Monthly Archives: July 2014

I want to hold your hand, but I don’t have time right now

_mg_4736I’ve got a problem.  It’s called impatience.  I’ve got another problem.  It’s called really long legs.  If you combine these two issues together you get a recipe for relationship disaster.  Picture Julia and I pulling in to church running about 2 minutes late.  We park the car and start walking in.  I’m about 3 steps in front of her walking quickly as she and Eli struggle to keep up.  I stop and wait every 10 seconds or so to let them catch up before continuing on.  So here is what happens as a result of this…we get where we are going…I am frustrated for being a little late…and Julia is tired from running after me and possibly a little embarrassed.  There is no good that comes from this.

So, what’s the lesson I should learn?  Leave 5 minutes earlier next time?  Sure…that is nice, but it’s not the solution to the heart of the issue.  The issue I have is impatience and the lack of empathy for Julia.

Here’s what I WANT to do.  When I’m walking somewhere, walk WITH her.  It doesn’t make her feel like I’m upset with her or am stressing her out.  Also, something else I want to do…hold hands!  Holding hands is NOT just for when you’re dating or are newlyweds.  I think it is one of the simplest things you can do to show love and develop a connection.  There is something so intimate about the act of holding hands.  But, I don’t do it nearly as much as I’d like to.

My challenge to you:
When you’re walking somewhere with your wife, walk WITH her.  Especially if you have long legs, make an effort to stay by her side so she doesn’t feel rushed.  And to take things to the next level, hold hands!  This will force the walking with her issue and will also develop a better level of intimacy.

The most important job a man has

2152f838-ea4c-4540-bfaa-afc44c3c5e22As a Christian husband, I feel there is one responsibility that stands out as more important than all the others.  Yes, it is important to make sure your family is taken care of financially, and that they feel safe and secure, and that they feel loved and appreciated, but I feel the most important calling of a man is to lead his family spiritually.

I’m going to go out on a limb here.  Guys, if your family is not grounded in the Word, if they are not solid in their understanding of who God is, what Jesus did for us, and how we should live our lives in praise of Him and in serving and loving others, then it is YOUR fault.  Yes, you heard me right.  YOU need to take responsibility for it.

Now, please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  This is not a comment on gender roles and what is appropriate for men and women to do.  I believe God has given both men and women insight and the ability to understand the Word.  I believe women can learn and teach the Word just as well as men can, and to stifle that would be to limit the potential for spreading knowledge and wisdom to others as well as ourselves.  Julia is blessed with an incredible understanding of God and desire to always be learning.  Not only that, but she is an amazing teacher.  When Eli does something silly that I’m about to laugh off and move on from, she will use it as an opportunity to make a life lesson from it.  Like illustrating what the grace of God is like while doing the dishes.  Or to talk about the importance of loving others when hearing news about needs in another country.  She also is always teaching and challenging me, which I appreciate.  This is one of many reasons why I am SO thankful to be married to her.

With that being clarified, I think all men need to take responsibility for making sure their family receives spiritual direction and growth.  That doesn’t mean they should PREVENT their wife or other people from contributing, but that they shouldn’t DEPEND on them to do so.

I have to be honest…this is not one of my biggest strengths as a husband.  I have the best intentions, but often fall short of what I want to do.  Thankfully, by the grace of God, I am blessed with an amazing wife that thrives spiritually even without much help from me, and am blessed in how she helps teach our son.  This is an ongoing growth area for me.

My challenge to you:
What are YOU doing to help advance the spiritual life of the members of your family?  Are you doing nothing hoping that your wife will take over the job?  Are you expecting your church to do the job for you?  Don’t sit back and outsource the most important job you have to other people.  STEP UP and MAKE SURE your family is on the right track.

…stay tuned for an upcoming post on ways to make this happen

Guys, do not hide this from your wife!

Shared-CalendarSince Julia and I got married, there is one thing that stands out as one of the most frequent sources of stress and initiator of arguments in our relationship.  What is the culprit…SCHEDULING.  Oh man, if I could go back…with all the knowledge I have now…things would be so much easier.  At first, I was just ignorant.  I would plan things whenever I wanted (camping trips, friends for dinner, rock climbing) and not think to ask Julia.   Or I would just forget to tell her until right before it happened with an, “oh…by the way…”.  See earlier post for an example of how well this went for me.  Eventually I clued in to the idea that, now that I was married, my scheduling decisions weren’t my own anymore, and I needed to make sure we were both ok with it before committing to something.

Things got better from there, but I still had a problem…I KNEW what I had on my calendar, but whenever I wanted to plan something, I never knew what Julia had on hers.  Yes, we could talk and compare what’s coming up, but it’s easy to forget things.  And when I was trying to plan something, I always had that undermining feeling that there was something I was just forgetting about.

That’s when iCloud came in to save the day!  I knew it was possible to share our calendars from our computers, but had never taken the time to figure it out.  After I made the switch to Mac, I set about to figure it out.  It was easy to set up and now that it’s done, I can see what Julia and I BOTH have on our calendars from my laptop, tablet or phone!  (yes…I love technology)  Let me tell you…it is SOOOO nice!  We generally keep a pretty full schedule, but I can tell at any time what is coming up, which makes it so much easier to plan things and know what’s going on.

My challenge to you:

If you haven’t setup to share calendars with your wife, DO IT!  It is easy to do and can save you a lot of stress and needless arguments.  I can be done whether you’re on Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, Gmail, etc.  All setups are different and some can be a little tricky though.  Here are some links to help if you need it.  If you have a different computer setup, just google what you’re looking for and you should be able to find something to help.

– iCloud: Share a calendar with others

– Share your Google calendar

– Sharing an Outlook calendar with other people 

– Syncing iPhones with Android phones

My wife is annoying and I love her for it

Some people have stories of love at first sight…how they knew they would be married from the moment they met.  That sounds great, but it was NOT our experience.  I thought Julia was annoying and she thought I was pretentious…it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.  :-)  After a few years of friendship, one day we realized we were kind of into each other…and 12 years later…here we are!Buried in snow with Julia

No matter how well suited a couple may be, there are ALWAYS little things that can be annoying.  It may be the way they leave clothes lying around, or the way they laugh, or the way they don’t listen well, or the way they brush their teeth, or anything!  I know there are plenty of things that I do that I’m sure are annoying to Julia.  Snoring, waking up early, leaving water around the sink, my aversion to being late, and much more.  These are all things that I’m sure are annoying to her.  If I tried, I could probably come up with a few things that are currently annoying about Julia…but I’m not going to do that.  And if you tried, you could probably do the same about your wife…but I’m not going to recommend it.

Houghton 112Here’s the thing…it doesn’t do you any good to focus on things that annoy you about your spouse.  So, here is what I suggest.  Try to view these issues as unique aspects that you are privileged to know about them.  The fact that I get to experience these things with Julia shows that we’re living life together.  I don’t JUST love the good parts of her and put up with the rest.  I love the COMPLETE Julia.  I don’t want to change these things about her, because if I did, then she wouldn’t be the same person.

In the grand scheme of things, these sort of things don’t really matter.  Now, if she had a habit of making fun of me behind my back to jewelry store clerks where she spent elaborate amounts of money we didn’t have and then lied to me about the purchases…THEN I would be pretty upset.  But, if the extent of her foibles center around issues like not liking to eat leftovers…I can just LOL about it.

My advice to you…don’t sweat the little things.  Try to keep things in perspective.  I’m sure there are probably habits that annoy you about your spouse.  But, take it in stride.  Remember what is important in life.  Love them for who they are, not in spite of things they do.