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!

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February 22, 2009

When Is The Government Going To Step In And Bailout My Love Bank?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 9:52 pm

 

Where's My Part Of The Bailout Money

Where's My Part Of The Bailout Money

 

 

It is hard not to fight the urge to act like Chicken Little and run through the streets screaming “The Sky Is Falling…The Sky Is Falling!” Everywhere you turn all you see and hear is grim financial news: a slowing economy, turbulence on Wall Street and rising foreclosures. Turning the television off and closing the daily newspaper barely helps in tuning out the bleak news of the day. Potential layoffs serve as the normal topic of conversation around the water cooler. Going to work each day feels eerily similar to Survivor, as no one knows who will be next to ‘get voted off the island’ with a pink slip.

In these chaotic times, it appears that every CEO hopes the suits in Washington will drop a huge bag of cash in their lap. Automobile executives are even willing to go as far as carpooling in an El Camino if that means more money gets thrown their way. No wonder they believe this tactic works as the government seems to be tossing money in the sky hoping that it will solve our country’s financial woes. Many do not realize that President Obama considers rapper Fat Joe as one of his most trusted economical advisors as the bailout plan is akin to “Making It Rain.”

Forget about Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America. Those big boys of banking can handle their own. What about us little guys? My question to members of Congress is when should I expect my piece of the bailout money to protect the stability of my Love Bank?

In his book His Needs Her Needs, Willard F. Hailey Jr. says there is a “love bank” inside every marriage relationship. It is one way we track how the other is treating us. Whether we realize it or not, all of our actions impact the love present in your relationship both positively and negatively. You are either depositing love units to boost your balance or withdrawing them when you do something hurtful, insensitive or just plain stupid. If you hit a certain threshold through constant deposits, feelings of love are produced and sustained.

The problem arises when you withdraw more than you deposit. Like the majority of Americans, I went a little crazy with the spending and swiping of the credit card. I kept putting making payments while I kept charging away. It wasn’t until my Love Bank debit card was shredded when I headed to the ATM machine that I knew I was in my own little financial crisis. Thanks to some bad bookkeeping on my part, I often fail to realize when the balances are hovering dangerously low. Unfortunately, the Love Bank is far from FDIC insured and does not offer Online Banking. Luckily, I did come across a list of some of their fees and payouts. I wanted to share a few of them with you all tonight in hopes that knowing them might bailout another poor soul:

5 Units Taking out the trash, doing the dishes, folding laundry

-5 Units When you mention to your wife you took out the trash, did the dishes and folded the laundry

10 Units Tending to your crying child in the mild of the night so your wife can sleep

-15 Units Making sure you stomp up the stairs and hit each step along the way to your crying child’s room

15 Units Suggesting you get a babysitter and go to the movies

-20 Units Insist on seeing “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and having your wife ask for a refund

35 Units Preparing a candlelight dinner with goose as the main course

-5 Units Goosing your wife as she does the dishes after the meal

45 Units Telling your wife how beautiful she looks before heading off to work

-50 Units Commenting under your breath (but loud enough for her to hear) “Wow, she’s hot” as Jennifer Aniston graces the TV screen while you’re watching the Oscars

100 Units Taking your wife on a romantic weekend get-a-way

-25 Units Leaving the suitcase full of laundry at the bottom of the stairs for your wife to deal with when you get home

1,000 Units Being by your wife’s side in support as she gives birth to your child

-300 Units Having your wife pick you up from work while she is in labor and drive herself to the hospital (unfortunately, this one did happen…long story).

February 18, 2009

Knowing Your Wife’s Heart Is Something You Can’t Learn From Reading Cosmo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:59 pm

 

No, not this Cosmo... I am talking about the magazine folks

No, not this Cosmo... I am talking about the magazine folks

How well do you know your wife or significant other? After all those years together, are you confident in your knowledge about the woman in your life? Up until today, I would of answered yes. Now thanks to those stupid Cosmopolitan magazine quizzes I am not so sure. I guess my relationship with Cosmo is still not paying off even after all of these years.

You see, this magazine is the sole reason I chose to embarrass myself by joining the high school swim team and prancing around in a Speedo. One evening I was covering the local swim meet for the school paper and noticed how the girls gathered around and read fashion magazines in between races. Being smarter than the average bear, I reasoned this could be my “in” to girl time so I quickly learned how to do the backstroke. 

At first the plan worked to perfection. Considering I was like a brick in the water, this meant I normally had only swam in one event leaving me plenty of opportunities to answer questions on celebrity crushes, rules for breaking up with someone and what lipstick fits your personality. The girls felt they were unlocking the male brain and I thought I was getting closer to an actual date. Sadly, both of us were mistaken.

All the Cosmo quizzes got me back in high school was the friend card and a girl crying on my shoulder when their jerk of a boyfriend broke up with them. Fast forward to present day and the results have me wondering how well I pay attention to my spouse. I thought the only time I disengaged was on Sunday afternoons during football season, but maybe I do not realize how often my eyes glaze over and I go off to my happy place.

Thinking this had to be some sort of fluke, I Google “How Well Do You Know Your Wife Quiz” and decided to press my luck. Some tests were so easy an untrained monkey could pass them causing me not to put a lot of stock in the results. Then you had others that were more challenging than taking the SAT’s. Their sole goal was to make the male feel like the ultimate goober of a husband so they would shell out 3 payments of $39.99 (shipping & handling not included) for the communication CD’s they were hawking.

After a few moments of searching, I finally came across a quiz that seemed semi-legitimate with no hidden agenda. Jenn humored me and followed along with this whole charade. A few of the questions seemed odd like how many keys does she carry. I haven’t the slightest clue if it is 2 or 10, but I do know chances are good she has misplaced them. I also think chances are good that I will be paying later for sharing that tidbit.

Some of my answers were right on point as they were no brainers: Jenn’s favorite restaurant is The Little Dipper, she has been known to read cookbooks just for fun and would love nothing more than to replace the couches in the living room. Unfortunately, there was a fair share of responses that had Jenn rolling her eyes wondering how she married a guy as clueless as myself. I struck out on the favorite color question going for green (it’s red). Ditto on her favorite clothing store (Ann Taylor Loft) and mother’s maiden name (do you think I’d be foolish enough to post this on the Internet…).

This whole experience opened the door for conversations and taught me that no matter if you’ve are a newlywed or have been married for 50 years, there are parts of your spouse’s story you do not know. Go back to those conversations from yesterday. What dominated a large portion of the discussions? Presumably, you chitchatted about the kids, work, friends, weather, news headlines or what was on television the night before. We center our sights on general issues while the important details of our life go largely ignored. What chapters of his or her story are you missing? What is something they regret doing or not doing? What big life questions keep them up at night? How much do you know about the family they were raised in and the effects it had on shaping them into the person standing before you? Are they content in their career and purpose in life? If they are a parent, do they feel hopeless when it comes to raising their kids? Are there areas in their life where their integrity is compromised? What past mistakes are they struggling to learn from? Who or what do they struggle to forgive?  

In order to fall in love with Jenn all over again, I must begin to enter her world by asking questions that drive to the heart. This requires an investment where my responsibility is being attentive and a student of her world. Little details like knowing her favorite candy or how she likes her steak cooked are important, but pale into comparison to knowing her heart. This is something you’ll never learn in Cosmo. Trust me, I read numerous issues cover-to-cover waiting to come in last place in the 100M backstroke. 

February 10, 2009

How Insomnia Means True Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 9:54 pm

 

Insomnia = Love

Insomnia = Love

I had my fair share of luck when it came to roommates in college. Friends of mine were not so fortunate, especially my buddy Jared. Freshmen year he roomed with a kid affectionately known as Ninja Bill. Bill did not actually possess a black belt except for the dress belt he purchased at JcPenny’s for the one actual date he went on while at college.

The nickname came from a night where both Jared and Bill were locked out of their 4th floor dorm room. While we waited outside the door for the Resident Assistant to let us in Bill suddenly disappeared. When the RA opened the door, we were shocked to see Bill relaxing in his bunk bed. We determined the only possible way he could have made it into the room was using secret ninja skills to scale the building and open the window.

Unfortunately, this was the only spectacular thing Bill did his entire freshmen year. Unless of course you count the fact that he was “that” kid who always wore shorts no matter what temperature it was or how many of inches of snow were on the ground. What made Bill a horrible roommate was his tendency to go straight to bed after getting all stinky and sweaty while playing basketball. Showers were few and far between for the Ninja. No matter how many bottles of Febreze Jared went through the stench covered every inch of the room. To put the funk in perspective, half way through the year we moved dorm buildings and within a few hours the stench had consumed their new room. Jared had to figure out a way to deal with the Ninja and all his issues.

What do colleges do with those roommate questionnaires anyway? I am convinced the Student Affairs department plays something akin to 52-card pickup by throwing all the questionnaires in the air and letting the ‘cards fall where they may.’ If a file happens to land on another then those two poor unsuspecting students were meant to be together. You cannot honestly tell me that some administrator feels the home schooled girl who leads a such a sheltered life she makes members of the Amish appear hip would be a perfect fit for the Goth chick who frightens Marilyn Manson. Where is the logic in thinking that the farm boy from Middle America and the kid straight out of the hard inner city streets would get along like peas and carrots? It’s as if the Student Affairs department serves as a part time job for the producers of the Real World. They are simply creating drama for drama sake.

When it comes to college roommates, conflict is almost inevitable. Unless in the future you are able to head off to university and room with your clone, there will be differences that you have to work through so you are not dividing the room in half with duct tape.

In a lot of ways, marriage can be similar to adjusting to having a college roommate. If opposites do attract then it means a wealth of issues you are going to have to confront.  How do you deal with differences in personal preferences, rituals, habits and taste? A wife can fall into the toilet only a few times before she goes ballistic about her hubby not putting the toilet seat down. Don’t even get her started on why it is so difficult for the hubby to “aim.” What about the husband who is always on time being married to the wife who moves through life on her own schedule? For most issues, over time you adjust or compromise with your significant other so peace will rule the household.

At night is when I am most confronted with the fact that God has a great sense of humor. This is where the differences between Jenn and I come to a head. Faithful readers know all to well about my attachment to Lumpy, my body pillow. I am the quintessential night owl where Jenn can be out like a light before the sun sets. She needs absolute silence while I cannot sleep without sports talk radio playing in the background.  I like to crack the window when it is snowing while Jenn wraps herself up in a cocoon of blankets in the middle of summer. Putting her needs first means a drastic lack of shuteyes coming my way. Loving Jenn this month very well means I am going to be a walking zombie with bloodshot eyes. Insomnia for the next 30 days means true love. 

February 8, 2009

The Cringe Factor Of Getting Mad Props Has God Taking The Night Off

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:27 pm

 

God Loves Getting Mad Props

God Loves Getting Mad Props

God is everywhere at every time, and in every situation, but I wonder if He takes the Grammys off. After all, can you blame the person who has the entire world in the palm of His hands for wanting a little R&R? After putting extra time in trying to solve the world’s economic crisis, tonight of all nights seems best for the Big Guy Upstairs to relax in the recliner and finally finish up that Sudoku puzzle.

This time off has nothing to do with having to endure the torture that is the Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift duet, even though that would be reason enough for me. He has endured worse pain than Jason Mraz having to grit his teeth as he introduced the teen pop mega group Jonas Brothers so that isn’t it either. Only the bearer of all wisdom would understand why Coldplay is considered the best “rock” band in all the land when they play on the same easy listening radio station you hear in a dentist office.

No event has God second-guessing His decision to give human beings free will more than Grammy night. Whenever God sees Kid Rock, T-Pain or Lil’ Wayne heading towards the stage, He gets a little antsy as He wonders if He will be given “mad props” for them taking home an award tonight.

The cringe factor these shout outs to God induce is too much for Him to bear. I wonder how much God enjoys having His name attached to the lifestyle of the gangster rapper or strung out guitarist. At least to me, it doesn’t seem Cristal and Christ would go together. I can picture God crossing His fingers hoping the artist only gets to thank their parents, agent and recording company before the shows producers cut them off to make sure they have enough time just in case Kanye West throws another hissy fit.

Yet, I wonder if God winces just as hard every time He hears me talk about God being the center of my marriage. Many Christians, throw out the term ‘godly marriage’ when their relationship resembles more Jerry Springer than Jesus Christ. I might be way off, but isn’t this giving God the same type of lip service many of our pop culture icons do when they thank their Lord and Savior?

This month’s focus is all about falling in love with my wife all over again. Being a Christian and adding the whole reflecting God’s image talk into the equation raises the bar to a whole other level. The standard for love no longer becomes improving my listening skills, cleaning up after myself or being interested in the things Jenn loves to do, even though those are good habits to instill in myself. Displaying virtues likes patience, forgiveness, gentleness and self-control always need my attention, but these are more byproducts then targets.

Instead God wants me to live out the words of Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” When was the last time I sacrificed for my wife? How difficult do I find it to lay down my plans for her? Do I put her needs above my own? Am I willing to die for Jenn?  In the immortal words of Little John, a rapper who always gave God mad props, those questions leaving me shouting “WHAT!?! Can I just fold some laundry?”

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