How a Coke Revealed to Me What Was Important in my Marriage

Scarcely had I left them when I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go. ~Song of Solomon 3:4a

My husband and I just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. I found a clean white envelope on the kitchen counter simply addressed to my angel. Later, as I placed the sweet card on my desk that he had given me, I noticed a Coke can sitting there. I remembered the day he gave that to me as well.

It had been one of those days. I had come home from work unusually stressed and tired. Trying to scramble to get dinner ready while snapping at my husband who was trying to help me, as he often did. As I was getting the plates and silverware, he gingerly came up to me holding a can of soda. I looked up and it was one of the new “share a Coke” cans and on the side it had the word Soulmate. Eagerly he said, “I want to share this with you over dinner.” Immediately I felt all the tension of the day leave my spirit. Isn’t it amazing how one act, one word can change everything?
Later, my heart felt heavy with guilt as I lovingly rinsed out that soda can and placed it among my special treasures on my desk. How often does my husband get the back seat in our life or after our children for that matter? How often does he get my leftovers? I would never treat others, such as my boss with such disrespect. I know the answer is because at home, I am most comfortable. I feel safe among my precious loved ones enough to let my guard down. But does that make it more excusable?

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Scarcely had I left them when I found him whom my soul loves; i held on to him and would not let him go. ~Song of Solomon 3:4a

It has been a long and difficult journey thru heartbreak and divorce to finding my way to my husband and the same for him. Our dynamic is different because we each have children that we must prioritize. We may not have the luxury for just the two of us to go off on an exotic getaway. The children’s medical bills, braces, college and family vacations come first. However, I can show him he means so much to me, not in the elaborate but in the every day. I can give him my best, my encouragement and support. Set aside a small part of my day just for him.

I want to be my husband’s true mate, a real partner in life and I was reminded of that by a soda can. I pray that I will always be continually reminded. Reminded that showing my husband everyday in some small way that he truly is the one that my soul loves.

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post and South Africa’s All4Women

 

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A New Heart

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So here is a short devotional thought for the blendermom/stepmom….

Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”

During my engagement to my husband, I scoured the internet reading posts, forums, articles, etc….about blended families and being a stepmom. The relationship with my little 6 year old stepson was very important to me and I wanted to do things right. I remember reading forums, posts and articles about stepfamilies and stepmoms.

I was surprised at how many stepmoms are struggling.  There were numerous posts about how the stepmom can’t stand the stepkids, or how the stepchild tries to manipulate to get more attention from their father, or that the husband doesn’t understand.

The thing is, the father and his kids are a package deal.

Maybe you are one of those moms.  You may feel hopeless in your family situation but prayer changes things. Maybe it’s not the stepchildren, but your relationship with your husband that needs mending. God doesn’t want your family to fail. God wants your family to be strong, compassionate, and loving. And I truly believe it starts inside our own heart first.

I encourage you to pray for your husband and your children no matter how you “feel”.  Ask Him to help you see them through His eyes and ask Him to change your heart. Ezekiel 36:26 is a promise that God will change your heart if you are willing and open. Don’t think for one second that because your family was a product of divorce that God thinks less of you! Remember that Jesus lived in a blended family…

1 Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Let God work healing in your marriage and family.  Let Him start by giving you a new heart.

Respect & Marriage Boundaries & Freaks

I’ve talked a lot about marriage, respect, and the marital wheel of bliss in previous blogs and it’s about respecting your husband and your marriage.  I don’t even begin to pretend I am a marriage expert but I have learned from my numerous mistakes!  Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about others respecting the marriage boundaries.  I was speaking with a friend the other day and she was telling me about her ex husband.  She related to me that they were having a lot of problems and that as they were trying to work it out, he began receiving texts from a couple of single gals he worked with.  She felt that was highly inappropriate for a married man.   There may be some who will disagree but I think it is inappropriate too.  I feel that if you have close friendships with the opposite sex it opens a door for trouble ESPECIALLY if you are having problems in your marriage.

Moving on, it got me to thinking about the single girls doing the texting.  It feels as if the enemy is attacking marriages.  Look at the statistics about broken homes, divorce, and remarriage.  Remarriages have a much lower chance of surviving so I personally think there has to be strong boundaries set around your marriage.  Why does it seem that when ladies see a wedding ring on a guy’s finger they see it more of a challenge and not an “off limits” sign?  Does it make them feel better about themselves that they can get a supposedly committed man away from his commitment?  Does it make them feel powerful to get a married man to flirt with them?  It may say a lot about the man involved but it screams a lot about the woman to me.  At any rate, my husband and I had a situation that arose a few years ago from a single gal and I’m going to share the story and how I handled it.

My husband received a message on facebook from a girl he had went to high school with and knew only as an acquaintance.  She was asking him about another girl he had dated.  He showed me the message and we decided he would msg her back and ask why she was asking.  This gal proceeded to respond with how she had a huge crush on my husband back in high school.  How this other girl had gone behind her back and went out with him because she herself wanted him.  She talked about how gorgeous she thought he was then and then went on and on about how gorgeous he was now.  I read the msg and it pissed me off!  This crazy freak lived several states away and it wasn’t  like I was worried in any way but if you are on our facebook page you can easily see that my husband is a family man with pictures of me and our kids plastered all over the page.  Yet, instead of commenting for all to see, she wants to send him private messages of how she is still crushing on him.  He said he would immediately delete her from his friends in which I agreed but I told him to wait first.  I decided to send her a msg on his behalf and this is what I sent.  (note that I did not act like a jealous freak or cuss her out; a fact at which I am prod of seeing as to how angry I was.)

“Why in the world would you say some thing like that to a married man and especially to a married man with children?

Don’t get me wrong! This is not about me being worried about my marriage or anything, it’s just that it is very

inappropriate on your part.

Obviously your lack of respect for marriage and family values would lead me to the conclusionfor blog

that you are also lacking in character.”

I signed my name and hit the send button.  (Hehehe!) I still chuckle about it a little bit.  I can only imagine her face when she read it and surprisingly (I’m being sarcastic) we never received a reply from her!   What could she say really?

I share this to say protect your marriage period!  1Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”

Fight and Flight…my thoughts on marital conflict

My husband and I recently had a huge fight.  It was the biggest fight we have had since we married 5 years ago.  I’m not saying we don’t ever fight but we typically are over it very quickly and get on with the making up part. (blush blush)  The trouble had been brewing for a short while now but it came to a head and exploded over $30 water bottles. (crazy! right?)  This is the kind of argument that you can’t see your way past your anger and the kind that last a few days and when you’re done you feel exhausted and maybe even a little numb.  Teen in the midst of this came home and feeling the oppressive tension asked me if we were going to get a divorce.  I’m pretty sure that when parents fight that all kids ask that but I feel it is asked on a deeper level by a kid that has already gone through a divorce and remarriage with a parent.   It got me thinking.  There’s such a high percentage of subsequent marriages that don’t last.  Why is that?  My guess is that after going through divorce it is no longer this huge wall that you have never seen what’s on the other side.  It is no longer an unknown.  Most people when facing something big would rather face the known rather than the unknown, at least I would.  In those heated moments when you want to shake them and make them understand, when your inner self is wanting to be “one up” and the winner, you tend to think very irrationally.  (duh!)  Be very honest….how many times have you thought or said or had your partner say, “Well there’s the door if you want to leave!”  During times of stress and fear, scientists say we have a fight or flight response.  We decide to stay and fight or we rapidly run away.  I think in a remarriage/blended family relationship it’s more like fight AND flight.  You get to fighting and decide “I’m strong and independent.  I’ve taken myself out of a bad situation, started over, and I certainly can do it again!”  So you remove yourself from the situation or think about removing yourself from the situation.  In other words, you think about leaving.

I am trying to put my trust in God.  This is what I am trying to do during those times.   There is a marriage page on FB by DaveWillis.org. It’s an awesome site.  I found a picture on his page that sums it up.

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It may seem easy on paper but it is so very hard to do!   Be compassionate, have sympathy toward your spouse, love them without condition, and show humility if at all possible!  1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you be like-minded,  be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”  Wow! In researching and praying as I write this post I am so convicted!  How often have I not practiced this verse towards my friends, my family, and most importantly my husband! If you are reading this right now will you stop and pray for me and my husband.  Pray that I will remember this verse when our marriage faces difficulties.  Pray that I will be mindful to put my trust in God because He loves me, He loves my husband and my children, and because He wants us to succeed.  Pray that I will remember He has it all figured out.

My husband and I drove down to the dead end of our street where we could have privacy and worked it out that afternoon.  We started with arguing but ended with really listening to each other.  We then went back to the house and had a family meeting.  We explained to the kids that it was no secret we had been arguing that day but that no one is perfect.  We are all human, we get angry and emotional at times, we don’t always agree and our farts smell sometimes. (Rec’d giggles from them over that last part).  We explained that we love each other very much and that we are not divorcing or splitting up.  We re-assured them of how much we love them and asked if there was anything they wanted to say or any questions they may have. You could see the worry and tension leave their faces and a peace settled in our home.  (Thank you Father God for that amazing peace!)

All of this has made me sure of what I want and don’t want.  I don’t want the fight and flight response!  I just want the FIGHT!  I want to fight for my marriage.  I want to fight for my family.  I want to fight to ensure that our blended home is a happy home.  I want to fight satan and defeat him and not let him have yet another marriage that will destroy lives!  As I hit the publish button, I am praying for you reading this.  I am praying for you to show forgiveness and grace in your marriage and I am praying for that peace that passes all understanding that only comes from God.