Make It a Priority

I’ve attended a number of weddings in my day. I’ve been a flower girl three times, a bridesmaid twice, and the mother-of-ring-bearers twice now. I’ve sat as witnesses many others, from the small to the grandiose.

I love weddings. My grandmother used to “do” weddings, from the flowers to the dresses, and her love of all things prettiful is embedded deep in my genes. I can’t pass the bridal store in a local city without looking in the window to see what’s new. I like reading about new trends in ceremonies and receptions. I’ve enjoyed watching my younger cousins plan their weddings so I can happily follow along with the goings-on.

But the one thing I don’t like about weddings? The message.

I sigh and shift in my seat (or on my feet) when the officiant, usually a pastor in these here parts, clears his (usually, nine times out of ten) throat and begins to impart knowledge of marriage upon us. I say us, meaning the witnesses, because the bride and groom are usually too giddy staring at each other to catch wind of what the pastor is actually saying. Out loud. With his voice.

I do have some recollection of the message our then-pastor chose to use during our wedding ceremony. He went with the good ole Ephesians 5:22 and told me to “submit” to my husband. Now, listen, I get it. I know the basis of the verse. I know that my submission is supposedly fine as my husband is to love me as Christ loves us, but gimme a break. I was a baby-feminist at the time, and while I couldn’t pin-point it on my wedding day, I knew I didn’t like the message. It didn’t fit us as a couple. It wasn’t representative of the mutual respect and love we shared for one another and fell flat.

All the same, I do respect my husband. He respects me as well. We’re good at that, seeing as how we’re human beings, deserving of such respect and such.

I’ve heard this particular message at weddings in various ways over the years. Sometimes in a harsh, conservative, “You will do whatever your husband tells you to do” type manner. Sometimes with the recognition that the message is controversial. One time tongue-in-cheek.

(If this was your wedding message and you enjoyed it, that’s fine. Please note that I said it wasn’t “us.”)

I’ve heard worse messages as well. One about divorce and its evils and perils—preached at the wedding for a person entering their second marriage, the previous ending in (very necessary) divorce. I just kind of looked at the pastor like, “Oh, you know them as well as our old pastor knew us. You had one job.” I’ve even heard a message in which the pastor basically stated that working mothers were the downfall of all marriages.

Needless to say, I’m not quite a fan of wedding morality messages.

But. My cousin just married a wonderful woman this past weekend. The boys both provided security for the ring bearer and stood up front with the groomsmen. I sat in the second row, occasionally pointing back to the front of the church to make sure my boys were at least looking in the right direction if not really paying attention. When the pastor started in on the message, I sighed and eyed him suspiciously.

Color me surprised when I didn’t hate what he had to say.

Marriage Needs to Be a Priority

He simply said that for a marriage to grow and flourish, it needs to be a priority. Sometimes that means telling friends “no.” Sometimes that means turning off the TV. Sometimes that means setting boundaries with family members. And it will mean different things to different couples.

I’m on board with that message. Too often we, as in the adult, married people in this household, let the everyday “stuff” of marriage, household-running, parenting, and human-being-ness get in the way. Yes, the laundry needs finished. Yes, the kids need to go to football practice. Yes, someone needs to cook dinner to feed us. Yes, we need to work and sleep and have fun and be active. But. We also need to be us. We need to go on dates. We need to spend time together after the boys go to bed. We need to hold hands in the car or in public. We need to escape together now and again. We need to be present for each other during the hard times and the good; we need to celebrate and cry with each other.

I hope my cousin and his new wife look back on their wedding day message, maybe years from now, and realize they’ve been doing just that. I think we all need a reminder now and again when life gets busy and overwhelming. I’m thankful for a partner and friend who enjoys making our relationship a priority as well.

Make It a Priority
I actually enjoyed the wedding cake and I NEVER enjoy wedding cake, so their marriage must be hashtag blessed.

And PS: BigBrother caught the garter. Oh dear.

First Month Goal Check-In

It’s the first of February, which means lots of resolutions already find themselves abandoned or forgotten. I pulled up my 2015 goals post to see how I’m doing.

  • 1. Submit Once Per Month.

I’m shocked I stuck with this one. I submitted my work twice this month, and ended up landing a gig with Brain, Child Magazine. Way back when, I made it a goal to write something for Brain, Child. I achieved that goal last year. And now I will write for one of the smartest mothering publications on a monthly basis.

As far as February goes, I already have plans to submit two different places as well. I know. I’m shocked too.

I started training yesterday. Good job!

Half and Full Marathon Goals

  • 3. Set New PR in Full Marathon

I just registered for the Columbus Marathon. Yes, the Full Marathon. So, I’ll begin working on that later this year. Registering always marks that first step. I’m pretty excited.

  • 4. Prioritize Date Night—1x/month

WOO! DATE NIGHT!

Check! We enjoyed a lovely dinner and shopping trip, followed by a run the next morning. And February’s date night is already scheduled for next weekend. Go team!

  • 5. Prioritize Family Time

School cancellations helped prioritize family time for us!

YAY FAMILY!

Joking aside, we worked hard to make sure a family trip we scheduled last year stayed on track even though changing work schedules meant we traveled separately. I want to work something fun into our calendar this month, and should start working on that now. The boys and I also decided to re-read the first Harry Potter book together, as LittleBrother was super little the first time we read through it together. We also picked out some other great read-aloud books at the library this past week, and we’ll be adding in our weekly library trip (which got ditched by the holidays and snow and darn it, we’re just adding it back in).

I’ve also been personally prioritizing family time by making sure I stay on top of things like laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and straightening the house. And I’ve been enjoying making family meals, both ones we all know and love and new ones to all of us. I even added in some baking this month, but mostly because I let the bananas get too ripe. Shh, don’t tell.

  • 6. Revisit Goals Regularly

Good job, me.

I feel 2015 started off in some good ways. I have lots of other little goals (which I’ll discuss here and there), but I feel like these six will keep me on track so I can also focus on other things. I’m liking the way I feel looking back over the past month. It wasn’t an easy month, but progress is progress.

I’ll take it!

 

Happy 10: What Marriage Is All About

Wedding Bells

The boys came down with the sickness this week, like the 50 other kids in their building absent on Monday.

We’ve been gently nursing them back to health: Giving ibuprofen when fevers spike and cause headaches. Buying more ibuprofen when we run out. Refilling water bottles, buying red Gatorade even though yellow is the best flavor, and handing out saltine crackers. I made broth and noodles, knowing they’d probably only eat a few bites. I wake up in the middle of the night to check temperatures, calm sick nerves, and generally keep everything together.

On top of that, I work, try to keep the Christmas spirit alive, and hope/pray to get all the holiday things done that need to get done.

I’m a tiny bit tired.

So it makes sense that today is our tenth anniversary.

Ten years ago, if I had looked into a crystal ball to today, I probably wouldn’t have understood what on Earth was going on. Why did I look so disheveled? Why was I calming down a little boy, crying over a missed math test? Why was my husband exhausted and asleep? Why weren’t we going out to dinner—something about canceled plans? Why weren’t we doing anything to make our special day, well, special?

Marriage doesn’t look like a movie, or even like a wedding day.

In the grand scheme of vows, 2014 was a year for learning about the worse side of better and the sickness side of health. Losing my grandmothers, rushing off to be with his grandmother, dealing with my own well-being, and the incessant germs that come with parenting elementary aged children all seem to put us in the trenches of marriage, the trenches of life.

Yet here we are. Together.

If someone made our 2014 into a Charlie Brown-esque movie, Linus would walk on now, stage left with blankie in hand, and say, “That’s what marriage is all about.”

And he’d be right.

**

In church on Sunday, we announced our 10th anniversary fell on Thursday. Another couple, a few years older than us, announced they’d be celebrating their 63rd anniversary this week as well. Our Pastor then quipped we only had 50 some years ago, and I replied, “We’re working on it.”

That we are.

Ten Years Later

Happy Anniversary to my partner, my spouse, my husband, my love. Just 50 some more years to go.