Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

March 1, 2009

How Do You Know He Loves You? Not Just A Song From Enchanted But The Question All Women Want Answered

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:32 pm

 

Eight Years Ago I Put My Hand In Yours...

Eight Years Ago I Put My Hand In Yours...

 

The following reflection is from my beautiful wife Jenn on the past month’s focus: 30 Days To Falling In Love With My Wife All Over Again. 

Well, here I am.  It’s my turn tonight.   The roles are reversed.  T is snuggled up on the couch and I sit here with ‘The Harlot”.  My job: to reflect back on the past month, 30 Days to Falling In Love With My Wife Again.  I hesitated to contribute.  I am not Tony… how do I know whether he accomplished falling in love with me again.  I’d like to assume that he never fell out of love with me, but rather after almost 8 years of marriage there were some things that we may have forgotten about, let slide, or just never gave much thought to.  Yes, this is what I am going to assume. 

I can however make some observations about Tony this past month.  Wait; let me clear up one thing… Tony isn’t a completely unloving dirt bag who had to devote an entire month to showing me how much he loves me.  I know he loves me.  He is a sweet, loving, kind man who sometimes forgets the basics and maybe loses sight of what is right in front of him.  He is not alone.  I’m right there with him. 

A few observations: 

The fact that he is willing to devote an entire month to our marriage shows me he loves me…enough said.   For the past few weeks he has thought about our marriage daily.  I know, that sounds odd.  I mean, shouldn’t we all spend a little time daily thinking about our marriages?  Maybe not so intentionally that we could write about it for a whole month but I don’t’ think it’s a stretch to say that for most of us we don’t spend much time daily, if any, thinking about our marriage and our spouse.  Is what I am doing or how I am treating my spouse today reflective of how much I really love him?  Did my words leave him wondering what I really meant by what I said?  Do my actions convey what my heart feels?  How is our communications? 

It’s a blanket statement so don’t get mad, but this is probably not the reality for most married couples.  It’s understandable.  Life gets in the way and marriage begins to feel like an arrangement, a contract or another commitment and not the covenant that we entered into bound by love.  Do I think that T will continue to think about our marriage every day for the rest of our lives, maybe not?  But I do think that after concentrating on something for an entire month it is near to impossible to let it fall to the wayside and go back to the way things were.   

Tony loves his sleep, but he loves me more.  I know this because there were many days that he let me sleep in a few extra minutes while he wrangled the girls at 6am.  This may seem trivial to some but sleep is a coveted commodity in our home.  We have been playing “who can lay still longer and fake sleeping so they won’t have to get up with the ‘little lovey’” for 4 ½ years.  Most of the time I’ve lost, but this month I didn’t have to play the game.  He forfeited and I’m so thankful!

He drinks lattes, eats muffins, and plays Scrabble with me…even though he was once a little embarrassed to order the coffee, knows that I’ll eat the top off the muffin and I’ll indulge myself in a little lighthearted gloating when I beat him at Scrabble.  Love, love, love!  Oh and that he will use his iTunes gift card to download a song that I like but he would probably not put on his own iPod.  All sounds so silly but its sweet and tender and he is not afraid to be that for me.

Ok… here it is.  I’m just going to say it. I am constantly torn with feeling disappointed that he is not meeting my needs and taking care of me and being thankful that he goes to work every day, and works at home most nights, so that he can take care of the needs of our family and allow me to stay home to raise our little girls.  This is something that we believe strongly about and I know that it is not without great sacrifice on Tony’s part to make this belief become a reality.  The little things that I get irritated with cast shadows on the fact that he is taking care of one of my greatest needs and loving me in a way that is beyond what I could have imagined.  What a gift!   

He doesn’t need to take a quiz, devote 30 days to it, or blog about it.  He loves me daily and I know that.  Oh and Tony, when you tell me that you love me and I respond with at ‘Thank You’ its not because I’m afraid to tell you ‘I love you’ back… its because from the deepest portion of my heart I am so incredibly thankful… for you, for our marriage and for the family that you have given me… thank you!

December 10, 2008

Mom, I Just Got Passed By An Elderly Woman With A Walker…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:25 pm

 

What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

A real man knows what he is doing when he gets behind the wheel of a car. They can commit road rage, pull out of a skid, change the radio station and talk on their cell phone all at the same time. Inside every man there is a little Tony Stewart of Jeff Gordon attempting to break free; every man that is except for me. There is a good chance that your grandmother drives faster than I do. I have a tendency to soil myself out of fear every time a big rig pulls in the lane next to me on I-95.

You really can’t blame me for my reaction. After all, unless you count the bodies lying six feet under, there wasn’t another soul around me during my formative driving training. While other 15 year olds were experiencing how to drive the open road on the actual open road itself, my first encounters behind the wheel were in a cemetery where the speed limit topped out at a whopping 15 MPH’s.

The location was my parents doing as they felt more secure in knowing that if I got in an accident the probability of me killing someone was almost 0%. You know, since the parties involved would have long since met Jesus. Looking back on it now, learning to parallel park a car between tombstones probably led to me failing Maryland’s driving test on my first two shots. For those of you who are wondering, this is where the official expression of “third times a charm” gets its’ origin.

Driving at a snails pace in the cemetery, I was able to read the majority of the tombstones near the road. There were some who lived a long life while others time on this spinning globe was cut way too short. Still, each one attempted in a few short words to capture what they wanted to be remembered for: caring husband, devoted wife, lover of life, kind friend, idealistic dreamer, laughed a lot.  Men want life to make sense and to see a grander picture of what their time on earth is for. None of them desires for their life to be just a blip on the radar screen. We want to make an impact that will last long after our years have passed.

I toss and turn at night dealing with this paralyzing fear that I am going to completely blow it when it comes to the precious time I’ve been given. Here lies Tony Ripa…an utter failure. But, the thing is, most of my decisions are based on the right now with little regard to the impact it will have on the finished product. What I mean by this is that my words and actions are largely driven by how I am feeling at the present moment.

One day I will die. So will you. It is inevitable. Stop reading for a second and take a breath. Didn’t last long did it? Now, let the words of Palm 39:4-6 sink in: Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” Thinking of the wording that will appear on your tombstone might at first seem morbid, but it also helps one to start to think of the legacy they will leave behind. What will be chiseled on your tombstone?

December 9, 2008

If You Can Dodge A Wrench, You Can Dodge A Ball…If You Can’t Dodge A Ball, Then You’re Like Me In 7th Grade…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 9:23 pm

 

Let's Just Say I Couldn't Dodge A Wrench

Let's Just Say I Couldn't Dodge A Wrench

No matter how many years have passed I often view life through the eyes of my former 11-year-old chubby self. For as much as I loved chocolate cake, I dreaded 7th grade gym class at West Frederick Middle School even more. My fastest recorded forty-yard dash was the evening they placed a fresh pepperoni pizza on the buffet line at the Golden Corral. Sweat beads graced my dome only on the mornings when I attempted to cram my jellyrolls into the Husky sized Levi jeans my mom bought on sale at JcPenny’s. Let’s just say athletic ability was not necessarily something I possessed, unless you count my wicked jump shot on the Jordan vs. Bird video game as a skill.

When you’re a fat kid with thick glasses and braces, gym period can feel like the shortest and longest 45 minutes of the day all at the same time. On one hand, not much action is going on when you’re positioned in deep right field so you have ample opportunity to reflect on one of life’s important debates: Big Mac or Whopper with cheese. Time seems to fly by as pictures of burgers dance in your head. Yet, if another kid has a mean streak and decides to actually hit the baseball in your direction, life takes place at slow motion speed. While watching the ball soar in the sky, your entire life flashes before your eyes including all of the embarrassing scenarios that will take place once (not if) your butterfingers cause you to drop the ball.  

Shame stings even more harshly when you are forced to wear tight yellow Champion shorts that ride up your butt crack. This doesn’t even touch upon the torment that is the middle school gym class group shower. I’ll spare you all the shrinking details. However, for us portly fellows no horror compares to that of Dodgeball. There is little concern where the fat kid is on the soccer field or basketball court. This changes when the sole object of the game you are playing is to nail people in the gut, head or junk with big rubber balls.

All of a sudden you become the most popular kid in class. Everyone is now wondering where that bright yellow sun of a rump is located. If you wanted to find me, your best bet was to look for the huge mass quivering in the corner. While the athletic kids would go towards harms way by running up to the front lines, my tactic was to retreat towards the back wall. Let those proactive fools take their chances while I play it safe. But, my actions did noting to stop those big balls from whizzing by my head any less. One by one my teammates would get picked off until I stood all alone with my back against the wall. There was a group of blood hungry pre-teens on one side and I was the hunted. Game over.

For far too long, I’ve accepted the lie that life is set and you can’t do much about it. So, you might as well flee to the back wall because at least when you get hit in the gut with one of life’s curveballs the impact will hurt less. Once you become a target you’re not surprised to get hit upside your head on a consistent basis. You grow accustom to watching from the sidelines as life happens. It is easier to blame the man you have become on the circumstances or conditions you face. During my 30-day journey to becoming a man, I’ve noticed how this mindset has crept into the words I speak.

 

“That’s just how I am wired.” (My behavior is predetermined. There is nothing I can do to change it)

“I couldn’t help blowing up. The kids are driving me insane!” (Something outside of my control drives my emotions)

“If she would notice my effort more, then I would….” (My actions are dependent on how others respond)

“There is no way I can do that.” (Why even try if I already know the outcome)

 

There are three major problems that are created when I use this type of language: (1) I no longer become responsible for my actions (2) By feeling out of control, my words become a self-fulfilling prophecy (3) Until I am able to admit my mistakes, there is no chance to grow from them. I am setting myself up for failure over and over and over again. Part of the disconnect is my failure to realize that even though you sometimes have no control over the events that unfold in your life, you do have power over one thing: your response to those circumstances. 

Life is similar to those continuous dodgeball games where when you get hit you aren’t out you just switch sides. Up to this point, when I’ve been blindsided by life I’ve wanted to stay on the floor and just play dead. I’m slowly learning that a man’s character is formed and developed during those times when they are knocked out cold. How will he respond – wave the white flag or jump back to his feet and continue to play?

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