Change your mind not your spouse!

A big welcome to Summer – Finally!

This has been the first week of THE real heat for us in Nagoya. The past few weeks have been hot but thankfully were lacking the humidity that typifies our area of Japan. Actually, I love the humidity! I know I am weird. I just look at it as a free sauna experience – my skin never looks better than this time of year and I love the feeling of walking out the door and into a wall of humidity. Sorry I just do!

We organized a beach BBQ event with our friends from work, great people, tons of fun – not Christians. This generally does not get in the way of having a great time, or enjoying each others company though. They respect our lifestyle and choices and we enjoy their friendship. It is all good!

However, every now and then the topics or content can show strong differences between our views and ideals.

The topic of marriage came up and most of the couples we were with are married, one divorced,  one couple are common-law and the other couple is just newly dating.  This leaves room for a lot of comments, advice and opinions. Mostly Sweets and I just listen and it was yesterday that I noticed just how vastly different married life can be with Christ involved.

Of course everyone is talking about how we can’t change the other person (thankfully they have all gotten to learn that!) but more of it was about how to put up with your partners annoying things, how to ignore or what tactics one may use to cause about a change. Most of it was negative and I know marriage isn’t perfect, its hard and it takes sacrifice but more negative things were being said about marriage and spouses than good. And these are happily married couples speaking! (for the most part.)

It was during that conversation that I learned a few things:

1) Marriage is meant to make us Holy not happy (I had read that millions of times but it sunk in yesterday) when I realized that things about Sweets that make me want him to change is always an opportunity God uses to bring a change IN ME/ MY attitude and my perspective on myself. Anytime I think a negative thing about my husband I am immediately reminded of how much he has to put up with me and it makes me so thankful for our marriage instead of annoyed. No one ever admitted during that conversation that maybe THEY were also in need of changing.

2) Only with Christ is change a real hope. This is not about dirty laundry on the floor or petty things like that. But some of these people are dealing with things that really should be changing with maturity – but it is clear that no one believes those personality flaws can be changed – ever. I know that there is hope for me and my man to become more and more Godly and so change for the better is inevitable as a christian. He gets the Glory!

3) People do not think that these ideals are possible or even natural after the first couple of years of marriage. This will have to be proven in the coming years, as it is true Cullen and I are still in our first year only and maybe my perspective will change – but faith will not allow me to change my mind that God can not change people and make us more like His Perfect Son. That is what we are living for!

It’s true we cannot change our spouse, but we can change how we view them and the situation – and how we view ourselves. We are equally not the perfect catch for them – and they are equally putting up with a lot from our end as well.

Christ is ever ready to change us though and praise to His name it is not only possible but POSITIVE!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Marriage advice from a newlywed?!

Last post I shared a bit of my thoughts on respect for my husband. Today I was thinking about my wonderful man and reflecting on the week, thinking back to times I may have shown respect to him and ways I may not have. I try to do this every night before we go to bed, just to be sure that he knows that I am aware of times I failed him and that I am working on making them far and fewer, and also so that he knows how much I respect him in my heart and mind even if at times my actions or words do not demonstrate that so well.

I don’t know a whole lot about marriage, its only been 11 months! But I can say that one thing that I am compelled to do at least once a day (sometimes more!) – is to thank Sweets for marrying me. The first couple of times I said this to him, I saw him light up and shine like never before, I know that I touched a place in his heart though he didn’t seem to know what to do with that!

He was surprised by my words and I think he took it negatively, as if I thought he had pity on me, or was doing me a favour in which I needed to thank him. In some ways maybe I feel this. Not for the same negative reasons, but my man is pretty amazing!   I dreamed my whole life of marrying a great guy, I had standards after all – but I never thought I would marry someone THIS awesome. I am still shocked he felt we were well fitted. On top of that, I come from a kinda wild, dysfunctional, emotional/vocal family and he comes from the most traditional, stable and reserved family. When I was young I dreamed of family life just like the kind in which he grew up, but with my personality coming out of my upbringing, I never imagined I could be yoked with someone from the complete opposite spectrum. I wasn’t expecting to marry poorly, or anything but I did expect to marry someone with a more similar upbringing, and a bit more chaos in their life.

So that being said, I am just so thankful for my marriage. I am thankful for so much about Sweets, our relationship, and our lives. But more than all of that I am so thankful that he chose me to be his one.  So everyday I cant help but tell him how thankful I am that he married me! Every day I see that same shine come into his eyes and smile as he assures me that he is equally thankful that I said “yes”.

I can not think of a better habit to have started in our marriage than open, vocal, love and appreciation for each other and this relationship.

So there’s my marriage advice of 11 months!  Appreciate your spouse verbally and let me know if they don’t light up and shine like never before!

Honour you God, Honour your marriage,

-Bree

Too shy to pray

A short time ago I posted about the book “power of a praying wife.” I can not tell you how much this has helped me to help focus on my marriage as whole and to not take our life or love for granted. It also helps me keep God in the center. Remembering that the only thing that can keep us strong is Christ Himself.

I continue to pray for my husband daily, and as things come up I apply more time and effort in the more urgent areas. However, one thing I have recently noticed is that Sweets and I do not pray together as we used to when we were courting. When we started our relationship, he began coming to Sunday night prayer service with me. This is a time of worship and prayer only. We are asked to not speak to one another during this time and to focus on the Lord.

Of course praying for and with each other is expected and encouraged (just not conversation, and it is not the time for counseling.)  Sweets and I prayed together every Sunday during those months of courtship and now on Sunday nights we still pray together the same. But when we were dating, we would pray before each of our dates many times, and at the end to really ask the Lord to make a way for us, or make clear the path we should take  and protection going home ect..

Once the Lord gave us Blessing for our marriage, I suddenly became too shy to pray in front of Sweets! I am not sure why this is! And now that we live together, we pray every meal but that’s it (as far as together  I mean – he still prayers on his own on the balcony every morning and I still pray on my own after he leaves for the gym.) But aside from meals or Sunday nights we just don’t seem to make it a priority together.

I am hoping to make a change in this though. First I have to get over my shyness and pray out loud for my husband! Does anyone else struggle with this?!

I want him to know what I am praying so that he can agree and I know that this will be an intimate act between us as well. I always felt that connection and closeness when we were dating. Now more than ever we need to keep this a priority I think, maybe it will help even greater in our communication (which is still in need of adjustment in many respects!) Thank goodness for unconditional love, and the grace to acknowledge this early on. I truly have a wonderful man, friend, lover and companion!

Now that I am bursting with thanksgiving to the Lord for my husband, I will take this opportunity to share with him how much I love, appreciate and respect him….and pray together – for many more years to come!

Blessings to you!

“Find out who you are, and Do It On Purpose”

A famous quote from a famous country singer. I loved it from the fist time I heard it  ( in A Walk to Remember). I am often reminded of it from day to day and week to week. Not because it was so profound or even that life changing of a quote for me at the time, but because it has a meaning now that I have decided with all my heart to live ON PURPOSE!.

One of the common ideas that seems to permeate most people’s lives these days is happenstance, or in other words allowing life to happen and dealing with it as it comes.

Now, generally this doesn’t seem like a bad way to live. In fact, in some cases it is the best idea! Life will happen! I know it, you know it! We have all been affected by “life” and many things we can’t choose, prevent or even prepare for. In these cases it is of course best to take it one day at a time, and deal with it as is fitting.

However, this is not the case with everything. Nor should it be. Specifically in our marriages. This is a dangerous belief and it is (in my opinion) destroying marriages all around me.

Why would I have this opinion? Because ALL of the stuff I have been reading about for marriage and listening to people talk about, seems to point to this idea. Those marriages in which the couples are so in love and they think they always will be and they are just living on love… tend to me miserable a few yrs down the line. They  think love will take them through anything and everything but they actually are not making any purposeful effort to keep the passionate love alive.

These are the people I hear that think how it is in the first few months or year of marriage is how it will always be. They mistakenly believe as long as you love it will all work out. BUT I don’t hear these people talk about how to KEEP the love alive, how to serve their spouse and how to make sure they are a blessing and not an annoyance or burden to their lover’s life.

These are the people I hear complain that their husband or wife “used to ____”. or they are the ones who say things like “enjoy it while it lasts”. It’s sickening, because so many people assume and live with a reality where the best days and years of their marriages are behind them and “somehow” it all just ended, stopped and is no longer like this anymore.

It made me wonder (and worry!) Why? What makes things change so drastically. Why are people who were once madly in love now resentful and apathetic? It really made me have to look at the big picture of what was going on and the common thing I note is that most of these people let life happen and do not choose to do anything on purpose…especially anything to stop allowing life to suck the love out of their marriages.

So, that brings me back to my theme for the month (maybe year!) Live on purpose. Love on purpose and above everything else choose your attitude on purpose.

Once you (and your significant other)  are making choices, planning for certain expectations and doing things on purpose to demonstrate love, appreciation and service to the other then it is easy to see that life has no chance to creep up and steal the passion out of these relationships. It is easy to see the contrast in people, who are happily married for 10, 20, 30+ years. These people love to talk about marriage! They are worth listening to, and their example is worth following.

I am ever the student, learning as much as I can about my life as a Christian women and now a wife as well. I see lessons in every relationship I come across and take the chance to talk about this with all of them who give me a few minutes to observe and ask.

There are the couples I learn from because it brings fear and worry that I do NOT want to end up like that. and others who are such great examples and it make me look at them and say THAT’S how I imagined marriage to be!

Blessings

Every Morning is Christmas Morning!

Sweets has encouraged me to Journal/ record my thoughts and feelings at this early stage in our union so that in later years if I ever need to, I can look back and remember what we are doing this all for and how it all started.

I have been struggling to sleep next to him still. Just not used to another body in the bed! Its taking longer than I thought it would to get used to and this is something I had not heard before! I assumed that I would just LOVE sleeping next to him so much that I would instantly fall into blissful sleep. Not so! He breathes and makes noises, sometimes he moves even! and I don’t know if this is normal and just something I never was told before/came across in all my readings – but guys (well my guy anyhow!) also have their own smell.

No, really! He has his very own scent. I am not sure what it is, but its 100% natural and it’s not a BO smell or anything like that. It’s not even bad or odour-y but it’s there, and its noticeable when I climb into bed and try to sleep. I am just not used to it yet. I know in time I wont even notice it but until then…I lay awake smelling him over and over again. I can’t get enough! I enjoy it! It’s just another thing that tells me BREE YOU ARE MARRIED!!! ha-ha It makes me so happy ( even though I am tired all day). I wonder if other people experienced this their first days together?

These days I wake up early, around 5:30 has been the trend. I get up real quiet and tip-toe around the apartment (our apartment here in Japan has NO DOORS! that means our bedroom is right open to the kitchen and living-dining room) Sweets sleeping is about 5 footsteps away from the kitchen table and I try my best to be real quiet, drink a cup of tea, pray and read for a while, it’s very lovely!

But then at about 7am or so I get anxious. I want to talk to him!! I just can’t wait till he wakes up! It feels like when I was a kid on Christmas morning. In our house we couldn’t wake my parents until 7am so until then it was just waiting and waiting excited and anxious and getting more impatient minute by minute!

Usually sweets wakes up between 7 and 8am so it’s very exciting!! As soon as he says good morning its like I just opened my Christmas present! I jump on the bed to kiss him and we spend a good time talking about our sleep, our dreams we remember and the plan for the day. It’s so nice!!! I am just so content and enjoying our time together. It makes the day feel BEAUTIFUL no matter what and it so far has been the best way for me to start my day!!!

I am sure in time, I will get used to him and everything wont be so amazing or keep me awestruck. I mourn that day 😦

But isn’t that the special thing about marriage? Where we can be in awe and amazed at what God has done in our lives if we just take the time to look and appreciate the person God designed for us and us for them? I hope so and I plan to! I am making it my own goal to continue to appreciate and enjoy every minute while I can. This is the good advice I am choosing to take. And it’s not too late, no matter how long you or anyone has been married I think choosing this way can breathe new life into an established and comfortable union as well.  Let us all live like every morning is Christmas morning! How fulfilling marriage should be!

New Wife, New Life!

It has definitely been a while since my last post. I have been overly distracted by all things wedding/marriage and couldn’t quite get my head on straight to really think about what I was heading towards.

I have been a wife for just about a week (yay!) but the real wife-life has only just started the past two days since Sweets and I have moved in together and started to share our space, bed and time.

What a huge change! I am so thankful that we waited for marriage for everything! It was a difficult time, and so many temptations along the way but more worth it than I can ever tell anyone! We had the amazing feeling that was actually tangibly different after the ceremony than any of my friends who lived/or slept together before the wedding.

Sweets and I can honestly say marriage life feels different! It is so special and amazing!!

Already I am learning so much, and I am shocked at how selfish I still am.

There is great pleasure and satisfaction as a wife and women when you know that your husbands needs are met, but I am learning this is not always simple or as timely as I had imagined it to be. There is still some “work” to put into it and it takes desire and patience that I never knew I needed.

I am blessed beyond anything to have a husband I can talk to about everything. Literally everything! There is no holding back, no embarrassment or shame, and absolutely no expectation that is left        unspoken.

I am very efficient and quick at pretty much everything in my daily life, and the kind of patience I need at this current stage is a real challenge to me.

Love is my driving force and striving to be an excellent wife and bring joy, contentment and satisfaction to my husband is  more important to me than I imagined it would be before we were married.

Patience is the Key to most satisfaction in life I believe. I am really learning this and I wish I would have focused more study on this in the past. I knew this was my biggest weakness and have addressed many parts of this weakness in areas of my life over the years. God has helped me to come a long away, but until this day I never knew just how far I still needed to grow and how much I need to lean on and learn from the Lord about True patience…. Learning bit by bit and step by step.

Aspiring to be the wife God intends me to be.

 

God made them male and female

As a soon to be wife I am always trying to learn new things and study from those who know more than me. My pastor always says “Experience is the best teacher – it just doesn’t have to be your own experience.” I also have always loved that saying “a smart man learns from his experiences, but a wise man learns from others”. That being said, I am always looking for others experiences and advice on marriage so that I will not have to go through some of the unnecessary pain and heart ache others have gone through, and I wont put my husband through them either.

Advice that I have been hearing is that the 1st year of marriage is the hardest. I will definitely let you know if this is true for me, but in my mind I expect the 2nd to be our hardest. They say the 1st is most difficult because you have to give up independence, making our own decisions and doing things on a whim. Also you have to learn to live with another person in your life, home and personal space. I totally get this. I am expecting hard adjustments! But I have been waiting so long that I think in the beginning they will be enjoyable and appreciated adjustments. I will be so happy I have my husband there to adjust to! I have been waiting and praying for a long time for him and now here he is! So I think our 1st year of marriage may be quite blissful and exciting. (I think!) But once that settles in and we get comfortable and used to each other, I imagine that this is where resentment and annoyances have an opportunity to breed.

So I study! I definitely never want to feel negative towards the man I am right now so so so thankful for. I know he is not perfect but right now he is perfectly imperfect for me! I want to do everything I can to keep this thought and opinion about him. Remind myself daily what I love about him, and what makes him the great man that I know he is.

We have our hard times even now. He is not as “sensitive” as I want him to be. He doesn’t understand my feelings and it causes me to feel hurt and loneliness. I desperately want him to understand my girly emotions and feelings about everything! haha BIG MISTAKE. Turns out I am marrying a MAN! He will never be able to understand really and he will never be as emotional or sensitive to things as I am. So, I remind myself when I feel sad or misunderstood all the things I love about Sweets. This has really helped me to focus my attention and take hold of the thoughts and emotions that want to sulk and get pouty with him, that want to be angry and hope he feels a little bit of pain that I feel.

The Bible tells us we have the mind of Christ. ( 1 Cor. 2:16) This brings me back to looking at my own thoughts from His perspective. When I feel I am entitled to a more sensitive man, or that I was treated unfairly I must understand that these selfish, resentful thoughts are not Christ’s but flesh. I can choose to change my thinking, focus on what Christ would want me to focus on (the positives, the goodness and the christ-likeness of my man) and really truly look at the situation for what it is and not what I hope or wish it would be.

God mad them male and female. (Gen. 5:2) That simple sentence always speaks millions to me. Take a minute to reflect on the differences between a man and woman, not just our physical make up, but mental and emotional as well.

Feel better about that relationship? I know I do!