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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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.

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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

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

Gift Guide for Her!

The Christmas season is upon us! To kickstart the season I created a gift guide for the women in your life. Most of these items are under $30 and very well reviewed on Amazon*

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1. Oster Waffle Maker 

Who doesn’t like to wake up and make waffles on a Saturday morning? For under $30 this waffle maker is well reviewed-makes perfect size waffles, one of the best waffle makers ever owned, fast, no spill over. This is the perfect gift for anyone who wants a simple, quick way to make homemade waffles

2. Portable Charger

This is a must for the busy lady in your life. Michael and I bought a portable charger over the summer and it has been so convenient! Whether you’re camping, shopping, or spending a long day at school this is a must to avoid being stuck without a phone.

3.  Baseball Hat

I love this cute hat for a workout or walking in the rain. Every girl needs a cute ball hat in her closet!

4. Makeup Brushes

Having decent makeup brushes has changed the way I do makeup. These would be a great upgrade from basic brushes as they include 5 eyeshadow brushes perfect for blending and buffing. The brushes were reviewed as being soft and thick and better than more expensive ones.

5. Cards Against Humanity

I have heard great things about this game! This would be a great addition to game night. It has an overwhelming 5-star review. Each round one player picks a black card and all other players select a white card to respond. Just a warning this game is for adults if you’re looking for a more family-friendly version check out Apples to Apples.

6. Under Armour Water Bottle

This cute functional water bottle would be a great stocking stuffer or addon to the baseball hat. For those tracking their water intake, it holds exactly 1 L.

7. Blanket Scarf

Blanket scarves are one of the best fashion inventions, I am always cold! With this scarf, I can look cute and stay warm #needisaymore?

8. Notebook

I’m always writing down ideas or journaling. This adorable notebook is perfect to keep by your bed on in your purse.

9. Contigo Travel Mug

I have this mug and my husband who works 12-hour shifts uses it to keep his coffee warm. He loves it because his coffee stays hot for his entire shift. It holds 24 oz which is equivalent to an extra large coffee at Tim Hortons.

10. Adidas Sneakers

These shoes are so popular right now! If the lady in your life doesn’t have these shoes she will be so happy when you give them to her. They are perfect for the gym, running errands or going out with friends. These sneakers are so versatile and so cute! You will thank me later for suggesting them (;

11. Cosmetics Organizer

When I found this on Amazon I got so excited! I love being organized and being able to see all my makeup when getting ready. This is a must for the girl who loves makeup and has a lot of it. Makeup brushes would go great with this too!

 

 

If you found this list helpful be sure to share it!

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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

I Thought I’d be a Perfect Wife Newlywed Reflections~Month 2

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

I Thought I’d be a Perfect Wife…

I’m using a bit of hyperbole here, but I thought I would be a whole lot better at this wife thing. I’ve read marriage books, listened to countless Focus on the Family Podcasts, read blog after blog on all issues surrounding marriage and heard a multitude of sermons on the topic in addition to my personal study of marriage within the Bible. People encouraged me that I’d be such a great wife one day. I went into marriage with all this confidence and skill…

I Thought I'd Be A Perfect Wife

Then reality happened and at times pride got in the way of my idealist goals. At the core I expected things to be different. I know expectations are a set up for failure and dashed hopes. Alas, they are inevitable. At times I’ve felt jaded that we didn’t get more time together to do normal things like eat dinner together and chill. Other times I’ve appreciated our separation because I treasure our moments together so much more. A couple weekends ago I was driving with Mike to go get food and I was just so happy. That was our first time alone together for almost a whole week. I just missed being in his presence.

Nonetheless, this plight of mine is only reflective of a short 3.5 month season. I’m sure the next season of work and school this coming fall will bring its own challenges. In addition, I’m sure my exposure to other young married couples on social media isn’t helping my expectations. It seems that some couples spend endless amounts of time together going on spontaneous picture perfect adventures on a regular weekday. Consequently, I fall into the trap of comparison and jealousy very easily. As a result, I get down and feel unappreciative of my incredibly blessed and fortunate circumstances.

Dashed