THE NEW EWE
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'" Luke 15:4-6
June 20, 2007
On June 18th, Jon and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. It has been two of the best years of my life. I know that I am very blessed to have Jon as my husband.
I realize that we haven't been married very long and that I am probably very unqualified to give out advice, but I would like to share some things that I feel are important.
I was almost forty when Jon and I got married. There were those who were concerned that I would have a hard time adjusting to married life after being single and independent for so many years. I had lived on my own for about twenty years and had made important, as well as mundane, decisions for myself during that time. I had went to car dealerships and bought and traded cars on my own. I had bought a mobile home on my own. I had handled my own finances and spent my money as I chose. I had been able to come and go as I pleased. I had taken care of myself and had no one to answer to.
This is a first marriage for both myself and Jon, and we realized that this was a major change for the two of us. In the months between Jon's proposal and our marriage, we discussed how we would handle situations after we were married. We talked about everything from whether or not to have kids, to handling finances and paying bills, to our morning routine and who would get up and shower first, and everything in between. Every single issue that we could think of, that we had heard other couples argue about or discuss, we figured out before our marriage ever started. That was the best possible thing we could have done. In the past two years we really haven't had any big disagreements or arguments about anything.
Another thing that we both were very adamant about was not criticizing or putting one another down in front of other people. I hate it when I'm around people who do that. It is humiliating and embarrassing to that person's mate, and uncomfortable for the people listening. We may joke or tease one another or say something about the other person, but not in a way that is hurtful or degrading. We also made the decision that if we were ever in a position that we disagreed about something when we were in public, to wait until we were alone to discuss it or argue about it.
Jon and I have a mutual love and deep respect for one another. That is obvious when it's just the two of us in our home, and hopefully to anyone who sees us together. If you don't have that in private, you are not going to be able to put up a front and reflect that in public, at least not for very long. Our home is a peaceful haven for us. We have three recliners chairs and a love seat recliner in our living room. The majority of the time, we both always end up sitting on the love seat. We still sit and hold hands, and touch, and kiss. We enjoy being beside one another. That relationship that we have at home, is reflected when we're amongst other people. It's not that we hang all over each other in public, but we do hold hands and Jon opens doors for me. The lifestyle of love, respect, and trust that we have at home is reflected in how we treat one another wherever we may be. We have been in restaurants and have had waitresses comment on what a great couple we make. Another time, a young lady sitting at a table by us got up to leave and walked over and said she just wanted to tell us on how great it was to see a couple who were so obviously in love.
So many of the younger generation are from broken homes and have not had examples of what a good, strong marriage looks like. I think deep down, most of them want that stability in their own lives when they get married, but they're not sure what it looks like or how to achieve that. Jon and I don't go out to intentionally try to draw attention to ourselves, but if others can catch a glimpse of what a Godly marriage looks like by watching us and our example, then I thank God for that. I would hope that young people, and even those whose marriage may be struggling, can see Christ reflected in the relationship between Jon and myself, and say, “That's what I want!”
Another conscience decision Jon and I made from the first day we were married, was that we would have nightly prayer together as a couple before we go to sleep. It's hard to stay mad at one another or have your feelings hurt, when you're praying. Each night, one of us will begin and pray out loud and then the other person will pray. It has not only strengthen us as a couple, but has strengthened us spiritually. I have heard marriage described as a triangle. God is at the top, with the husband and wife at each corner on the bottom. The closer you get to God, the closer you get to one another. That is very true. It also works the opposite direction. The further away you get from God, you also get further apart as a couple.
Jon and I knew that we needed time to have our own personal devotions too. When we both worked, Jon would get up and read his Bible and pray while I was in the shower, then I would do the same while he was showering. Now, Jon gets ready for work, then has his private devotions while I get his breakfast ready. (I pour his juice and fix his bowl of cereal!) After he leaves for work, I have my time of prayer and Bible reading. In order for us to grow and mature spiritually as a couple, we must first do so as individuals.
We don't always agree 100% on everything and occasionally have to find a compromise in various situations, yet with God in the center of our lives and our marriage, we are able to come into agreement. When something comes up that we disagree or get upset about, we work it out right then and don't allow it to build up. We deal with it, and then it's over and we move on. If Jon and I chose to leave God out of our home, we may or may not make it. But having God, is like an insurance policy on our marriage. He gives us a solid foundation on which to build our home.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus gives the parable about building your house on the sand or the rock. A house built on the sand may look really pretty at first, but when it starts raining and the floods come and the wind blows, it will fall down and be destroyed. If you build your house on a firm, solid rock then it will stand regardless of the circumstances. When the rains descend and it floods, and the wind blows and beats upon the house; it will not fall. Jesus uses this parable in regard to those who hear but chooses to either obey or disregard what He says. But the principle of this parable can also be applied to your marriage and home. If you try to build your marriage on money, career, reputation, emotions, etc. it is like a house built on sand. When problems arise, then it will begin to disintegrate and eventually fall. On the other hand, if the foundation of your marriage is built on the solid rock, Jesus, and you build the walls with love, trust, and respect, then when the floods and winds of life try to destroy it, your home is going to stand.
Just as a home has to have continual maintenance and upkeep in order to keep it in the best possible condition, so does your relationship with your mate. I heard the illustration given that a woman asked her husband why he never told her that he loved her anymore. His response was, “I told you that I loved you when I married you. If anything changes, I'll let you know.” Sadly, many couples have that attitude, and by the time they get around to telling the other person that things have changed, it's too late to repair the damage.
I encourage you to first of all, make sure your life is built on Christ Jesus. If not, then take a few minutes and ask Jesus to come into your heart. Then check and make sure your marriage is built on that same solid foundation. If you take inventory and find that your home is built on sand, then maybe you need to do some reconstruction and rebuilt. God will equip you with all the tools you need, and you will find that to be the best decision you could possibly ever make.
I've heard about far too many houses which were built on sand in the last few decades. Some unscrupulous contractors keep building houses on mud and at the bottom of mud hills. Then when a heavy rain comes, a mudslide destroys them all. The fault obviously lies with the builder. But it's the buyer who loses everything. The point here is that we can't just sit back and assume someone else is taking care of the foundation. I can't rely on Loretta to keep our relationship with God right. And she can't rely on me either. We both have to keep the foundation solid.
2 pkg. strawberry Kool-Aid 2 ½ cups sugar
1 large can pineapple juice 1 large (2 liter) Mountain Dew
2 large juice cans water
Mix the first four ingredients together. Add the Mountain Dew. Put the punch in the freezer. When ready to serve, thaw to a slush and serve.
I think some couples are under the assumption that it takes a lot of money to have romance (or that they are too old). I have heard the comment many times that “We never have the money to go out and do anything together.” Sometimes Jon and I do go out and spend money for activities, but a lot of times we don't. Here are a few things we have found that are inexpensive, yet mean a lot and are enjoyable:
Even after marriage, continue to have a date night. Go out to dinner or go to a movie. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant. Another idea is to rent a movie and order in pizza. Sometimes when we're short on money, we drive through Arby's and get their 5 items for $5.95 and bring the food home and have a picnic outside. I have a sister and brother-in-law who have been married for over 25 years, and just the two of them still go out on dates without their kids.
I enjoy fresh cut flowers – some women do, and some think it's a waste of money. I've told Jon that he doesn't have to spend a lot of money on flowers. Walmart has inexpensive, pretty bouquets for under $5.00 that he can bring home and put in a vase for me. I really like flowers and it's not how much Jon spends for them, but that he thinks of buying them for me and surprises me. One time he picked a bouquet of wildflowers and brought them home to me, which was nice too.
Take time to relax and enjoy one another's company without the TV, or computer, or any other interference. Jon and I have a porch swing and during nice weather we like to sit out there and eat breakfast. Most evenings, we sit out there for a while when Jon gets home from work and talk about our day. There are times during the weekend when I want to sit outside and Jon would rather be inside on the computer, but we compromise. He will come outside and spend time with me and relax because he knows I enjoy that and it's important to me, and I give him time to work on his different projects on the computer.
Jon and I both enjoy a back and neck massage, especially after a hard day. If I know that Jon has had a stressful day or is worried about something, I will massage his neck and back so that he can relax. When he knows that I am tense or have a headache, he will do the same for me. It's a great gift we can give one another, and it's free!
Jon and I eat dinner most evenings in the living room, watching TV. Every once in a while to change things up, I will surprise him and have candles lit on the dining room table and we will eat in there. It makes for a much more romantic evening, than sitting in front of the TV!
Write a note or give a card to your spouse. Leave it someplace where they will find it during the day. Jon has also left me little messages on the computer desktop. It's a nice surprise that lets your mate know that you were thinking of them.
Jon and I have not been apart very often during our marriage. One of my nephews and his wife recently had a baby daughter. They also have an eighteen month old son. They called me up and asked if I could come up and help them out for a couple of days. The mother had some doctor appointments and needed me to keep the little boy for them while she went. They live about three hours away. I've asked Jon if he's minded me going somewhere over night in the past, and he generally says that it's okay but that he will really miss me. He hasn't wanted me to be gone for more than one night at a time. I was going to be gone for two nights this time, and I thought it was a little strange that he kept encouraging me to go. He told me that it's important to help out family. While that's true and I whole-heartedly agree, I was still a little surprised at how often he kept telling me that it was okay if I went. I knew there had to be another reason. Finally I “nagged” long enough to find out the real reason why he wanted me to go. He does a lot of programming in the evenings and apparently I've been doing a little too much talking (imagine that!). He finally told me, “Honey, I love you, but I really need some alone time!” He hadn't wanted to tell me because he was afraid it would hurt my feelings. I wasn't offended, and in fact thought it was pretty funny at how he was beating around the bush.
I decided since I was making the trip alone to Missouri, that I would take advantage of the time and meet with friends. I made some calls and e-mailed and scheduled one lunch and two dinners with various friends and family. I threw in a quick visit with my dad and oldest sister, and saw a few other family members. I also had a great time spoiling my little great-nephew! That little guy absolutely stole my heart!!! I left on Tuesday and returned home on Thursday and fit as much as I could into those three days.
We both enjoyed our mini-vacations, but by the end of it I was ready to be home and Jon was wanting me back here with him!
Friends may come and go, or change from time to time. Your family will always remain the same, so nurture those family relationships and keep the bond that holds you together strong.
you lose a friendship, it may be upsetting, but you can find another
If you lose family, they can never be replaced!
We love and appreciate you all so very much!!
If you would like to contact us, we would love to hear from you!!!!
Our e-mail address is: email@example.com
Loretta & Jon Gray