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Do you hate your spouse’s wardrobe?

Posted by on Nov 26, 2014 in Nashville Marriage Counseling | 0 comments

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of all time. And I should probably write a post about how you should be thankful in your marriage or ask you to tell me why you’re thankful for your sweetie… but I’m not. Because it’s kind of expected and maybe a little boring?

Instead I’m gonna tell you how the sweater below started a fight:

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(I can’t tell you how awkward taking this selfie was. I am not a selfie taker, and usually make fun of people over 30 that take selfies, yet here I am. Sigh.)

I bought this sweater last year at Target. It was cheap and I buy cheap stuff. I don’t necessarily lurve the sweater, but it gets the job done. I can go out in public in this sweater and not be mistaken for a homeless person, something that can’t be said for all of my wardrobe choices.

So last week I wear the sweater. All night long I wear the sweater. Go out in public in this sweater. Like I have done many times since buying the sweater.

We get home and I get ready for bed. I go upstairs to change and Lazy Marie whispers, “Eh, change into pajama pants but don’t worry about finding a night shirt. Just wear the sweater to bed.” Ok, Lazy Marie.

So I go back downstairs wearing pajama pants and the sweater.

Mark: That’s goofy looking.

Me: What is?

Mark: The sweater. That pattern is goofy looking.

Me: You don’t like my sweater?

Mark: Not really….(talking slowly because he knows he is trouble but he doesn’t know why)

Me: This is one of my favorite sweaters (a little hyperbole never hurt anyone).

Mark: Why are you wearing it to bed?

Me: I’m being lazy. But stay on topic. You think I look goofy in this sweater?

Mark: I’m just saying it’s ok to wear to bed, but I wouldn’t wear it, like, out.

Me

Me: Um, I did wear it ‘out’. I wore it all day long. And according to you, I have looked ‘goofy’ all day long.

Mark

Mark: I am so sorry. I didn’t know… You look pretty?

Ok, so it wasn’t really a fight, but it did lead to me developing a plan to get back at him for not liking my sweater:

The whole time he is telling me how goofy my sweater looked all I could think was, “Oh, I’m going to make you LOVE this sweater. Every time I wear this sweater from now on I’m going to initiate sex and cook your favorite meal and tell you how amazing you are. And you’ll subconsciously start to connect this sweater to orgasms and your favorite food and confidence and just like Pavlov’s dog you’ll be wagging your tail every time you see this thing on and you won’t even know why you love this sweater BUT YOU WILL LOVE THIS SWEATER.”

Because I’m insane, and will gladly abuse my psychological power in the name of making Mark like everything I wear.

So instead of a generic why are you thankful for your spouse, what article of clothing does your spouse wear that you think is, well, ‘goofy’?

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Why do men change after marriage?

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in Nashville Marriage Counseling | 0 comments

Why do men change after being married? Why does it seem like they go from being the caring and affectionate people that meet your emotional needs to people that seem pretty distant? I think that what women experience from men is VERY real.  Men do get distant, and men do pull away, but let’s look at the why.

I think men and women underestimate the miracle that happened the day they met.  Think about it this way.  We rarely hear the romance stories of living on the streets and eating from garbage cans when she walked by, and she was suddenly in love.  It doesn’t happen like that.  Usually we are in college, we are learning, at the top of our game, good friends, have dreams, goals and a direction to shoot for.  We feel like the world is our oyster. Is it really any wonder that the flower that is our personality is probably in full bloom?  It’s here we usually meet our other half.  If not in college, at least in similar situations where our circumstances are playing a very important roll of fulfilling some of our fundamental needs.  You meet, you hook up, you get married and then suddenly life changes.

Life starts to throwing things at you. You change jobs and it screws with your head, stresses your confidence and makes you feel unstable.  You get fired or downsized and your sense of wellbeing is gone.  A new baby absorbs every waking moment, and you lose all the time you had to spend together. When your wellbeing goes down the drain, your marriage usually follows close behind.

Time after time I sit across the table from people who look back and wonder what the freak happened to their relationship.  The answer is that LIFE happened.  Life changed what tied you two together.  It changed and a relationship that used to feed your sense of adventure, fun, courage, self confidence and a million other things is suddenly gone. We don’t just wake up to a different spouse, we wake up to a slow change that cuts away at our bond in small ways we don’t even see at first.

So what does this look like for men?  For men, we get married (IMHO) because we find someone who make us feel good about being who we are. We think we are good guys, and suddenly a really attractive women likes being around us.  Our goal in life is to be good men, and we somehow find someone who seems to be giving us every indicator that it’s true and believes in us in those areas we don’t feel so great about.  Our confidence empowers us to do things that make her feel romanced, cared for, and really important despite those things being unnatural for us in a lot of ways.

As life changes the wife who was our biggest supporter and encourager slowly starts to change because LIFE is also happening to her, too.  She requests more conversations, more connection and he starts to feel the stress of this not being so easy under the current conditions.  Maybe it’s work, money, kids, family.  Stress mounts and he redoubles his effort on providing, protecting and being a good man.  He doesn’t think he is pulling away,  he thinks he is buckling down and working hard to do the things a good man does when times get tough.  Yet his effort to be a good man, leaves her feeling alone, avoided and like she is living with a roommate.  Usually it’s the wife who will make the strong charge for reconnection, and her husband usually attempts to comply.  She asks for communication and connection, yet when his attempts don’t succeed to a level that help her, she has no real recourse but to ask for more.  He is left to wonder if he can ever make her happy again.  He redoubles his effort to provide, protect and be a good man.  Wash, rinse, repeat, and ultimately sweep it all under the rug.  Eventually people sweep and sweep until they wonder who the other person is.

But life cuts everyone off at the knees.  We wake up and feel the pressure or disconnection and don’t understand whats missing because we never fully understood what was present in the beginning.  Relationships may be things we luck out way into, but they sure as snot aren’t things we luck our way through.

We have put together a texting challenge for couples to help them push the reset button on their marriage.  It’s fun, doesn’t take tons work on your part, and it’s designed to give you a little push in the right direction.  Take the challenge and feel how it is to get what you need, and see how that affects your relationships over the week!

Or, for the husbands in the audience:

 

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How I Pray for My Son’s Future Marriage

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Sunday Sermon | 0 comments

I know many parents that pray regularly for their children’s future spouses. There was even a viral post recently (that I can’t find a link to so if you know what I’m talking about help a sister out) where a mom talks about praying for her kid’s future spouse’s mom. We spend a lot of time praying for our kids’ future marriages because we know it’s such a huge part of happiness in adulthood. You can be broke and in a dead-end job, but if your marriage is solid that stuff doesn’t matter as much. The minute we meet our kids we want them to find true love.

Confession: I haven’t prayed much for Otis’s future wife. I hope she is lovely and that we get along, but I’m not really worried about her. I’m not worried about her right now because, as far as  I know, I have absolutely no influence in her life.

But I do have influence in my son’s life. This means that my prayers for his future as a husband aren’t just words. I hate prayers that are just words. My prayers for my son’s future marriage should be seen in my marriage. Whatever I am asking God to bless Otis with in the marriage department I should be actively cultivating in my own marriage, so…

When I pray my son’s marriage is a place where the fruits of the Spirit grow…
Then my marriage should be filled with love letters, joyful hugs, peaceful conversations, patient disagreements, kindness instead of harshness, goodness instead of evil, faith in each other and in Him, gentle rebukes, and self-control in the face of temptation.

When I pray my son’s marriage is focused on God…
Then he needs to see Mark and I praising God in good times and bad. He needs to see us praying instead of fighting. He needs to hear us making decisions based on what we are reading in the Bible and hearing from the Holy Spirit.

When I pray my son’s marriage is based on sacrificial love…
Then my marriage needs to be a place where two very broken and sinful people humble themselves regularly via prayers, apologies, and acts of service. He needs to see us sacrifice being ‘right’ for being loving. He needs to see us sacrifice our comfort and pride and ego.

When I pray my son’s marriage is intimate…
Then he needs to see us prioritize each other. He needs to see affection and adoration. He needs to catch us making out every once in a while.

When I pray my son’s marriage is filled with forgiveness…
Then he needs to see Mark and I forgive each other. He needs to know that relationships are messy and people screw up. We follow a God that chose to forgive us, so that’s what we do for each other.

Once my son becomes a husband my influence in his life will rightfully decrease, but until then I will be praying hard with my words AND my marriage.

And we ask all these things in Jesus’s name. Amen.

What are you praying for when it comes to your kids’ marriages?

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