Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Unknown Damage of a Well Meaning Wife

I love my husband and I love my family. I love being able to be a stay at home mom and raise our young children. But here’s the thing, I have grown up in a culture that diminishes the worth of men as weak or inadequate; and I know that I’m not the only one who has been shaped by these thoughts without even realizing it. You see, although I love my husband, I have not necessarily acted like it because I have bought into a lie that marriage is all about me and making me happy.

We have been married for four years (so clearly I am not an expert on marriage). In those four years, I have diminished my husband’s feelings, devaluated his opinions, and treated him with hostility and contempt when I didn’t get my way. Now, some may be reading that thinking, “Wow, she’s a pretty crummy wife. Her poor husband.” But I think we all do it in one way or another, and unless we make it a point to lift our husbands up, we will continue to bring them down.

I am currently reading a book by Dr. Laura called, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. This book has given me more insights about what he needs from me and the kind of wife I need to be, than anything else. I’m not even done with the book and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have cried, been convicted, and gotten angry with realizing how much negativity I have brought into my marriage.

Men are simple creatures. All they want is know that they are appreciated and respected and in return they will show us, women, the love we have been searching for. I nag and I complain and I tell them that he has hurt my feelings…but did I ever stop to consider how he’s feeling? I’ve known many women, along with myself, who get upset that “men don’t have feelings.” In reality though, what we’re really getting upset about is the fact that men don’t feel like women. Men DO have feelings, they just simply don’t need to talk about them and process them and want to get input on them the same way women do. Men are simple and we often just can’t understand how their brains would possibly work that way because ours are so complex.

Men need to feel appreciated. So often, we think that we are entitled to put our feet up and do nothing once our men come home from work because we’ve been working hard around the house all day cooking, cleaning, and caring for children. What many of us forget is that he has worked hard all day too. Just like I have spent my day caring for the home and our children, to ensure that the family is nurtured and the home taken care of, he spent the whole caring for and nurturing our financial wellbeing. So guess what, he’s tired too!! I am a stay at home, I chose this job and I chose to be with our children and I can’t ignore the responsibilities that come along with it. Just as my husband chose his job and he needs to fulfill his responsibilities and actively choose to do his work, even when the days are hard, he’s tired, or he’s sick. Unless he wants to lose his job and thus lose the inability to provide for his family, he has to do his job whether he likes it or not. Many times, I complain about his job to him, he works too much, his boss is rude, his company doesn’t give the right benefits…whatever the complaints may be, complaining about is job is, to him, an insult on his identity. Instead of minimizing what he does or how he feels after a long day of work, how about praising him and thanking him for his hard work in providing for the family. Thank him for all he does. A little gratitude goes along way with men.

If he quits helping as much around the house, can I blame him if, when he does do things I criticize everything about the way he does it instead of thanking him? I’d quit helping out too if my actions weren’t appreciated. I can’t blame him at all!!

They feel loved when they feel appreciated and respected. The more appreciation and respect I show my husband, the more love and affection he will show me. I can’t assume that he feels loved the same way I do. We’ve bought into the lie for too long that men who aren’t like women are wrong. Men are men and women are women. We are different, even though many in our culture would try to convince you that the only difference is anatomical.

Men are more geared toward provision, protection, and respect, while women are more geared toward nurturing, relationships, and love. We need to live in such a way that we accentuate and support these qualities in each other, rather than tear down natural, God given desires. The Bible tells men to love their wives and tells women to honor and respect their husbands. Why is that? Because men are geared towards respect and women towards love and that is what each of us needs to be able to feel in our heart that we are loved. Just because I think he should feel loved by my words and actions, doesn’t mean he does. We speak different love languages and I need to becom fluent in his.

Marriage is NOT about our happiness, but rather our holiness.

My challenge for myself is to praise my husband’s strengths. Praise him for all that he does for our family and show him that, no matter what, I will always be on his side, through failures and successes. I love my man more than anything on this earth, and it’s about time my actions begin to show it…and show it in a way that he will respond to.

The Unknown Damage of a Well Meaning Wife
I’ve bought into a lie
That I’ve heard for too long
Marriage is about me
And my happiness alone
I’ve forgotten about him
His needs and desires
But if he challenges me
I call him the liar
I’ve diminished his feelings
And pushed my own agenda
No realizing, my words
Leave him lonely and bitter
In my ignorance, I’ve belittled
And stolen his dreams
I won’t look into his eyes
And see his soul scream
You see, he’s very simple
As all men really are
He longs for my acceptance
To feel my love in his heart

My role as his wife
Give praises, not grievance
But complaints leave me looking
Like a constant annoyance
How long can he stand for
Hearing he’s not enough
When his heart’s crying out
“Just like you, I need love.”
I’ve subconsciously assumed
He’s a man, it doesn’t hurt
But neglecting his needs
Has only made it worse
I’m just a well meaning wife
Never knew what I was doing wrong
But I see now I wasn’t giving him
What he needed to feel strong
You see, he’s very simple
As all men, he just endures
He wants to be my hero
And he needs to be assured

So now I have a choice to make
Now that my eyes are opened
Love him for the man he is
Or keep trying to change him
Why did I choose to marry him?
Because of who I thought he could be
Or was it because of his kind heart
The love shared from him to me
For me it was the latter
He gives of his life for mine
It’s time that I give him some room
To let his greatness shine
It’s time to quit complaining
Of all that I want done
Accept his heart and who he is
Praise all the things I love
It’s time to get back to that spark
We felt when it all began
Let go of control I think I need
And simply let him be my man
You see, he’s very simple
As all men tend to be
A little love goes a long way
In letting him feel free

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Parenting is Irrational

I am a mom. I am exhausted. I am drained. I am worn out. I am terrified of not being good enough. I am at my wits end. I am giving it everything I have. I am doing my best. I am lost.

I have two toddler girls. They are sweet and they are loving. They are smart as can be. They have huge smiles that shatter the foulest of moods. They are playful and they are fun. But they are toddlers. They are also strong-willed and (they think) independent. They throw temper tantrums and scream when they don’t get what they want, when they want it. They misbehave and ignore directions. They have short attention spans and they can’t focus on anything for very long. They are toddlers.Rock Star

I am tired of reading books, articles, or blogs about parenting that tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing. But for some reason, I still run back to them when I’m in a parenting crunch. All of these well meaning authors and writers are breaking down my perception of myself as a mom and as a person in general. I want to give my children the best life possible and I want to be the best mom that I can be. But when it comes to the “experts” or just well meaning, advice giving people, all I get out of it is a realization of all the ways I am ruining my children’s lives.

Every child is unique, as is every mom. So, thank you for your well meaning advice, but quite frankly I just can’t take it anymore. Comparison is the thief of joy; and the more I compare myself with other moms and what they are or aren’t doing, I am robbing myself and my children of joy in our relationship.

Parenting is hard; it’s just plain hard. The hours are long. The pay is bad. It often smells like poop. You get peed and puked on. You don’t get holidays off or sick days. Like I said, it’s hard. And now, with all the “experts” who apparently know everything there is to know about how to raise the perfect child, it’s only getting harder. Because we’re living in a world of comparisons. We live a culture that says you as mom should be doing it all.406631_713018763218_1664144130_n

I often catch slack about being “just a stay at home mom.” I’ve often wondered, if I went back to work, would it be easier? If I put my kids in daycare and let someone else do the raising for me, at least then I could blame someone else when my children misbehave. No, it wouldn’t be easier because it’s still my responsibility to raise my children and to teach them to love the Lord. It gets difficult, when I am the primary person responsible for my children’s upbringing and the only person I have to blame is myself. I think things like: if I had done this differently or done that sooner and if I taught them better or was more patient, then things would be better. Most of the time, I just want to know what I am doing wrong.

The number one thing I am doing wrong is comparing myself to all these other moms who I perceive as perfect. It looks to me, as an outsider looking in, that they have it all figured out and that they have perfect kids. But here’s the kicker…I don’t know what their inside lives are like, I only know what I see. All parents struggle. We all feel like sometimes we’re not good enough and that everyone but us has it figured out. But the truth is, none of us have it figured out. Any parent who says they have it all figured out and that they have perfect kids and would never do anything differntly is lying. It’s as simple as that; they are too afraid to be real.

It amazes me how easily two, two foot tall and 30 pound toddlers can bring me to the brink of a meltdown. These tiny little people who simply love me and want to be with me bring out the worst in me. I feel horrible when I lose my temper with them. They don’t deserve it and generally don’t understand. They are just toddlers who are trying to make sense of this big scary world we live in.63749_710178594938_1355944262_n

Our children all have one things in common, no matter how different their attitudes and personalities are…they are all little sinners and our job is to point them towards love, grace, and mercy. I don’t know about you, but I quite frequently fail at it. I give it everything I have and I try to be the best parent I can be. But when I’m exhausted from staying up half the night before with a sick kid or a kid who simply just didn’t want to sleep, it’s hard to be a gracious and merciful parent. It’s hard to be all that I should be when I’m all out of fight and I have no energy left and they won’t listen and I don’t know what to do.

In the end, I’m just thankful that I serve a God who gives me what I need to get through minute by minute. He gives me the strength when I don’t think I can handle another fight and when I just want to throw in the towel and give up. Parenting is insane. We choose to become parents knowing full well that we will lose sleep and sanity. And we continue to have more and more children, just adding to the chaos. Parenting is the most irrational thing that we do as humans…but we still continue to do it. Why? Because that’s what we’re called to do. Because, like God, we want someone to share our love with.

For me, the best moments are when we are sitting on the couch together just snuggling and reading a book. It’s a reminder that things will be okay and that there is still hope. It’s a reminder that I have not totally ruined my children’s lives and messed them up permanently. It’s a reminder that, that is all God wants from me, for me to curl up in His lap and read His book.

32422_707842696098_1575488278_nNext time you think you’re not a good enough parent, ask yourself why you think that? Is it because you think no one else struggles like you? Because you’re not doing what everyone else is doing? Because your house isn’t spotless and you don’t cook perfect meals three times a day? Stop comparing yourself to other moms. The simple fact that you worry about not being a good enough mom, means you’re a great mom. Stop letting comparison steal your joy. Let’s enjoy the moments we have with our children, good and bad (they’ll be gone soon), quit comparing ourselves to other moms, and support each other through it all. Remember, when you feel like you’re at your breaking point, that this is only a season, and like everything else, this too shall pass.

It’s too much pressure trying to live up to all the “advice” from the “experts” and our culture and I for one, can’t take it anymore.

I know for me, this song pretty much sums up my life on most days. But at the end of the day, when I don’t have the stength to go on, He lifts me and keeps me going. Thank God for redemption.


I Signed Up For The Fight

The Army life…it just plain hurts at times. The constant separations, the missed birthdays and anniversaries, the lonely holidays. The times you get the kids in bed at night and you just sit there, wondering where he is, how he’s doing, if he’s safe, or if he’s even alive. The times that you just wish you could stay in bed, when you don’t want to get up and face the world. Civilian families don’t understand. They may try to be supportive and loving, but they just don’t get it. They don’t understand the very real possibility that your husband may never come home. They don’t understand the pain of missing his voice, the softness of his touch, or the sweetness of his kiss. But those are only the negatives and if you only focus on the negatives, you won’t see the positives.Military Ball

The positive list is much, MUCH, longer. When you’re a part of the Army, you develop an instant family. You have sisters who understand exactly what you’re going through and who are all willing to support and encourage each other at all costs. Army wives get to experience the joy and fun of Military Balls; dressing up like a princess and enjoying a night of beauty, romance, and fairy tales. That is something that civilians know nothing about. Our husbands are willing to lay down their lives for each other, but we do the same on the homefront. We have healthcare and we have homes to live in; no, they may not be the greatest, but at least we have them. For that alone, I am thankful.

I’ve heard people say, that when my husband is gone I should just go on with my life like nothing is different; to an extent that is true. But how can I live as if nothing has changed when my other half is in a war zone, when I go days, if not weeks, without any communication, when our young children want to know where their daddy is and don’t understand why he’s not here. So yes, our lives must go on, but it is impossible to live as if nothing has changed because, when he’s gone, everything is changed.

DeploymentBut in the midst of the absence of my husband and the sadness of missing him, I serve a great God who gives me everything I need to keep going. In times of separation, I’ve noticed that I feel a closeness with God that I only feel when my husband is gone. When I am upset with the thoughts of ‘what if’s’, God brings me a peace and comfort that I don’t experience at any other time. Maybe it’s because when he’s not here, I have more time to spend in God’s Word and focus on Him, or maybe is it’s because God knows that I need to feel His presence more in my husband’s absence, or maybe it’s a combination. Whatever it is, I know that I don’t deserve it. I know that God’s greatness extends beyond anything I can possibly fathom.

When I got married to a soldier, his dreams became mine, his goals became mine, and his fight became mine. He fights on the front end of it all and I fight on the home front of it. We’re fighting the same battle. The fight for God, love, and family.

You signed up for the fight
It wasn’t long after meeting
She knew he was the one
Even though she knew his job
Meant carrying a gun
When she said “I Do”
She meant “I’ll give you all of me,
Even when we are apart,
Two as one, we’ll always be.”
It didn’t take long at all
For the orders to come
The ones that meant he had to leave
His one and only love
He told her that he’d miss her
And that he’d see her soon
He tried to calm her fears
The possibility of doom

She’s afraid of what could happen
Afraid that he could lose his life
On her knees, she prays to God
“Bring him home to his new wife.”
She cried, “How will I get through it?
Twelve months is a long time.”
So she opens up her Bible
And lets God’s Word fill her mind
God told her, “It’s okay to cry,
I am your strong foundation.
Your husband is a man of honor
Fighting for his nation.
For better or for worse,
You signed up for the fight too.
I love you, I love him.
Love alone will get you through.”

You see her in the park
At church or at the store
Now there’s two toddlers in tow
She had expected so much more
She has given up her dreams
To cling to and follow his
Most days she wouldn’t mind it
If she could simply feel his kiss
She lays the kids in bed at night
A little voice says, “I miss daddy.”
With tears in her tired eyes,
Together they pray softly
“God, keep my daddy safe.
Me and sissy miss him lots.
We know he’s where you need him
But sometimes without him we feel lost.”

Some days she’s just plain lonely
The man she loves is far away
With a willing heart and empty hands
She falls on her knees to pray
“Lord, I want to be the wife and mom
That you’ve called me to be,
Help to embrace this separation
When through the tears, I can’t see.”
God told her, “It’s okay to cry,
I am your strong foundation.
Your husband is a man of honor
Fighting for his nation.
For better or for worse,
You signed up for the fight too.
I love you, I love him.
Love alone will get you through.”

Now the kids have gotten older
And now they understand
Why daddy has to go and fight
Why he protects their land
But understanding leads to fear
When they know that he could die
Just the thought alone
Brings tears to precious eyes
“Mom, how did you do it?
Marry dad in this profession.
Aren’t you scared that in his job,
Anything could happen?”
But it’s not about his job,
It doesn’t matter what he does
When you find the one, that’s it,
Your heart can’t stop the love.

Of course she’s still afraid
What if he won’t come home?
But she holds onto a God who’s stronger
And who won’t leave her all alone
She drops down to her knees
She prays, “Lord, protect his life.”
But even if God’s will’s not hers
She knows she’ll be alright
‘Cause God says that, “It’s okay to cry,
I am your strong foundation.
Your husband is a man of honor
Fighting for his nation.
For better or for worse,
You signed up for the fight too.
I love you, I love him.
Love alone will get you through.”


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