Of Tacos, Visions, and Quite Possibly the Best Valentines Gift Ever…

imgresI love a well crafted question.

It’s an art, really.  A deftly constructed question leaves you no out.  It holds your hand as it takes you to the heart of the issue…sits you down face to face with it, and then fades quietly into the background. Just you and the issue, alone. Awkward.  No out.  No escape.

Kinda like the one my wise dad asked me over Taco Tuesday this week.

There I was, happy to be hangin’ with my dad, chompin’ on some chips and salsa and trying to keep the crunchy taco out of my lap when he asked:

“What is your vision….for your marriage?” (cue screeching halt noise;  taco crumbling into my lap).

Vision for my marriage?  I just GOT married!  I’m still kinda on my Honeymoon….kinda!?!?!?

He crafted the question in such a way that left me no out – no attempt at humor – no diversionary tactic was left at my disposal.

I’m a business man – I have a business vision.  I’m a coach – I have a team vision.  But a marriage vision?

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18

We both have a failed marriage to prove that proverb true.

If we don’t have a vision for our marriages, the likelihood of failure increases with each passing year.  If you are married, do you have a vision for yours?  What are the dreams and hopes for your marriage?  And what are you doing today to work towards fulfilling them.  We should NEVER stop dreaming and hoping!  And please dont tell me that your vision is just to never divorce….to make it your 50th anniversary so that you can brag to your friends and celebrate this sometimes empty milestone.  God intended marriage to be so much more than that.

Today I am crafting my vision for my marriage, and I can’t wait to share it with Laura and to hear what her vision is too.  And then together working to make our marriage the best it can be.

Maybe, just maybe, this kind of gift will be eternally more significant than any card and box of chocolates I could buy Laura for Valentines Day….

What is your vision for your marriage?

Of Tacos, Visions, and Quite Possibly the Best Valentines Gift Ever…

12 Ways to Happily Never After…..

“Dad, what’s the right age to marry?”  imgres

My 17 year old daughter was asking me, her dad….the one who now has TWO marriages under his belt an honest question.

And I felt strangely both unqualified and qualified to answer. And while her age question is relevent, she prompted me into some deeper introspection. Maybe Bailey’s answer can be found somewhere within the following 12 ways I messed up my first marriage, and how things have been and will be so different with Laura:

  1.  Never stop courting her, holding her hand, dating, or opening her door.  Being a gentleman, HER gentleman, is a life long calling, not only while you date her.
  2. Don’t stop trying to be attractive, even if it is only for her.  Some of us think that once we get our spouse we can coast.  Just the opposite.  We should work even harder to look our best (grooming, weight, style, etc).
  3.  Don’t point out her weakness.  We choose our focus!  Choose to focus on what she does right.  Ask God to give you eyes to see her as He sees her.
  4.  Never call her names.  Names turn into labels.  Labels feed insecurities.  The only names we should ever call our spouses are the names that God gives us….chosen, beautiful, helper, lover, overcomer, beloved, etc.
  5.  Don’t stop kissing her. Ever……EVER
  6.  Don’t stop having fun together.  Our relationships are energized when we have fun together.
  7.  Don’t stop buying each other Birthday, Valentine, or Christmas presents.  HUGE mistake.  A gift, no matter the price, communicates value and thoughtfulness.
  8.  Don’t pressure her.  Share your perspective, and then respect hers.  Find the common ground in between.
  9.  Dont skip out on things that are important to her.  It’s not all about you.  It’s about her retaining who she is and you retaining who you are while you become one.
  10.  Don’t lose your voice in an important matter just because you are a people pleaser.  The result is a resentment that may become fatal to the relationship.
  11.  Don’t separate emotionally from her after a fight.  Emotional divorce precedes actual divorce, and that’s a very slippery slope.  STAY OFF!
  12.  Don’t stop the romance.  Choose today to romance her.  And choose to do it again tomorrow.

So what’s the magic age to marry, Bailey?  I don’t know.  God knows, and together let’s ask Him. But I do know that a healthy marriage takes a focused, intentional, and on going effort…..nothing less. For anything less may be fatal….

12 Ways to Happily Never After…..

The Suitcase

Taking a break from packing to reflect….

In less than a week I marry my best friend!  Friday can’t get here fast enough.  I am crazy in love with you Laura…..we have been through so much.

Marriages are not designed to fail. But they do. And when they do, pain is unevenly distributed…everywhere. Relationships, often those closest to us, are damaged and need the touch of our Healer.  And patience.  And compassion.  And time.  You say you give unconditional love?  It is here that you get to practice what you say you believe….

Unpacking over the past 3 years I have learned, through those around me, how to love….and how not to love.  And that’s OK, both lessons are necessary to our growth.  We’ve all been guilty at some point of failing those around us.

Metaphorically speaking – it’s taken me 3 years to unpack the emotional and relational consequences of divorce.  And I’m not done.  But today I begin to pack for a new journey – a union with my best friend.  Becoming one with the one who has loved me completely.  A marriage to the one whom I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with.

Easy?  Hardly. But Micah 7:8 has been the verse that has brought me comfort during the darkest years – “Our enemies have no reason to gloat over us. We have fallen, but we will rise again. We are in darkness now, but the Lord will give us light.”

His mercies are new each morning.  Hope does abound.  I love you Laura.  You have taught me what it looks like to fall down and get back up.  How to make right the wrongs. How to love those who are hard to love, especially when that person is me.  I can’t wait to say “I do” and become your husband.  This journey up to this point has been a crazy ride, and I cant wait for adventure that is tomorrow….with all that I have, and all that I know – I love you!!!

Back to packing the suitcase – thank you God for the room in it that YOU created.

The Suitcase