good. His ways may not always seem fair or right to me, but no matter what happens He loves me, He is on His throne and He is victorious.

Cars may break, jobs come and go, friends and family may be far, relationships have their struggles but what gets me through all this is knowing I have God in my life. He is the only good thing. The only perfect thing, the only thing that will last, the only thing that will never disappoint or leave me. I have to cling to these truths or else I have nothing in life.


CLICK HERE TO READ: NEWLYWED REFLECTIONS~MONTH 7: 5 Traits I’m Glad I Didn’t Settle on in my Husband

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NEWLYWED REFLECTIONS~MONTH 9: Young Marriage is Hard

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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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5 Traits I’m Glad I Didn’t Settle on in my Husband Newlywed Reflections~Month 7

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

The last month has not been fun. Between the end of the semester deadlines and ongoing car trouble, I’ve been struggling to not feel overwhelmed and stressed. At the same time, I’m incredibly grateful to our family for helping Mike and me over the past month. Even as an adult I still need my parents sometimes <3

Although the last month has been challenging emotionally, mentally and physically I’m so thankful I have the husband I do. God blessed me with an incredible guy

5 Traits I'm Glad I didn't Settle on in My Husband

  1. Positivity

    Mike emanates a positive attitude each day. Although he works a minimum 12 hour day and has to get up before 4am he always comes home happy to see me and with a grateful attitude for all God has provided. He doesn’t let the stress of life overwhelm him to where he can’t still make me laugh in the evenings. He chooses to accept that this is what life looks right now and he has to keep moving forward instead of complaining about how things could be different. A partner who sees life with the glass half full makes going through rough times so much more bearable. Especially when I get easily overwhelmed in all that’s going wrong.

  2. Work Ethic

    One thing I have always admired about Mike is his dedication to giving his best effort in whatever task he’s completing. Whether it’s washing the dishes, cleaning his paintball gun or fixing our cars he always does a thorough and complete job. This trait applies to more than just menial tasks, I can see it in the way he approaches our relationship and his job. Mike takes time to listen to my thoughts, to pray for us and seek wise counsel. Most importantly his work ethic enables him to be the provider God called him to be.

  3. Spiritual Leadership

    The number one thing that drew me to Michael was his sincere faith. I could tell after talking to him and spending time together that God was an integral aspect of his life. Recently I’ve seen this article floating around about pursuing a Christian man vs a Christian boy and I wholeheartedly agree! Ladies do not settle for a Christian boy. You will regret it. When things get hard, as they have been for us over the past few months, our faith has been the thing we have leaned on. Especially prayer.  Not only has our faith brought us through tough times it has brought us so close together. I remember one difficult evening where we prayed together and I felt so close and connected after bringing everything to God together. Ultimately our relationship is only earthly, our lasting relationship is with our heavenly Father.

  4. Learning from mistakes

    We are all far from perfect, I daily make mistakes and do things I regret. I accept that Michael makes mistakes and always will. What is important is seeing my husband own up to his mistakes and taking it as a learning lesson. I often have to do the same. Not only is this a humbling experience but it teaches us to forgive each other. Don’t look for a flawless person, seek a partner who acknowledges where they need to improve and are working on themselves.

  5. Authenticity

    Anyone who knows Mike knows he is not afraid to speak the truth. He will tell you like it is and you can trust his opinion. He does this because he genuinely cares about people and wants to help. He is always there for his friends or family that need him. Mike will drive an hour and a half to be with a buddy that is going through a rough time. He’s constantly building others up and encouraging their abilities. Seek a mate who is not afraid to be authentic and notice how he treats those closest to him.

Click here to read:
 Newlywed Reflections~Month 6: How I Learned to Cherish Each Moment Through Loss and Uncertainty

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Newlywed Reflections~Month 8: The Only Good Thing

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Photo: Camille Marie Photography

Favourites Friday>> Surviving Sarah Podcast

Happy FriYay!

Today’s favourite is a podcast I have been binge listening to on the drive to school and back. I absolutely cannot get enough of this podcast. I come away feeling inspired, motivated and excited each time I hear an interview with a different woman about what she is doing or has been through.

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Surviving Sarah is hosted by Sarah Bragg and each week she interviews a different woman to hear how she is surviving life. Sarah ends the interview by asking her guest a few things that are helping them to survive. She goes on to clarify that these items don’t have to be spiritual because she also enjoys other things like coffee and Target. I can totally relate to that sentiment. Following the interview, Sarah reflects on what she learned from her guest or anything that stood out from their stories.

I’ve been most impacted by the women who have families while at the same time manage a career, business, blog or ministry. One very interesting guest was Cheryl Bachelder the CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (episode 42). I loved hearing how she leads her staff with humility and poise. Although I don’t aspire to be a CEO the insight on leadership at any level was inspiring.

Additionally, another theme I’ve gathered from listening is that we may make plans for our lives but ultimately God’s plan always prevails. For example, one woman became a single mother while being a missionary, other women have struggled with infertility, or dealt with failed adoptions or unexpected pregnancies, while other guests have struggled with issues from their past including suicide of family members or postpartum depression. In other examples, God has provided opportunities and opened doors that some women never dreamed of like being an artist, or starting a nonprofit, or designing products to help with children’s emotional intelligence. I’m learning to let go of my plans and to be open to what God has in store for me. Although I find this really hard because I thrive on predictability I trust that His plans are best for me. Hearing others women’s stories has really encouraged me in this area.

Thirdly a statement that I have heard multiple times on this podcast is to “do the next right thing”. In times of stress or feeling overwhelmed or even sad, listeners have shared how they have just done the next right thing. Whether that’s reading your child a story or making dinner, it’s about not giving up. I’ve tried to remember this phrase when I just want to quit or waste an hour on the internet. Sometimes the next right thing is cleaning off the table so I have a place to work when I get home. That one simple task helps me feel motivated to keep going with the rest of my day.

My favourite and the most impacting episode I listened to was with Mo Isom (whom I’ll be featuring in an upcoming Favourites post!) episode 34, she is full of such Biblical wisdom and real, relatable, heartbreaking life experience. I found her story very compelling to hear. I’m looking forward to reading her new book Wreck My Life: Journeying from Broken to Bold in the near future. Honestly, it’s hard to choose favourites because every episode has impacted me in some way. Episode 24 with Tracy Levinson is also another favourite, she inspired me with her boldness in expressing her views to others and how she articulated her message on sexuality. Overall my favourite thing about Surviving Sarah is that the podcast is geared toward women. Not moms, or wives or singles or working moms or stay at home moms. Just women in whatever stage of life they are in. This is what really attracted me to Sarah’s podcast. I hold the same value with my blog, I want to appeal to a broad range of readers. Although I tend to write about what I’m going through, my intent is never to put my identity in being married or a wife. Those roles are only a part of who I am. I want this blog to express who I am as a person, what my interests are and my reflections on life. Sarah has a good balance of women from various stages and life experiences on her show. It’s great to learn from women who have been married for thirty years or who are first-time mothers. Although our experiences are different we can always learn from what others have gone through.

 


I’m going to end this post similar to how Sarah ends her interviews by listing a few things that are helping me survive! I’d love to hear what’s been helping you survive lately too (:
  • Podcasts! I’ve pretty much stopped listening to radio in favour of a good long podcast
  • The too rare conversations/hangouts I have with my mom and bestie <3
  • Baths I love relaxing in the warm water and reading a book for pleasure (right now I’m reading the true story behind the Sound of Music)
  • Music! I love listening to Spotify while I’m cleaning, making supper or just hanging out. It instantly brings my mood up

 

 

 

 

 

*post contains Amazon affiliate link, all opinions my own

Why Marriage is Hard but Still Good Newlywed Reflections~Month 4

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

I love being married; it’s something I’ve desired for a very long time. At the same time, I am very cognizant of this great privilege I have been bestowed at a somewhat young age. Marriage is the most incredible gift, it’s a deeply intimate relationship different from all others that were chosen to represent Christ and His church.

Why Marriage is Hard but Still Good

Marriage is not a perfect always-pleasant relationship (as with anything in this life). Marriage is a refining process and sometimes it’s hard. 

“Hard is not the same thing as bad”

Abbie at M is for Mama

The intimate nature of the relationship allows one to be deeply known and this includes the imperfect, insecure parts. When one is deeply known and understood there is an opportunity for growth and change as one is challenged and encouraged by their spouse unless one develops a closed heart when faced with criticism and honesty. To be clear I’m writing from a perspective where the truth is spoken in love, is biblical and is without malicious intent. I wouldn’t necessarily choose to be challenged at such a personal level because it’s uncomfortable, difficult, discouraging and hard at times. It doesn’t feel good. Deep down I’m thankful to be challenged because without intimate relationships in my life who is going to ask me the tough questions or bring up things I need to work on. Although I may realize these things on my own, I need accountability and support from others. God uses our relationships with other humans to refine us. Part of His plan for marriage is to sanctify us, to make us more like Him. A spouse is an integral part of that process.

Marriage is more than I could have ever asked for or expected. At the same time, it’s not always easy or blissful. It reveals your true self but it also provides an avenue to become your best self.

Although I’m talking specifically about marriage this can be applied to any relationship where individuals allow themselves to be known by another. This can be a mentor, a friend or family member. Overall it’s important to cultivate community and relationships where one allows themselves to be challenged and “sharpened”.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another

Proverbs 27:17

Click here to read: Newlywed Reflections~Month 3: Why You Should be Willing to Love What Your Spouse Loves 

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Newlywed Reflections~Month 6: How I Learned to Cherish Each Moment Through Loss and Uncertainty 

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Photography: Camille Marie Photography