Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Happy Marriage

My husband Michael and I have been married six years now. Happy Anniversary to us! Michael and I have a beautiful marriage, and we love each other more and more as time passes. We've been students our entire married life-- and we're still far from being done with student life! I guess we're poor, but it doesn't feel like it. In fact, it seems like we're really prosperous! We are so happy! Heavenly Father certainly takes care of us! 

That is one reason we are happy; another reason we are so happy is that Michael and I take care of each other. In all the time that Michael and I have known each other, we have never argued. Perhaps we're lucky to rarely disagree, but we're also very purposeful in this. It might seem weird to say this, but sometimes it takes bravery to make the effort to communicate with your spouse when your feelings have been hurt or there is some conflict about something. You have to swallow your pride. I learned early on in our marriage that I tend to swallow my feelings instead! When my feelings were hurt, I didn't want to hurt Michael in turn by confessing that something he'd said was a little insensitive. I didn't want to tell him because I knew he didn't mean to be that way. So I would stew on my feelings for a while, trying to sort it out on my own in my head. I thought that was the solution. 
But I realized that actually made things worse. Michael would wonder why I was in such a quiet mood, why I seemed a little melancholy (or maybe even irritable, to be honest). When I didn't come up front with how I felt, he worried and thought he had done something wrong. I learned that I needed to tell him what was distressing me, and then when we talked about it, we got to know each other better. He learned that I am very sensitive. I learned that he is even more gentle than I knew before. People say communication is important---that's because it really is!

We also learned to be ever forgiving. Let me tell you a little story from the first months of our marriage. It makes me laugh now, but at the time...well, I wasn't lying when I said I was sensitive (especially being new to marriage). The kitchen dishtowels always seemed mildewy. It was disgusting, and I didn't really know why that happened to even the freshest towels. It seemed like maybe I was doing something wrong with the washing, which is why I felt testy about them to begin with (because the problem seemed to be my fault). One day, I wiped a buttery knife on the washcloth. Michael said in surprise "No wonder they're always smelly!" 
I said almost with a laugh, "That's the only time I've ever done that." 
I told Michael I was sorry the dishtowels were so nasty, and I was trying to figure out the problem, but I didn't know what it was. Michael was sorry for "blaming" me. And we let it go. I obviously remember it, but that's because it was a learning point for me. I had to forgive him-- though it was really nothing, I had felt blamed, and I had to just forget it and realize that Michael wasn't being unkind in the least. I was very new to the wife thing, which includes lots of housekeeping chores that I had thought I knew enough about. So I was kind of sensitive while I dealt with the learning curve. And Michael was new to the husband thing, so I could replace my hurt feelings with sympathy. We're doing this together.
Forgiveness is very powerful and freeing in a marriage. When you're willing to forgive, you become more able to see problems clearly. Sometimes, you can see so clearly that the problem isn't even a problem anymore! Like mildewy dishtowels... hahaha! Stupid. 
Gotta love damp basement apartments.

It is of utmost importance to Michael and me that we are never hurtful towards each other. Even if we're not in each other's company; we never speak ill of each other to anyone, not even our best friends. Instead we praise each other. We put each other in the best light possible. I love it when people begin to see what I see in my husband! I love to share how wonderful he is! Because he really is wonderful, and I appreciate everything about him. I am grateful for my husband. When I talk about him that way, it lifts our marriage up (and Michael does the same for me-- he treats me like a's humbling that he loves me so much, and it makes me want to be as good to him as he says I am). 

Marriage is incredible! It is such a gift from Heavenly Father! In marriage, you have access to the highest happiness and the greatest blessings. We find so much joy in being together. We are each other's priority. When that is in place, children benefit from knowing their parents love each other. There will be more peace in the family. A happy husband and wife make the best parents.

If I were to give advice to engaged or married couples, I would say: remember why you fell in love. And then find new reasons to fall in love with each other again and again. Forever is a long time, and being human, we have a tendency to get used to things. Don't get so used to your spouse that you forget why they're so special to you. Cherish each other. You are important to each other. Sometimes, love is work. I mean, if you want to use that old analogy of saying love is a fire, you do have to stoke the fire to keep it going (duh). Even a wildfire will go out eventually when left on its own. If you want that heat to keep up, make it happen. 
The best way I can think of to maintain love for your spouse is to be service-minded and continue in your efforts to be Christ-like. Everything else will follow. 

My husband and I enjoy a really beautiful life together. There are difficulties here and there, but they seem minimal when we keep an eternal perspective. I married my best friend. We were completely in love when we married, and we are completely in love now-- but our capability to love has grown. Love works like that. So we are very excited for the future. Our love will continue to grow! 

Happy Anniversary, my sweetheart Michael. Thank you for being my husband. Thank you for always treating me so kindly. Thank you for being so willing to serve me all the time. Thank you for being such a wonderful father to our children. Thank you for playing with them, listening to them, teaching them. Thank you for being the best example they could have for a caring, loving father who is good to their mother. 

I really love you.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Voting Poll

It is well past time to change the header for my blog! This has been the header for 3 years now:

Ender is obviously no longer a baby, and our family has grown. What should the new theme be?
On the right sidebar, I have created a poll so you can voice your opinion; you have all summer (because I won't get to it until the end of the summer). The poll will close August 31st at midnight. You can vote on more than one option. Please share this with friends and family!
It's not urgent or serious, just fun. :)

Here are the choices and some examples of what I have in mind. Please remember these are all drafts:




something rafty or shipwrecked

something wild and sporty

something crazy




If you have more ideas, I would love to hear them! 

These are "themes" I've been thinking about for a couple years. The final picture will probably be hand-drawn (or a combination with computer stuff). 

And now I should probably take a little break from drawing...Scarlett pulled out all the stops while my attention was art-directed. 

She ripped labels off toy food.
She destroyed Ender's LEGO spaceship.
She got into the spices and dumped out all the chili powder.
She unwound toilet paper all over the bathroom and used the toilet brush to paint the floor (while I was cleaning up her spice mess).
She doodled with my Bamboo Splash pen (while I was cleaning up her toilet mess).

There were other mischievous doings inbetween all of that-- Scarlett was on a nonstop mission of destruction and mayhem. I have to admit I shouted in dismay when I discovered each calamity. But I tried mightily to not direct my shouts at her...phew...I could see the humor of it all in some tiny hidden space in my brain, but I sure felt frustrated. She is now taking a nap. It is a relief.