Our weekend was wonderful. I've become somewhat of a homebody, and I've recently begun to love our Friday nights at home when I actually cook something for dinner. I used to be of the mindset that I had survived the week, so surely that meant we could order out for dinner, right? Or go out...which would be even better. But in the past few weeks, I've been cooking on these nights. I've even started looking forward to this~and maybe I'll start using this particular night as a night to try something new and yummy.
Sounds good to me! This past Friday night I made something called Beer Cheese Joes. If you want the recipe, click on that recipe name and you can try it for yourself. It was super easy to make and delicious to eat. I'm thinking the next time I make it, it's going to be served over hot baked potatoes.
Saturday was our eighteenth anniversary, and we had a wonderful dinner that night to celebrate. We went to our local Italian restaurant on the square, and it did not disappoint.
I only wish it had been a little more of an intimate setting. We were in a room with other people on either side of us. In fact, we spent most of our time listening to the conversations going on around us. It was hard to not listen in and we laughed a couple times, over funny things they did or said. It was a fun night out. I love that our boys are all older now...it makes going out so much easier. The days of finding a sitter or having someone come sit with them are long gone. I'm kinda glad, to be honest. I wouldn't trade these ages for all the money in the world.
Yesterday was an awesome day at church. I love our girls so much that it hurts. I love how the Lord has given me a heart for these precious teenage girls. I was the one who taught our lesson yesterday, and we had such a sweet time of talking and sharing during the lesson. We even had a girl visit with another girl, and she was a plethora of information about what we were discussing. I love days like that, when everything just flows. I always leave with a full and happy heart.
So the advice part of this is something I've been thinking about for a while. We have a marriage that has definitely had its ups and downs, but our good stuff far outweighs our bad stuff. We've learned a thing or three hundred over the last eighteen years, some by rote and some by hard lessons. I thought I would share a little of what I've learned.
~A husband desires respect from his wife. There are verses in the Bible that tell husbands to love their wives and wives to respect (and submit to) their husbands. You can find those in Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3.
~A wife can set the tone for her entire household simply by the words she says and the tone of voice she uses. I often pray that my words build others up, and that they not tear anyone down. That is found in Ephesians 4:29.
~A husband will be glad to help out a wife who is always kind to him. If I need for Todd to do something for me, I am careful to consider how I've treated him lately. (Trust me~I have learned these things the hard way. There have been many, many times when I've had to apologize to him for things I've said.)
~A husband loves to be greeted with excitement when he comes home. I almost always greet him home with a kiss. The boys are always so excited when Dad comes home, too, which is something that hasn't gone away with age. I don't bombard him with complaints or tasks when he walks in the door. He has a routine that he loves to go by when he comes home~he reads the mail, he takes off his boots, he comes and sits down in the living room while I finish up getting dinner ready. I respect that~his day is always long and he deserves some down time.
~A husband and wife should always guard their hearts, minds and mouths. You will never hear me talking negatively about my husband in a public setting. You will also never hear me demeaning him in any way. I literally get sick to my stomach when I hear wives complain about their husbands in public, or when they make them seem dumb or ignorant. Do you know how fast that will turn a marriage sour? I've walked away from conversations like these, because I don't want to be a part of them.
I use these verses above as a guideline for that last one. They're found in Proverbs 4.
~Husbands and wives should not have close friends of the opposite sex. I'm not saying "friends", I'm saying "close friends", like the kind they would confide in. It's too tempting to tell all your problems to someone who will listen. I am very careful with how I am around other men, and I always pray that the Lord helps me to remember to guard my heart.
~I am also very careful about the books I read and the shows I watch. I am a firm believer that things like that put unhealthy thoughts in your head. Please don't see that as condemnation from me~this is just a very personal conviction that I have to be super careful of what I read and watch.
With all these things that I've said, know this: we are not perfect. Our marriage was a complete and total mess for a couple of years. We were selfish, we did things or acted in a way that we both regret and our hearts were deceitful. There are lots and lots of things we have learned that work for us. One thing we never worry about is if our kids witness us bickering. I hate to say "fight", because even though we do have our moments of growth opportunity, it rarely turns into yelling or dragging it out. The boys know that we are human and they've witnessed us during these moments. We always make sure that they know we've apologized to one another and I always talk about it with them the next day. I always tell them that divorce is never an option for us, and they have nothing to worry about. (I always used to worry about that when I was a young girl.)
We are not perfect parents, either. We have had to say "I'm sorry" to our kids many, many times. I thank God for moments that keep me humble, and I keep my eyes firmly fixed on Him. I stay in His word every single day, and I have quality prayer time with Him. By doing those things, Jesus gives me the strength and the knowledge and wisdom I need to be the wife and mom in the family He has entrusted me with. I thank Him for the trials, because they develop my perseverance that James 1 talks about.
He is my everything, and I am grateful that I have a Savior. If I had to do life without Him in it, I would be a train wreck. I still am, most days, but He gives me what I need to make it through.
I know this was long...but I pray the words reach the right person. Love to all.