"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, October 16, 2017

Embrace the weirdness {day 16}

One day - in the not so distant past - I walked into our kitchen to Logan dressed in all white, dancing with a broom. He was imitating Mr. Clean.

I’ve lost count of how many times Logan - when we’re out in public - gets down on one knee and acts like he’s about to propose. Again. Just to embarrass me.

Nothing shocks me anymore, I tell you. That’s life with Logan. There are many adjectives I could use to describe him, but maybe I should just go with “unique”. Sometimes it’s a little annoying that he sometimes acts, um, childish, but a lot of times it’s hilarious. I’ve learned to embrace the weirdness.

I’ve blogged about how he (very willingly) picked out my clothes for a week and found a cute dress on our Goodwill date. He probably cares more about my wardrobe than I do, but I suppose that’s a good thing, because I certainly need help in the fashion department.

More recently, Logan became determined to learn how to braid. I’m not sure why really, as our kids are all boys, and I hadn’t worn my hair in a braid since I was a kid. And Logan wasn’t even satisfied with learning how to do a simple braid - he wanted to learn how to French braid. Go big or go home, I guess.

It took him a few days of practicing, but I’m proud to report that Logan has mastered the French braid. I have no idea how to do it, and I don’t really care to learn. We don’t have any girls yet, but we do have two nieces, which turns out to be one of the reasons Logan wanted to learn. And if we ever did have any girls, Logan would most definitely be in charge of fixing their hair.

I just need to point out that as I was sitting at the table writing this section, Logan started braiding my hair (and he had no idea what I was writing about).

Since a lot of times we’re unaware of what other people find weird about us, I asked Logan what he thought my quirks were. Most of them I already knew he found annoying - flossing my teeth, using cruise control while driving all of the time, following the rules. (Apparently, he has a problem with me doing things THE RIGHT WAY. Whatevs. I still love him.) But one I really didn’t even realize I was doing half of the time - sniffing my hair. Yes, that sounds weird, and yes, Logan could have probably been a little nicer when he pointed it out to me, but now I realize every time I do it and inwardly groan because man, Logan was right.

Everyone has their quirks, though. It’s easy to let those quirks become annoyances which become major roadblocks in a relationship. I know it’s our job to get each other to Heaven, and it’s certainly our obligation to gently point out certain behaviors that might be sinful.

But a lot of things are pretty insignificant in the big picture. So pick your battles and embrace the weirdness.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Being vulnerable {day 15}

I can’t help but think how the times Logan and I feel closest are the times we’re really open with each other - about our struggles, our sins, or whatever is on our hearts.

It’s hard to talk about what’s going on inside you, especially depending on your temperament, because sometimes you can’t even explain your crazy thoughts. It’s even harder not knowing how the other person will react. And it’s even harder when you know that whatever is on your heart might hurt or upset your spouse.

But I think it’s harder keeping all of that to yourself. It’s hard to live with someone and not share everything with them. It’s hard to grow closer to someone when you’re keeping things to yourself.

Being vulnerable with your spouse is how you grow closer to each other.

Maybe you’re married to someone who has gotten some major walls built up, and you’ve tried everything to break down those walls. Maybe you’re desperate to know how your spouse is really feeling or what’s going on in his mind, but he just can’t bring himself to open up to you. Or maybe your spouse is an open book and I’m actually describing you.

Well, I’m definitely not a psychologist and I’m certainly not an expert, but either way, I think that sometimes you have to put yourself out there if you want someone to do the same. One spouse has to share first, and the hope is that the other one will reciprocate. But it has to start somewhere.

Perhaps you also just need to let your beloved know that you’re there for them, no matter what, and that whenever they’re ready to share his/her heart, you’re ready to listen.

I know some people automatically try to offer a solution to someone’s problem. You know what I mean…they feel an overwhelming sense to fix everything. I suppose we’re all guilty of that at some point. But sometimes - I daresay a lot of times - people don’t necessarily want a solution. They just want someone to listen. To know they have your support.

To love them unfailingly and unreservedly, no matter what.

Whenever Logan shares a struggle with me, sometimes my first instinct is to freak out a little inside, because how the heck did I not know he was feeling that way? Why did he not tell me this before? How long has he been struggling with this and why have I never asked??

But I have to stop myself and remember to not make it about me. Logan is sharing his heart, which is not something that comes easily to everyone (especially men), and I need to make sure Logan knows how appreciative I am of that and that I’m not going to judge him or criticize him.

I just want him to know I love him.

There have been times where I debated about whether or not I should talk to Logan about a particular issue I was struggling with, and sometimes I ended up just praying about it. God would do one of two things: 1) give me the grace to finally talk to Logan, or 2) place the same particular issue on Logan’s heart, who then brought it up with me. (I told you prayer is powerful in a marriage!)

But one thing is always the same - I need to be vulnerable with Logan, and he needs to be vulnerable right back. He can’t read my mind (although sometimes that’s debatable!), so he doesn’t always know what I’m thinking unless I tell him. We’ve had dozens of difficult conversations over the years, but it’s always been a necessary step in understanding each other and getting on the same page. And as time goes on, being vulnerable with each other becomes less awkward and actually is one of my favorite parts of our relationship. I know I can tell him anything, and vice versa. There’s not too much that can shake a relationship where both parties are completely honest and open with each other, in every aspect of life.
On our "Goodwill date" where we each picked an outfit for each other and wore it to dinner afterwards. I was feeling pretty vulnerable 😂

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Just take out the garbage please {day 14}

Even though Logan is great at surprises, he is not good at taking out the garbage. He will have spurts where he kind of stays on top of it, but for the most part, he forgets and/or procrastinates on both emptying the trash cans in the house and bringing the outside trash can to the curb. Plus, he has this pet peeve about putting bigger items (think cereal boxes, empty cartons, etc.) in the garbage can, so he leaves those bigger items on our counter until he empties the garbage can in the kitchen.

Because he tends to procrastinate, what usually ends up happening is our kitchen trash can is overflowing and our counters are covered with bigger trash items - and Logan still waits to take out the garbage. I don’t understand it at all. It is not that hard to empty the trash can or walk a couple items to the outside garbage can. But for some reason, Logan just cannot handle it….which of course I find extremely frustrating.

After years of being resentful about how terrible Logan is at taking out the garbage, though, and learning that nagging him does not help whatsoever, I just take out the garbage myself if I need to.

Some might think that’s enabling Logan’s ridiculousness, and you would be right if I still continued to nag him about it. But instead, I just take out the garbage without telling Logan anything. I consider it more of a sacrifice that I’m doing because I love him. I don’t want to nag him or grow resentful, so I (try to) do it out love. He obviously hates taking out the garbage, and I don’t think it’s a big deal, so just doing it myself is better for both of us.

Let me be clear - I do not always succeed at taking out the garbage out of love for Logan. Sometimes I have to really stifle those resentful thoughts. I have proof in my journals about every year or so that I’ve had to recommit to just taking the garbage out myself instead of nagging Logan about it (and yes, I realize how silly that sounds). But as the years go by, I’m realizing that the more I do small things that I consider a sacrifice, the easier they become.

What’s even better is that Logan tends to notice when I do chores around the house that usually I expect him to do. So when he sees me taking out the garbage, or giving the kids a bath, he turns around and starts washing dishes in appreciation. It’s a win-win.

Logan and I have also realized just how much smoother things go if we work together and part of that is learning which chores one of us prefers over the other.

Since I already explained how Logan isn’t good at taking out the garbage, I should admit that I’m pretty terrible at meal planning. Just like Logan and the garbage, I’ll have spurts where I’m on top of meals and cooking and all is well. And there are other times where I’m just so overwhelmed and realizing at 5pm that I hadn’t even thought about what we will eat for dinner.

So Logan helps me out a lot. He’s usually really good at thinking about something new to eat or something we haven’t had in awhile, or a way to use leftovers. And during the phases of life where it’s really hard for me to spend an hour in the kitchen cooking - I’m looking at you, pregnancy, or whenever I have a ridiculously fussy baby at my feet - having Logan team up with me is a huge help. We often plan our meals for the week together, and usually half of them are meals that Logan is able to start or do completely on his own if needed. It’s actually worked out really well lately, because I’ll be helping Landon with his homework (while holding a fussy baby, ugh) while Logan can start fixing dinner if I haven’t already.

I know some people think that certain responsibilities should be gender-specific - like men should take out the garbage and women should cook - but I think it’s more important to work together that benefits your specific family the best. Obviously, this will look differently for everybody.

Many of my friends' husbands handle their family’s finances. While I would love for Logan to have that responsibility too, it makes the most sense for me to do it because I tend to do better with numbers. Logan said from the beginning, way back when we were engaged, that he really wanted me to handle our finances, and while I used to be really annoyed with that - because gosh, budgeting can be so stressful - now I know that everybody has things they are good at. Those husbands that handle the finances might never ever vacuum or mop floors. Logan, on the other hand, is very good at cleaning our floors and does it when I’m having a hard time making it a priority. (Like, um, when I decide to blog every day for a month.)

The point is, figure out how best you and your spouse work together, and of course involve your kids if they’re old enough. Each marriage and family looks different than the next, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The important thing is to work together and maximize your abilities!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Disillusionment {day 13}

Earlier this year, our church parish hosted a date night for couples, which included dinner, dancing, and a talk by a married couple. During their talk, the speaker couple explained that marriage goes in a cycle - from the Honeymoon Stage to Disillusionment. When you’re in Disillusionment, you have to make a choice or decision - to divorce, separate, or stay. Assuming you choose to stay and manage to work things out, you eventually reach True Joy.

According to Google’s dictionary, disillusionment is “a feeling of disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be”. The first time I felt that in my marriage was not long after the wedding, ironically enough. But just a couple months later, we were back in True Joy.

That talk at my church was a big epiphany for me, because I can look back and see several times when were were in Disillusionment, and just as many times that we were in True Joy. It really is true - marriage has a cycle.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to say in True Joy forever. But I’ve realized that when we're in Disillusionment, it's the perfect time to challenge ourselves to do more and put more effort into our marriage. So many couples get so discouraged in Disillusionment that it leads to divorce, and while I know there are exceptions, I do think that many marriages could be saved by just doing simple things. If you’re at a loss as to what to do for your spouse, focus on their love languages. You really can’t go wrong.

Logan and I always seem to really struggle when I’m pregnant, and then we struggle again when our babies are around 6 months old. By that point, I’m pretty burnt out on breastfeeding and trying to keep up with everything. When our middle son, Chase, was around that age, Logan and I hit a rough patch. I felt overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the kids, bills, housework, etc., and it seemed like Logan was expecting too much of me. Basically, we were not on the same page about anything.

One night, we had a tiff over something - I’ll spare the details but let’s just leave it at this: I totally understood why people divorce. I had never felt so under-appreciated and distant from the one person who was supposed to be my partner in life. (Logan has felt the same way about me at times, too, because it’s definitely a two-way street.)

We’ve had several other times like that in our marriage, and it always feels the same - like we’re complete strangers. I wonder why the heck we got married, why we’re even together, and wonder if it’s always going to be this way. It’s a pretty miserable feeling, and I cannot imagine having another issue to go along with that, like abuse or addiction. (But I know those situations are much more common than we think.)

The couple who spoke about the cycle of marriage was right - it’s a cycle. Just like you can’t stay in True Joy forever, you don’t stay in Disillusionment forever. You have a choice. You can run away - which often feels like the easiest solution, I’m not going to lie - or you can stick it out and make it work.

Like I said before, a lot of times it doesn’t take much to turn things around. Sure, it feels like a lot of work, but it’s not. Sometimes the hardest part is acknowledging how prideful I’m being in a certain situation, or to realize I’m subconsciously keeping score when it comes to how many responsibilities we each have, or to just go to Confession because I’m being so bitter and resentful I can’t think rationally.

Just start with one small thing, and go from there. Don’t believe the lie that you’re stuck in an unhappy marriage or that there’s no possible way to reach True Joy. It’s definitely possible, and it does take work, but once you’re over that “hump”, so to speak, you’ll have a hard time remembering why you were ever disillusioned in the first place.

Once you realize that marriage really does continue in this cycle - a vicious cycle, it seems sometimes - you’ll be prepared for the next time Disillusionment rolls around. You will know from experience that although it feels like it will last forever, it won’t, and that you will make the decision to stay in it together until you finally reach True Joy again.
True joy, obviously 😉❤️

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I hate surprises. Usually. {day 12}

(This story might sound familiar to some of you longtime readers but I added some details!)

I’ve never been a big fan of surprises. I like to know what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen.

Logan, on the other hand, loves surprises. So that means he often surprises me, and I have to admit he’s so good at it that I usually don’t mind.

Two years ago when we had a 1-year old and a 3-year old, I committed to running a huge silent auction (for the second year in a row) for one of our favorite non-profit organizations. It was a lot of work, and I spent most of my spare time for months on auction tasks.

Logan had been saying he wanted to take me out a date night the week before the auction (in November), since he knew I’d be stressed and would need a night out. That was so, so true - especially because we actually found out I was pregnant just three weeks before the event.

He had one of our good friends, Lindsey - godmother to our middle child - come over to watch the boys while we went to dinner. On the way to the restaurant, Logan told me he was proud of all the work I was doing and that he wanted to give me kind of an early Christmas gift. He handed me Matthew West’s new CD.

Matthew West is one of my favorite Christian artists, and I actually named my blog after some of his lyrics. I already had some of his other CDs and didn’t even realize he came out with a new one, so I thought it was such a sweet gift.

Then I opened the CD and found 2 concert tickets. To Matthew West. That night. Say what?

I should mention that Matthew West had never come to our state of Louisiana - that I was aware of - so I had never seen him in concert even though I’ve always really, really wanted to. So when I realized that we were actually going to Matthew West’s concert instead of dinner, I couldn’t believe it. How in the world did Logan pull this off without me realizing? Why did I not know this concert was even happening? Honestly, Logan is a terrible liar and I usually know when he’s up to something, but I guess I was too preoccupied with the pregnancy and the auction.

At first, I kind of panicked a little because we had told Lindsey we were just going to dinner twenty minutes away. But we were actually going to a concert an hour away. That’s a much longer date than I had anticipated! Logan assured me, though, that Lindsey knew the real plans from the beginning, so I took a big sigh of relief and tried not to stress.

My second thought was: What are we going to eat then? Because, pregnancy. I was in the midst of the first trimester and around-the-clock nausea, and I was counting on eating in the next twenty minutes. Based on our route to the concert, I knew there wasn’t anywhere to stop for at least that long - and it would be mostly fast food, something I rarely eat. Plus, I had really been looking forward to eating at the restaurant where I thought we had reservations.

But before I could even voice my concerns aloud, Logan pulls out a bag of takeout sushi from behind my seat.

I totally cried. I’m not a big crier but for some reason the tears kept coming. I had probably only cried one other time that Logan did something so romantic - and he’s done a lot of romantic things. I mean, I didn’t even cry at our wedding or when he proposed! I was already so surprised at the whole concert thing, since Matthew West legitimately is one of my favorite singers. Yet Logan had to go and surprise me again with one of my favorite takeout foods.

Logan regrets not having the whole surprise on video, but I’m totally fine not having evidence of my emotional instability. I wanted to blame the pregnancy hormones but it was probably a combination of that, stress about the auction, and being so thankful I married a romantic.

And because Logan absolutely thinks of everything, he even sprayed a bunch of Febreeze in the car so I wouldn’t smell the sushi. Now that’s how you surprise your pregnant wife!
Super blurry picture but it's the only picture we took of us at the concert!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Praying for your spouse {day 11}

Since I have difficult pregnancies, I can’t do nearly as much as I would like around the house and I have to limit errands outside the house because they tend to bring on contractions. That means Logan has even more responsibilities, which is hard because he’s already worried about our baby in utero. He tends to freak out whenever I do too much.

When I was pregnant with our middle son, Chase - which was probably our most difficult pregnancy to date - I couldn’t help but feel like the pregnancy would be much less stressful if Logan would just chill out. He didn’t want me to bake if we had too many dirty dishes already, but then he didn’t want me to dirty any more dishes once they were all clean! It was slightly ridiculous - and that was just one example.

Even though I noticed that I had more contractions when I had a busy day, I just wanted Logan to trust me enough to know that I would stop and rest when I felt like my body needed it.

I felt bad complaining (to myself, and in my journal) about Logan so much, because I knew how hard he was working and that he was stressed and all…but he was seriously stressing me out more than the pregnancy at one point.

During this whole frustrating time, I had started to ask St. Joseph for his intercession for Logan. I knew St. Joseph understood Logan and his overwhelming sense of responsibility for his pregnant wife and family. So, I prayed a novena to St. Joseph specifically for Logan to be less stressed and for him to be able to handle everything better throughout the pregnancy.

I kid you not, right after I finished that novena and the day after I journaled about my frustrations with Logan, he suddenly told me how he wouldn’t tell me what to do or not to do anymore during the pregnancy.

And the first thing I said (after I picked my jaw up off the ground) was, "Did you read my journal?" To which he responded no, and I had to laugh because it was like my prayer was answered the next day. Logan said the thought just came to him. So I thanked St. Joseph for his awesome intercession and was very thankful for such a quick answer to prayer.

A few months after Chase was born, our marriage was struggling again. We were arguing a lot and I was feeling really disillusioned. So, I started praying even more for our relationship and for us to communicate better. I thought about talking to Logan about it, but I didn’t want to end up arguing again. So I didn’t bring up anything and just kept praying for us.

A few days later, to my surprise (although I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore) Logan brought up everything. It was obvious that God had answered my prayers again, because we had a really good talk and were able to get on the same page about everything.

Obviously, most of the time our prayers aren’t answered so quickly, but both of those situations reminded me of how important it is to pray for my husband. I know I tend to take Logan for granted, because we’ve been together for what seems like forever, and there always seems to be a million more-pressing prayer intentions for other people and situations.

But I’ve come to see the power of prayer, specifically in my marriage. And really, chances are that nobody else is going to pray for my spouse more than I do, so I shouldn’t slack off. When Logan is at work, probably nobody else is going to think to pray for his protection. When he’s losing his temper with the kids, nobody else is usually there to say a prayer for him to have more patience.

It’s on me. I’m his wife, his other half, and one of the most important things I can do for him is to pray for him. Constantly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I hate rats {day 10}

One evening (before kids), Logan and I were watching TV in our living room while our puppy Marley snoozed alongside us. All of a sudden, we heard a clanging sound from upstairs. Marley woke up and started barking. Logan and I were trying to figure out what the heck the sound was when we realized it was coming from our attic, which was accessed from the second floor.

In the weeks prior, we had noticed droppings at various places in our house. And by droppings I mean poop. Tiny, tiny pieces of poop. We mentioned it to our pest control guy, and he thought it was just geckos. He gave us some sticky traps, though, to see if we caught anything.

Logan and I actually considered that it could be mice, even though our pest control guy didn’t agree. Unfortunately, I had even found droppings under my pillow - which is horrifying to think about, even years later - and suspected that it was getting in from the attic. Our attic door was like any other door on the second floor, but we noticed a gap underneath it small enough for vermin to squeeze through. So we had put a sticky trap right inside our attic door just to see if anything would happen. If a mouse was getting into our house from there, it would walk right into the trap first.

So that evening where we heard a loud clanging was when we realized that we caught something. That something ended up being a big fat rat. Yuck. It was causing a ruckus trying to get off the sticky trap.

Thankfully, I was the woman, so I felt zero obligation to deal with said rat. Logan, the man, thought it was a good idea to leave a live rat on a sticky trap in our attic overnight and just deal with it the next day. I informed him that rats gnaw off their feet if they need to and that there was no way he was leaving it there. I couldn’t help but picture a bloody mess the next morning. No thank you! (I have no idea where I learned that about rats and if it’s actually true, but I believe it. Rats are disgusting.)

Now, I love Logan, but sometimes he just doesn’t know how to handle a situation. He decided to leave the rat in our garage instead. In order to move it, though, he placed a bucket over the rat and then slid a piece of cardboard underneath. Logan brought the little vermin downstairs and left it in the garage, with the bucket still placed on top. You know, since a plastic bucket is really secure.

Needless to say, I didn’t dare open the door to the garage.

The next day, Logan’s dad came over to help him deal with the rat - which was still alive and stuck to the trap. They took it out in the yard, where his dad got ready to lift the bucket so Logan could shoot the rat with his pellet gun.

We live in Louisiana, where apparently the solution to everything animal-related is to just shoot it.

So, my father-in-law lifted the bucket just enough so Logan could take a shot at the poor rat. I don’t know if Logan missed the first time, or what, but the rat started to get off the trap a little, so his dad quickly put the bucket back over it. Logan tried getting the gun ready to shoot the rat again, but it got stuck. So while Logan is fiddling with the dang gun, the rat manages to get loose completely and takes off running.

Logan grabs the bucket and takes off running after the rat. It was probably one of the funniest things I’ve seen Logan do - and he makes me laugh a lot. I can still picture the rat bouncing up and down, making a beeline for our neighbor’s house, with Logan chasing after it. Hilarious, I tell you.

My dear husband wiped out on our neighbor’s carport trying to catch the rat, but picked himself up in time as the rat started to climb the wall of our neighbor’s house. Logan stealthily put the bucket over the rat, which was still on the wall, and he yelled at us to bring him the cardboard to slide underneath.

This time, Logan and his dad put the rat in a box so it couldn’t run off again. They finally killed it, and I just hoped that it would be the last time we had to deal with a rat.

I was wrong. Several months later we caught another one in the same spot. Since Logan did not want to repeat the last debacle with the rat running off, he decided to shoot the rat while it was still in our attic. That worked out much better.

After we caught that first rat, Logan added a door sweep to the attic door so they couldn’t get into our house anymore. I have no idea when that first rat pooped on my pillow, but I guess I’m just glad I wasn’t there to see it firsthand.

Sometimes in marriage, you deal with problems you never would have expected. And sometimes those problems pop up - or sneak in, like rats - over and over, perhaps without you even realizing at first. It could be financial problems, outside relationships, differences in beliefs - heck, curious rats that poop on your pillow - and you might not know what to do about them. It might take trial and error to figure out the best solution, and even then, it might not go away completely.

What I love about those unexpected problems, though, is that they provide the perfect opportunities to work together and get creative with possible solutions. And maybe you’ll even get to your see your spouse chasing after a rat in the process.

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