“Love is the security for which children weep, the yearning of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage, and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death.”
-Gordon B. Hinckley, “And the Greatest of These is Love.” Ensign. March 1984.
-Gordon B. Hinckley, “And the Greatest of These is Love.” Ensign. March 1984.
Friday, May 17, 2013
One of my little sisters (I have three) was married last year. She and her new husband are so cute together and are obviously in love with each other. They live in the same town as we do while he is pursuing his bachelor's degree and so we get together once a week for dinner. It gives us the opportunity to talk, get caught up on what's happening in our lives, and time for our boys to play with their aunt and uncle. Often we end up having some pretty fun and interesting conversations. This happened last week.
After we had finished eating and while we were cleaning off the dinner table my sister started talking about a new job that she and her husband have (they are resident directors at the college my brother-in-law attends). Their bosses (it's a married couple) are great and set a wonderful example for them of diligence and hard work and they really look up to them. However, one of the things they have noticed is that this couple has been married for a few years and don't really show their affection physically in public. My sister and her husband are confident that their bosses love each other, they just became worried that in another year or two they would be like their bosses and not be "touchy-feely" anymore. My sister then related that as they talked about this together (she and her husband) they realized that they didn't need to be worried because Cami and I are still VERY touchy-feely. She said it gave them hope and they realized that it's their choice how they want their marriage to be. I was impressed and proud of my little sister and brother-in-law. That realization can sometimes take years.
What our marriages are like is our choice. If we want it to be happy we need to choose that. If we want to be physically expressive (touchy-feely) we choose that too. It's up to us. What my marriage is like is up to my wife and I. We choose to be happy and touchy-feely. We choose to have an uplifting love.
What choices have you and your spouse made about how your marriage will be? Share with me in the comments. Please.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
81. Brought my wife some really pretty and really fragrant lilacs and put them in the kitchen for her to brighten her day
82. Watched all of the "Lizzy Bennett Diaries" videos on YouTube with her (there are 100 videos so that alone could count as my 100 acts of kindness!)
83. I brought Cami a cupcake that one of my coworkers made (she said it was AMAZING)
84 and 85. On a Saturday Cami's friends called and invited her to go and see The Host at the local theater. Grocery shopping needed to be done that day. So I told her to go and she went and I did the grocery shopping. That's one nice thing. The second is that I did the grocery shopping with all three of our little boys (ages 5, 3, and 1) by myself.
86. While we were watching the Animal Planet show "Tanked" I brushed her hair (so it was like an hour and a half because we actually watched two episodes)
87. I got up early on a Monday morning and put the dishes away so that it would be done when Cami woke up
88. My wife's little sister came over one evening and we decided to watch a movie. I wanted to watch a good movie (something with explosions and mystery) but I ceded and we watched "27 Dresses" instead.
89. Often my coworkers will bring baked goods to the office to share. I try to always bring some home for Cami. I mentioned the cupcake earlier (#83). Other things I have brought home recently are pieces of cake, cookies, brownies, and I believe there was even rice crispy treats at some point.
90. Last week there was a supervisor training meeting. There were refreshments (that's the only way to get people to attend a meeting). Included in the refreshments were Costco muffins, our favorite! So I tucked two of them away and snuck them out of the meeting and brought them home to Cami.
91. I went to the store with our two oldest boys and bought stuff to make s'mores then we came home and shared them with their mom
92. I let Cami mow the lawn. I know, I know. This doesn't sound like a kind thing, however, you have to know Cami. She actually loves mowing the lawn. Yes, it is weird. But she does enjoy it. So sometimes I let her mow part of the lawn (obviously I can't let her do the whole thing or the neighbors will start to talk, otherwise I would).
93. Before Cami started mowing the lawn I emptied the grass clippings out of the bag so that she wouldn't have to
94. I texted her after one of her doctor's appointments (we're expecting our fourth child) that I thought she had sexy veins. Leave a comment if you would like to know the rest of the story. That way I'll know someone is actually reading my list. :)
95. When she accidentally signed our oldest son up for swimming lessons I was supportive and thanked her for taking such wonderful care of our children (it actually doesn't cost that much we just hadn't budgeted for it)
96. I made lunch for us, grilled cheese sandwiches, because she wasn't feeling well (she just needed to eat but sometimes she forgets to)
97. Because Cami is almost seven months pregnant and her self-image sometimes needs a little boost from time to time I try to help. A week or so ago she was having a particularly hard day so I informed her that I was going to prove that she wasn't as large as she was feeling (she compared herself to an elephant) and so I picked her up and went to carry her into the front room. However, as we rounded the first corner I slammed her elbow into the wall. That ended that kind act.
98. The other day she was feeling quite out of sorts and so I began to tease her pretty aggressively. Yes, I realize that doesn't sound like a nice thing to do but it actually brings her around faster than anything else, and she usually thanks me afterward.
99. We went to our local drive-in theater two weekend ago and I gave Cami the warmer blankets that we brought so that she wouldn't be cold. Which kind of doesn't seem fair since she walks around with a built-in personal furnace everyday, but that's beside the point.
100. Last, but certainly not least, I did 100 kind things for my wife above and beyond the usual!! Okay, this was supposed to be my last act but then Cami gently pointed out that this wasn't actually a hundred because it doesn't count. So...
101. I came up with a great Mother's Day present for Cami. I'm not going to say any more about this one as I plan to dedicate a post to it in the next week or so. But it's pretty cool.
Thank you for joining me in this adventure. One of the things I have learned is that I show my love for my wife by bringing her food. Interesting... Anyway, I challenge you to do something extra kind for your spouse today. Then, if you feel so inclined, share it with me in the comments. I love to hear about the wonderful things you're doing.
Monday, May 13, 2013
One of the best pieces of advice that my wife and I received when we were married was to read together. We have spent many hours cuddled up together with a good book. Before the kids came along and when they were still very little (because they are still little I needed to qualify it with VERY little) we could read a lot more. Now we have to wait until they are in bed or we get interrupted every two seconds. Even now we probably read five to six books a year together (in addition to scripture reading). I cannot recommend this enough. If you and your spouse like to read, READ TOGETHER. You don't have to read everything together but reading a book together out loud to one another does three things for your marriage:
- Forces you to spend time together. How can you read a book out loud to one another if you aren't in the same room?
- Creates shared experiences and memories. Here's an opportunity to discover new inside jokes and find fun ways to describe events. We read the Eragon books together and several times we have used examples from the books to describe things in real like like "the color of the nail polish she was wearing was just like Saphira's scales" (if you haven't read the Eragon series you're missing out).
- Gets you interacting with each other. We find that TV and movies, while we enjoy them, don't typically do that. While we're reading a book we'll often stop and try to guess where the story is going, who's the actual bad guy, how is the hero going to win, etc. It's fun to have those real conversations with your spouse.
I speak from experience as I make this recommendation to read together. I recognize that reading isn't necessarily everyone's favorite hobby (it just so happens that it is mine and Cami's) and if that's the case and you and your spouse hate reading (which my guess is that you don't since you're reading this right now) then reading together might not be the thing for you. But if you have an interest in reading, even if it's not a burning passion, give reading together a try.
Now, two more pieces of advice.
First, don't give up the first time. The first book that Cami and I read together ("The Other Side of Heaven" by John H. Groberg) we barely got through it and it took us months to read it. It's not that long so it shouldn't have, however, despite it being a good book we just couldn't get into reading it together. It didn't quite engage us. So don't give up. Keep looking until you find the genre that is right for you. We have found that fantasy type fiction is what we are able to get into (it's weird too because most of it neither of us would typically read on our own but together we eat it up). From time to time we try to branch out again but it doesn't usually pan out. A few years ago we tried reading Pride and Prejudice together and I couldn't stay awake. :)
Second, if you're not enjoying the book that you're reading pick a different one. You don't have to finish a book. Again, with Pride and Prejudice I just couldn't stay awake, I wasn't engaged in the story, so we took it back to the library and checked out a new book to try it (I don't remember what that one was). Also, if you find that reading isn't for you don't sweat it. It's not for everyone. My wife and children love having waffles, pancakes, and french toast for dinner. I don't. That's okay.
If you're looking for suggestions of books to read with your spouse and you are interested in the list of books that Cami and I have read sign up for my free newsletter. In the next edition I will be including a list of the books that we've read that we really enjoyed and whole-heartedly recommend.
I also welcome suggestions from you of books that we should read so leave me a comment with your recommendation.
Photos taken from respective official book websites
Friday, May 10, 2013
Before my wife and I were married we sat down with my bishop (the leader of our local congregation) for some advice. During the interview he mentioned that there are times where he will look at his wife and suddenly feel overwhelmed with love and gratitude for her (at the time they had been married 20+ years). There was no rhyme or reason for those moments happening when they did, they just happened. He related that on several occasions he had awoken from sleep for whatever reason and looked over at his wife and the moonlight resting on her illuminated her facial features ever so softly and he would shed a tear or two because he could not believe that he could be so lucky and so blessed to be her husband. He promised us that if we lived our lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ and clung to one another we too would have moments like that.
Now, nearly seven years later, I have had experiences of my own like that. Moments where I look at my wife, and there is nothing unique or unusual about the moment, and suddenly feel consumed with love for her. I'm not sure why it has happened when it has and I have no idea how to replicate them. It just happens. But I am grateful that it does. Those moments, I think they are tender mercies granted me from God, are little treasures and help me remember why I married her, why I am still married to her, and why I want to be married to her forever. In those moments I silently recommit my heart and my life to her. The best part is it typically happens so quickly she doesn't even know it happened.
I love my wife. I am grateful and proud to be her husband.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The reason I share this story is two fold. First, to express how grateful I am that I had that prompting to invite him to hang out with us. And, second, to remind us all that whether it is with our spouse, children, friends, parents, siblings, whomever, spending time with them is critical. Spending time shows you care, that you value someone. Spending time allows you to create tiny threads that solidify and strengthen your relationship. Spending time together is a small and simple thing that will help great things come to pass in your relationships with others.
I challenge you to pick two people this week to spend more time with and then do it. It almost doesn't matter what you do (assuming it is wholesome and uplifting in nature) just that you do it. And please let me know how it goes. :)