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Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

My Sunday evening was interrupted by Twitter:

“a beautiful speech shows great character in a man”

“Attractive, smart & so generous to his partner”

“was beautiful to acknowledge the sacrifice of others to follow your dream”

“Hey girl” has been officially replaced with “my lady”

 

I was hooked, and had to uncover why social media was so enamoured with the acceptance speech of Ryan Gosling at the Golden Globe awards.

“You don’t get to be up here without standing on the shoulders of a mountain of people … while I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, on a film, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer. If she hadn’t taken all that on so that I could have this experience, it would surely be someone else up here, other than me, today, so, sweetheart, thank-you.”

sigh …

swoon …

Then I pondered, what was really so exceptional about the words of Mr. Gosling? After all, all he did was acknowledge that his success was not his alone, but thanks to the efforts and commitment of his wife, to him, his success, their children, and her brother.

Isn’t what he did, what should be expected of us all?

romans-129-10

Perhaps, his words, his public deflection of his success being from his own merits, is exceptional because celebrities rarely stoop to such humility?

Or, perhaps, his words, deflecting his own honour, by honouring his partner in life, is exceptional because we humans, as a whole, rarely stoop to such humility?

Our world is one of individual goals, devices, efforts and successes. But our human race is created for community, mutuality, and inter-dependence. We need each other.

We need to honour each other, and our reliance on those around us, in all that we do.

This is not exceptional (or shouldn’t be), it’s expected of us all.

 

 

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wedding-banner-page11

Holding on to the arm of a handsome man, she took her first step through the doors of the sanctuary, smiling from ear to ear, and every eye was on her. Her dress fell to the floor, and she moved down the aisle with ease and with a playful joy in her steps. She glowed from the inside out.

For the first time in my life, it was she, the mother-of-the-bride, to whom I could most closely feel a connection.

And NO, my daughters are not getting married!

The rest of the wedding and reception festivities continued, but those steps down the aisle, by the bride’s mom, were what captivated my the most. Not only did they captivate me, but I felt a kinship with this mom.

With our youngest in his final year of high school, and our daughters in the post secondary educational stage and beyond, I am closer to the mom stage than the bride stage.

As this mom was making her way down the aisle, I wondered if the marriage was everything that she had wanted for her daughter? Was the groom the man she had hoped to steal her girly’s heart? Was her daughter in the ‘right’ place in life to be making such promises?

Then I realized what this marriage was …

imperfect and messy and beautiful,

no doubt, just like that mom’s, just like my own.

The dreams I have for my children are good dreams, well intended hopes, desires that come from the heart of one whose heartbeat was the first music in my children’s ears.

But, one day, they may choose to marry, and it will be their dreams, their hopes and their desires that will send me walking down an aisle … not mine.

This is not to say that I cease to pray for the greater things for them … that they marry one who loves God, that they unite with one who will share all of life with them, that they choose a partner who will encourage them to grow and live better (as iron sharpens iron), but I acknowledge that, like their parents before them, they will make that choice.

And it will be imperfect, and messy, and beautiful.

“For this reason, a man (a daughter) will leave their mother and father …”
(Mark 10:7)

 

 

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As I heard through the window the rain pelt hard on the roof of the deck, while an unfamiliar song played from atop my kitchen counter, I was transported back, about twenty-six years.

I was sitting on one side of an antique sofa, close, very close, with the one who made my heart’s beat become rapid beside me. In separate chairs sat another couple, a seasoned, imperfect, married couple. I remember that with every marital challenge they mentioned in the pre-marital counselling, I thought, “that is surely no problem for us, we are perfect for each other.”

“I wore the veil, I walked the aisle, I took your hand and we dove into a mystery …”

After twenty-five years marriage all I feel I know now is that we are not perfect, for each other, or for anyone else. Some days are “delight” … most are somewhere between tough work and a blood bath.

“no we’re not the fairy tale we’d dreamed we’d be …”

The way marriage is depicted, within the church, is like a fragile piece of crystal … always on display, with all difficulties, scars and imperfections out of sight. Ugly reality, we Christians seem to think, is not what the world should see, not what God wants us to show.

Mark Hall, from the music group, Casting Crowns, says, “marriage is tough. We bring a lot of fairy tales to the picture when it comes to marriage … then the problems hit and (we) don’t know where to file those into your picture …”

I would add, we don’t know where to go with our problems, our scars, our secrets, because we are scared that admitting a lack of perfection would scar the reputation of our Savior … (we really have quite the pompous view of ourselves).

“maybe you and I were never meant to be complete …”

Could we be wrong? Could it be that in marrying one who makes our heart skip a beat, we are never intended to actually achieve completeness? oneness? Or maybe, though given to each other in the garden of Eden, for mutual comfort, and oneness, the consequences of sin are such that perfection, and completeness cannot be achieved this side of heaven?

“we were buildings kingdoms and chasing dreams and left love behind …”

Probably the most commonly used passage in the Bible, at wedding ceremonies, is 1 Corinthians 13 … the ‘love’ chapter. It contains definition after definition of what love is, and what it is not. But little emphasis is give to two very important verses:

“For we know in part
and we prophesy/dream in part,
but when completeness comes,
what is in part disappears”
1 Corinthians 13:9-10

Of these verses, the Matthew Henry Commentary shares this thought:

“But there (heaven), love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! How much surpassing the best below (here)!”

Perfect love, perfect completeness is the goal, but the prize, the fulfillment of this is only in that lofty place of eternity.

“If you can bring your shattered dreams, and I’ll bring mine …
the only way to last forever, is broken together.”

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Love Hurts

Are you a veteran? One who has gone before? Fought the good fight? Risked life and limb of one, for the greater good of many? Do you bear the scars of conflict? Does it rip sleep from your nights? Steal your attention during the days?

If you answered yes, you know what it is to …

love someone.

When we think of love, what we often think of are the sparkling eyed looks between a couple on their wedding day, or first looks of a mom or dad at their newborn, or those pics of people in our lives that we choose, crop, and edit so carefully before posting onto social media sites.

What we do not think of are those nights when your toddler has vomited all over himself, yourself and the cat. The fights between a couple when insults, disparaging remarks, and wedding rings get hurled between the two. Family reunions where one side of the family are in one room, and the other side is out on the porch.

Love can really stink!

Anyone who has parents, has a child, has a spouse, has a best friend knows what it is to love, and they know the pain that often is laced in the love.

Many years ago, the Everly Brothers, then Nazareth, sang:

“love hurts, love scars, love wounds and mars …
love is like a cloud, holds a lot of rain …love is like a stove, burns you when it’s hot …
love hurts”

To love is to risk, and that risk can hurt.

Any parent who has been sneered at by a moody teen (or, conversely, any teen who has been sneered at by a moody parent) knows what it is to have your heart ripped out without the touch of a hand.

Any spouse who has been neglected or taken advantage of knows what it is to question the value of marriage and love.

To love is to give and receive that which is intangible, not returnable, yet of more value that gold or diamonds.

Any parent who has had the joy of an embrace, a shared laugh or shared experience with their child, knows what it is to have lived heaven on earth.

Any spouse who has been appreciated, thought of, and cared for knows that love today is worth the hurt of yesterday.

Love is a risk, but it is worth it.

 

 

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IMG_1288.JPGGood morning to my greatest works!
of art, of creativity, of heart, soul, mind and breath.

The other day, one of you asked what was my favorite age of you three. That was an easy question to answer! I love the stage each of you is at today.

Another of you asked me to read an article about courting and dating and then asked me to tell you what I thought. That was not an easy question to answer.

When each of you was born, I contemplated the wisdom of pre-arranged marriages … I was so fearful that you, lacking in life experience, would make a wrong and disastrous choice.

Now, after twenty-five years of marriage, and nearly as many years as a parent, I am seeing things differently.

I no longer see myself as the better judge of your future spouse. You see, I am wholly and completely human … sin-filled, flawed, and my preferences as changing as the wind (as if my moving of plants in our garden does not confirm that reality).

The only area where I have an advantage is life experience, and age is no guarantee that I would not make mistakes.

Now, let me tell you about dating, the mom version …

As a teen, I did what everyone else was doing, in regards to dating. ‘Normal’ was to date, exclusively, to be as physical as possible without ‘it’ happening. To date meant trying someone out, until it fizzled. Heartbreak ensued. Then we (I) would move on to the next experimental guinea pig. And the cycle continued.

All of this happening as our minds and bodies were developing, our education being pursued, our futures dreamed, and our dear friendships taken too much for granted.

Marriage was still the aimed for end result, but exclusive relationships, one after another, resulted in many heartbreaks.

Suffice it to say that my own high school dating experience is foundational in the ‘motivational’ offer by your dad and I, of a car after high school, if you choose to not date until after graduating high school.

As a parent, I feel I have gone through a few paradigm shifts.
-I have appreciated the courtship model (loosely)
-I have discouraged dating
-I have even encouraged you to not expect marriage as a sure thing for your future

At this juncture, as I look at my parents, and I am thankful for something they did.

I am thankful that they let me make my own choices and mistakes. They entrusted me to make my own mistakes and good choices. And I am thankful for that.

What I hope that we, as parents, have done is give you all of the foundational love and instruction you will need to make the important choices in your life, regarding dating

I hope we have taught you all:

  • to love yourselves
  • to love and respect others
  • to respect your heart, mind and body
  • to not ‘settle’
  • to not say ‘I love you’, just because someone tells you they love you
  • seek Gods will for your individual life, before seeking a life with another
  • consider who you date as whether they are marriable
  • to not look for the perfect person … there is no perfect person, not even the one in the mirror

I hope that God is number one in your life, and I hope you only choose to date people who think the same. Know that there is more to being ‘evenly yoked‘ than just being married to a Christ follower. Christians come in many different experiences of Gods spirit … if you are charismatic in your beliefs and expressions, a lover of liturgy, robes and choral music could make church and family-related choices, in the future, almost as painful as being with one who doesn’t love God at all.

My grown and growing kids,

these things you NEED to know, about dating (and life) …
You’re gonna make mistakes,
have your heart broken,
and wonder (years, weeks, minutes) in your marriage if you made a mistake.

And there is no formula or guarantee that will ensure that you got it right.

I wish that your dad and I could be a better example of perfect, like Christ and the church, sort of love …
But wait, that is the model we have given, because we as husband and wife are like the church …
We are sin filled, flawed, selfish
We mess up, we want to leave, we hurt each other

And here we are, still, 25 years into the adventure

We are still as messed up as we were as single individuals,
but aiming for the same grand finale … NOT on Earth, but in heaven.

And that’s it.

No, that’s not it …

And we will be praying for you until our last breath.

Love,

Mom

“If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way”
Andrew Peterson

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Well this has been more difficult than I had counted on, when I first embarked on a five part series called ‘what women want’. So … if I, as a woman, struggle to know what it is that women desire most, maybe it is unfair to expect that mere men would know what we want.

To recap my five part series, what women want is …

– to be known

– to be pursued

– to be loved … and told so

– walk in my shoes … to be understood

– forever … happily ever after

Really aren’t all of those things desired, yearned for, wanted by men as well? Although it might be easy to write off all males in the stereotype of all they want is sex (and there are a few who fit that box … as there are women, who also fit into that box). I believe that the majority of men do want what women want.

For anyone, to be known (as in knowing HIS most desired success, or knowing HER greatest fear) is something that can only come from being a student of that person. To be truly known does not happen because a person ‘advertises’ his or her deepest desires, it is instead, the one person studying the other so consciously that they can know intimacy with the other.

To be pursued, although I do believe that men are more naturally the ‘pursuer’, is something that both sexes respond positively to. Ladies, send your guy a suggestive text message, one day he is out (at work, at ‘the game’, at a meeting, with the guys), and just see how well he responds to being pursued … just sayin’!

I love you is a non-gender-specific phrase! It can be said by both women AND men. Now, I expect it might be ‘easier’ for women to say (maybe because we often ‘give’ to others what we desire to receive) … but guys, we need to hear it! And ladies, you are so not on easy street yet … try a new variation of ‘I love you’ to your sweetie … try saying ‘I so respect you when/for/because …’ For a man to hear that he is respected, is probably the equivalent to a women hearing ‘I love you when/for/because …’

So her shoes have pointy toes, and high heels (which you guys so love I’ve heard, because of how it makes the female leg look) … walk in those pretty babies … So his shoes … STINK … ladies, you will never fully understand why they are in the shape they are, if you don’t get to know how your own feet feel in them! Really ladies, that sullen, wordless, grumpy, male that walks in your door tonight might have had struggles and problems (or maybe he’s happy … TOO HAPPY for you at that moment … maybe he’s experienced the greatest successes, passed the greatest tests) that he will never open up and tell you like YOUR girlfriend would. If you don’t know the details (and oh, how we women love the details) of why he is the way he is, try to understand how you might want to be received if you’ve had ‘a day’. Put those over-sized, smelly shoes on your feet, and start sharing his burdens and joys.

Happily ever after … nope, I’ve never heard a male EVER say, hint or insinuate that he desired that! But the security of a mutually beneficial, mutually loving, mutually cared for relationship … where HE can be the HERO, the STUD MUFFIN, the MAN … now that is something a man could want. But for him to be all of that means that … we (gulp) women need to make sure he is feeling like ‘the MAN’ … and that responsibility, ladies, is on our shoulders. Sure we appreciate what our guys do for us … but do we tell them? Do we sing their praises? Do we pump up their egos? Ladies, if we want happily ever after, we need to communicate that forever with us is not a life sentence, but a lifetime achievement award … and that winning it requires the concerted efforts of two!

And that is really what it comes down to … two very different (often very opposite) individuals, who express themselves, and their needs in very different languages trying to find a place, somewhere in the middle, where both persons needs and wants and desires can all be met. It is a juggling act … and one that (from my pointy-toed shoes) seems to be an awful lot of effort, with no guarantees of success. But, I am confident that when the efforts are coming from both side, eventually they meet somewhere in the middle. And a brand new (often far better than ever dreamed or imagined) entity is formed … and it is good!

And that is what women AND men want …

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Happily Ever After …

That is what women want.

There is an image (just to the left) that is so representative of that to me. When hubby and I were planning our wedding, we would dream of the future (how is it that it is so easy to dream of the future before you are married, and so easy to dream of the past after you are married?). One of the ways we would speak of the future was when we would talk about many, many years off into the future, when we would sit in our rocking chairs on our front porch … and just sit … and rock … together.

It was the sweetest dream. It was OUR dream, and one that spoke of commitment, of a future of forever together. It said, of both of us, ‘I’ll be here forever,’ and ‘I’ll never leave you.’

Although it might drive young single men nuts, though it might go against our human natures, the stability of forever is what women want. But I’m not talking a ‘life sentence’, I am talking happily ever after.

If there is a ‘face’ of romantic … it’s a female face. I believe it is partly in our nature, but nurture does add to it, as well. We females are ‘fed’ romance and forever, from a young age. But, really, we can’t just blame Disney for force-feeding it to us. Reality is, Disney wouldn’t have made money off of their Princesses, if their customers were not willing to pay for it. And the reason their customers are willing to pay for it? We want it! And we want it, because somewhere, within our DNA we WANT ‘happily ever after. Heck, the picture to the right from the Cinderella book version I grew up with. And that picture, not the ones of her wedding, not the ones of her dancing at the ball, but this last picture in the book, under which, the only words written were “… and they lived Happily Ever After,” was my childhood dream.

That dream was about forever, but it was more. It was the dream the love does not fade, or disappear, or die. It was the dream that the ‘prince’ who would earn my heart … would never break it. And, I don’t think I am just speaking for me, but for all women, when I say our greatest fear is that we will have been wrong, and we will have given parts of ourselves away to one not committed to forever.

Recently, I read these words of a heartbroken, hope vanished, dream stolen woman …

“You broke my heart,

but even worse than that

your actions blew out the last light of hope

for a girls dream of happily ever after.”

She was in mourning. In mourning for the future, that she had dreamed of all her life, of the future that her parents had dreamed for her, of the future that even God dreamed for her. She could, eventually, forgive the one who had blown out the candle of her dreams, and hopes, but the scars left behind would never allow her to forget. Forget the hurt, forget the loss. She would never hear of a 50th, or 60th wedding anniversary and not feel the tugs on her heart, that she would never see, and experience in the joy of such a celebration.

In the safety of forever, women can give wholly of themselves to another. In the security of forever, women can be confident of today, and tomorrow. In the permanence of forever, women are never alone. In the intimacy of forever, women can continue to dream. In forever love, we can do anything we want it to … even create miracles.

Women want forever … happily ever after …

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