Allowing him to be The Man

Hey all,

It has been a long while! I wont bore you with the details, but I am glad to be back and hope to make it a more regular thing! I have missed the world of blogging!!!

Ok for my first post I will start with a mini update. Cullen and I have now been married 10 months! Its shocking how fast time goes by! I have learned a lot and lacked a lot his year and though I wish I had had the time/energy and wherewith to share it all, I do believe this was a time in our lives that was meant to be intimate and sweetened by privacy. The Lord has been working over time in each of us, and we have had a fabulous year together! I can say that marriage is WAY BETTER than I anticipated it could ever be. It really does leave my dreams in the dust!

That being said I want to start my first post back on a topic that is close to my heart. Respect for our husbands.

I came across something on FB the other day that really annoyed me! (Shocking I know) but it really made me think about what kind of message we send to our husbands with jokes, pictures and other comments that are meant to be funny but actually make a statement about our level of respect for them.

Here is the picture that really had me going:

Sad

I couldn’t believe how many of my (christian) friends were agreeing and posting this on their own walls. Especially shocking when I know their husbands will also see it.  I felt really sad for them knowing that my friends are declaring their own husbands to be so little in their eyes….to every person they have ever met or sometimes haven’t met!

I encountered a similar feeling when I was looking at wedding cakes last year and I am sure you have seen these also, but does this not just make it seem like it is all set up for failure, ridicule and disrespect?

1 2 3 4 5

I hope that I can be the kind of wife that allows my husband to be The Man in my life but also that I confirm to him how greatly I value, respect and need him to be MY MAN.

Maybe I am making a bigger deal of it than is needed, but I want to ask you to please comment and let me know what do you think ? Do these images send a negative  message to our husbands  or are they just in fun?

Thanks for stopping by!!

-Bree

 

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Direction over Intention

I am sure that I am not alone when it comes to feeling like a failure as wife, a friend and more importantly as a Christian women.

I frequently do and say things that I am regretful of nearly the second they come out of my mouth. I am constantly ashamed and even surprised by my behaviour or words, even though really I shouldn’t be all that surprised since I did nearly the same thing earlier this week!

I continuously feel frustrated that I am not able to live up to a higher standard and even more frustrated that I am not the women I want to be, let alone hoped to be by this point in my life.

This week Sweets and I had to have some necessary (and some unnecessary) chats about future things, money, and expectations ect..) I know that most of this is due to us living abroad and we constantly need to evaluate and stay on the same page for future hopes, dreams, plans and expectations. Contract discussions are coming up in the next 2-3 months and we both need to be sure and secure in what we agree to with out current companies. (We really want to try our very best to live by “yes be yes” and ” no be no”, we would both hate to agree to a contract only to find that a move to North America was on the radar a few months later.)

I admit that I do not always handle these conversations very gracefully. I am  outspoken and I grew up in a rather harsh, tension filled home much of the time (though not all of the time as I have many great memories, and miss my family  while I’m here) However, our family communication consisted of screaming, yelling and hollering at each other – this was what would be normal conversation in most other peoples homes. So I still have that natural reaction/response in conversations that dig a bit deeper than “whats for dinner?” or talking about our day at work.

I despise this part of me and desperately want to change for both my husband and the Lord especially. A gentle and quiet spirit. I cant even imagine that could be me, but that is the goal! A gentle and quiet spirit, maybe if I say it enough I will start to associate with it! haha

I know that just identifying the problem is not enough, we also need to dig deeper to the root of the issue, and also come up with specific steps and a plan to change and get from where we are to where we want to be.

I am currently reflecting on my own habits, responses and reactions to various parts of life that really disappoint me as a Christian women wanting to serve the Lord and be more and more like Him.

I am realizing that (at least for me) just knowing what is wrong in my personality is not the same as becoming what is right. So my current project is underway. (ME!)

I have decided to start with What/ Who I want to be, and who I think I am. Working backwards to determine steps I can take that would bring me to this desired destination. The problem is that often times the person I think I am is actually not at all what others may experience. They may not see my good intentions through failures if I am consistently offending, raising my voice or any other poor response I likely have. Even though deep within my intention is nice, if my actions do not more often reflect my intention then it doesn’t matter what I intended! The best thing I ever learned (and I may end up posting more about this book later at some point)  is that direction NOT intention determines the destination. (Andy Stanley Principal of the Path)

I can intend as many things as I want but if I am not actively heading in that direction I will never end up there. I actually do not know what my plan of action will look like as of this second. I just know God wrote the end from the beginning and so it may be a good place for me to start. I want to be the kind of wife my husband will not only be proud of but that he can be very thankful for. I want to be the  gift from God to his life. Proverbs 18:22, 19:14, 31:10.

Please pray for me, that I will remember to seek the Lord for strength and help and humble myself before Him frequently instead of trying all the things on my own!

Thank you so much!

 

 

 

To be Happily Daily After

So I am learning that with even just two adults in this apartment, things get messy and dirty really fast!

I can not believe the dust this place collects. We are on the 9th floor of a very busy street and I tend to keep the windows open 24/7 so it’s partly my own fault….but still!

I have to dust daily or else it honestly looks like I haven’t dusted in weeks!

I started to get a routine to help me stay on top of things! I am not crazy clean but I do not like dust. I have a feeling I would be a lot more of a “clean-freak” if we had space and storage. But storage and Japanese apartments do not tend to go together.

Here’s the things I find that save me time and help this TINY apartment stay clean.

1) After cooking, when I wipe down the counters I choose 1 row of the spice rack to wipe down also. This way I don’t have to wipe all the spices down every time but it does help the tops from getting dusty or greasy from the cooking. At least once a week all the spices and the rack are wiped clean.

2) Scrub the shower WHILE I take my shower. (I realize this works best in the stand alone shower stalls which is similar to what I have here). This is part of my relaxation therapy! I wash myself from head to toe and then I douse the shower in cream bleach. This is my favourite shower cleaner. I LOVE when things smell of bleach  (sorry to any enviro people out there.) I leave a scrub brush in the shower and just scrub it all while I pray, or sing or meditate..whatever. Then I rinse it all down and myself and I am ready to start the day. Fresh!

3) I pre-plan all my meals for the week on my day off. For me this is Monday as I work Saturdays. I look through blogs, recipe books and ideas from friends and then I put together my meal plan for the whole week. I go shopping twice a week but only from this list. Once a week would be fine back home but here a) I have a SMALL fridge and b) vegetables do not last more than a couple of days before going bad. I shop Mondays and Thursday evenings.

4) Budget. This keeps me happy, organized and feeling in power of my life. I tend to be rather frugal and cheap but I do not sacrifice as much as it may seem. Yesterday I wanted to try a new recipe that included feta cheese. The only option was  a small brick of 50g for $7. I bought it! But I do not do this every week. I tend to pic and choose my splurges and plan around them so they are used optimally and I can spread the money out across the week.

5) Low Ball. I don’t know if this is the actual term I should use here but see if you catch my drift. I put my food budget a bit lower than it likely would cost and then when I do my shopping my goal/game is always to get things cheaper than that. Of course I have more money available, no one is starving here! Sweets and I make decent money so were not sacrificing or miserable. It just makes shopping fun when I have a game or challenge. Usually I am really successful at spending less than I challenged myself even if it is just on one of the meals or by a few $ for that week. It simply makes me happy. My top budget for the 2 of us is 18$/day (500$/month) but my low ball attempt is always 14$/day ($400/month). I am not sure if this is high or normal for Canada/USA but for Japan this is pretty decent. Prices tend to be rather high, or you get a much smaller serving for the same prices so I need to buy more.

6) Do the Laundry as soon as I wake up. For me this works as I wake up usually with about 1.5 hrs before I need to leave for work. My washer takes about an hour to run through and so I still have time to hang everything out before I need to leave for work. (No dryer here, everything is and hung on the line) But having the smell of the laundry while I’m reading or making breakfast ect.. is so motivating and automatically I start the day feeling productive – which then helps me to BE productive the rest of the day. This is another reason I prefer to vacuum in the morning…I only get to do this on the mornings Sweets goes to the gym before work, but its all good!

*7) This is a special one for me. I make a point to do something loving and sacrificial for my husband at least once a day. This can be anything really. But I found that I appreciate him the most and feel the happiest about making him smile when it actually cost me something. Usually for me it is time not money. This weeks example is waking up early to make lunch for him. He has never asked me or expected this. Typically he eats cold Japanese style lunch, but  he is always very appreciative when I do this for him. It is a struggle some mornings for me to will myself out of bed that few minutes earlier to cook him a hot lunch and put it in the thermos – even just left overs need to be piping hot which takes a bit of time. It is always worth it when I see his smile! He gushes about how he is just so thankful for me and how I make his life so much better. He has told me that even when he is at work his life is improved since we married and he never imagined or expected that. This makes me the happiest!

Well, I’ll end it there today. Its been a good day!  I hope you also have/had a fabulous day where-ever you are, doing whatever you need to do!

Blessings

 

 

The Power of Prayer

I love the book The Power of a Praying Wife!

I got it right before Sweets and I were married. I read it through as a whole during our engagement. At that time I started to pray through some of the areas that Stormie Omartian highlights as important areas to pray specifically for.

Now I have been married for just under 2 months and I have read this through another 3-4 times. I make an effort to pray for at least a couple of each of these areas for my husband on a regular basis.

I looked quite a bit for a blog, or commentary on this book before I bought it, just to be sure it would be useful for me and my life before spending the money. But sadly I did not find too, too much that was helpful. I am thankful that int he end  I purchased the book. I would recommend it to any women who is married, engaged or one day plan to be.

As I mentioned, I prayed through many of these areas before my wedding and it was a good habit to start. Another unexpected benefit is that it opened my eyes to areas in my husband’s life that a) I didn’t even consider he may be struggling with, b) I hadn’t  realized existed, or that I never thought would affect myself or our marriage.

Over the next few weeks and maybe months (depending on how much time i can find!) I do want to expand on these thoughts and areas to include some of the things that totally were new to me but also the changes I have seen take place in the course of just two months!

Why not try to pray in one of these areas everyday for a month. Note the changes not just in your husband but also in yourself, the way you relate to your husband and most importantly your relationship with the Lord.

1. Wife – prayer for yourself to be a Godly Wife.

2. Work – to be balanced and fulfilling.

3. Finances – not praying for more money, but using the money to Glorify God be giving, saving and wise.

4. Sexuality – sexual fulfillment and satisfaction for both partners.

5. Affection – Forming emotional bonds, and meeting needs for affection.

6. Temptations – those you may know about, suspect and ones you are not aware of.

7. Mind – clarity, unity, a sound mind at peace.

8. Fears – those you know about and those that you do not. Many men fear not being able to take care of their family, not having work, or illness that leaves them unable.

9. Purpose –  as a man, a husband, and a servant to his Creator.

10. Choices – In all areas of life, that he will be wise and led by the Lord.

11. Health –  Protection and prevention as well as healing and wholeness.

12. Protection – From immediate and possible threats, danger and accidents.

13. Trials – to keep strong and faithful through character building struggles that he may need to go through in order to be a greater husband, man or Christian.

14. Integrity – doing what is right because it is right in ALL situations, to stand against opposition and being mediocre .

15. Reputation – to not be spoiled, or tarnished by such things as gossip, jealousy, misunderstandings or mistakes.

16. Priorities – to be in the right order, balanced and that he gives strong attention to those areas that are eternally significant.

17. Relationships – with everyone around him. In and out of the house. Especially for trustworthy, Godly men friends to help him, encourage him and guide him when needed.

18. Fatherhood – that he be confident, strong and sensitive, as well as present and attentive.

19. Past – anything that might be cause of concern, habits, learned behavior and things that hold him back, bring him down and cause ill thoughts or feelings to haunt him in any way.

20. Attitude – To be Spirit filled and not fleshly, that he would be thankful and grateful and not critical or negative.

21. Marriage – Pray against divorce, adultery or distrust. This is important no matter how perfect the marriage is now. Pray for joy and peace and unity as well.

22. Emotions – namely that he will not be guided by them but by the Lord only. That he will not act on his emotions but be stable, self-controlled and able to discern.

23. Walk – That he will walk in all the ways of the BIble. That he will be guided by the Lord and directed by Him on his paths each day. To walk in righteousness and holiness ect.

24. Talk – That he may bridle his tongue, speak wisdom and truth and that he will not be foolish with the power of his words.

25. Repentance – That he would be sensitive to the Lords ways, and have an honest and humble heart to easily repent for his sins and seek the Lords strength for making him a better man.

26.  Deliverance – From anything that may have a hold on his life, thoughts, heart and behaviour. These may be known, or a hidden struggle deep within him. Only God can heal and bring wholeness.

27.  Obedience – To the Lord of course. That he would be still and know God, accept whatever works God has planned for him to walk in and that he would easily obey no matter what he feels or thinks about the situation.

28.  Self-Image – identity in Christ and viewing himself as God sees him. Poor self Images can lead to missed opportunities, fears and other hindrances to growing in the Lord and being a strong husband capable of leading  as well.

29.  Faith – To carry him through all things, to be unwavering and to be placed in the right source.

30.  Future – Vision and direction for the future as well as hope and ambition to motivate decisions. Men need goals to work towards and Gods vision for the future is a great driving force for a husband and his family.

I learned SO much from praying these little things and adding my own concerns, thoughts and personal aspects of Sweets personality to each prayer.

Prayer really can change the course and path a man is walking on. Only when God is invited into the midst can there be any hope for an alternate destination.

The Bikini Question

Should women of God be wearing bikinis? This is not one of those legalistic “should” questions but simply personal opinions about a christian woman’s conduct and apparel.

The reason I ask is because the other day when my husband and I were headed to the beach I grabbed my box of swim suits out of the closet to choose the perfect one for our romantic picnic/day on the beach. I decided to go with a red, hibiscus print, Calvin Klein, skirted bottom bikini that I had been saving for just this occasion (tags still on!)

Excitedly I got changed and looked at myself – it was super cute! I felt confident and ready to give my skin some much-needed salt and sun (my skin always looks amazing after a day at the beach!) But then instead of continuing to feel confident as I ran around the house looking for my flip-flops, sun hat , parasol and beach towels.. I felt rather shy and for lack of better description – territorial. Not my territory but my husbands.

Suddenly I felt uncomfortable…as if I was exposing things that belonged to my husband for the world/other men to see. I have never thought this way about my bathing suits before. I mean I have always worn bikinis for the main reason that I have extremely long legs and a short torso, one piece swimsuits just are not a comfortable fit for the way my body is made.  And my bikini choices would not in typical circles be considered “skimpy” or even raise eye brows. So whats the deal?

Apparently a lot more changed when I got married then I had expected. Or maybe God’s just finally putting His finger on an area of my life I previously was ignorant about. Either way I simply have no desire to wear a bikini in public again. I have a few other two piece swim suits – Tankini and shorts or skirt styles and a body-suit style that I wear to take my preschool class to the pool every week for swimming lessons. These are my choice swimsuits to wear now – even at the beach!

I wonder if anyone else has experienced this as well? Is this because of my newly married status? Am I really just aware now that this body of mine belongs to my husband and his eyes only and I do not want to share any part of it with other people at all?

Or is it possible that I just have finally woken up to the fact that society has made my bra and underwear out of fast-dry material, called it a swim suit and made it acceptable and “expectable” to wear them out in public? I am not sure but I am rather shocked  by my instant and complete rejection of the bikini,  I am 30 years old this is not anything that has ever crossed my mind before. Times are definitely changing!

Would love to hear anyone else’s opinion on the swimsuit topic pro bikini or con – No judgement here! Just friendly, Godly women talking about our own convictions and opinions in our freedom with Christ.

Thanks and Blessings to you!

 

Advice

There is a lot of advice out there for married couples. Shops are lined with books on how to help, save, better, ect.. your marriage. I am sure all of it to one extent or another has applicable advice that would be beneficial.

Right now Sweets and I are in the newness phase still, everything is perfect and exciting and wonderful. I am not so naiive to think that this will last forever though. Of course, it is God’s will for our marriages to be joyful and wonderful and represent Him well. We will have struggles, disagreements and other issues over the years.  I am thankful that we are both realistic enough to acknowledge this and also to plan for it to some degree as best we can right now, ahead of time.

One of those ways (and some of the  best advice I have heard) was directly from my husband. The one thing he always made clear was important for our marriage was that “No Matter What, we always speak respectfully to and about each other.”

He said that sarcasm over time slowly breaks down people’s spirits and the relationship and that it has no place in marriages. At first I thought he was over emphasizing this a bit too much, but as I now spend a bit more time and activities with other couples I totally understand what he is saying and agree 100% . I hear other couples “joke” about being chained to the other, or things like “I wish they would leave but …still here”  It sounds so negative, almost mean. I heard it right away, it made me cringe and sad for the other person. It was this week that I clearly saw the significance of what Sweets was saying.

I was talking to  a newly engaged couple who have been together for two years. There were jabs and sharp comments to and about each other in the midst of our only 15 min chat.  At this time when they should be the most excited and joyful for their union, already they make comments about being sick of the other or not being able to get away. I know they are joking and I assume they are looking forward to the wedding, but the point is that if they are already in the habit of wounding the significance of the other or the relationship in casual conversation what happens when they aren’t as happy or are disappointed or whatever? Yikes.

Sweets and I left that conversation re-vowing never to speak in a similar manner. Always speak highly and praise your spouse, even when you have grounds to criticize. There is a time and place to speak to them about change but in front of others where you can make them look/feel diminished or inadequate  is not a good place or practice for a marriage (or any relationship really.)

Speak highly and honour the one you have!

Blessings

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.