For Better, For Worse

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Weddings are kind of weird things for me right now.

I currently have a few recently married friends and engaged friends.  I look at them and see the love filling their eyes.  With joy and hope infusing everything about them.  With an entire future spread out before them.

For Better for worse

2015 was a weird year for me.  It was a really great year, as I came to see and understand new depths of the hope, grace, and freedom in Christ.  And it was also an extremely horrible year as we had to say good-bye to two of our children.

Sometimes when I see the newly-in-love couples, my heart wants to scream at them, “You don’t know what’s coming!”

Financial difficulties.
Death of loved ones.
Dreams ending.
Health problems.

There are host of things that most couples will go through at one point or another in their years together.

I think back to our own wedding day.  When we were so happy and the joy of the years of our future spread out before us.  We had no idea what was in store for us.

I don’t intend that to be a bad thing or a condescending, “Just wait until you get to where I am.”  Because…

That joy is a beautiful thing.  And after the hardships we have been through, culminating most recently in our two miscarriages, I have seen even more what it means to grow in our love for each other for better or for worse.

Worse will come.  Worse has come.

But in a way, that worse is also the better.  It is the worse that draws us closer to each other, that brings us to the better.  It makes me love my husband in a deeper way that I cannot even begin to describe.   The worse and the better are intertwined.

Yes, sometimes my recent pain and grief have me wondering what couples will experience down the road.  I want to warn them, but I don’t know what I would say.  I guess I do know what I would say.  Cling to that for better and for worse.  It will test you like you cannot imagine, but it has the capacity to draw you together like you cannot imagine as well.

So, pledge that for better and for worse.  Look with joy and wonder-filled love at your amazing wonderful person you are going to spend your life with.  Because that is the person who will be there with you on your worse days.  The person you will be there for on their own worse days.

Love your love.  It is amazing right now and it will continue to be amazing.

-Bonnie

 

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When the Love of my Husband Spoke to Me

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I began pondering the love of my husband.

His forgiveness.

His grace toward me.

His complete and utter acceptance.

I had realized that before and been blown away at various points in time.  But I started to think about it again.

I sinned toward him.  A lot.  I have snapped at him, thrown jabs and barbs at him, and been selfish.  Countless times.  Over and over.

And yet….he never got mad at me.  In our three years of marriage, I can think of only a few times that he has ever raised his voice.  And even then it was mild.  He did not jab back.  He did not find those little moments to insert a harsh comment.  He didn’t snap.

And when I came to him and asked forgiveness?  He gave it.  Every time.  Every single time.

He told me he loved me.  He told me that nothing I did would ever change that.  I couldn’t hurt him so badly that he would give up on me or want a break from me.

Is this the love of God?

Is this what it is like?

Yes.

And more.  If my husband can love me so powerfully….so unconditionally….God’s love is just that much greater.  God is love.  He is the epitome of love.  He is love in perfection.

I held onto this truth and filed it away in my heart.

Part One Part Two Part Three
Part Four Part Five Part Six

-Bonnie

5 Ways to Bless your Husband

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I love discovering ways to bless my husband!  I love it when I can make him smile or make his heart happy.  Here are 5 things I have been thinking about lately!

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1. Need him.  Find ways to let him know that he is indispensable to you.  Ask him for help on a project.  Tell him how much you adore him and how thankful you are for what he does for your family.

2. But don’t need him too much.  In other words…don’t be needy.  I challenged myself to go 3 days without asking him for anything.  I have realized how lazy I am.  I am ashamed to say that there have been a few times many times where I have asked him to do something for me that I was perfectly capable of doing myself.  I just didn’t want to.

3. Try new things.  Now I have very limited experience in the husband department, as I obviously only have one.  But from what my husband has said and from what I have heard from others….our men love it if we are open to trying new things or just owning what we do.  I have succumbed to so many lies about how I fail at pretty much everything.  I have been scared to try things on my own.  I have been learning to be confident and to just try things.  Learning to learn is a skill…and so is learning to allow yourself to fail sometimes.

4. Make his day with something random.  Surprise him with his favorite dessert.  Kidnap him for a date.  Give him a whole night to play Battlefield.  Plan a movie night and go all out with themed decor.  Send him a random text (like maybe one of these!) during the day.

5. Kiss him.  Here are 10 kinds of kisses every marriage should have!

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 -Bonnie

 

What Does a Godly Relationship Look Like?

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There is so much discussion in the church on the right way to do relationships.  Dating, courting, betrothal, long engagement, short engagement, save the kiss or kiss before marriage….etc.

Honestly…..in some ways I think the answer is much simpler than that.  I recently found this great video by Jeff and Alyssa Bethke.  This sums up a lot of my thoughts well.

Some of my favorite quotes….

From Jeff: “We almost want God to give us the right answer so we don’t need Him.  But especially in dating and in a lot of other areas, we’re promised the Spirit who is with us to guide us and to teach us and in the moments when we need Him the most, He can nudge and He can push and He can pursue and say ‘Hey maybe go this way’ or ‘Maybe this isn’t right’ and when you’re living close to Him, you’ll feel that and you’ll have a better ear for that.”

From Alyssa: “I really want to get to the heart of the matter.  Because if we’re just saying ‘we’ll do this, this, and this’ then it’s almost like a list of behavior modification, which isn’t the Lord’s heart in it.  The Lord really wants your heart and what’s best for you, so the Lord has specific Scripture about not going a certain way.  So one we want to obey the Lord because we love Him and we know He is a good Father, and gives good structure for us and also the person you’re with is a brother in Christ or a sister in Christ, so you want to treat them as such and a friend and somebody that you want to take care of.  So just kind of getting more to the heart of it more than ‘this is a list of dos, dos, dos.’… I think it gives you more joy to obey instead of doing it just out of (frustration).”
Jeff: “Or God’s going to smite you.”

Alyssa: It’s just a struggle because you love the person and you’re attracted to the person, so…lean into the Spirit practically.  Before you go on a date or before you see the person, ask the Spirit to come with you.  And obviously the Spirit lives in us and is with us at all times…But when you’re aware of it, you go into the date thinking, “Okay, God’s here with us and I want to honor Him in it.”

As Jeff said, this isn’t comprehensive by any means, but there are some good points there.  If we are seeking the Lord and getting to the heart of the matter, God will be honored, even if those specifics or “rules” look different for different couples.

-Bonnie

Vows

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Remembering, loving, and being convicted by our wedding vows….

The Pilot’s Vows:

I, (the Pilot), take you, Bonnie, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward.  I vow to be your spiritual leader, putting you before self, to seek your needs above my own.  I resolve to pass on to you the same kind of love, forgiveness, and grace given to me by God.   I commit to being near to God and being a strong, spiritual warrior on your behalf.  I resolve that my speech will always be honoring,  that I may edify you in Christ.  commit to being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  I commit myself to Christ, knowing that I must live in dependence on Him each day in order to fulfill my vows.  I commit to you alone, desiring no other, until death do us part.

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Bonnie’s Vows:

I, Bonnie, take you, (the Pilot), to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward.  I vow to be a suitable helper to you, respecting and honoring you as the head of our family.  I commit to put you before self, to seek your needs above my own.  I resolve to pass on to you the same kind of love, forgiveness, and grace given to me by God.   I commit to being near to God and being a strong, spiritual warrior on your behalf.  I resolve that my speech will always be honoring, that I may edify you in Christ.  I commit to being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  I commit myself to Christ, knowing that I must live in dependence on Him each day in order to fulfill my vows.  I commit to you alone, desiring no other, until death do us part.

An Open Letter to {Christian} Military Wives

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Today we have a guest post from my sister, Melinda!!  I appreciate her thoughts here.  At the bottom I added a few thoughts of my own.  🙂

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I must open by letting everyone know that I am not a military wife. I do have some connections to the military though via family and friends. One of my brothers-in-law is in the Air Force (just began pilot training!), and quite a few of my friends are wives of Air Force men. (I live in an Air Force town so many of the people at my church are either Air Force or retired Air Force.) Since my husband is not in the military, I can only offer some observations from outside the military. Take them or leave them for what they’re worth.

I write because of the many blog posts I have seen written by military wives talking about the inherent difficulties and hardships they face. It’s true. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must be to have your husband gone on training exercises and deployments . . . sometimes for months (or years!) at a time. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to raise your children alone or to manage all of the household affairs by yourself.

Yet I also want military wives to be aware of how these posts can ostracize other women . . . other women who are going through difficult times and hardships and desperately long for encouragement. As Christian women, we should be seeking to encourage each other in all the hardships we all face.

For example, during the first 18 months of our marriage, my husband traveled a lot. He was gone (usually out of state) for two weeks out of every month. While many military wives may think that’s no big deal (and perhaps for them it wouldn’t be), let me point out several things. First, my husband was gone for 50% of the first 18 months of our marriage. Even my sister who married a guy in the Air Force can’t say that. Secondly, I still dealt with household issues and parenting all by myself for half of the time. In many ways, I envied military wives because many of them have a community from which to draw help. They live on base or there are even online communities for military wives. But what about railroad wives? I was on my own.

My point is not that military wives should stop blogging or writing about their unique struggles, but please do consider stop phrasing it like you have the most difficult experience of any other wife. In reality, God calls each of us to hard, difficult, challenging things. For some of us, it will be through husbands who are absent, whether in the military or some other job. For others it will be loss of employment, death of our children, or something else. The body of Christ would benefit from seeking to help and encourage other women in whatever difficulties they find themselves.

For those of us who are not military wives, I do encourage you to be considerate if you (like me) do know any military wives. When their husbands are gone, most would appreciate some help with things like babysitting their kids, running to the store, or making a meal. As their sisters in Christ, we should be ready and willing to help them while their husbands are gone. Yet, let’s not forget other women. Are there any other women in your church who’s husbands travel? Those women would appreciate the exact same things a military wife would. Are there women struggling through loss of employment? Whatever it is, let’s cultivate hearts and attitudes of ministry for each other regardless of our husbands’ vocations.

I wholeheartedly agree with what my sister shared.  I am hardly into our military career and I have seen this many times.  I’ve read the mil spouse blogs and seen the memes that say things like, “‘I’m sorry your husband had to go away for a night.  That must be so hard!’ – said no military wife ever.”

I get that.  I do.  Deployments are no joke.

But…at the same time…and I say this as honestly and lovingly as I can….any time you’re away from your husband…it stinks.  It stinks when he’s gone for one night and it stinks when he’s gone a week.  The challenges that a wife faces will be different when he’s gone for longer periods of time, but the plain truth is that it still stinks.  The wife is still missing her husband.  She’s still lonely.  She still has to take care of the house, the kids, the car repairs, the bills, etc, by herself.

The woman whose husband is gone for an overnight business trip has no idea what it’s like for the woman whose husband is gone for a week at a time.  The woman whose husband is gone for a week at a time has no idea what it’s like for the woman whose husband is gone for 5 weeks at a time (our longest separation so far).  The woman whose husband is gone for 5 weeks has no idea what it’s like for the woman whose husband is gone for a year.  But no one should roll their eyes at the person who has gone through “less” than what you have.  It all comes down to “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”  Why do we get so caught up in our story and our situation that we have to compare other people’s real life stories and situations to our own?

Love for our spouses, or our abilities as wives and mothers, is not summed up in the amount of days spent together.  Or spent apart.

Bonnie

Date Night Apps

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My love and I love going on dates.  We’ve had lots of different kinds of dates…at home dates, eating out dates, seeing a movie at the theater, going on walks, etc.  But some of our dates are more spur of the moment.  Those are our Android App dates.  😉

We don’t always plan these dates.  Sometimes they just happen.  But we have lots of fun playing games on our phones together!  Here are some of the ones we have enjoyed!

1. Angry Birds.  Obviously.  I think almost everyone with a smart phone has played Angry Birds.

2. Hill Climber.  Drive a car.  Collect coins.  Don’t run out of gas.  And don’t crash/tip over/otherwise die.

3. Draw Something.  Basically Pictionary.  Send a picture to the other person and they have to guess what it is.

4. Can You Escape the Room?  Find the way out of a room by clicking around the screen.  Memorize sequences, pick up items that will aid in the escape, etc until you can exit.  (Similar one is 100 Doors.)

5. And our latest one is Shooting Showdown.  Practice various kinds of shooting games (plates, tires, trucks, etc) and then compete with another player.  Unfortunately, the competitions match you against a random player…you can’t pick a player to compete against.  But we just have our own competitions to see who can get the highest score in the practice sessions.

Do you have any date apps?  🙂

-Bonnie