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Friday, February 8, 2013

Living Happily Ever After

Yesterday we had our first Ladies Bible study of the year, after a long summer break.  Our ladies Bible study was begun as a young mum's group and continues to have that goal so our study this year is aimed at child rearing, especially for those with little guys. 
Mine are 17, 15, and 11 now, so I'm sort of past the little guy stage, but I want to continue the group, and have input.
One topic that came up was keeping our marriages happy and passionate in the midst of those hectic years when child rearing. 
Now, this is a topic I've been thinking of since August when we visited some friends in the States.  My friend Debbie always goes right past small-talk, and into the deeper zones, and she told me I needed to put our secrets of a happy marriage online, or talk about them.  I've been meaning to, so today's the day.
First of all, I know I'm blessed in that I come into marriage having had a good background of a happy family, led by godly parents who set a good example, so I just expect my own marriage to be happy and right. 
 Even with that good example, I'd say my number one key to a good marriage, is to do it God's way, the right way.  I find out what's right and wrong right from the "horse's mouth" (I hope that's not sacrilegious) the Bible.   Paul and I both start our days with time alone with the Lord, for prayer and Bible reading. 

When I read the Bible, I get sorted out on bad attitudes, selfishness, sloppiness, hatefulness, and anger, (marriage killers) and motivated toward love, joy, peace, patience, and self control. (good stuff for all relationships.)

Next helpful book to me is one I keep on a shelf by our bed, Created to Be His Help Meet,  by Debi Pearl.  Mrs. Pearl is one blunt lady, and she takes the Bible and applies it clearly and in an interesting way to married life. 

 Debi Pearl reminds me of wifely duties and attitudes, pulling it together from every corner of the Bible and illustrating it with real life examples. 

A huge thing we gleaned from the Pearls is our little tradition of "wallowing".  When the Pearls have time to just linger in bed, enjoying each other they call it wallowing. 

In the years when our kids were all little, we were having tensions about the physical side of marriage.  I was breast feeding, and had other little ones piling on top of me all day, so when Paul, my beloved husband, wanted a little romance, my response, was sometimes, "Oh, no, not you too!"
Not exactly loving, but just a typical tired mommy response. 
We tried different things during those years, with varying degrees of success, and then finally settled
on a plan we have used now for years, but it took some time to get it smoothed out.  We started scheduling "wallows."   
When Evangel was 7, nearly 8, Paul taught her to cook the family breakfast.  We have eggs nearly every day, and from there, she had the freedom to add lots of other things and she enjoyed learning French toast, grits, fried potatoes, pancakes, donuts, and waffles.  We gave her a waffle maker for one birthday, a blender for another, and her cousins gave her the donut maker.  She cooked breakfast for 5 years!  When she was 12, she passed the baton to 10 year old Timothy, who cooked for the next 5 years, except on Fridays when Evangel took over so he could be sure to get the rubbish into the street. 
Timothy cooked for 5 years, from age 10-15, with only 2 fires, I think, and then in December he passed the baton to Joshua, 11, who is launched into his 5 years. 
(By the way, this cooking is when we're at home.  Usually when we're traveling, I take back over, but now I have 3 kids who are handy with a spatula.)
So what do I do with all this extra time?  It's designated for wallowing!  If we can, we spend 30 minutes a morning alone together.  The door isn't locked, but the kids are trained.  We do get interruptions like the devastating, "Mom, we're out of eggs,"  (Paul doesn't think it's breakfast without his eggs), but we are basically alone.
We sometimes have "girl wallows" where we mostly cuddle and talk, or it might be a "guy wallow" which is more steamy.  Point is, we have time together in bed.   Paul was feeling tension in approaching a potentially tired, grumpy wife.  I was feeling tension that I might be approached when I wasn't in the mood, but this plan helped.  It took some of the guess work out of the timing issue. 
We can't do it every day.  This week I think it's only going to be 2 days out of 7, because of preaching appointments that make him leave extra early, but it's our general plan.  It took a lot of child training, planning, and adapting to get to this point, but it's worth it.  We enjoy our wallows.   
Another little marital help, is to share the funny stuff from each day with my Beloved.  Whenever the kids do or say something cute, I try to remember it to share with Paul.  I try not to save up their sins for him to deal with (not 100% successful there, but it's my goal), but I do want to laugh with him.  We share jokes, (if anyone would like, I can email you some blond jokes I was given recently), and other things of interest. 
Now, please don't see me bragging in here.  I could write a long, long post on my mistakes and wrongs as a wife.  Thankfully, forgiveness is key to the Bible message, and I married a Bible loving guy.
 I was challenged yesterday by some verses Sarah brought out, Ephesians 5:24 and following, where it was talking about how Jesus purifies the chursh, and so a man should be treating his own wife.  They're supposed to make us better!  I know I don't always take correction from Paul well, and yet he's supposed to be doing it in obedience to God when there is a need. 
We also acknowledged greetings are important for setting the mood.  Just a quick kiss and a, "How was your trip?" says I'm glad to welcome you back home. 
I could say more.  Maybe I will some day, but good marriages take some physical labor too, and mine's not done yet so off I go.

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