Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wifey Wednesday: Thank Him

Most marriages are good. They're workable. Two average people get together hoping for the best, what could go wrong?

Plenty. Hence the Divorce rate, all my Wifey Wednesday type blog posts, and all the how-to books on marriage out there. This week, I want to be sure to pass on one of my favorite ways to keep a marriage healthy and strong:
Be grateful. Say thank you.

Obviously, neither of you is perfect. Obviously both of you need to continually strive to become better lovers, friends, companions, and Christians in order to make this marriage work, but we can get awfully discouraged by all the work we have yet to do. Don't forget to reward each other for those times you get it right or merely close enough.

Today, take a moment to think on a few things that your husband does right.

Say Thank You Just Because...

--1--  He Makes You Happy
Today thank him for just one thing that he does that is vital to your happiness. It doesn't have to be a big deal, it could be something as simple as remembering to turn on the coffee pot each morning so it's ready when you get up. Or it could be one of those important qualities in him that you love and need. For me that would be my husband's kindness. I know that no matter how frustrated or exasperated he becomes, I can count on him to be careful with my feelings. Even when he does slip up and lash out emotionally, it takes very little time at all for an apology to follow it up. (Thank you, honey! I really love that about you.) For someone else, it could be that he remembers to send flowers on your birthday or he kisses the kids goodnight every night. For others it might be that he is an emotional rock to lean on. Everyone measures their happiness differently. How do you measure yours and where does your husband measure up?

--2--   He Has Your Back
There are plenty of moments where a man steps between you and the world and tells it to back off. From the, "You listen to your mother!" moments with your children to the, "My wife called about the car and you said..." interventions with mechanics, he is there for you. He lets you put your cold feet on him at night and he holds your hand when you cry at weddings. Pick one of those many, many times he has expressed in some way his manly, supportive, and protective instincts for you, his bride, and let him know that those moments matter to you.

--3--   He Rings Your Bell

Because sex is so important to your nonverbal connection and communication as a couple as well as to his self worth as a husband, be absolutely sure to include an "When we're in bed, I go wild when you..." on your list. Don't even worry about all the blushing and giggling it might take to get the words out, he'll find that absolutely charming even as he blushes and giggles back (especially if you add, "Can we do that later?" to the end of your giggle!).

We find it easy to criticize, be so practiced at gratitude that it comes easy, too!

If you are one of those less expressive couples or if all this thanking seems awkward somehow or if you happen to be in the middle of one of those marital low spots we all experience, ask God to help you find your moments to express your thanks. Sprinkle the thanks out over the week or leave little notes for him to find, if you prefer. The important thing to remember is that we all work better when we know we are making progress. Be sure, on your journey to Heaven and to holiness, you let him know you notice the good.

The Caveat at the End: If you are struggling to find three things to be thankful for, now is the time to consider a trip to Confession, an appointment with a counsellor, and a fervent prayer to God to see your husband and yourself more clearly. If you are in the lowest of low spots in a marriage, also consider looking into a weekend retreat. I highly recommend Retrouvaille for help in turning your marriage around again. 


This has been a Wifey Wednesday post. For an even wifier Wednesday click on over to To Love Honor and Vacuum!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Christian Nation" Failure Rant

If you look at this picture and think, "Yeah!" I will look at you and wonder if you're ready to read your Bible. If you are rejoicing over the price these poor will pay for their poor thinking, are you as ready to step up your tithe to the poor when they're cut off. Are you ready to foster and care for their children when they are arrested for the theft?

Have you ever wondered why we have a welfare system in the first place? Because not enough Christians put their money where their faith is. We have put the government in charge of our job: caring for the widows, orphans, and poor. So why can't the government weed out the ones taking advantage of the system? Because it's the government. Simple enough.

Meanwhile we had a run on goods. Is that really a surprise? Sure, some were simply out to get rich, but some were the desperate poor. If you haven't been desperately poor, let me explain that first of all, hunger hurts. It nags and burns and writhes within you. For one year during college I chose books and tuition over groceries. I ate rice for almost that entire year. I didn't even have enough rice. No, I didn't starve, but I ached with hunger. Because I was choosing my situation, I was never tempted to steal. But I have enough experience to know how simply and completely hunger can take over a person's thinking.

I can understand that someone who has to rely on the government to supplement their lives and hears the same news that I do that the government is failing, the dollar is precarious and the way of life we are living is coming to an end, and who then hears a rumor that shelves are being emptied at their local store just might react by going to that same store and filling up a cart. I can imagine myself thinking, "This might be the last of the food forever."

The poor will always be with us, remember. In our wealthy country, no one should ever go hungry, but they do. Every day, they do. When we justify paying young people or otherwise inexperienced and untrained people wages that no one can manage on, while saying, "You don't like it? Get a better job!", when we have the same tired arguments that the top tier "can't afford" to pay decent wages because the drive to make greater and greater profits is more important than the circumstances of those among us who are being ground up in the system, when we who have never once experienced life at less than Middle Class look down our noses at those who have never once experienced a day without want blame the poor for the very circumstances that make them poor, then we are not actually a Christian nation worshipping at the altar of the Lord but are in reality sacrificing the least of us unto Mammon.

If, even after reading this rant you still can't imagine that desperation can drive people to desperate measures, and if you can not look at your donations and be entirely sure you are not one of the reasons our government had to step in to fulfill the Christians' duty to the poor, or if you have forgotten the robber baron age of our very own history and are gullible enough to believe the corporate moguls who use up media bandwidth with their Libertarian drivel that the market can govern itself, then at least have the decency to sharpen your goatish horns on someone else's Facebook feed.

I'm too busy taking care of those "least of these" within my reach to have the time to attempt to smack common sense or even a bit of empathy into random strangers.

Just remember that making fun of the poor and pointing fingers at them is no guarantee that you will never find yourself in that number.

Wifey Wednesday: Gratitude

As my husband and I slogged through some financial stress and strain this week, I had a revelation: all our current problems are external right now. We're doing the best we can for each other and facing our problems as a team.

I even remembered to thank my husband for that yesterday. I came home from a meeting and sat down across from my guy and told him I was grateful that he was such a nice guy and doing his best in a tough spot.

Don't get me wrong, here. Our marriage isn't perfect. Like everyone else we've had those moments where we could swear we'd married the Devil Incarnate. Every marriage has had a few of those "Who IS this person?!" pauses, but right now, we're not having one of them. We're having one of those, "Thank goodness he's/she's got my back!" moments and it's nice, given all the uncertainty in everything else.
Every marriage has those moments...just don't forget
to be happy whenever you're not having one of those moments.

Meanwhile, a young couple we know just got engaged. Like me, she's picked the nicest guy she knows to marry. I happen to know from experience that that's a pretty sure bet for success. I can't say that everything will go right in their lives, but having a really nice guy around when things go wrong sure makes things a lot easier to bear.

The only advice for today is to be grateful for each other. When it all comes down to it, between him and you and the Lord, you're a pretty formidable team. Make sure he knows you know that.



I am on the team for an ACTS Retreat this weekend, please keep us in your prayers!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Because it is Monday

Typical Monday. Everything seemed to hit at once today. The part that actually made it more Mondayish than not was when the repair estimate came in for my husband's car right at the bluebook value of the stupid, broken down thing. So we had ourselves a fretful day around here until we realized that things could be worse.

Upon reflection, we're very pleased to report that all of our current problems are external ones. Andy's a nice guy with good intentions. I'm a nice enough gal with similar intentions. We could be going through financial stress with a spouse who was indifferent, selfish, or antagonistic. It really could be worse.

Life is good!

Friday, October 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes: The Financial Stress and Birthday Edition

Yes, we're affected, but no, we're not. Not really.

Yes, my husband works for the U.S. government and yes, we're not getting a paycheck until further notice. We have enough in the pantry and enough in savings to manage for a couple of months before we have to go into debt or sell any belongings to get by. In our young adult years my husband and I have both experienced real financial stress--the kind that rejoices that there will be eggs in the fridge for the month because you just found spare change in a coat pocket from last winter--so we know how to stretch a dollar. We have stockpiled for this temporary emergency, so though we won't be getting paid, we'll be getting by just fine.

Pray for those less able to pull through!

If it were just about health insurance, it would have been over by now.

Yes, if the President and the Democratic Party were just offering health insurance, my family would be well within our rights to be ticked off at the Republican Party (for more than just waiting until almost too late to actually address this issue). But...but...when people and Catholic organizations are being forced to choose between the teachings of the Church and personal conscience and complying with their government's new regulations about providing out of our very own pockets birth control and abortion services, it's no longer about healthcare. It's about bullying. Without more and reasonable exceptions, it's antiCatholic, plain and simple.

If they'd only wanted to provide healthcare for all, they wouldn't be fighting tooth and nail for just those two services. They'd compromise. And if they did, the Church wouldn't be fighting back either. We'd be fighting alongside them. This insistence on free abortions tells me clearly that it never really was about healthcare. It's pretty obvious it's not.

Meanwhile, if we have to sell a car to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor from Big Government bullies, so be it.

As far as taking one for the faith goes, this is nothing to our brothers and sisters in Egypt. Chin up and carry on.

The Blog Silence

Anyway, if you've been wondering where I've been lately, I've been at home, cutting every corner I could find. Corner cutting is time consuming. Just as an example, instead of buying alfalfa this week, I took a hoe and "hayed" weeds growing outside of the pasture. I'm meal planning so intricately that I only light the oven every third day. I'm a bit busier than usual. Add in a bit of panic at the news and you get an absentee blogger. I'm done fretting now that I've got a groove to get into. I'm back!

Quick Money Saving Tip

Don't run the dryer, but use that dishwasher: when the sun is available to dry your clothes for free, running the dryer is like tossing dollars out of the dryer vent. On the other hand, using a dishwasher sterilizes your dishes. It kills germs. If you spend an extra $5 a month on electricity and save yourself one trip to the doctor because of a secondary infection following a round of cold and flu--even for one person over the course of the year--you more than break even.

Quick Sanity Saving Tip

If you are having to cut back and you have kids, start reading aloud the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It helps change the tone from privation to pioneer. I know it may sound silly, but linking your frugality to living a bit more like Americans of a hundred years ago makes it all a bit more adventurous than arduous for the kids. It also helps the adults get into the spirit of things. There's a whole lot less spirit of privation when there's less complaining.

(Don't!) Take Two!

Our first set of ducks were stolen out from under our very noses. There were no feathers scattered about, no breaks in the fencing, no blood splats, disturbed dirt, or other evidence of four legged thieves and our neighbors only missed chickens on the nights they missed locking their hutch, so we've got two legged poultry thieves around.

Another set of duckies hatched at the local food pantry and have grown enough to be a nuisance, so we were called to take them off their hands. We happily obliged. We've moved the pen closer to our house in hopes of keeping this set safe and happy until they can be producing cute little duckies of their own.

Somebody is Eight!

We are off to the park today to celebrate with our friends who are going to "drop by and play with us." Can you believe that eight years ago, we met face to face for the very first time!