Lightening The Load

31Days

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

It will not always be smooth sailing in your marriage.  Hard times will come that will test and try you both in your marriage.

As Cindi and Hugh wrote in their book:

One of the greatest gifts of love we can give to our spouse is to help carry his or her burden, or to simply walk alongside him or her during the tough times.  Jesus said if we call ourselves His followers we must pick up our cross and follow Him.  We believe the fact that a man and woman are made one in a marriage relationship means we are to come alongside our spouse and help carry whatever burdens he or she is facing.

We truly do learn a lot about our spouses when we are in a crisis situation.  When things are going along wonderfully in our lives and in our marriages, we tend to take a lot of things for granted.  Our spouse is one of them.  We forget to appreciate our spouses and we tend to take our spouses and all of our blessings for granted.  We become selfish and think only of ourselves a lot of the times, too.  Consider the bible’s definition of love:  Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Our spouses need us, especially in a crisis situation.

In March of this year, I was thrown from a “green” horse (meaning, a horse that was not broke to ride – but we did not know this at the time!).  I suffered a fractured hip and a fractured hand, along with a concussion.  Thankfully it was not any worse than it was, but that was my crisis situation.  I needed my spouse as there were times I could not do things physically for myself.  I just was not able to do so in my condition.

Thirteen years ago, we lost my sister to suicide.  I needed my spouse then, too, but in a different way.  In that crisis situation, in the middle of this tragedy, and the aftermath of suicide, I needed my spouse to be there with me physically, yes, but I needed my spouse emotionally as well.

My husband has had things from his past that he has been dealing with since April that has haunted him tremendously.  He has sought counseling and is working through some serious issues.  He needs me to be there for him emotionally especially when releasing his feelings is so new to him and something that boys are taught growing up that you simply don’t do.  If you’ve ever heard “real men don’t cry” … just know that I think this is the greatest disservice that society has done to little boys who grow up to be men that have suppressed their feelings all of these years after being taught this lie!  Now these little boys are men who are unable to relate on an emotional level.  They have been taught that it’s not okay to show emotion, and so, they appear distant and emotionally unavailable.   I’d much rather have a man that is not afraid to show his emotions and can feel free to share how he is feeling with me any day over someone “appearing” strong on the outside just because that is what they’ve been told that they “have” to be.

These are just a few examples of crisis situations where we’ve truly needed the other to come alongside of us.  However, even when we’re not in a crisis situation, we need our spouses to be there even in the most simplest of ways to carry our burdens or lighten our loads.  Even the smallest of things can help when a spouse is feeling overwhelmed or stressed.  Taking the vehicles in for maintenance so your spouse is freed up to do other things around the house is one way of lightening the load.  Or, even sharing the load … if one washes, dries, and folds the clothes, the other can put them away.  Such little things can go a long way to helping your spouse.

Whether it’s little things or big crisis situations – be there for your spouse and help carry their load or their burdens right alongside of them.  You are a team.  You’re in this together for the long haul.  You are on the same side!  You are partners for life!  Now act like it!  No one else needs to “be there” for your spouse more than YOU need to be there for them … in every way!  You should always … always … be able to count on your spouse to be there, whatever the need.

Join us tomorrow for:  Keeping It Simple.

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Flirting Again

31Days

May you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Proverbs 5:18B

Once upon a time, you flirted with your mate.  Your eyes met across a crowded room, your hearts skipped a beat, you walked slowly toward each other as you knew … you just knew … they were the one for you.  You would do ANYTHING to make them yours.  And so, you pulled out all of your charm and won him/her over.

Do you remember how it felt?  Falling in love slowly at first, then all at once?  Do you recall how the simplest ways of them flirting with you made you feel wanted, desirable, and … sexy, even?

Well …

What happened?

If you think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence … it’s because they water and take care of theirs!  Are you doing the same with YOURS?

There is a lot to be said about how this chapter in Hugh and Cindi’s book rings true!   They stress to never let the romantic love diminish!  In doing so, others will become more attractive. This is dangerous territory!  Very dangerous.  It is a slippery slope, and no good can come of it if you allow romance to fall by the wayside with your spouse.

Cindi and Hugh talked about Proverbs 5:15-17 which urges us to “drink water from your own cistern” and not from another cisterns that might look appealing to you.  Rejoice in the one you married!

Did you take your marriage vows seriously?  They aren’t optional.  You can’t pick and choose which ones you want to uphold.  You willingly committed yourself to your spouse for life.  You vowed to love, honor, and cherish all the days of your lives … for richer or poorer … in sickness and health … as long as you both shall live.  Did you mean it?

In this chapter of their book, Hugh and Cindi had a few anonymous couples that shared some of the ways that they flirt with their spouse.  One thing that stood out to me was one man that took a risk and told his wife that she was his fantasy girl.  This gave his wife confidence in knowing that she was the one that he fantasizes about – not some airbrushed picture perfect model in a Playboy magazine that has had breast implants and other cosmetic surgeries … not someone on television or even on an adult internet website … and not anyone they come in contact with day to day.  She is the one that he fantasizes about.  She is the one that he wants to fulfill all of his needs, desires, and yes, fantasies.  THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the way it should be.  A lot of times marriages suffer due to infidelity and pornography addictions.  But, it does not have to be this way!  Turn to each other – always – instead of something or someone else.  Uphold your marriage vows.  Honor your spouse.

You once flirted with your mate. If things seem stale in your relationship, chances are you have stopped flirting with each other. Don’t let things become hum drum. Instead, start flirting again with your mate! See the difference this simple thing can do for your marriage!

As Cindi and Hugh point out in their book, women like it when men smile at them.  They like to be complimented, and they like it when men say something to let them know that they find her attractive.  It has to be genuine, though, and from the heart.  Women CAN tell the difference in a come-on line versus the real deal.   In all honesty, men like it when women let them know that they are desirable, and they feel flattered if they feel like they’ve caught someone’s eye.

Listen up, people!

YOU need to be the one flirting with your spouse, admiring him/her, giving extra-long looks in their direction and sending suggestive text messages to your spouse.  If you don’t, someone else just might catch their eye and do the things that YOU should be doing.  Again, this is dangerous territory.  Do not let this happen!

The only person that you should be looking more than just a glance at is your spouse!   The only one that you should be longing for is your spouse!  The only one that you should be sending racy, steamy, or suggestive messages to is your spouse!  The only one that you should be flirting with, fantasizing about, and desiring is your spouse!  IF your thoughts go to any one else besides your spouse, you’re wrong and going against your marriage vows.  The only one you should be having any type of sexual relations with is your spouse!  This is the plain and simple truth!

Join us tomorrow for … Lightening The Load.

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Finding A Getaway

31Days

God’s my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

Psalm 32:7 MSG

Quality time alone with your spouse is important.  Can you remember the last time you two stole some time away for just the two of you?  The stresses in life are so great, from stress at work, stress from finances, stress from raising children, just stress in general … it is important to get away from it all to recharge your batteries and spend time together with your spouse reconnecting.

For years we have taken vacations, but it has always been with our children.  We would plan family vacations that we knew the children would enjoy, and we tried to ensure that all in the family had their day to do what they wanted to that way everyone was happy on our trip.  Everyone had a say!   That worked out wonderfully, and our children have enjoyed the family vacations just as we have.  But … some where along the line, we lost each other.  We did not steal time away for just the two of us, and our relationship has suffered because of it.

In 2013, my husband won a trip to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.  He has been a long time Elvis fan, even dressing like Elvis for Halloween that year.  He heard a contest going on a local radio station, and lo and behold, he was the correct caller and he WON the trip!!  He was so excited as he said he’s never won anything before, and he was elated as this was his “dream trip!”  The only thing was that his winnings was for a trip for two.  We considered paying extra to take the children as they wanted to share in the excitement as well, but finally, I said no.  I thought we needed this time together … alone.  And so, we went on the trip, just he and I … and we had a fabulous time.  At first we were not sure what to do with ourselves or each other as we hadn’t had this amount of quality time together in years!  We had to find our way back to each other, and I felt that we did that during this trip.

While winning trips is few and far between, if it ever happens to a couple, it is important to schedule and plan time away together!  Make it a priority.  Don’t lose each other in the trenches of everyday life.  If you have, find a way to reconnect.

You don’t have to plan an expensive trip either.  You can getaway from it all by slipping away to your favorite place that is within an hour’s drive or so.  For us, we like to slip off to Charleston, South Carolina.  That is one of our absolute most favorite places in the entire world.  We have been blessed enough to travel to the Grand Cayman Islands for our honeymoon 12 years ago as well as going to the Bahamas on several occasions through the years with our children.  We have also taken trips within the United States.  But, we love going back to Charleston every chance we get.  There is just something so magical about that city!

We like to go to the Battery Park in Charleston as it has a huge gazebo in the middle of this park.  This is where my husband proposed to me all those years ago.  He got down on one knee and popped the question.  My oldest daughter was only four years old at the time, and she witnessed this with her mouth wide open as she realized what was happening.  We were able to capture this moment on camera, and it is a picture we treasure to this very day.  So, when we are in Charleston, visiting this park is a must.  We have taken a little picnic lunch and sat under the beautiful trees with the moss hanging down as we soaked in the salt air and the gorgeous view of the harbor.

So, you see, finding a getaway does not have to cost a lot of money.  It isn’t something that requires you to travel hours by plane to get to either.

Please, for the sake of your marriage, discuss finding a getaway together, a place that brings back old memories or a place to create new ones!  Watch as you reconnect and become closer to your spouse as your marriage improves with each moment you’re able to steal away together.

Join us tomorrow for … Flirting Again.

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Splurging On Each Other

31Days

Whatever turns up, grab it and do it.  And heartily!  This is your last and only chance at it …

Ecclesiastes 9:10 MSG

What do you think of when you are splurging on each other?  It doesn’t always have to be by spending money.  I hope you realize this.  While it is nice to splurge on each other and shower them with monetary gifts, there are other ways.

In their book, Cindi and Hugh talk about how a couple’s children always said that their dad “spoiled” their mother.  He has since passed away, but they still talk about how he splurged in his love for her for the 49 years they were together in marriage before his passing.   How did he do it, then, if not with money?  He did it in the way that matters most.  He spoiled his wife with his love, praise, and attention.

There is one other that has really lavished His love on us.  The word lavish means to give in great amounts and without limit.  Our Heavenly Father has lavished such love on to all of us.  He loves us with an unconditional love, and we are His.  Think of how deep the ocean is, and know that God loves you even deeper than that.  Think of the highest mountain, and know that God’s love extends far beyond that mountain and into the Heavens.

My daughter tries to “one up” me when we say we love each other and how much we love each other.  She will say:

I love you past God’s house.

Food for thought:  Do you love your spouse all the way past God’s house?  Do you show it?  Do your actions display this to your mate?  Do you love your spouse unconditionally, or do you place conditions upon them?  Do you lavish your love, attention, praise, and affection onto your spouse?  Or do you give your very best to others that you encounter on a daily basis while giving your spouse what’s left after you’ve been stressed out, aggravated, and annoyed?  What are ways that you can lavish your love upon your spouse without spending a single dime?

Join us tomorrow for … Finding A Getaway.

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Laughing Together

31Days

There is a time for everything … a time to weep and a time to laugh.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

Life is hard … (wear a helmet).  One of my friends loves to say this as they giggle or throw their head back laughing.  The truth is, life IS hard!  It can also be beautiful, thrilling, and amazing!  While we would like to stroll through life never having felt heartache and pain, that just isn’t realistic.  Bad things happen to good people all of the time.  It’s how we choose to deal with it that matters!  Sure, you could sit around crying over things and stay in that frame of mind, OR you can try to find a way to bring laughter into it.  When it seems like it’s impossible to laugh, just try.

Cindi and Hugh talk about a lady that was diagnosed with breast cancer about the same time that a concrete wall fell on her husband at work.  They endured a great deal of pain and suffering, but they lived to tell about it.  AND, they found a way to laugh in the mist of the storms they were facing.  This immediately brought back memories of a visit I had with friends in September.  My friend, Betty, from Oklahoma drove 13 hours to Georgia while I drove four hours from South Carolina, and our friend, Sylvia, drove six hours from Alabama.  We all met up in Georgia to rally around our dear friend, Debbie, who was just recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.  While we were all emotional upon hearing this news, we knew that we had to make this trip to support our friend.  I am happy to report that the weekend of September 12, 2014 was spent with these beautiful ladies laughing and having the absolute best time ever!   Sure we could have sat around crying all weekend due to what was happening to one of our dear friends that is really more like family.  Yet, we chose to find something to laugh about all weekend long.  We did not focus on the bad news; instead, we focused on lifting our sweet sister up and encouraging her with our love and laughter.

Think of how things can improve in your marriage if you do this very same thing with your spouse.  Instead of getting upset over a situation, see if there is any way to find humor in the situation.  I’m not suggesting that we laugh all the time when it’s certainly not appropriate, but there is a lot to be said about finding some good in a bad situation and laughing instead of crying!  Laughter truly IS the best medicine.

We have been through some very stressful things in our marriage.  In life, we have been forced to deal with tragic situations that threatened to steal every bit of joy and happiness in our lives. We have felt shattered and as if we would never be the same again, and honestly, we won’t.  But, instead of remaining down and wallowing in self pity about the situation or letting depression consume us, we try really hard to find a way to smile and even laugh.  I have said before that I am as silly as I am because life is just too serious.  I don’t want to be serious all the time.  I want to be as silly as I possibly can because that is the most fun!

We cannot control what happens in life.  Oh how I wish we could because things in my life would be a LOT different if I could.  But, God has a plan, and we just have to trust in Him.  He knows best.  He knows what the future holds, and He knows what He’s saved us from by having things go according to His will and not ours.  The only thing you can really control is how you respond to situations.  You can cry and remain in that frame of mind forever, or you can try to lift yourself up out of that pit and find something, anything to laugh about.  Even the most silliest of things – it doesn’t matter – just throw your head back and have a big ole belly laugh.  Be silly.  And ENJOY every minute of it.  Who better than with your spouse?!

When tension arises, find something to crack a joke about.  It’s even better if there is an inside joke that you share that no one else will know about, yet it will bring a smile to your face and that of your spouse.  What I especially love is to be as silly as I can with my children, too.  They don’t want parents that are always on their case.  There is a time to be strict and enforce all of the rules, and then there are times when you have to cut loose and just laugh with your children.  You don’t want them to look back and think of you as a warden, tough as nails not letting anything slide.  You want them to look back fondly at their childhood and remember the good times, the laughter, the fun you had together, and the love that you all shared.

When was the last time that you remember laughing together with your spouse or with your children?  Find something to laugh about TODAY!

Join us tomorrow for … Splurging On Each Other.

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Simple Acts of Love

31Days

Let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.

1 John 3:18 NLT

Remember all the little things you used to do before you were married? The things you did “just because” to show how much you loved and cared for your mate? Why do those little things have to stop when we get married? They don’t have to! Honestly. There is nothing in the marriage handbook that says we have to stop. We just fall into a routine and get comfortable in our marriages, and then those little things begin to fall by the wayside. What if those little things helped reassure your spouse?  What if they were exactly what your spouse needed to feel so loved, so appreciated, and so valued … and yet you stopped doing it? That happens far more than we realize in marriages. Then we wonder why we’ve “lost that loving feeling.”  You HAVE to keep the fires burning!

It is one thing to say that you love someone … and it is quite another to actually show them.  What have you done lately to make your spouse truly feel your love?   I’m not talking about buying things … that’s not love.  I’m talking about acts of service out of the love you have in your heart without announcing “I mowed the lawn … I did the laundry … I put the toilet seat down …” (Men!)   Believe me.  Women notice.  They don’t need an announcement from you.  They see what you’ve done, and they are touched.  Don’t expect a big celebration just because you’ve done chores around the house either because she does stuff without praise all day long.  It’s expected of her, and she just does it.  Yes, it would be nice if her work was recognized, but she does not announce what she’s done to have praise poured upon her.  She appreciates it more if you recognize her efforts yourself.

What about gently touching your spouse in a way that you know they love.  If she’s in the kitchen cooking, why don’t you come up behind her and wrap your arms around her waist as you kiss the nape of her neck?  Those little things that you used to do mean so much.  Don’t stop doing them!   Even the times when you’d fall to your knees in front of her, hugging her around her waist as you rested your head lovingly on her.  That is complete vulnerability right there when you do that, and she appreciates this signal that you are open to communication and to being close to her.

What about going to bed at the same time so that you two can cuddle together?  There’s a lot to be said about spooning, ladies and gentlemen!  That is one of my favorite things to do.  Just laying together with my honey with his arms wrapped around me feeling so secure in his love.  I could drift off to sleep like that.  Yet, it’s hard to do that if you don’t go to bed at the same time.  Now if she went to bed hours earlier and is already snoozing when you come to bed, do not wake her up to do this as that might not go over well if you disrupt her sleep.  That’s why it’s important to go to bed together.  There is a lot to be said for pillow talk, too!  This gives you an opportunity to reconnect at the end of the day when it’s just the two of you.  The children are not around, and you are able to whisper sweet nothings … but it’s impossible if you don’t go to bed at the same time!

Writing notes and sending text messages are another way to express your love, and they are little things that don’t cost a single thing.  BUT, make sure that there’s action behind those words that you write.  Otherwise, they won’t mean anything!  You can say all day long that you love someone while your actions are screaming something besides love!

Find a way to make your spouse feel special just like you did when you two were dating.  You did everything within your power to “woo” her back then.  Why did you stop just because you won her over?  You chased her for years, and now that you’ve caught her, you’ve just stopped?  Oh no … it doesn’t stop just because you now have her.  If you want to keep her, you’ll continue doing all of the things you know that make her feel your love.

This isn’t just one sided aimed at men.  Women need to work hard to ensure that their husbands feel their love, too.  Whether it’s making his favorite meal without being asked or giving him those words of affirmation that he craves, we have to do our part, too.

These simple acts of love still mean so much!

Join us tomorrow for … Laughing Together.

For all posts in this series thus far, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

In God We Trust

31Days

God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Cindi and Hugh talk about how it has been said that most arguments that married couples have are either about raising children, sex, or money.  It is extremely sad when money gets in the way of things in a marriage.

When I saw the name of this chapter before reading anything in it, my thoughts immediately went to the saying that is displayed on our money.  In God We Trust.  What I found interesting is that Cindi and Hugh also made a reference to this within the words of this chapter asking DO WE trust God?  We should because God is always faithful and true.

A lot of their focus in this chapter was about giving tithes, giving a portion of your income (usually 10%) back to God in the way of paying tithes to the church.  They talked about how you give and then are trusting that God will give it back to you!  If you don’t have a church home, though, how do you give?  Well, it is up to the individual, but you could give back in some way by making a donation to a well known charity of your choice.  Or, my personal favorite, what about giving to a family that you know is in need?  It is still giving – if you can – to help someone else.  There will be a ton of differing opinions on how to spend your money and arguments on how this was mandated in the Old Testament that we are to obey and give back to God what He has so richly blessed us with … and in doing so, He will continue to bless us and meet our every need.  There was a time in my life, though, where I could not give money.  Hear me out before casting judgment upon me.  Allow me to explain.

I depended on every dime of my money to support myself and my daughter.  I did not have a church home at that point in time because I was going through a divorce and was therefore snubbed by people within the church that I was attending.  So, I stopped going.  I did not turn my back on God, though, and thankfully He did not turn His back on me either!  Just because I did not have a church “home” at that point to give to did not mean that God was not walking with me every step of the way, often times carrying me through that horrible ordeal.  I know He was with me, and while I would have liked to have given 10%, I knew that if I did, my daughter would not eat as I would not have money to feed her.  Did I trust God, yes!  Very much!  I was clinging to him at that time.  But I had to use my head, too.  The church that snubbed their noses at me did not need my money as badly as my daughter needed it at that time.  I focused my attention on her and providing for her the best way I could as a struggling single mother.  I was in this role for approximately five years before remarrying.  At that time, I was blessed with two incomes again, and I was able to start giving back.  When we found a new church home, I did give tithes until trouble started brewing in that church.  Pretty soon, we pulled out because of what was going on there, and we were without a church home again.  Yet, God continued to bless us, and we are thankful for that so much so that we began blessings others that were in need and giving to charities as we felt lead to do so.   My new husband and I talked about money before we ever did anything like this, though, as we wanted to be sure that the other was on the same page before we did.  This has worked for us.

I firmly believe that God will provide … I’m living proof that He did in my situation.  I did not have a whole lot of money at all after paying for our basic needs (roof over our heads, food on our table), but I was happy because God made sure that I had enough money to take care of my daughter.  That is all that mattered to me.  Whether I skated through the month with only $5 to my name after all was said and done … I was still happy as my daughter was in a nice warm house with a satisfied tummy.  Life was good, yes … even though we struggled.  Why?  Because we were together.  God provided for us.  He always has, and He always will.

There was a time in my marriage recently where I was not sure what was going to happen as my husband took a little separation period from me when he was dealing with a lot of things from his past that had just come to the surface.  I was hurt that he left and shattered the image of our picture perfect life together.  I hurt more for my children who were unsure of their future at that point since he was the bread winner.  We made a decision together two years ago to quit a job that was incredibly stressful, and I went to work part time at a company that I worked for years ago.  It was such a blessing to go back to a job where there was zero stress!  While I welcomed this, I did become frightened when he left recently as I knew that I could not support us on a part time income.  I trusted God to provide, though, and I knew that while I did not want to go back to scraping by like I had done before with my oldest daughter … I knew it could be done as God would not leave me, especially not in my time of need.  I had already been through something similar in years past, and while I did not relish the thought of going back there … I knew that if I was forced to that God would take care of us.  As it turned out, my husband has returned home and is working on his issues from the past.  We are hopeful that we can get back on track and that our marriage will be stronger than ever before after we get through this rough patch.  I know God is already working within our marriage.  I trust and have faith in God for He knows the plans He has for me … and they are plans to give me a hope and a future.  I cling to Jeremiah 29:11.

Join us tomorrow for … Simple Acts of Love

For all previous posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Talk More, Touch More

31Days

A man finds joy in giving an apt reply — and how good is a timely word!

Proverbs 15:23

Are you prepared to offer your spouse what they need?  At the end of a very stressful day, some may desire “talk more, touch more” as they need to talk things out and have your reassuring touch to comfort them.  Others may need “listen more, understand more” as they just do not have it in them to rehash the things that happened during the day.  They just need you to listen to what they do say, even if it’s only “I’ve had a bad day and don’t feel like talking” followed by your understanding of this.

Hugh spoke in this chapter about how he actually has a strip of paper in his car on the console that says “Talk more, touch more” to remind him to do these two things for his wife, Cindi, when he returns home at the end of the work day.  Whatever it takes, right?  Just make sure that you do the things that you know your spouse needs or desires, and you’re sure to score major points with them.

Maybe the above mentioned slogans are not what you and your spouse need, but instead, maybe it is a reminder that you are on the same team when a disagreement comes up.  IF so, write that out … “We are on the same team!”   Just think of something that applies to you and your spouse, and tape a reminder some where that you’re sure to see it each and every day so you can focus on the needs of your spouse when you are together.

If you have ever read “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, you will be able to pinpoint exactly what your spouse’s love languages are.  Then, focus on those things to fill up their love bank!

Hugh and Cindi have prayers at the end of each and every chapter.  They apply what they have taught in that chapter to the prayer that each of us can pray over our spouses and our marriages.  But, you don’t need to stop there with their prayer.  You can add to it, and we encourage you to do so.  You will feel such a connection to your spouse if you share prayer time together.

Join us tomorrow for … In God We Trust.

For all of the posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Sharing Your Heart

31Days

Someone’s thoughts may be as deep as the ocean, but if you are smart, you will discover them.

Proverbs 20:5 CEV

In this chapter, Cindi and Hugh talk about going deeper by sharing their heart with each other.  You would think that this comes naturally with couples, but a lot of times you will find that people actually have to work at it.  There is a certain amount of vulnerability that comes with opening your heart and allowing your spouse inside.  But it is well worth it when you do.

Hugh talks about writing in his journal through the years.  It isn’t in any particular order, just thoughts that he’s had or things he feels he’s been given by God.  Even the most random things can go inside of that journal.  One day, he decided to share his journal with Cindi, and it left such an impression when he did.  She describes it by saying:

” … something in my heart skipped a beat and changed toward him.  I felt there was a room inside of his soul that he had unlocked and let me into.  And it was wonderful.”

Through the years, I have written poetry as a way to express myself.  My most favorite poems were those that spoke of love.  One of my dear friends took all of those poems I had written and made a hard bound book for me which I still have and treasure to this day.  (Thank you, Gregory C. Johnson!)  This book of poetry has touched many different people’s hearts since he gave me this wonderful gift many years ago.  My husband has gotten a chance to pick up this book and read through, feeling touched with every poem that he has read.  Why?  Because there is a piece of me in every single poem.  It’s my heart overflowing onto the pages of that book, reaching out and up to touch the heart of the one reading it.  This book has not only allowed my husband to see inside of the secret chambers of my heart, but my children have read through this book of poetry as well.  My poems range from romantic love poems, to poetry about when my children were born and as they were growing up, to the tragic loss of my sister, and on to poems I have written about my parents also.  Each one is now preserved in this hard bound book with beautiful roses on the cover.

While my husband doesn’t write poetry, he will take a piece of paper and just start jotting down notes.  One day we were cleaning out his work truck, and there were all these notes written down where he was sorting through some things that were bothering him.  Reading those notes allowed me to see into his heart and to see things from his point of view (which is hard to do if it’s regarding the two of you or things between you in your marriage).  It was an eye opener.  Some of the sweetest things have been found on random pieces of paper that he’s gotten out and just started pouring his heart out.

He has a man cave, i.e. his shop, where he has all of his equipment, along with the 69 Camaro, stored.  I have always known that there were a few file folders in the cabinet in the far corner of the shop, but I never looked to see what it contained until about a month ago.  We were both out there together cleaning the shop when I reached in to see what, exactly, was in there.  Low and behold, there were notes he had written to me – some he never gave to me either – back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  I sat with that file folder in my lap reading through his words and feeling so many different types of emotions flowing through me.  He cared enough to write it all down, even when he chased me for two years and I had very little to do with him.  I had gone through a horrible divorce, and I was not the least bit interested in a romantic relationship with anyone at that point.  He would not give up, though, and he continued to pursue me … for two years!  So, these notes that were in that cabinet were his thoughts during that time period as well.

What finally got me to consider giving him a chance after the two years that he chased me?  He asked me to listen to a song by the Goo Goo Dolls entitled Iris.  I was not the least bit concerned about this song.  Almost in desperation, he begged:

Please … listen to the song because it’s how I feel about you.

And so, I listened …

And I’d give up forever to touch you
‘Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be
And I don’t wanna go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
When sooner or later it’s over
I just don’t wanna miss you tonight

And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah, you bleed just to know you’re alive

And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am

… and then it hit me.   With the words of the song ringing in my ear, I knew that I hadn’t given him a fair chance.  He just wanted me to know who he was … to get to know him … and yet, I hadn’t.  It was at that point that I decided to tear down the walls that I had built around my heart and let him in so that I could get to know who he was.

While it can be scary when you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your mate, sharing your heart will form a deeper connection.  Tear those walls down and let your spouse inside the depths of your heart.

We hope you’ll join us tomorrow for …Talk More, Touch More.

For all of the previous posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Making A Memory

31Days

Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precious life. 

Each day is God’s gift.  It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. 

Make the most of each one! 

Ecclesiastes 9:9 MSG

So many times couples wait to do things that they enjoy.  They say that they will take the vacation of their dreams when the kids grow up … the house and cars are paid for … or when they retire.   People every where are saving these things (whether it’s that dream vacation or something else) for “one day” not even considering that we are not promised the gift of another day.  With that being said, why not take that time today?!  Why not set your mind intentionally to making a memory with your spouse and your family members?

Is there a hobby that you both could enjoy together?

One of my friends used to be on a bowling league as she and her husband enjoyed bowling together.  For my husband and I, we enjoy classic cars and horseback riding.   We are members of a classic car club in town, and we attend the monthly meetings together.  We attend the car shows together as well, sporting our club shirts complete with our names and logo.   We are actually off to our club’s annual car show today.  Although club members cannot enter their own cars in the competition, we all still bring our classic cars to have them on display.

My dad has a very sweet candy apple red 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air, two door hard top, that is his pride and joy so he polishes that baby up and makes sure it is shining the night before.  Well, for the past two years, my husband and I have gone with my parents to the car shows to encourage them and support them when they have entered “Big Red.”  Although we have a classic car as well, we have not focused our attention on fixing the 1969 Camaro up until just recently.  The paint job was still in good shape, but it needed some work on the engine and the interior of the car.  Although this may sound odd, I have been the one pushing to get this car in shape because I want to drive it to the show!

Why the push for this particular car?  I’m so glad you asked!  :)

This car holds special memories for us because this is the car that my husband had when he first started coming to see me at age 16.  We were young and very shy at that point, so we didn’t “date” very long at all as neither of us could think of anything really to say to carry a conversation.  We ended up parting ways and then finding each other many, many years later!  As it turned out, he still had that car, although he had gotten it painted a different color.  He loves to tell the story about how he got his first ticket in that car when he was speeding because he was in a hurry to come see me at my friend’s house that night.  I asked him to come over, but I did not ask him to speed!

I am happy to report that he has devoted time and money into this car, and it will be at the car show today!  AND … I will be driving it!  69 Camaro + Speed = One Happy Little Lady!  (Although, I will NOT be getting a ticket, thank you very much!)

My point in sharing the above with you is so that you can see that this hobby of ours is something that we have made memories with together.  Not only has it provided new memories, but it has also brought up the old memories we shared as teenagers, too.

Our other hobby of horseback riding has enabled us to make memories together as well.  There is just something so moving and exhilarating about being on the back of your horse.  You can feel their every movement, and they can sense how you are feeling.  You two operate as one when you’re riding on a trail.  This is something that my husband and I enjoy tremendously as it allows us to spend time together while we are also enjoying not only God’s beautiful land but the beautiful creatures He has created as well.  We share this common interest in the horses (we currently have five horses, by the way), and this allows us to do something we enjoy while de-stressing together at the end of the day.  We just groom the horses and feel the stress melting away.  We hop on them and go for a ride around our yard, but our most favorite memory making moments is when we take these beautiful animals on trail rides at different plantations in our state.  We have only just started doing this with horseback riding somewhere else besides around our six acres, and yet, this has been the most fun we have had in a very long time!  The best part is that we are doing this together!

While the annual car show is today, you will find us on the trails tomorrow horseback riding!  We are intentional about making memories together, and we encourage you to do the same with your spouse!

Not a single one of us is promised the gift of another day.  Get out there and make those memories while you still can.  If, God forbid, anything ever happened to you or your spouse, those precious memories would be there to help as you can relive those memories and play them over and over in your mind to bring a smile even if one’s time on earth is through.  We don’t like to ever think about that or talk about it, but now, more than ever, we need to be intentional about how we spend our time, who we spend our time with, and focusing our attention on making those precious memories!

Join us tomorrow for … Sharing Your Heart.

For all posts in this series thus far, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection