When you two met each other, only God knew what your spouse would mean to you. Take a moment to focus on how thankful you are for each other!
Married life is hard. Not every year of our married life is champagne and roses. Am I right? Only God knew what would happen in your life when you first met your spouse. Didn’t He build in many, many blessings, despite all the difficulties? Those difficulties caused you to grow together.
Your first blessing was a relationship with Him – and then with your spouse – and then…
How many years have you been married?
For however many years you’ve been married, make a list with as many items you’re thankful for. Married 10 years? Name 10 things you’re thankful for… married 18 years, then 18 items… you get the idea, right? And if you’ve been married one or two or three years… well, then be creative!
As an example, our “Thankful List” would have 33 items on it! Our adult children would be on that list and our grandboy. Those we pray for every day would be on our list. We are rich in relationships and we’re so thankful for all those who God has put into our lives.
What would your list look like?
God brought the two of you together – count your blessings!
Tell your spouse how thankful you are for her or him. Make that list of what you’re thankful for, and then share it. This is good for an anniversary or for anytime. Being thankful is another way you and your spouse can honor God.
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the second of ten posts about encouraging your spouse on your anniversary. Or anytime!
Sometimes it’s easy to find the words you need to express how happy you are together and that’s great! But for others, at other times, it’s not easy to find those anniversary words to encourage. This is what these ten posts are meant to provide. Words and ideas that’ll spark something special to encourage each other.
We’ve recommended three ideas from this very old book by Dale Carnegie – “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” to begin to worry no more… There’s nothing particularly new in here – but it’s a classic and he hits on so many good ideas to stop worrying. The stories are fun to read because they’re from the 1920’s to 1940’s. (FYI -Robert isn’t a fan of Dale Carnegie – but I (Lori) enjoyed it!)
In the middle of marriage you might be feeling a bit worn down, a bit overwhelmed, and thinking, “Is this all there is?” We want you to know that life in the middle of marriage can have an even better flow of love and loyalty than when your marriage began. It just takes a little work. (Sorry – is that a 4-letter word: work?)
Again – the work is what it takes to get your worry under wraps: Prayer for the future together. Focus on today; do the best you can with what you have today. Stop replaying what you can’t change from yesterday.
How do you deal with worry?
Have you and your spouse found ways to worry no more? Any books you’d recommend on this topic, or posts you’ve read?
Investing time with the important people in your life builds them up – and you too! People are more important than anything else, right? In this 16th mid-marriage encouragement video we talk about people who make a difference in our life. Do we see them enough – spend time with them?
How do you make time for the important people in your life?
Sometimes those people who are most important aren’t the “squeaky wheels”, or the loudest in our life – perhaps they hesitate to make a fuss. And yet – they remain the vital relationships which make the most difference in our quality of life.
Make a Plan
Whether you visit, use a video chat service, or even the telephone, remaining connected to the important people in your life improves the quality of all your lives. Make a plan and reach out to those in your life you miss. Write those dates on a calendar, and follow through.
It’s not those things we actually do that we regret… too often it’s those actions we never get around to doing that cause the deepest regret.
Get off the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” merry-go-round and make a difference in everyone’s world!
Make a Plan for “Show and Tell” with Important People
Robert and I have been deliberate this year about making memories with our adult children and grandboy.
We meet once a week for an hour or so and have a “show and tell“. This is our way to remain connected. We each share one item (show or tell) from our life that week. And then we go on our way…. It’s too easy for the weeks to go by, and we’ve not spent any quality time with each other.
Do you have a plan for regular quality time with children to build memories? This may take some work as your children enter their teen years, and then move on as adults into their own lives. Leave a comment if you have a plan – I’d love to know what you do!
Make a Plan to Visit Important People
Do you have family and friends that live far away? We do too.
This year our son created a plan for us to travel to a church convention, and then swing by our parents (his grandparents) in Canada. This allowed us time to visit with our adult children while living together in an AirB&B house and also to meet up with friends we haven’t seen in a while at the Sunday event. After that, we spent two days with our parents. It took someone to make a plan. This year it was our son and daughter-in-love who made the plan, and I’m so thankful. (We have photos of our travels on our Instagram page.)
Who makes the plan in your family to travel to visit important people? How often do you make the time to visit those who are important, but who don’t make a lot of “noise” even though they’d love to see you?
Who prays with you?
An active prayer life is important. Making time to pray alone is imperative. Praying together as husband and wife is a powerful experience. (If you’ve not tried praying together, then just start simple – read this post to learn how.)
Who else do you pray together with? Do you have a praying church family or small group? Do you pray with them? What about a trusted minister?
Don’t let time or distance stop you from praying with people who have a strong prayer life. Reach out. Make a plan to pray with people on a regular basis. These important people who pray will make the difference in your “up” moments and in your crisis moments. (Don’t just wait till it’s a crisis!) Start now.
Plan to pray with others – it’s a wonderful defense.
Who are the important people in your life?
Do you have a plan to invest time with them… soon? Stop procrastinating!
(PS- we have found that the video service Zoom.us is the easiest venue to make a digital visit with far-away people!)
Making a commitment to spend time with important people…
Use a calendar – a planner – set goals… If the “event” of a phone call or video chat is on the calendar, it’ll happen! Here’s a resource called the “Commit30 Planner” we think is wonderful! If you scroll down after you click you’ll see an option to view all the pages in the planner. It includes a 30-day challenge for each month, motivational sayings and more… I’m in love with this product because it’s both attractive and useful! (This is an affiliate link, which means that if you click to purchase Robert and I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. We really appreciate your support.)
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4 NASB
Sigh. Sometimes it’s hard to find and feel the joy.
Consider it all joy?
All of it? Really? Joy in all the trials – seen and unseen? Consider joy? Those trials in your head – the ones that wake you at 2 AM, and the trials which seem insurmountable, even if you’re the one that created them? Consider joy?
What if you woke tomorrow with only those things for which you are thankful today?
33 years to be thankful for…
We’re thankful for 33 years of marriage – today. May 27th.
Even though we’re thankful, finding and feeling that joy isn’t always easy. Marriage and life haven’t always been easy. Boy-oh-boy, have there been some trials. And thirty-three years together as husband and wife doesn’t give us a “pass” to get out of the current or future trials, either.
However, we have a promise. Those trials testing our faith produce endurance. Endurance is a gift for which to be thankful… and if we practice that endurance, we will be complete. We will lack nothing. There are gifts along the way. We’ve seen them already and we have faith there will be more, according to God’s will.
In this “not easy” season we’re holding onto that promise of lacking nothing – with both hands, all four hands. We’re trusting. We’re exercising our faith.
Gifts in this “not easy” season…
What are some gifts in this season of marriage that’s been less than easy?
Our adult children are gifts.
Consider the joy of children. At first, becoming parents on our 1st wedding anniversary was a trial. Oh, yes. That wasn’t easy. But joy has come from being parents to those children. Adult children are the best gift! They are our sparks of joy and watching them serve the Lord is a truly joyful gift.
Our grandboy is a gift.
Consider joy. Everyone predicted grandparenting would be a joy. (Frankly, I was skeptical. It was just a crying, poopy baby, after all…) Today, a year and a half later, we are unable to truly define where this overwhelming joy in the grandboy comes from… it must come from God. It must! Rob has been saying that “If God loves us the way we love our grandchild, then we’re golden!” Yes. That’s a gift. A gift filled with joy.
Friends are a gift.
In the midst of our trials, friends have reached out. A kind word. Prayers. (Oh, you have no idea what a gift it is to know that friends are praying for you and with you!) Encouragement despite ongoing circumstances is a gift of joy. We’ve received gifts – both monetary and physical. Every. Single. Friend. Is. A. Gift.
Consider joy – yes. There is joy in knowing you’re surrounded by the Godly love of friends who are also ministers. There’s joy from family, of congregational members… and friends who unknowingly provide gifts. In this time that’s not been easy, we’ve been surrounded with those who give without measure and without any hope or expectation of repayment.
We’ve been learning the art (and gift) of humbleness. It’s not always an easy gift – but it’s priceless. And there’s joy in it.
The gift of Endurance
We are learning endurance – and it’s having its result. I hope. Our faith is increasing. We have no other choice but to have faith. And we’re already feeling that promise that we lack nothing.
Because when you really think about it, all our hope lies in Jesus. In Jesus’ sacrifice. And the future His sacrifice and God’s grace will provide… is already providing. That’s ALL joy.
Consider it all joy – friends – when we all encounter various trials. That testing of our faith does produce endurance. And if we let it, endurance can have its perfect result. We will find ourselves perfect through God’s grace. And we will find ourselves complete, lacking absolutely nothing…
Are you going through a time that’s not easy?
We can relate. (As you might guess by this post.) Not all years in marriage are easy. It’s hard to encourage each other when it’s been a while since you’ve felt some joy. (Rob says that encouraging an “encourager” is really hard.)
So – as a gift for you… and us too…
As an anniversarygift, one we can all enjoy – and spark some JOY – we’ve created something.
93 simple, quick and mostly free activities for you and your spouse – for all of us – to spark some JOY! (Why 93? That’s part of a longer story you can read when you click HERE.)
We will be right beside you! We are doing this too!
Those who sign up will receive one email a day with one simple and quick action to take together. Each action is easy – and where it might feel like a stretch, we’ve given you some help. And if you really hate the idea, or physically can’t do it, then there’s the option to pull a different idea from the JOY JAR…
This is our gift to you – a gift to spark some JOY!
Infertility, special forces and the love and faith to get through it all. Love. + Hope. + Faith. + Prayer. + Action. = Encouragement. The guest post below has it all!
I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Nina. We met many years ago in Texas, and our friendship has blossomed. Nina writes over at Millions of Peaches and her first book is out this month. I wanted her to tell you her story…
I should’ve known that saying “yes” to a man with baggage would lead to an interesting life. It wasn’t always easy, but we quickly found that supporting each other instead of blaming each other worked much better in finding resolutions to problems.
Because of his military career, my husband couldn’t always be present. As a matter of fact, he missed more holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries than I can count. While he was gone all things like finances, yard work, household chores, parenting, and more was on me. However, when he was around I always tried to include him in all tasks and make sure he had things to take care of, so that he would feel like he was part of our little family.
When he was deployed I always listened to what he had to say before I would go down a list of things I had in mind. Missing a phone call was detrimental and sad because I never knew when he could call again. SAT phones aren’t very reliable not to forget time differences and hazardous locations.
I picked up the slack when he couldn’t. Nevertheless we always supported each other’s wishes and dreams. It was my dream to travel the world, get a college degree, deliver babies and eventually have a child of my own. My husband made sure that we always had enough money to pay for all of these wishes and dreams.
In turn, it was his dream to become a U.S. Army Green Beret and later a Physician Assistant. I made sure he had time to train, study, and prepare for his chosen path. I supported and helped where I could through hidden notes, weekly goodie bags, home cooked meals, being present when there was a ceremony or promotion, watching him jump out of airplanes and helicopters, picking him up or dropping him off at the airport, sending care packages to let him know I miss him, keeping all added stresses away from him, and always making sure that our bank account was in better shape than when he left.
Yet, I can’t forget the times we spent praying together. Praying for his safe return, for guidance in co-parenting his children, and for a child – one that we could keep forever. At first, we chose days of the week when one of us would pray. But because his job required him to be away from me often, we prayed separately as well. We prayed with our rector from our church. We prayed while snuggling in bed, on our knees, in church, in the car, in airplanes, at airports, and our kitchen table. Praying is definitely something we take seriously as a married couple.
The Path Forward – with LOVE and FAITH through INFERTILITY
And it is because of our faith and the strong belief in prayers that we have come to this point in our life where I was lead to write down our path in “Love, Faith, and Infertility – A Story of Hope and Special Forces” – the struggles, the good and the bad, to show that our God is good and no matter what my life or yours entails with Him nothing is impossible.
Nina was born and raised in Germany, and is a medical assistant, doula, lactation counselor, and Reiki practitioner by trade. She has earned a baccalaureate degree in management studies from University of Maryland University College while she lived in Germany and the United States. Her husband served in the United States Army for 20 years before retiring and becoming a Physician Assistant (PA). He has two children from a previous marriage and together they have one rainbow baby and three angels in heaven. You can read more from Nina on her blog Millions of Peaches, Her View From Home, and Huffington Post Deutschland.
Opening Our Hearts
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Nina and I have known each other for a number of years. I had a small view into her life as a stepmom to children who didn’t (always) live with her. I knew she loved them with a mother’s selfless love, regardless where they resided. I also could only imagine how difficult it must be to see them come and go, with no control.
Then Gary and Nina’s little rainbow baby entered the picture. He’s the boy pictured on the front of Nina’s new book. I had a tiny, infinitesimal understanding of how difficult the journey was to holding this little son in their arms.
Yes. WE. All of us -those who have never experienced infertility, parenting step-children, living as a military spouse, and adjusting to a new country, have no idea the havoc (and joys) these events can play on a life – on a marriage.
Many people will not experience a miscarriage, infertility, a military marriage, step-parenting and relocation to another country. And yet we encounter people every day who do. We might think we understand… but we don’t. We do not have a clue.
Read this book for them. And yourself.
Read this book so you can have a kernel of understanding and to try not to say something to shoot an arrow into their hearts. (Unintentionally, of course.)
Maybe your daughter or daughter-in-love has experienced infertility and/or a miscarriage? You need a view into this grief, desire, and fight for a child that is beyond what many can imagine. Nina’s story will give you insight and hope.
Is there a friend who is longing for a child? Read it for her. And him.
Do you know a military spouse? Read it for him or her.
Do you know women going through medical procedures to get pregnant? In-Vitro Fertilizations, Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injections, frozen embryo transfers and all the other physical aspects of trying to become pregnant?
Is someone you love grieving over a miscarriage. Read it for them.
Think of all the step-parents you know – read this book for them and their children.
Do you write to encourage? Then this book will open your heart in new ways.
Are you in ministry? Or do you know a pastor who seeks to understand step-parents, those longing for a baby, military spouses, and parents grieving over a miscarriage? This book is for you all.
There are many reasons why this book will be a journey of discovery – of yourself and what you believe. You’ll probably cringe when you remember some of the phrases that have come out of your mouth. (Yeah. We’ll be together in that.)
What if you have experienced any of these life-altering experiences? Why should you read this book?
Read this book because it will fill you with hope.
(I just want to say thank you to Nina for gifting me a copy of her book! Yes. Even though we don’t collect many physical books because of space issues in our little-house-on-wheels, I’m so thankful to have a physical copy!) 😉