This morning as I pulled back up to the house after dropping the kids off at school there were two big/huge/fat black crows on my front lawn. Shudder! The Midwest has done a marvelous job of beating irrational fears out of me -- you want to send the wrath of God at us in the form of house shaking thunder and lightning? Sure! -- and has even taken care of 98% of a twenty year old fear of birds (because there are millions here. MILLIONS.). But still. Gigantic/fat/pitch-black crows that were probably waiting for you to get home so that they could eat you? I don't care how brave you are, that is still enough to creep you out!
Yesterday was the Double B's day off, and after he returned from the dentist and spent a little time laying there pondering the horrors of dental work, we had a great day together. I do love that his days off are OUR days. The kids are in school and it's just the two of us... and Kate. But she's fun, so it's all good. We usually have a little date (with Kate) and enjoy relaxing and chatting and an over-all slow day. Love that! We helped the missionaries move into their new apartment and had a late lunch at the Olive Garden -- while there, we discovered that Katelyn has a sincere passion for salad with Italian dressing. Right? She just went to town on that and hardly touched anything else. It was easy conversation and just pleasant. I love that kid. And loving him is a serious priority in my life. In fact, next to trying to love God with all my heart, might, mind and strength, loving the Double B actually comes in at number one.
I was thinking about this yesterday morning. Why actually, actively BEING in love is so important to me, and to us as a couple.
My parents have been married thirty-five years and have been an amazing example to me, and maybe that instilled in me early a sense of what I wanted and what it took to get there and stay there. They have never hidden that it was a lot of work and sometimes that person you love more then anything in the whole world can actually make you insane, but they also never hid their admiration for, love for, and the enjoyment they found together. My childhood is the one you hear about -- my parents dancing in the kitchen and holding hands across the mini-van seats, laughing at the others jokes and quirks, and verbally expressing love and compliments very often. They were and are also fiercely loyal to each other. I admire that so much.
I am thankful that my husband also has a desire to make our own kind of wonderful. The longer we are married, the better it is.
I know I've probably shared them before, but they were important to me, so I'll do it again! There are three big events that have stayed with me that have really impacted the way I view marriage:
When I was a teenager I read a book about a personal hero of mine, Marjorie Pay Hinckley. She was so stinking awesome! As I was reading, she talked about a personal philosophy she had in relation to her husband and her children -- "why say no when you can say yes?" I really thought that sounded good! Seriously, though. Why say no when you can say yes? It just made sense to me. I don't want to be a no person. I want to be a yes person! This has become a philosophy that affects my whole life, sometimes more successfully then others, but ESPECIALLY for my honey and my kiddos. I want to be the warm, welcoming, loving, YES person to them. If there is no reason to say no -- I hope I'll say yes. Doesn't always happen. But is something I strive for.
My Mother-in-law gave me some wonderful advice when I was getting ready to deliver KJ. She told me that when I became a Mother it would be tempting to turn away from my husband and turn to my children -- to make them my number one priority instead of him. She encouraged me to not let that happen. She said that his focus would not change -- that his would stay on me, and if I would do the same -- let him AND my children know that our relationship as husband and wife was the very most important one in my life and heart, we would be happier and closer, and our children would actually feel more secure. That was super advice and sunk into my heart. I have found it to be true.
When I was pregnant with Olivia I read a wonderful book called 'Three Weeks With My Brother,' a memoir by Nicholas Sparks, that was a game-changer for me. It is a wonderful, funny, tender story, but there is a conversation between the two brothers that really caused me to ponder my approach to marriage and life. In it they were talking about their individual happy marriages and what made them tick. The first brother told the second brother that he believed the secret to a happy marriage is communication, but the second brother immediately disagreed. He said that the secret to any successful marriage is COMMITMENT. That there will always be times you can not speak the same language, when things are wonderful or things are terrible, when you totally get each other or feel like you are looking at a stranger, but if you are both 100% COMMITTED you can. not. fail. If one of you is less then 100%, you are in danger. But if you are both in it, totally, completely, for life... there is nothing you can't weather. I thought that was absolutely profound and spoke a lot of truth to me -- especially since before then I probably would have said it was communication, and the Double B and I are so very different that we are USUALLY speaking a different language. But that wasn't it. It was COMMITMENT. I called the Double B in and read that passage to him, and he too felt that it was both profoundly wise and profoundly good and a great reference for us. As funny as it sounds, I told him right there I was 100% COMMITTED to him and to us, and he smiled and said the same thing. For the next few years, we would occasionally repeat those words -- the "I may want to punch you, but I will never leave you" -- ideal. We needed that for the next few years, too, that brought our first and worst experiences with death and grief and scary health. Maybe the Lord made sure I read that at that time, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised. It kind of carved a path for us that was critical and has become so easy to follow. We don't always agree and we don't always like the others attitude and we might not always like the situation, but we are ALWAYS 100% COMMITTED to US. That is a comforting and beautiful thing to know that we both share that.
Plus, I really just LIKE him.