THE NEW EWE
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
June 18, 2008
Jon and I will be celebrating our third wedding anniversary this week on Wednesday, June 18th. In many ways it seems as if we've been married for much longer, but on the other hand it feels as if time has flown by. I honestly have to say that these have been three of the greatest years of my life. Overall, I was happy as a single person and enjoyed life; even though there were a lot of times that I wished I had someone to share my life with. But having a husband makes my life feel complete. Being a wife is very enjoyable and fulfilling for me.
For many years prior to meeting Jon, I had heard many sermons and discussions on marriage. I listened to what was taught and also observed other married couples. Even though I couldn't fully understand since I was single at the time, I tried to comprehend what made a good marriage and what caused marriages to fail. I spent those years studying others and learning all that I could about relationships and marriage, in preparation for my own someday. I watched how couples treated one another and talk to one another in public, what they said about their spouse when that person wasn't present, and how they reacted as a couple to good and bad situations. I learned a lot about husband/wife relationships and marriage just by observing and listening.
As badly as I wanted to be married at that time, I didn't want to rush into a relationship just to have someone in my life, then end up miserable and married to the wrong man. It was hard to wait and discouraging from time to time, but I knew that if God desired for me to get married then He would put me in the path of the right man. If not, then He would give me contentment as a single woman.
I also never had a desire to date just for the sake of dating. I had seen too many people do that, then end up having feelings or an emotional attachment to that person, and end up marrying them. Later they would regret it, and it wouldn't work. I wasn't willing to take that risk. So before I met Jon, I had really never dated. There had been two occasions when I rode in the car with a single guy, but nothing that I would consider a date. I occasionally would meet someone, but rarely anyone that I was interested in. Most generally either he would be interested and I wouldn't be in him, or I would and he wouldn't.
In my opinion, I think too much pressure is put on people, both teens and adults, to be in a relationship and consistently dating. If they're not, then people tease them or make comments that make them feel like something is wrong with them. Therefore, too often, they end up dating people they shouldn't, just for the sake of dating. They may even compromise their faith and beliefs by dating unbelievers, thinking they can be a good influence on them, or that they will just spend time together as friends.
I cannot even count the number of times that I was asked, "When are you getting married?" or "How come you're not married?" or "You're not married yet?" Or the comments about being too picky and told that maybe I should lower my standards and not be so hard to please.
But I knew what I wanted in a husband and wasn't willing to settle for anything less. I wasn't willing to risk marrying the wrong man, and either spending my life being miserable or end up divorced. (And yes I do realize that there are unforeseen circumstances at times that arise and marriages sadly end.)
I asked someone once how I would know when it was truly love and the right guy to marry. I was told that I would just know. It is hard to describe until you experience it; but I would know when it was right. And I found that out to be true.
What made Jon different from the other guys I had met throughout the years? I'm not really sure, except that God brought our paths together. We became friends first; and after a period of getting to know one another, I just knew. Actually, Jon and I were both pretty sure before we even had our first date that we would end up getting married. There was that feeling of God bringing us together for a reason, and knowing that He was involved in our lives. We had both prayed about our relationship before we ever went out on that first date.
But even though God brought us together, it is our ongoing responsibility to keep our love strong and not take one another for granted; and to continuously work to keep our marriage and relationship with one another steadfast and solid. Even though God may have brought us together, He can only keep us together if we stay focused on Him, and work at keeping our marriage healthy and secure.
As a wife, I can't put all the responsibility on Jon. There are several scriptures that speak to the wife. Some of them I like and some aren't so much my favorite!
Probably the most quoted passage of scriptures dealing with husbands and wives is in Ephesians 5:22-29. It starts out speaking to the woman. "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."
Oh, how we hate that word, submit! One of the reasons is because we conceive the notion(mostly due to our society) that it means we are to be a weak, inferior woman; and a doormat for the husband to wipe his feet on and rule over. But that's not what it means at all. It tells us to submit to our husbands, as we do to the Lord. We don't submit to Christ because He is going to beat us, boss us around, walk all over or make us feel inferior. We submit because we love Him, knowing that Jesus loves us, and wants the very best for us. We submit out of respect and honor.
That puts a whole lot of responsibility onto the husband. He is to be the head of the home and have such a deep love for his wife that he only wants the very best for her; just as Christ does for His church.
Verse 25 starts speaking to the men. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church."
That is a whole lot of love that the husband is to have for his wife! He should be willing to give his very life for her. He is to nourish and cherish his wife, as much as he does himself. When a husband loves his wife that deeply, then he will treat her with such respect and honor that it will be easy for the wife to submit.
There are several verses in Proverbs that speak about, and also to, the wife.
Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord."
Proverbs 19:14 "Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent [wise, sensible, shrewd] wife is from the Lord."
I like those verses because I like the thought of being considered a good thing and my husband obtaining God's favor. I enjoy the concept of being sent to Jon from the Lord. I desire to be a prudent wife. But there are then some other Proverbs that I don't like so well.
Proverbs 19:13 "...and the contentions of a wife [quarrelsome wife] are as a continual dripping [of water through a chink in the roof]."
How irritating is that?! Have you ever had a leak in your roof and had to set a bucket under it to catch the water? The water doesn't come out clean, but is dirty and nasty. And it seems like if you get one place that is dripping, before you know it, another drip will start elsewhere. You end up with buckets set everywhere and you have to empty them out so they don't overflow. Things end up getting wet, your ceiling gets stained, and your roof has to be patched. If you don't repair it, then every single time it rains, you'll have the same problem over and over. Only as time goes by, it will grow worse and get bigger.
This same principle can be applied to a wife that is argumentative and quarrelsome. Everyone has times when they have a bad day or may be in a bad mood, and that's understandable. But there can be occasions when a woman can become unhappy and everything her husband does irritates her, until she gets to the point where she nitpicks and nags, no matter what he does. Even when he tries to buy her a gift or do something nice for her, she gripes because it's not what she wanted. Before long, she becomes as that irritating drip in the ceiling. If something isn't done to repair the problem, it will continue to grow and expand until it gets out of hand. What could have started out as "patching up the hole in the roof to stop the leak" turns into needing the whole thing repaired. A lot of times the problem that needs dealt with is inside ourselves. But it's easier to cast blame on someone else instead of fixing ourselves. When we turn to God, He can reveal the area that needs dealt with and can help us deal with it and become whole again.
Proverbs 21:9 "It is better to live on a corner of a roof than share a house with a contentious [nagging, quarrelsome and faultfinding] woman."
Proverbs 21:19 "Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife."
For some reason, when I'm in a bad mood or irritated with something my husband does or doesn't do, I always seem to come across these scriptures. When I nag or whine or get upset, "wife" verses come to mind and I get convicted over my actions, words, and attitude. I believe that God does that because I've asked Him to give me wisdom as a wife and to show me how to best love my husband. But when God sends these reminders to me, He can't force me to make peace with my husband or to apologize. What I do, with what I know, is left up to me.
To be truthful, Jon and I have never had a huge fight, or an argument that lasted over five minutes. Neither of us like being angry or having the other person upset, so as soon as something happens, we immediately feel bad and make our peace, settle it, and go on. We both hate it when we know that we've hurt the other persons feelings or upset them in any way. So any disagreements or tiffs have been very short lived.
And honestly, we've never really argued about anything very big or of much importance. It's usually because we're tired or busy, and something that is said or done upsets us. Most generally, it's little, silly, stupid things. Afterwards we look back and either laugh about it or think how silly the whole conversation was.
One incident in particular comes to mind, that happened a few weeks ago. I had decided late in the afternoon that I should mow, because it was supposed to rain that evening. The mower that I had used last year was in the shop to get repaired, so I was using a mower that Jon had before we got married. I don't particularly like using that mower because it seems heavy for me to use and hard to navigate, it's difficult to get it started, and the self-propel doesn't work right. I started mowing in the backyard and got most of it done, when the mower quit and I couldn't get it started back up (and no, it wasn't out of gas). In the meantime, Jon had come home from work and was in the house. It was hot and humid, and pushing that heavy mower, that wasn't working right, wasn't helping my disposition any. I was frustrated and started getting mad at my husband. My mind started churning with all these thoughts about how he didn't care that I was out mowing in the heat with this lawn mower that wasn't working right. He had no idea what was going on, or what I was thinking. I worked myself up into a tizzy and was so upset, I was about to cry. When I get upset or angry, I start to cry, which makes it even worse. I don't want to cry at those times, and get even more worked up because I can't seem to stop myself from doing it. It kind of ruins the effect when you want to tell someone off and start crying when you're doing it! I went bursting into the house yelling for him, asking where he was and what he was doing. He was upstairs working/playing on the computer, and that just added fuel to my anger. I thought, "I can't believe he's upstairs playing, while I'm outside in this heat trying to get this stupid lawn mower to work!" Remember, he didn't know that the mower had quit and wouldn't start back up. He came downstairs and I lit into him! I told him that the mower wasn't working right, and if he was the one who had to mow all the time that he would make sure that it got fixed. He was blind-sided as I let him have it with both barrels. It ended up that he finished mowing the rest of the back and all the front, because the mower wasn't working right, and he had to keep stopping to fix it. He was being so sweet about everything and was so apologetic, that I felt like a heel. If he had of yelled back at me or become defensive, I wouldn't have felt so bad. But he truly turned the other cheek, and was doing everything possible to help out and try to make me feel better. It's hard to keep an argument going or stay angry when the other person doesn't participate!
Turning the other cheek is not only for your enemy, neighbor, or friends; it can also apply to your spouse. Sometimes the best weapon we have to end a dispute, disagreement or argument is not words, but our actions. Showing love when the other person may not be acting too lovable at the time, can bring the quickest and best solution to the situation.
I'm thankful for the Word of God and the guidelines that God gives us, to show us how to truly love our spouse. He tells us how to best honor and respect our husband or wife. Marriage is ordained of God, so He desires for us to have successful marriages.
Marriage does take work. Too many get caught up in the excitement of having a wedding, and end up putting more focus and attention on the event than the marriage. But a wedding is only a short span of time that marks the beginning of the husband/wife relationship, where vows are made to one another. Putting those vows to work and keeping them lasts the rest of your life. But when we do, our marriages are blessed by God.
Happy anniversary to my husband. Thanks for loving me the way that God has instructed, and making it easy to submit and love you in return. During those times when I become a little moody, argumentative or nagging, thank you for turning the other cheek so well. Thanks for all the hard work you do in supporting the two of us, and for allowing me to be a housewife and care for our home. I truly strive to be the wife to you that God has ordained and created me to be. I never want you to have to or want to live on the rooftop or in the dessert (or in the woods), in order to get away from your cantankerous wife; but want our home to be a place of peace and happiness. I'm so thankful that from the very beginning of our marriage we began having prayer together every night before going to sleep. That's the best possible way to end each day. You are a special treasure, a gift from God, and I thank Him for you every day.
I love Loretta so much, but there's no way I can follow that. I suppose I could just say, "ditto, babe!", but that doesn't sound good. Instead, I'll toss in what little marital advice I can offer.
I'm sure everyone has heard the expression, "forgive and forget." It isn't always easy to do, but it's great advice. There isn't room in a marriage for grudges. And even if we can't truly forget something our spouse has done to aggravate us, we need to stop focusing on it. If I hold a grudge against Loretta, is she being punished? No. I am. And that's how it should be. I need to forgive and forget.
1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 small pkg. Strawberry Jello
1 lb. Strawberries, cut up, prepared with sugar
1 large container Cool Whip
Prepare cake mix as shown on package in a 9x13 inch pan. While cake is hot, using the wrong end of a wooden spoon, punch holes all over the cake. Mix strawberry Jello with 1 cup boiling water; pour over cake. Let cool. Pour strawberries prepared with sugar over the top of the cake, when cooled. Top with Cool Whip.
My sisters and I all got together last weekend to work on our family home in Missouri. I had picked up three of my sisters on the way there, then my oldest sister met us at the house. Friday afternoon and evening we had painted, cleaned, ate, took a walk and visited. At 10:00 that evening we decided to go to Wal-mart (the closest one is probably 10-12 miles away) to get more paint, kitchen curtains and a rug. It was 11:30 by the time we got back home, and we sat up and talked until 1:00. After we got settled and the lights turned off, we laid there and talked for probably another 20-30 minutes. We had just finished talking and were getting ready to go to sleep, when we immediately heard snoring. One of my sisters and I were sharing our old bedroom, then my two oldest sisters were sleeping next door in our parents old room, and my other sister was on the living room couch, which is right beside those two bedrooms. My sister on the couch started laughing and said, "Who in the world is snoring so loud!?" I thought it was Linda, so spoke up and accused her. Janie said she agreed with me. Linda let us know that she was still awake, and it was our oldest sister. It hadn't been longer than one minute (two at the very longest) between the time Joyce stopped talking and started snoring. She slept through our whole conversation. The next morning we were teasing her about snoring so loud all night. She was being serious when she said, "It took me a while to get to sleep last night." We all started laughing and told her that she had started snoring just as soon as she quit talking; and repeated our whole conversation from the previous night. She hadn't heard a thing!
Lying in bed and talking brought back a lot of memories of growing up. Janie and I always shared a room and would lie in bed and talk every night before going to sleep. Linda and Shirley shared a room down the hall and would talk together; and sometimes we would all talk back and forth. Or we would lie in bed and try to hear what the others were talking about. Joyce got married when I was five, so I don't remember too much before then. But all five of us girls shared a bedroom before she got married, so I'm sure there was much talking going on every night before going to sleep. Mama usually didn't say much, but sometimes Daddy would tell us that we needed to be quiet and go to sleep. Having sisters is the greatest!
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
May the blessings of God rest upon your life.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon