The Big Marriage Podcast – Theirs

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Last week, I had the amazing pleasure of doing a “hers” taping about marriage on my husbands weekly podcast. And this week, we got to wrap up the series by doing a podcast together.

It. Was. So. Fun.

What’s hilarious about doing a podcast with your spouse is the non-verbal communication that happens during taping. Like when I say something I think is funny and I look over at Greg and he’s shaking his head. And since I can’t focus on more than one thing at once, there are a few odd silences where I’m watching his reaction.

Like when I said this podcast was our unity sand.

Which come on, is hilarious.

Anyway, that’s all neither here nor there. The point is, it was fun.

So go take yourself a listen — it’s just about 25 minutes long, and we tackle balance, communication, miscarriage, kids, and more.

Happy Thursday!

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Marriage Podcast

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(I’m still feeling very quiet, but I just had to tell you about this…)

My husband does a weekly podcast called The Big Life (which is AMAZING and you just have to go listen to him), and is currently doing a series on having a big marriage.

And guess what?

I did the podcast this week.

EEEK!

I was so nervous, because like a true writer/graphic designer/introvert, I love hiding behind the screen and having nothing to do with speaking and such. However, the podcast turned out to actually be a lot of fun, primarily because it wasn’t video-taped and just me and my friend Amber in the room.

Anyhoo, I’d love for you to steal 20 minutes or so and take a listen. And then, I’d love for you to leave me any comments or questions you may have, because next week’s podcast is Greg and I both doing the podcast for the last in the marriage series.

So go, listen, and let me know what questions or topics you’d like for us to tackle next week. Click here to listen.

Happy listening!

Week 3: Laughter (Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage)

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The running joke is that sarcasm is our love language.

The very first time I met Greg, he showed up with a couple of friends to help me move apartments. My two takeaways about him that day were, “wow, his eyes are really beautiful” and “dude, he’s funny.”

When I first met his family, they told me they were thrilled he finally met someone who could come back at his jokes and jabs so quickly.

One Saturday early in our dating relationship, we drove to Chattanooga for the day. Halfway there Greg started his rendition of the song version of “The Lord’s Prayer,” which sounds incredibly sacrilegious, but the tears streaming down my face were in breathless laughter, not offense.

When I knew things were getting serious between us and I considered he might even be The One, I made him sit down and watch my all-time favorite movie, Waiting for Guffman. He didn’t know it at the time, but if he didn’t like the movie, I was really going to have to reevaluate our relationship.

(I kid.)

(Or do I?)

At any rate, it’s safe to say that laughter has been a HUGE part of our marriage.

(And for the record, he laughed more at it the first time than I did.) (I always knew he was a keeper.)

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” – E.E. Cummings

Greg and I laugh at and with each other. Laughter has taken the sting out of many painful situations and circumstances, and has equalized many conversations. Most discussions, heartfelt outpourings and deep talk always ends with some kind of a joke to diffuse the heaviness. Not in a manner of minimizing the importance of what’s happening, but to get us to loosen up.

Because it’s so vital in marriage to not take yourselves so seriously. (tweet)

Take God seriously, yes. Take the sanctity of marriage seriously, yes. But honestly, a lot of us (or maybe, just me) need to do some chilling out about life and love and marriage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten beyond high-strung about something and Greg will temper it all with a joke.

And vice-a versa. Likewise, I’m sure.

(10 points if you get the reference.)

And I’m absolutely, 100% confident laughter is important to God.

  • God told Abraham and Sarah to name their child laughter (Genesis 17:19)
  • David said that nights of crying our eyes out will give way to days of laughter (Psalm 30:5, The Message)
  • Psalm 91 says, “I’m whistling, laughing and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God.”
  • David wanted to “run loose and free, celebrating God’s great work, every bone in my body laughing, singing ‘God, there’s no one like you.” (Psalm 35:9, The Message)

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” – Jesus

If Jesus came to give us life to enjoy and have in abundance, why don’t we think that applies to our marriages, too? When I enjoy a movie, I laugh. When I enjoy a book, I laugh. When I am thrilled to no end to finally be in bed at the end of the day, I laugh myself to sleep.

(I kid.)

(Or do I?)

And when I enjoy my hilarious husband, I laugh. No one on earth makes me laugh like he does. He brings me smiles and joy, every day.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s been that way since the beginning of time, and if it was the same for Adam and Eve, and maybe they even laughed years later about their biggest faux pas.

Like maybe Eve says, “Remember that time The Almighty asked you if you ate the apple? And you were all like, ‘Dude! It was her! That woman you gave me!’ Like you couldn’t have not eaten it! Dude, you’re hilarious.'”

And maybe every time Eve struggled to figure out what to make for dinner Adam said, “Why don’t we have Baked Apples? Or Apple Pie? Or Apple Fritters?Anything with apples would be awesome.”

And then maybe she flicked him with the kitchen towel and maybe he made a face like he’s a regular ol’ stand up comedian.

Hypothetically.

“Laughter is carbonated holiness.” – Anne Lamott

I think enjoying our spouses makes God laugh too. I think when we all get to heaven we’re going to be shocked at how much fun we have, and maybe we’ll be standing in line weekly for tickets to Jesus’ stand up show.

(He’s probably way into physical comedy.)

I think when we laugh with our spouse and have fun together and don’t take life and each other so seriously…I think when that happens God christens us all Isaacs.

“You have as much laughter as you have faith.” – Martin Luther

Ya gotta have faith. And a whole lotta laughin’.

Challenge: Take one night to watch a funny show with your spouse…phones, computers and iPads closed. Or while you’re out on a date, don’t allow any heavy conversation, or anything work-related; make it a “for fun” date only. Or talk about ways you can bring more laughter into your marriage. Pray that God would show you ways you and your spouse can lighten up and not take yourselves so seriously.

Additional resources you might find helpful:

Be blessed this week. And please be sure to check out other great posts in this collaborative series!

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Week 2: Service (Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage)

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Confession.

I was unsure about this week’s topic, because I consider myself a truly sucky server in our marriage. I constantly feel like Greg serves me a hundred times more than I serve him. I feel like I fail at this 100% and completely, every single time.

Last week we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and took a short trip to New York City to celebrate. Over dinner one night we talked about service and what it looks like, and Greg helped me realize something — that my idea of service and how I actually serve him are two different things.

I have always considered serving him as giving him freshly pressed shirts for work, or a hot dinner complete with side items, or bringing him coffee in bed. And since I very, very rarely actually do any of those things, I have felt like an utter failure in the service department.

But he showed me all the ways I serve him naturally, that are different from serving him physically…and they are ways that mean so much more to him than freshly pressed shirts (although he’d never turn that down):

  • Supporting him unconditionally
  • Praying for him continually
  • Being his biggest fan and encourager
  • If he’s worried and stressed out, I first give him time and space to process it, and then I talk it through with him
  • If there’s an issue that needs to be addressed, waiting for the right time to talk to him
  • If I need help with the  house or the kids or anything else, I ask him instead of expecting him to read my mind and then resenting him when he doesn’t

That, he said, is a bigger picture of serving each other in marriage. Anticipating your spouse’s need and meeting it before it’s even asked, is really what it boils down to. (<= tweet that)

SERVICE-1-01 A few years ago, I was taking a class to help me walk through and heal from some grief and difficult situations in my life. After the first night, Greg and I met at Starbucks to talk about how it went.

I was scared to death to go and even more scared to talk about everything. I cried into my hot chocolate telling him I didn’t think I could do it. That I was all out of emotional energy to talk about it, let alone pray about it any more.

He grabbed my hands and said, “That’s why I’m here. To pray when you don’t feel strong enough to pray.”

He was Jesus in that moment. He served me more in that one exchange than any other time I can remember.

He served me love.

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Sometimes when we think about service in marriage, it feels very unfair or unevenly balanced. One can feel like all they do is XYZ and she never helps XYZ. And on the other side she’s wondering why on earth she should consider serving her husband at all because it’s never reciprocated and it’s totally unfair.

I know I’ve felt that way at times, and still do. So has Greg. And truthfully, it’s never fair. It’s rarely balanced. There will always be one person who feels they are giving and serving more than the other. And we have to let that go. (<= tweet that)

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The Children’s Ministry at our church is focusing on the characteristic “Peace” this month, and recently they invited parents to participate in the big group session with their kids. There were skits and talks and songs all focused on peace and resolving conflict in our relationships in order to rest in the peace of Christ in our homes and lives.

And they left us all with what they call the Bottom Line: Prove you care about others by letting go of “what’s fair.”

And it immediately struck me that it’s also the most perfect picture of service in marriage. Proving you care about your spouse by letting go of what you consider “fair” in order to be like Christ.

I read in an article recently that serving our spouse is our opportunity to show them a little bit of Jesus in us. And how did Jesus serve? Sacrificially, unconditionally, forgivingly and with humility. Proving He cared by letting go of “what’s fair.”

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Challenge: 

What are some ways you can uniquely serve your spouse this week without worrying about “what’s fair?” Maybe it’s having his coffee stuff out and ready to go in the morning — mug, spoon, creamer, sweetener. Maybe it’s encouraging him to get out and play basketball or go for a run so he can blow off some steam. Or maybe it’s giving him permission to be silent and grumpy when he’s internally processing through something, not demanding he share it all immediately.

Find a way to serve him and do it with no expectation of getting anything in return.

After all, that’s what Christ did for us.

Additional resources you might find helpful:

Be blessed this week. And please be sure to check out other great posts in this collaborative series!

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Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage (Week 1: Communication)

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You know one thing I love about the Bible?

That Psalms is immediately followed by Proverbs.

That the book of heart and raw emotion is immediately followed up by the book of wisdom.

That David was a highly emotional, heart-on-his-sleeve man — and his son, Solomon, saw the good and the bad in that and espoused wisdom, wisdom, wisdom.

And that God put the two books side-by-side, help-mates to each other — smack in the heart of the Bible.

I love that.

Because my friends, that is the perfect picture of marriage. Raw emotions, vulnerable heart and desperate cries — perfectly balanced with the fine and subtle art of wisdom.

And it’s the best way to approach communication in marriage.

WISDOM-PROV-1-01Communication.

Everyone tells you at your wedding showers that communication is vital to a successful marriage, but no one gives you the nuts and bolts of what it looks like. Or at least, no one did for me.

All that’s shared is the “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” scripture and then everyone moves on to cake. And after the gifts are unpacked and we’re sharing a bathroom and now I have a husband, I’ve got all kinds of questions.

Like, specifically, what do I talk about and when do I talk about it? What are all the subtle nuances that go along with effective communication?

Because what isn’t working is spewing every thought and feeling the second I think or feel it. And the other thing that isn’t working is not saying anything at all.

Those are the things that are not working.

And suddenly in my anger, I could care less about the sun or when it goes down.  

So what are the subtle nuances that make for effective communication in marriage? What elements go into sharing your heart with wisdom?

I’m no expert, and don’t claim to be. But after 10 years of marriage (celebrating this week!), here are six things that work for me and my husband:

1. Timing. 

By definition, communication would imply talking. But when it comes to marriage, it’s not just the act of talking itself that is vital — it’s knowing and discerning specifically what to talk about and when to talk about it.

Because timing and presentation are everything.

E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

(And by everything, I mean everything.)

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I read this verse differently than most. To me, it isn’t just about giving a good, encouraging word when someone really needs it. Instead, it’s also about understanding that if given at the right time in thoughtful delivery, even a difficult word can be a good word when it comes to communicating with your husband.

A few years ago, there was news I knew I needed to share with Greg. It was difficult news to share, but important he know about it. However, he was entering finals week at school and was also preparing sermons and I just felt in my heart that telling him immediately would do more harm than good.

I felt guilty and unsure about not sharing immediately, though. So I called my mentor and explained everything, and she encouraged me that I should pay attention to what God was telling my spirit…that a word given at the right time makes all the difference.

When the time was right, I shared the news with Greg. And wouldn’t you know it, God had already been working on Greg’s heart and he received the news much softer than he would have if I blurted it out as soon as I heard it.

WISDOM-PROV-3-012. Boldness.

Talking is not just about the necessary things or even the difficult things…but talking about the hard things. The painful things. The icky things.

Hard things like how you feel you’re not as important as his job when he’s gone a lot, and it doesn’t feel like he’s taking the initiative to spend time with you, even if in his mind he does. Or how he makes you feel like his work is more important than yours. Or dismisses your pursuits and interests. Those are really hard things you have to be bold enough to talk about.

And painful things like how much it hurt you when he joked around about that thing you’re terrible at, because I guarantee he didn’t realize it struck an age-old nerve of insecurity with you. And how you’re discouraged with yourself for not reaching a goal, a dream, a vision and want to just quit it all because you will continue to feel like you’ll never be enough.

And icky things like my friend asking her husband at the right time to watch how he interacts with a female co-worker. Because she trusts him and she trusts her, but she doesn’t trust Satan, not for a second. And she’ll be damned if she’s going to let that door get cracked open even a hair. So shares her heart and begs him to just please, please be aware. And because of her timing, his heart was open to receive her caution instead of accusing her of being paranoid.

Boldness in communication requires more than just being willing to confront or have a difficult conversation. It means praying over what you want to discuss and opening your mouth wide and asking God to fill it (Psalm 81:10) with the words that your husband will hear.

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3. Listening.

Listening is not just for when you’re deep in conversation about hard or painful or icky things, but also includes listening when he’s not talking. Listening when he’s joking. Listening when he makes passing comments. Listening when he’s not saying anything at all. There is usually a grain of truth in almost every joke or comment or unresponsiveness about how little sex you have, or how chaotic the house is, or how out-of-control the kids seem.

Because if you really thought about it, you’d probably realize there is a grain of truth in your jokes and comments and unresponsiveness, too. Your jokes about football being on TV yet again, or how he’s never home, or how he leaves the toilet seat up can sometimes be our subtle way communicating something we’re displeased with.

When those moments happen, stop and ask God if that’s something you need to pay attention to, and if so, when the time is right, bring it up with a well-thought-out dialogue.

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4. Initiating.

In the span of one year, Greg and I got married and started ministry. Month after month I’d see our calendar fill up with events and very little time for just us.

After repeated back-to-back freak outs, I began to realize my love language was quality time (naturally, the hardest one for Greg to speak). So I sat him down and told him it literally was making me crazy to constantly see the calendar full of dates for everyone else but us, and that I needed him to schedule me in.

And thus began our annual Calendar Meeting, where we sit down and schedule our date nights, family date days, vacations and more. Because as long as I see at least one date night on the calendar each month, I can handle any amount of church or work or extracurricular activities you throw my way.

And that is a key function of marriage — it doesn’t matter who initiates as long as it gets initiated. (<=tweet that) Someone needs to be willing to get on board, get the ball rolling, start making change. You both are one now — no longer separate. It doesn’t matter who initiates, as long as someone does. Don’t be too prideful to bring an issue and initiate the change.

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5. Silencing.

There’s talking to your husband, and then there’s Not Talking about your husband.

Listen y’all — nothing good comes from bashing your man in public.

Nothing.

He may never find out, but there is power in the spoken word (hello, creation?). Those words take deep root in your heart once they pass your lips.

And I’m not talking about confiding in a good friend…I’m talking about regular, consistent bashing to whomever may be willing to listen. It may even come across as joking to you, but others know the difference. They always know the difference.

Praise in public, criticize in private.

Every. Single. Time. 

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6. Trusting.

When Greg and I are having a conversation, regardless of the topic, I need to remember: trust the heart of your man and his intentions, and don’t hear what he didn’t say. (<= tweet that)

Example: If Greg encourages me to go out for a run, it’s because he truly knows how much I love it, and how awesome I feel when I’m done.

In the early years, what I’d hear is that I’m getting fat and he’s not attracted to me.

But that is not what he said at all. In fact, he (like most men) are pretty direct and don’t hide subtle hints in speechy nuances.

What he said was, “Why don’t you go for a run?”

What he meant was, “Why don’t you go for a run?”

If you don’t begin communication with first trusting his intention and heart, you’re doomed to dysfunctional communication from the get-go. You have to trust that he loves you and only wants the best for you.

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So those are the top six things that have helped Greg and I grow into much better communicators over the past 10 years. Do we have room to grow? YES. Good heavens, I’m an absolute work-in-progress in this area, and am reminding myself of all of these on a weekly (if not daily) basis.

But if we’re going to spend the next 40 years together, we have to continue to focus on improving our communication skills and making it work. Being preventive and not reactive.

If you’re looking for additional resources on communication, here are a few that have been a huge blessing to us:

I pray you and your husband have an awesome week, and that you start communicating with intention!

Please be sure to check out other great posts in this collaborative series!

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