When Christine Met Brad

Today’s guest post is from Christine Leeb who has a burning message to share about marriage. Just when they thought theirs was over God stepped in. 

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Our journey together began in college in the fall of 1996. He was the Graduate Assistant for the marching band and I was on the dance team. The first time I saw him, I thought he was the cutest guy I had ever seen. It didn’t matter that he was wearing a Huckleberry Hound t-shirt, khaki shorts with white socks and sandals, he had the most amazing blue eyes. I was instantly smitten.

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At good ‘ole Eastern Illinois University—what’s with all the crackers?

Our relationship was not pretty. In fact, anyone who knew my husband and I when we first started dating would have voted us “The Couple Most Likely to be Divorced”. I’m sure that some of our friends that knew us are shocked that we are still together today, and frankly, so am I. I say this, not out of disrespect for marriage, but because we didn’t do anything right from the beginning. Even as a dating couple, we were a disaster.

We loved each other, but we didn’t do it well. There was a lot of breaking up, a lot of fighting and finally after 4 years of dating and an ultimatum later, he finally proposed. Why? Only God knows. Ultimatums are not a good way to start out a marriage. Regardless, less than 6 months later, on July 8, 2000, we were married,

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Marriage for us was not easy. In fact, a book describing our marriage for the first 8-9 years would be called What Not To Do For A Successful Marriage with a subtitle–Whatever Brad and Christine are Doing, Do the Exact Opposite! This was difficult for us because my parents had been married for 30some years and Brad’s parents had been married for over 40some years at the time. So why couldn’t we do it?

No one ever told us how hard marriage was. It was frustrating.
There was definitely love there. There was definitely friendship. There was definitely common ground. And when things were good, they were really good, but when things were bad, they were really bad. In 2009, our marriage completely fell apart. It all happened right after a 4 year struggle with infertility. Right after we miraculously got pregnant with our beautiful boy, Ben.

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That was when our marriage almost ended in divorce. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but it’s true. Now, our marriage is stronger and better than it’s ever been, but we can’t believe how close we came to ending it…to giving up. Don’t ever doubt Him! Brad and I get teary-eyed just thinking about the fact that had we not fought to save our marriage, we wouldn’t have had two more blessings added to our family! Thank God, for not giving up on us!

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Even though it seemed to us that Ben came at the worst time in our marriage God knew that it was the perfect time. He always does, right? God knew that if He blessed us with a child at the exact same time that our marriage was about to end, we would fight to save it.

And, so, we went to marriage counseling. I remember feeling embarrassed that we had to go. I didn’t even want to tell my parents. When I did, though, my dad says (in his Mattoon, IL southern accent–yes, we Illinoisans have a southern accent) “Well, I’m sure you’re mother and I needed marriage counseling, we just never went to marriage counseling.”

The first two or three maybe even four of our sessions were just Brad and I talking and yelling at each other while the counselor just sat there with his mouth open. For over a year we continued to go to counseling, and we made progress, but trust me, it got worse before it got better. It seemed that for every step forward that we’d take, we would take 100 steps back. It felt hopeless. It felt like we were never going to move forward and heal. I wanted to give up, but I didn’t.
At this point either one of us could have left. Either one of us could have given up, but we didn’t. We never gave up on us! We kept trying to make it work! It was tough. It was not fun to hold the mirror up to our faces and to really take a good at ourselves and see how much we had hurt each other. But we both faced our demons head on, and we were ready to get it all out! Look out!!!

So much came out during these sessions. We realized that we lived over 8 years with a marriage that was not God-centered. It was a marriage that was not protected. Because of that, the enemy attacked our marriage in every way. The enemy seeks to kill, steal, and destroy every marriage. We had so much brokenness that we didn’t even realize it. We struggled with jealousy, selfishness, lack of trust, disrespect, lack of communication, lack of time together, lack of making our marriage a priority, depression, oh—and, don’t forget the 4 years of infertility thrown into the mix, and the list goes on. All of this mess built up into 8 years of resentment, lack of forgiveness, and anger towards one another. It was ugly.
I will never forget the turning point for us: I got so angry at him one night that I screamed and screamed at the top of my lungs about how mad at him that I was. After that, I’m convinced that God said: “Ok, you’ve said your piece. Now be quiet.” He shut my mouth for eight days. Yes, eight days. We didn’t talk to each other at all. Instead we wrote letters. We wrote and wrote—page after page. We got everything out. Thousands of words. Miles of hurt. Eight years of questions. Eight years of pain. Eight years of destruction. Out. FINALLY—-We were free. Praise the Lord. There was hope.
Not to say that things were perfect from then on, but it was a start—a fresh start! A start to freedom. A start to a healthier communication. A start to an amazing NEW friendship and love. A start to rebuilding a marriage with a foundation of trust. A start of a new marriage with God in the center just the way He intended marriage to be!
In June of 2010, Brad and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. After a year and a half of literally starting our marriage over and building it from the ground up, we chose to celebrate our fresh start in a big way. We traveled out to Napa California.Napa Vacation 2010070

We wore our wedding attire and we renewed our vows on a hot air balloon ride over the valley. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It was heavenly. I could feel God smiling.

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Even after almost 16 years together, we are still working on our marriage. Marriage is always a work in progress. We, as individuals, are always a work in progress. Brad and I thank God for pursuing us, changing us, and loving us so much that He used our past to help us build a better future. He helped us to grow closer to each other and to Him. And we are now able to set an example to our children as to what a healthy marriage should be. We are so thankful that God never gave up on us. He kept trying. But that’s not all there is—we had to never give up too. We had to keep trying too.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU

No matter what your struggle is- obviously for me, it was my marriage. For you, it might be your marriage too or it might be something else. No matter what your challenge is, just know that God will never give up on you and He will always keep trying to find new ways to pursue you. In any way that you feel hopeless, may God bring you hope.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12: 12
Together, Brad and I came up with a list of 10 tips that have helped us to have a healthier marriage. We pray they help you too…

1. Put God at the center of your marriage. Even though we have different religions, we still pray together. Pray for each other. Pray! Pray! Pray!
2. Grow together. Be willing to learn from each other.
3. Communicate. Don’t let little things turn into big things. Find out how you both communicate best. And Listen!
4. It is not your job to make each other happy. We are in charge of our own happiness. Instead, show each other unconditional love, encouragement, respect, and support.
5. Laugh together. Find the humor in little things. Always be on each other’s side.
6. Be honest—even if it’s not what the other person wants to hear.
7. Admit when you’re wrong. More importantly, tell your spouse when he’s/she’s right (even though it doesn’t happen that he’s right very often…hehe.).
8. Sometimes some things just don’t need to be said.
9. Don’t let solvable problems be the robber of your time, energy, thoughts and joy.
10. Find something you both enjoy doing together. Be willing to try new things together and get involved in each other’s interests. Be silly and have fun together!

Banana Peel CHRISTINE LEEB is The Real Mom–she has a messy kitchen, loses her patience with her kids, hides brownies from her family, and keeps motherhood real through 4Real Moms—an organization encouraging moms to be real while helping them be the best moms God created them to be. She is a speaker, writer, and Christian Life Coach. She is the author of In His Light: Facing Fear with Faith and three ebooks: Best In-Home Date Nights That Don’t Involve the TV, Blessed in the Mess: 10 Ways to Find Balance in Motherhood, and 22 Ways to Love Your Husband Like a Boyfriend Again which has an on-going 14-Day Challenge for wives to take– JOIN NOW. www.4realmoms.com
By | February 26th, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|4 Comments

When Bill Met Loretta

It was 1963 and Bill was a Senior at Hub City Bible Insitue in South Dakota. When he met Loretta he knew she was the one. She was a petite blue eyed beauty who had plenty of boys pursuing her, but Bill didn’t let that stop him and he asked her out. Loretta decided to give Bill a chance and their relationship grew and grew. Being at a conservatie Bible school there were very strict guidelines about how much time a couple could spend “courting” and those hours were logged. Bill and Loretta were supposed to limit it to one hour a week, but they couldn’t bear to be apart that often so they decided they would spend their time together studying in the library. It was just the loophole they needed in order to see each other more.

Things began to get serious and it was time for Bill to meet Loretta’s family. Loretta’s family was of German descent and they went to a German church where it was customary at the time for the men to sit on one side and the women on the other. However the service was in German and Bill didn’t speak German. So yet again they found their loophole and they convinced those in charge they needed to sit together so that Loretta could interpret the service for Bill.

At this point they had been together for over a year and they were still spending their days “studying” at the library. The library was a special place for them. It’s where they really got to know each other and Bill cherished the significance of those moments enough that he thought it would be a great place to propose. So one day while they were at the library he asked her to marry him using a game of hangman. Of course she said yes and they began to plan a wedding.

Loretta wanted to make sure the day was perfect. She made her own wedding dress. She had family and friends enlisted to help with all the details. They even hid their car in a grain elevator so no pranksters (like Bill’s brother for example) would try to do anything to it. Then on October 23 , 1964 before their family, friends, and church they became husband and wife.

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They immediately began their ministry together. Everything they did was to build the kingdom and give glory and honor to their savior Jesus Christ. They were married for two years before they had their son Kendall and then a couple years later Jonathan. After 8 years Loretta wanted to try once more for a daughter. She convinced Bill that they were certain to have a baby girl this time. Soon enough they were expecting baby number 3. The nursery was decorated and the hospital bags were packed with all things pink and finally little David was born. That’s right . They had their third son.

It might not have been what they were expecting but God had blessed them with three healthy boys that grew up as strong leaders who serve the Lord. Loretta eventually had three wonderful daughter in laws that she was very close with. She and Bill also had the joy of getting to be grandparents to 11 grandchildren. Sadly, one of their granddaughters was still born and went to be with Jesus at birth. It was difficult for the family to experience this loss, but they clung to each other and to the word of God during this trying time.

Bill’s favorite Bible verse was “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal Isaiah 26:3.

That verse and the supernatural peace of the Holy Spirit is what carried them through many trying times, like when Loretta was diagnosed with breast cancer. Bill had to become her caregiver and it was season of testing, and trusting in God like never before . Everyone was praying diligenty in the midst of this hardship, and miraculously Loretta had an incredible turn around. She felt whole and was able to garden and cook and do all the things she loved doing. Her well being came at the perfect time because unfortunately this season of testing wasn’t quite over yet.

In the summer of 2015 Bill had an aneurism and it was Loretta’s turn to care for Bill. Due to a terrible fall off of a ladder along with his deteriorating health, Bill ended up in a nursing home. They never enjoyed being apart and it felt dark and lonely. Bill  wasn’t supposed to leave the nursing home at all until he was completely approved for discharge, but once again they found a loophole! Loretta convinced the medical team that it would be nice for Bill to step out just briefly since they knew he was on the mend. The staff approved this request and so they snuck off together. Bill took off his neck brace and back brace and those two crazy love birds managed to have a patriotic photo together that day for the church directory.

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Soon after that they were both back home going to church and having meals with family. Loretta was getting to paint the granddaughters nails and share stories with them while Bill was tinkering in the garage with the boys. They had been married for over 50 years and in ministry together that whole time. They were blessed and they knew it. Then when they least expected it Loretta’s health took a turn for the worse, again. Then one morning as Loretta was lying in bed under the careful watch of the hospice nurse, the nurse pulled Bill aside and told him that she thought she had about 30 days to live. Bill told her that he felt like she would be gone by the coming Saturday, 5 days from then. The nurse argued a bit wanting Bill to hang on to all hope, but Bill stood his ground. Then Bill looked her in the eye and said “and I will be going home shortly after”. He shared this with everyone from his son’s foreign exchange student to the pharmacist. He was insistant. The nurse was concerned and warned the family to watch him carefully for possible suicidality following Loretta’s death. Bill’s sons felt that although he implied heaven when he said he was going home, maybe he really just meant his own house. Five days later Loretta passed ways just as Bill had said.

It was a sad day for everyone. Loretta was a light that had impacted so many and now she was gone. The family mourned while at the same time celebrating her homecoming.

Bill went back to working on projects in the garage and spending time with his family. It was his first time alone in 50 years, but the peace of God was with him. Then a month after Loretta’s passing Bill had a sudden stroke that took his life and he too went to be with the Lord. It may have been unexpected to the family, but Bill knew it in his heart and spirit all along.

Bill and Loretta had a commitment to Christ and to each other that is the rarest of treasures. The legacy they leave behind is one that is evident in their families and will trickle down for generations and generations to come.

When Loretta passed away on October 17, 2015 they used that patriotic photo for her obiturary, but Bill was cropped out. When Bill passed away on November 18, 2015 they used that same photo and this time Loretta was cropped out. However, if you look really close in Loretta’s photo you’ll see Bill’s shoulder in the corner and if you look close at Bill’s photo you can spot some of Loretta’s hair. They were in eachothers obiturary photos. Just like they managed to be together in the library, or in the old German church, or the nursing home, they found their loophole.

By | February 25th, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|7 Comments

When Amanda Met Les

Today’s post is a real treat as Amanda White shares the story of how she met her husband and embarked on their journey of serving God together. They are just too cute!

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My husband says I picked him up.

I say I’m just friendly.

We both went to a local community college. We had to park in the commuter lot and walk through the woods to get to the first building on campus. We had both been sitting in our respective cars waiting till the next class. I heard the music in his car and was pretty sure it was Jars of Clay. As a Christian music fan of the early 90’s, I could spot Jars a mile away.

Finally, we both got out of our cars and he was walking a few paces ahead of me. That was when I noticed his shirt. It was a concert shirt by the band, Dakoda Motor Company. Now, if you’ve ever heard of this band, it’s because you were in the throes of Christian Music culture like my family and I were. We went to all the festivals, stayed after concerts and collected every CD that the Christian music industry put out there.

Dakoda Motor Company was one of our indie faves!

I ran up to this Christian-music-fan and said, “Hey! Is that a Dakoda Motor Company shirt?” (He says THAT was the pick-up line!) and we started talking. I asked him what his major was. He said, “Religion.” Well, as any good Christian knows, religion is the word Christians use when talking to non-Christians about their major when they are really studying to be pastors or missionaries. Religion is a nice and basic word that won’t require a lot of eye-raising if you’re not a Christian and you run across a guy who wants to be a missionary as a college student.

I knew his game. So, I said, “Oh, yeah? What do you want to do?”

He said, “Be a children’s evangelist.”

Well. That one stopped me cold.

Because that was actually what I wanted to do, too.

My mom had been involved in full-time children’s ministry at our church almost my whole childhood. I was on puppet and drama teams, worked in children’s church every Sunday and really and truly couldn’t think of anything else I could do with my life. The evangelist part of it was just because I thought it would be fun to travel and be on the stage every night.

So, my next sentence probably really was my pick up line: “Me, too.”

I think we basically dated from that second on.

A few days later he called (I think there’s some guy rule about waiting two days before you call a girl.) and we began to meet for lunch at school, did homework together and essentially began planning our lives together. Because how often do you meet a guy who wants to do the same really weird job as you?

It was three years later that we were married. We moved into some government apartments in north Georgia and worked out the outlet malls while we went to a (different) Christian college. We spent our internship in Oklahoma working at one of the country’s premier children’s ministries. We started traveling around with our little truck and trailer to churches doing “kids crusades” with puppets and music and magic tricks and object lessons.

We spent the next seven years being Les-and-Amanda. We traveled all over the country–from Colorado to New York, to Georgia to New Mexico. We lived in five different states, worked at two churches, visited 35 states and half that time didn’t have a home to call our own. We were nomads doing exactly what we said we’d do the first three minutes we met.

When we had our first baby, a little girl named Lydia, our mission was still the same–tell kids about Jesus. But the kids turned to KID and our world revolved around leading this one little girl to Jesus. We ended up moving back home to Atlanta, lived near our parents and volunteered at a local church. Today, we have two kids and my husband doesn’t do puppets or travel as his daily job, but he empowers me to be at home with our kids leading them to Jesus. He owns three businesses, climbs roofs and makes sales so I can write and help parents lead their kids to Jesus. He sings in the elementary department at our church each Sunday–leading kids in worship to Jesus.

It’s weird how our lives move and change. We have the same passion for kids and God. It’s just moved into a different stream. We don’t just hop in our truck and drive to a new state and meet new people anymore. But we still get to work hard together every day–on daily marriage stuff, on raising our kids and preparing for our future as a family and couple.

Sometimes I forget our story. I don’t always like to look back to when I was a teenager and early twenty-something because let’s face it, that’s not the wisest years of your life. But when I do look back, I am amazed at how God’s finger has been writing our story–how God brought us together at that certain time and place, to meet and to connect and to one day form a family for Him.

And clearly, I’m thankful to Dakoda Motor Company for making music and concert tees!

 

les amanda

 

 

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Amanda White is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at ohAmanda.com and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands and A Sense of the Resurrection an Easter Experience for Families. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!
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By | February 24th, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|5 Comments

When Amanda Met Michael

Today I am kicking off the 2016 How We Met series of love stories with a  guest post from Air Force veteran Amanda Huffman. She will be  telling us the story of how she met her husband in the military.

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Michael and I met for the first time at a football game. We were actually volunteering for the Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) we were both a part of to help raise funds for activities throughout the year, but it was for a college football game, we were helping park cars. I was assigned to the Purple lot and he was the leader. It was his first time being a leader of a parking lot and when we were sent to the lot no one really had a clue what was going on. Huffman (my hubby) was receiving instruction from the people coordinating traffic and a group of us stood not knowing what to do. I asked one of the girls do you know his name, she said I think it is Huffman, I yelled “Hey, what are we supposed to do?” He made a hand gesture, which I now know means, I don’t know, just wait. Somehow, we got the point and we waited for further instruction and eventually got to our spots and began parking cars.

A few months went by and our paths crossed again. This time we were on a military base visit (Nellis Air Force Base, near Las Vegas). His friend was my flight commander and so our paths kept crossing and it culminated with a group of 13 wandering from casino to casino down the Las Vegas strip.

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A few months later, I signed up for a trip to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. I signed up to go because a guy I liked was going. My future husband was coordinating the trip so when he called to ask what tours I wanted to do I tried to find out what my crush was doing so I talked to him a lot to try and figure out what my crush was doing. The trip ended up being a great experience. Michael and I talked and at the end of the trip he thought I might be the one. I still had no clue.

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A few weeks later we ended up going to see Passion of the Christ with a few other guys and he walked me back to my car and we set up a “date” to help me learn a military maneuver I was struggling with. Driving to our “date” I remember wearing my love potion shirt and being so excited, nervous and confused. I wasn’t even sure I liked this guy and I was finally happy with myself. I had decided over Christmas break I was tired of trying to pretend to be someone so people would like me and just was free to be me. The trip to Lawrence Livermore was in February and we saw the movie in March. Each day our paths would cross, sometimes strategically by me, other times by him. We ended up spending a weekend in mid-March at an Army training that I am unsure how I got signed up to. The one thing I learned was how happy I was to be in the Air Force training program and my feelings for Michael started to grow. We spent all of our downtime together talking and getting to know each other and by the end of the weekend we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend.

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I think it is funny that our paths crossed over and over and most of the time it just went unnoticed, but it was meant to be. We finally got the hints we were given and ended up together and then were never apart.
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Michael and I got married March 31, 2007 in his hometown. He was already officially in the Air Force and I was about to graduate college and follow him to New Mexico. I served in the Air Force for six years before separating to stay at home with our now two sons. We have lived in New Mexico, Ohio and now California. We have had so many amazing adventures together and life is so much more than I ever expected.

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Amanda Huffman blogs at Airman2Mom www.airmantomom.com with stories incorporating life experience from motherhood and daily life while occasionally throwing in memories from her Afghanistan deployment. Her blog is a source or encouragement and inspiration to others on their own life journey . You can follow Amanda by liking Airman to mom on Facebook page, or following her twitter.

 

Thank you for sharing your story Amanda and more importantly, thank you to you and your husband Michael for serving our country.

 

By | February 22nd, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|8 Comments

How We Met 2

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I am pretty excited, okay EXTREMELY excited about the 2nd annual installment of “How We Met”- a series of love stories. I’ll be kicking it off on Monday, but before that I wanted to take a look back at last year’s couples and give an update of what’s gone on since this time last year. I’ll give you a hint. It starts with a B and ends with abies!

Karin and Cameron (the couple that were found to be compatible in a Lifespan development class)12565401_10153815637325930_1320024551978135448_n are expecting their first baby! They are having a girl and she is due in a couple weeks. Congratulations to them. I can’t wait to get the text when that sweet little bundle arrives!

Kailei and Brad (the couple that met in preschool) had a baby last March and her name is Kymri. Kailei emailed me recently and says “She has made our life even sweeter and we have loved every minute of being parents!” Congratulations to them too. She’s beautiful.

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Andrea and Mike (the couple who met at the gym) ALSO had a baby! Solomon James was born November 3rd. He is their 8th boy in a row which the Doctor said is extremely rare. He sure is a precious little bird.

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Nancy and Richard (the couple who met in the school parking lot) have a new grand baby! It’s my sweet Elle.
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She is the 7th grandchild and my sister in law is due any day now. That will make 8 grandkids in 8 years for the Weavers.

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The next baby is a boy so it will be 4 and 4!

Anyway, I couldn’t help but share the baby news I have from these lovely Messy Mom contributors. Be sure to come back on Monday when “How We Met” returns.

By | February 19th, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|3 Comments

I Fell In Love and Married Too Young.

I was engaged 15 years ago (so I was barely 18) and I got married 3 months later.

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Statistically speaking people married under the age of 25 are at a much higher risk for divorce. Low income families are too. Short engagements make your chances of success even lower.

We were all of the above and then some. Some would call our marriage a recipe for disaster, yet we’ve already beaten the odds just getting past the 10 year mark.

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So how is it that we have a  strong healthy marriage after 15 years even while undergoing so much struggle?

First of all it’s because we have a redeeming Savior that we rely on to get us through the hard times. “There but for the grace of God go I” is one of my all time favorite sayings.

I don’t want anything I say to be hurtful or judgmental. Marriage is SO COMPLICATED and each situation is completely different. We’ve seen many dear friends and family members walk through the pain and difficulty of seperation so I am not trying to sum up the key to marital success in under a thousand words.

What I do want to say is that I see a trend in our culture that I think is misleading. I call it the calculated marriage.

On average most people will spend a quarter of their life single. Then they spend a few years dating and being engaged to their spouse. At this point you would have MOST of your life ahead of you.

Here’s a terribly unscientific pie chart to explain what I mean.

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What I see happening is that everyone (Christian or not) is putting ALL the emphasis on that tiny fraction of the pie that I have labeled courting (shown in orange).

Some suggest living together during courtship so that you really know what life is like. Others suggest a parent led courtship where the families are heavily involved. There are websites designed to match you up with your most compatible partner. I’ve seen advice that you should stay single longer, date longer, marry someone you’ve known for a long time, be financially stable, have a college degree, get plenty of counseling, own a pet first, marry someone who has never been divorced, or I saw an article shared on Facebook yesterday that talked about the stigma of having divorced parents.

The list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important to consider, but I am going to make anunpopular claim and say that we are putting the emphasis in the wrong place.

I believe that the reason J and I (and the many many other couples I know in the same boat) have defied the odds is because we put the work in before we even met each other and then really got our elbows dirty after we sealed the deal. So we may have rushed through the “orange” phase, but you see all that green and yellow? We have invested a lot into those years and hopefully the years to come.

We were taught to believe that marriage takes work and divorce is not an option. We were working on our relationships with the Lord while we were single (and therefore working on what it takes to have a successful marriage). We have had to fight for our marriage especially in those first 5 years! I’m glad we had no way out in those dark moments because now I get to see all the wonderful things we would have missed!

Let me use an analogy. Let’s say there is a young woman that dreams of having a nice car some day. She carpools and rides the bus as she diligently saves up for her dream car. Her focus and motivation is getting the perfect car. She believes that if she does all the research and gets a car that has great gas milage, high safety ratings, a history of longevity, and luxurious amenities then she knows she will be happy.

The day comes that she finds the ONE. It’s perfect. She doesn’t rush in and buy it either. She finishes saving up and pays CASH! It sounds like the epitome of self discipline and responsibility.

The problem is, she goes to get the car without a drivers license! She assumed she would be able to learn to drive once she had a car to practice with.

To make matters worse she doesn’t keep up with the maintence on the car. The car she worked so hard to get is banged up and run down fast because she doesn’t know how to drive it or take care of issues when they arise. She was completely focused on the vehicle and her checklist, but put little thought into what it really means to drive or take ownership.

The point I am trying to make is that while the vehicle and the purchase is important it’s not even the most important part. Of course there are things you can do to make wise choices while you date or are engaged. For starters the Bible talks about being equally yoked and that’s HUGE, but it’s only a part of the equation. You have to learn about commitment and choose covenant everyday in every aspect of life. Then when you are married you implement what you’ve learned. You walk it out. It takes two and that’s the hard part, but it’s so rewarding.

There are some people that operate with caution by nature and if you want to get a license, save up for the perfect car, AND take good care of it too then that’s great. My concern is for those that think the calculated marriage is going to solve the divorce epidemic.

Marriage is a big decision that should not be taken lightly, but deep down I still stubbornly believe that some of the best things in life are uncalculated.

now

By | July 21st, 2015|Marriage, Uncategorized|7 Comments

The “I Love Lucy” Chemistry

I got free tickets to see I Love Lucy live at the Aranoff theater in Cincinnati and it was such a great experience. I used to watch reruns of the show back in the day. Watching it as an adult made me realize just how much my husband and I are just like Lucy and Ricky! I am the quirky free spirited one always trying new things and getting myself into some kind of trouble, while J is a little more grounded and inclined to overthink think things through.

It’s a great combination though and it’s not uncommon for opposites to attract. There is often chemistry there. Even in fictional love stories there are numerous times where Type A personality + Type B personality = True Love. I’m no movie or television buff, but I did my best to come up with a list of characters that have that “I Love Lucy” chemistry. Maybe you can help me add to it.

1. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo (I Love Lucy)

ILoveLucy

I already ‘splained myself on this one. Quirky meets grounded and BAM! Match made in heaven.

2. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)

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It’s not unlikely for this personality combination to start as a love/hate relationship, as was the case with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Darcy is about as straight laced as they come seeing everything in black and white. Elizabeth on he other hand was raised with an entirely different set of values and has “a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous” (to quote Jane Austen). Yet, it works. Sounds like another Lucy and Ricky to me.

3. Maria and Captain von Trapp (Sound of Music)

tumblr_nmy179bRN91t1g01wo7_1280Um, can we say opposite? Another classic example of how a serious military guy can fall for a singing dancing “flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!” such as Maria. Once again, it took a while for them to realize their love, but it doesn’t get any more perfect than the captain and Maria.

4. Fran Fine and Mr. Sheffield (The Nanny)

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If you are looking for the 1990’s modern adaptation of all of these love stories than look no further than the hit sitcom “The Nanny”. A wealthy widower who is reserved and proper ends up with a flashy, sassy, hot mess from Flushing Queens when Fran becomes the nanny of Mr. Sheffield’s three children. Of course it takes 5 of 6 seasons for them to admit their feelings, but they do end up happily ever after.

5. Cory and Topanga (Boy Meets World)

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Another 90’s sitcom (sorry that’s my era). First of all how cool is it that we watched this connection start as children and now there is a spin off series where they are still married and have children!? Even though Cory and Topanga definitely mellow out a little making it less obvious how opposites attract. But let’s not forget that Topanga was a total hippy when she met the nerdy little Cory Matthews. Cory describes his love for Toganga by saying

“She gave me my first kiss. She taught me how to dance. She was always talking about these crazy things and I never understood a word she said. All I understood was that she was the girl I sat up every night thinking about.”

So that’s why I say Cory and Topanga fit the bill for straight laced guy and free spirited gal.

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7. Joe and Anya (Roman Holiday)

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Even though this classic black and white Audry Hepburn film doesn’t really end up as a love story I think it still shows that same pattern. A dedicated reporter tries to stay focused on business while the care free spontaneous princess just wants to chop off her hair, hop on a motorcycle, and live life to the fullest! At first Joe just wanted to get the story for his career, but in the end love, loyalty, and passion win him over.

8. Emmett and Wyldstyle (Lego Movie)

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You can laugh if you want, but are Emmett and Wyldstyle from the Lego movie not the perfect example of the rule following guy totally falling for the independent artsy chick? I’ll admit Wyldstyle is way more serious than the playful free wheeling girls I have listed above, but she definitely likes to march to the beat of her own drum and eventually Emmett does too! Not to mention Wyld Style’s real name is LUCY. It’s like this I love Lucy comparison has gone full circle!

9. Ross and Rachel (Friends)

rossandrachel

Ross Geller was the focused and introverted paleontologist while Rachel Green was a bit of a loose cannon who had many different jobs throughout the show. They were the unlikely nerd and cheerleader opposite combo that finally settled down together in the end. For that reason I  would say this ultimate sitcom couple had a little “I Love Lucy” chemistry going on.

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10. Belle and The Beast (Beauty and the Beast)

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I know this is a stretch, but just think about it. Belle is that same dreamer, non conformist, make your own path leading lady and while we don’t know a ton about the Beast it’s safe to say he had that type A personality that would make them an opposite couple. I am sure you know the story so I won’t go into detail, but once again true love wins in the end!


 

So those are my picks for fictional couples with “I Love Lucy” chemistry. Although, I should mention it doesn’t have to be the male that has the A type personality.
 There is Danny and Sandy from Greece, or Allie and Noah from the Notebook (he was the one to bring her out of her shell), or even though I do realize they were cartoon dogs Lady and the Tramp is another prime example. I should stop before I come up with another list of ten. Feel free to add your own. I am sure there are lots more.

 

Are you an I Love Lucy Couple? 

By | June 11th, 2015|Marriage, Uncategorized|16 Comments

10 Ways To Feel Loved and Adored By Your Spouse

10waystofeellovedandadoredbyyourspouse

(originally posted on November 11, 2013)

Imagine your husband brings home a rare painting in an ornate frame and he wants to hang it up in the living room, but you can’t find any nails, or hooks. So you try to put this heavy piece of art work on the wall with some double sided scotch tape. It is not going to work. Even if you put rolls and rolls of tape, it might stick for a moment, but then it is going to fall off and you’ll be in worse shape then when you started because there may be damage to the painting.

That’s how it is sometimes in marriage. Some women are made of rubber when it comes to receiving compliments and affection. We can blame our husbands all day long (and they probably deserve some of it), but like I tell my kids “you are responsible for yourself”.  There are a lot of husbands out there that are geniunly in love with their wives, but dare I say we aren’t feeling it.

I am not an expert on marriage in any way,  but my marriage and self confidence has seen a lot of ups and downs in the past 15 years! So if you have a moment, I would like to share some advice for how to start feeling the love.


1. Quit Dodging His Compliments

JoAnne Summers (a pastor’s wife in Dallas Texas) shared at a women’s conference years ago that when responding to compliments you should try saying “That’s a nice thing to say”. My mom and I have joked about this for YEARS and we can’t say it now without bursting into laughter, but it has stuck with us. The point is, just take the compliment. Obviously “thank you” works too. Just keep it simple. If you want to resist a compliment for example:

  • I like your hair- “Are you kidding, there is so much humidity today, it’s a disaster” or
  • That soup was tasty-  “well, I probably shouldn’t have put so much salt in it.”

Instead revert to these tried and true lines, “Thank you, that is really nice of you!” The end.


2. Be Quiet

Since my daughter received her cochlear implants I have had to have training in learning how to talk with her and encourage a response. Sometimes when teaching a young child or baby to speak we may repeatedly say “Mama… ma ma… say mama sweetie. Can you say ma ma?” All the while the child may be like, I would, but I don’t want to interrupt. I was told this is a common mistake for parents with special needs children. You want to encourage them so badly that you flood them with language and forget to pause. I’m talking about a really nice long pause that is adequate enough for them to process and digest, and then potentially speak. Similary, women often have a tendency to talk a lot more then men and so maybe the reason you feel like you aren’t hearing what you need is that you aren’t giving him the chance to say it.

3. Shoulder to Shoulder Contact 

A guy doesn’t like to feel cornered into being emotional. Fishing for compliments isn’t ideal either. One way of encouraging the opportunity to bring back that loving feeling is through shoulder to shoulder contact which is covered in the book “Love and Respect”. Women like to chat face to face, dudes are more into doing an activity (like golf or video games) side by side. When I heard this it really made sense for my relationship. Men are more likely to open up and share some of there feelings when they aren’t on the spot. So I encourage you (and I) to try some shoulder to shoulder quality time with our significant others.


3. Love Yourself

Maybe the lack of love and adoration you feel is really coming from yourself. I know as women we feel inclined to put our own needs at the bottom of the list and put all other duties and obligations first. The problem is that the list is so long that you never get to the part where you get rest and are nurtured. It’s time to show yourself some love and you may feel instantly more “adorable”.


4. Believe Him

When your husband tells you look nice, or that he is happy in your relationship, just believe him. Rule number one about accepting the compliment is just the first step. Kind of like fake it ’til you make. The next step is to receive and believe the compliment. Back to my analogy of the big painting representing your husband’s love, I just want you to get rid of the double sided tape. I don’t care if your husband comes home with a cheap little poster that he bought at Walmart. I want you to get a drill and bolt that sucker to the wall, ya hear?


5. Know the Truth

We all know how much the devil loves to beat us up, and even more so how he loves to tear down a godly union. When you start doubting yourself, or your husband, or marriage turn your focus on God’s truth. There is a long list of references and truth verses here available for free download.


6. Know Your Love Language

  I think everyone is familiar with The 5 Love Languages by now. It is a must read. If you can figure out what makes you feel loved then you and your husband can work at gearing your activities and exchanges toward that thing. Also know what his love language is, because bless his heart he is probably trying to tell you he loves you in his own language.  When you realize that, you can see just how much he has been loving you all along. All the little cleaning up he was doing that you felt was undermining your domestic role was really his way of loving you with an act of service (not that I would know anything about that).


7. Be Yourself

Sometimes even full grown married women find themselves so desperate for affection that they try to put on an act. It’s never as appealing as the real you. If you are funny be funny. If you’re quiet natured that’s cute. If you’re into sports cool, but if fashion is your thing, own it. Being yourself is adorable.


8. Don’t Be Deceived By Fictional Romance  

We watch The Bachelor or read Nicholas Sparks and think romance comes looking like a Ryan Gosling Hey Girl meme. It’s really just a bunch of gunk. Sometimes we have to pull the plug on these things if they are causing more harm than good. I have even had Christian romance novels that ended up making me feel like my marriage was inadequate. Don’t hold your husband up to these unrealistic standards.  You may find yourself feeling more love and admiration when you stop limiting romance to chocolate and roses.


9. Stop husband comparing!

So Billy Bob writes poems for his wife every week and posts them on Facebook. Whoop-de-doo! I have fallen into the husband comparison trap before because my husband is an introvert and I have compared him to the extraverts that just live for PDA. This made me feel like my quiet husband was ashamed of me. So the man that would stand on a roof top and declare love for his bride is better than the man that actually lives it out behind closed doors? No. This is only one way we compare. Yours may be different, but none of it’s good. So don’t do it!

10. Ignore This List
Okay, maybe you don’t have to completely ignore this list. But I don’t want it to be another set of rules for you to have to follow, especially with today’s abundance of advice available via social media. Reading too many online articles and self help books telling you how to have the perfect marriage can often end up being more pressure and stress than they’re worth. I hope that some of these tips might be helpful, and have connected with you as they have with me, but I also hope they aren’t preachy and weighty. Just have fun with your spouse and relax a bit. You’ll start to feel more genuine connection that way than you ever will following some formula.
At the end of the day just remember that no matter what, you really are adorable. I mean it!

By | May 24th, 2015|Family, Marriage|18 Comments

When Richard Met Nancy

I first met Nancy in high school. I was in my senior year and near graduation. My kid brother had a crush on her. I encouraged him to ask her out. He was very shy and introverted however, so to encourage him I said, “Well if you won’t ask her out, I will!” He never did.
One day when I was leaving school, there she was, sitting on the grass, struggling to draw a sketch of my car for art class. It was an International Harvester “Scout” in what today might be called an SUV.
I stopped and chatted a bit, but I didn’t want to drive off with her subject matter, so I offered to help her with it. My family was comprised of artists, and drawing and painting were my strongest skills throughout school. I basically drew it for her. Our art teacher was wise enough to recognize that it wasn’t her work.
 This isn’t THE drawing, but this is what it looked like. I did this one on the computer.
After finishing the drawing I offered to give Her a ride home. She lived 15 miles away and required driving through a different state to get to her home. She didn’t want to impose, but I insisted “Not a problem, it is right on my way.” It was really 30 miles out of my way.
Soon after that was “Senior Skip Day” which was an annual event where classes were winding down and seniors were wanting to sow their wild oats. All my friends were trying to line up dates for the event.
Nancy was a junior, but I wanted to ask her out so I did and she accepted. By this time I was already falling for her and when she accepted my request, it was our first date, which sealed the deal for me; (1) because she was one of the most beautiful girls in our high school, and (2) she accepted.
Not unlike my kid brother, I was introverted and had a bad track record of being afraid of asking a girl out, but when I did being turned down. So I wasn’t going to let this one go if I could help it.
At the time I had my pilots license and was able to take Nancy for flights over the Vermont Mountains. We did everything together. It wasn’t long before we knew that we were in love. I always joke that she was my first and last date, which is the truth.
That is not to say our life has all been a romantic fairytale. Initially we had no moral restraint. We knew we wanted to get married, but I was heading off to college  and Nancy still had to finish high school. It wasn’t long and we got news that we were with child. I was wrestling with many sin issues in my life. I had no faith except for “dabbling” in Christian Science. Things finally reached a crescendo where I knew I had to change something, but had no idea how. I walked off the campus I was attending in central Vermont state and into the wilderness until I reached a clearing in the woods. I fell to my knees and prayed at a large boulder. I didn’t even know for sure if there was a God, but I didn’t know what else to do. God heard my prayer and I accepted His son Jesus Christ right there in the woods and THE greatest love came into my life.
Nancy and I both made that dreaded phone call to let our parents know the news. We had a shotgun wedding in the Catholic Church on New Year’s Eve. 30 years later on our anniversary we renewed our vows in our church with all our children present. Our pastor and spiritual father lead us in our vows.

Now we have been married 38 years. We have four children and six grandchildren to date.

Our favorite thing to do together is just spend time with our family. Our second favorite thing to do is travel. Nancy works for Delta and now that we are empty nesters we’ve been able to travel all over the country and even overseas. I joke that when we were dating I flew her around.

This is me with the plane I trained on.

 

38 years later she’s the one that’s flying me places (thanks to her employee benefits we both fly for free).
Nancy at the French Alps in 2014

                                                                      

  God has truly blessed us.
We are more in love today than ever.

This guest post was written by Richard Weaver and is a part of the series How We Met. You can find the rest of the series HERE on Messy Mom.com

By | February 13th, 2015|Marriage, Uncategorized|13 Comments

When Jennifer Met Scott


My husband and I met when I was just 16; we married 6 months later.I had been raised in a Christian home, but spent my early teen years running with a wild crowd. I ended up dropping out of school and then taking the California High School
Proficiency Exam. In the fall, at the age of 16, I enrolled in Jr. College.As Christmas of that year approached, I had grown weary of the weekly rounds of
nightclubs and the seedy life my friends and I were living. I can remember one night
being woken by my friend. I had been sleeping on the couch of her new boyfriend’s
apartment after a late night at a club, and an ex-girlfriend had come into the apartment
to threaten her. Terrified, we ran out the door and drove away. This was one of several
incidents which made the party life look less and less appealing.

In the early spring, after a few quiet months of going to school and work, my manager at
the clothing store where I had a part-time job finally convinced me to go on a blind date
with her boyfriend’s best friend. I had hesitated to become social with my co-workers
because I was uninterested in a boyfriend after my few years of craziness. There was
also one other small problem. I had lied about my age to get the job. This made an
honest social life seem a bit out of reach.

After several months of her telling me what a perfect couple we would make, she finally
convinced me to go on a date with their friend, and I am forever thankful that she did.

On our first date, my co-worker, her boyfriend and my date picked me up from my
home… in a pick up truck. With no back seat. So, my very first date with my husband, I
had to awkwardly sit on his lap in the cab of a tiny Toyota truck.

Our dates got better, and within three months of meeting, he proposed. My mom went
with us to the courthouse to give her permission for us to marry, and then we had a
lovely church wedding. Three years later we had our first child.

We will celebrate 25 years of marriage in September. We have had a lifetime of love, a
lot of kids, and loads of opportunities to forgive and to grow.

Although we didn’t start our married life as committed Christians, God was gracious to us and won our hearts. We have seen Him continue to pour out mercy and grace on us and our children throughout
our life together, and the latest gift has been the marriage ministry, Love After Marriage.
We went to a week long seminar and learned tools for reconciliation and communication
that have been instrumental in healing hurts and bringing new closeness and love into
our decades long marriage.

Marriage is a gift, and I am so thankful that God brought my husband and I together. He
is a God who gives good gifts.

 

Jennifer is a homeschool mom to seven children, and is married to her best friend Scott. They live on a small farm in Northern California and travel regularly to Mexico for outreach.
Her writing has been featured in magazines such as Above Rubies, Wild and Free, Home Educating Family, and Home School Enrichment and she is the author of the book, Bountiful Homeschooling on a Budget. She blogs at http://homeschoolingforthewholefamily.com or you can follow her on Instagram, @jennpepito. She is passionate about encouraging women as they love the husband and children God has blessed them with.
Thank you for joining us for this Valentine’s series of How We Met. Come back tomorrow for the final story of when Richard met Nancy! 
By | February 12th, 2015|Marriage, Uncategorized|6 Comments