i don't claim to know it all. i don't claim to be perfect. i just claim to love jesus.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a review on: laugh your way to a better marriage

i just wanted to review our weekend of laugh your way to a better marriage...and share what i learned/thought/etc...bear with me!!
friday night we checked into our hotel ((which i got a GREAT deal on, and it was a super nice hotel!!)) and then ate supper at our hotel. they had a nice bar/grill type place there (similiar to applebee's) we both got fish and it was super good, although we could've ordered one plate and shared!! neither of us will eat left over fish, so i felt bad we had to 'waste' so much...but we did bring it home for the dog. :0)

when we got to the church for the conference it was crazy big. ((well pretty much anything is bigger than our church building wise (our church is in our pastor's garage)...but this was way big.)) i was really looking forward to connecting with some other married couples. that was my first disappointment. either people came with friends and they talked to each other...and others just sat there. we sat between two groups of friends. so shaun and i used that time to chat with each other.

i guess i was disappointed because at any other church i've been to, and any other church conference i've been to every always is super friendly and chatty. that was not the case there.

then the seminar started!! woo hoo. i was so excited.

he (mark gungor) started out with explaining the difference between men and women's brains/thinking/etc. and proved that men CAN think about NOTHING. ((apparently some college did a study by putting a woman in a blank white room and she never quit thinking. then did the same thing with a man...and he eventually was not thinking about anything!!)) shaun will tell me sometimes how he isn't thinking about anything...and it drives me nutso. i mean HOW can you think about NOTHING...well apparently HE can...we did buy him this shirt before we left the conference::
can you read it? it says: don't bother me i'm in my nothing box. because men's brains have a ton of little boxes in them. one subject for each. and women are wired wayyyyyy differently. everything is connected. this may explain why shaun will sometimes get confused when i jump from one subject to another back to the first. because in his head, i'm jumping from box to box to box without packing up the first box! this may seem like something SO simple...and it truly is. but to hear it explained how it was, was truly just eye opening to me.

later on he was explaining how men and women are so different when it comes to 'the deed' (i call it that because i don't need any creepos finding me by searching for the correct terms.) for women you need to be nice and 'get' to her heart and then you 'get' her. men...most of them, my hubby included, do not need you to get to their heart to 'get' him. so this 'nighty' was created. ((i bought one for me...it's generously one sized fits all..mine is a bit tight in the belly though...lol.))

the shirt says 'be nice to the girl' so basically be nice to the girl ('get' to her heart) and you may have a better chance of 'getting' the girl. :0) it was a creative way to share it and we laughed at the truth behind hit.

this is personal. but heck...i'm pretty much personal anyways. and i want to share what shaun and i talked a bit about with all of it. and this was one thing we had talked about before the conference. how i can't just be 'gotten' if there is something going on between us. shaun didn't understand at the time...but after hearing it presented the way it was 'gets' it a bit better. not saying it's all going to be perfect now, but it was nice to hear that i'm not insane when it comes to that part of it. i truly enjoyed how shaun and i could and can talk about these things so openly with each other. it's something the god has truly worked on us for. and because of that our marriage, among other things..., will only continue to grow and 'get better'.

friday night was just all about our brains and such. and i think shaun and i both learned a lot.

BUT...and this is/was a big one to me. something was missing from all of it. and it was mainly scripture references. worship music. i don't know. i guess i assumed this was going to be 'full' of all of that, and i was looking forward to a marriage conference full of god. and i really feel that even though god was mentioned...he was a big part of all of it. even though he did create us and the 'deed' for us to do...it was mentioned...just not enough for me.

after the entire conference, i really think the reason it felt 'watered down' was because he has spoken in front of secular audiences as well as christian audiences. maybe he's (not on purpose, i hope) learned how to speak about god without truly speaking about him. i don't really know 'what' it was, i just know it wasn't as good as i thought it was going to be in the 'god' way. and that was my major disappointment with the whole conference.

saturday morning. we enjoyed a great breakfast at our hotel. i LOVE it when they have waffle makers. ;0) we were sad to leave our hotel, it was super nice!! but off we went to the church. we got there early so we could get decent seats. it was a packed house! we put our coats down and looked at the tables of goodies for sale. and didn't buy any...yet! we decided to wait until later.

and i'm SO glad we did!! the next session was all on the flag page. the flag page session was by far the most interesting, and probably the least 'laughable' because it was all basic facts and such. here's the 'short' version. you take a 'test' and then based on those results it places you in a country. there are four countries: fun, control, perfect, peace. he talked specifically about each country. and gave examples of people from them.

sadly, like most things in life, the 'test' isn't free. but it is something shaun and i both thought worth the cost. so we bought two codes and the book for the 'seminar' special. :0) after the kids went to bed we took our tests and then revealed our results. i was sort of surprised but my 'home' country is peace CLOSELY followed by perfect. and shaun's 'home' country is ALSO peace followed by FUN!? ((i was so truly surprised by that, a typical 'fun' person loves attention on them etc...shaun is NOT like that at all. but when you take the test and it explains your answers..it all makes sense))

one thing also that makes sense to me, about myself, after finding out i was part of the perfect country. was this: i HATE being told i have to be in control, or that i'm a control freak!! and that is because I'M NOT...i'm not part of the control country...in fact it was my LAST country. i'm part of the perfect country. and true perfect country residents do not like being told they're control freaks. whew. i KNEW IT! :0) so i guess it just made sense to me why i get so bothered when people tell me that. i felt better about it. because i truly like having some control, but don't like being IN control. if that makes sense. it all just has to be 'right'. because that is the 'perfect' country trait.

what's even cooler is that they have a 'game' for kids to play. so you can find your kid's countries. we haven't done it yet with amelya but we want to. and we have enough pages in the game to do the rest of the girls. and can eventually get one for dustin. with littler ones, you'll have to go through and do it for them based on  your child. but i have to say even just learning about each country i can totally guess where my kids are and i think help be a better parent to them. for instance coming from the peace country a person is going to want respect for who they are. i KNOW amelya's top one or two is going to be from the peace country. and i have to learn to respect her sensitive feelings to things, i may not find so important but she does. ((and since i'm a peace-er myself...i totally should be able to relate better to her!)) it's going to be fun finding out the kids' countries and i'm excited to see the results...as well as the changes we could make to parenting them.

after a short break came the next session. all about 'the deed'. it was interesting. i think this topic is one that should be talked about. and even in the church, i also think that there are appropriate times to do so, such as a seminar or conference where there aren't little ears listening. because i don't feel like sharing a whole lot here, and because i don't want creepos finding my blog by searching for things. i'll say that i think shaun and i both learned a lot about each other through this session. just as boy and girl people not the 'deed' stuff that goes with it. one thing i did find interesting is that couples who wait until marriage for it, have a 5% less rate of divorce then those who do it before marriage. 5% may not seem like a lot, but i think it speaks volumes. and i've already stated my stance on the whole subject about waiting and such and will not go into a soapbox like state about it again. ;0)

during the next break we bought our flag book stuff, the kids game and shirts. and settled in for the last session. how to stay married and not kill anyone. the thing i picked up most about it was setting the reset button. that even though things can get crummy, we can set the reset button and start over. to NOT hold resentment. bitterness. and all that stuff that comes with it. and to reset ourselves in our marriage. i know i'm guilty of forgiving and REMEMBERING. but i need to forgive. forget. and MOVE ON!! that is my goal, for not only our marriage, but also my life. there's too much time wasted holding on to feelings about things that happened yesterday, last week, last month...heck last year. why do we do that? it only makes us remember and feel worse...and then have we truly forgiven?

overall, would i reccommend the seminar...eh? not really. go if you want a good laugh. but don't go looking for a huge spiritual/god aspect. BUT i do reccommend the flag page stuff. i think it's worth the investment into that. :0)

one other thing that i felt spoken to during the conference...and in the days after was this: to encourage shaun in his dreams. no matter how 'silly' or 'goofy' or plain 'dumb' they seem to me...i have to encourage his dreams and goals in life. because if i don't...there might be some other woman who will. most affairs don't start for the reason one may think...they start out on an emotional level. i need to be there for shaun on ALL levels ALL the time. i need to let him know i love him. i care about him. and his dreams and goals. ((which right now has to deal with getting animals. the very thought of that scares me. but we talked and i told him that we each need to pray about it and see if that's what god is really telling us to do. no matter HOW scary it is to me!)) i'm not afraid of my husband finding another woman who will listen to him, partly due to the fact that the women he works with all day are..cows. literally. he works with all men otherwise.

but. and this is something i've only shared a few times. there was a time in the past few years i felt that shaun had every reason in the world to leave me. ((in fact after talking about it together we both admitted to wanting to call it quits. i'm SO thankful god protected us from ever admitting it to each other when we did both feel that way because bad things could've happened.)) but anyways. i was pregnant with caitlyn and a bear. a crabby crabby bear. an emotional rollercoaster and if he looked at me wrong that was all it took for us to fight. and i blame myself. i don't think it was good that we didn't talk about things then, because things would've gotten better sooner, but i know that i grew so much from then. ANYWAYS shaun started talking about this girl at work. ((he was working a different job then)) it was plain simple 'work' stuff. but her name came up every so often. and then i noticed it. something in me...jealousy. and then realized that if i'm not giving him any sort of attention or time of day...and she starts to do it more...why shouldn't he just flirt with her? it was at that point i realized we NEEDED to talk. BEFORE anything like that happened. i'll admit, it was the hardest conversation i've EVER had with my husband since being married. to admit that i was at a point i could leave him. and to admit that there was no reason why he shouldn't just leave me.

BUT GOD. god prevailed through that conversation. and we realized how both of us had been treating each other and our marriage. things slowly got better. and i was so happy to know that i was being silly in thinking he'd want this other girl. things didn't stay easier or anything...but they for sure got better.

til i got pregnant again. and miscarried. got pregnant...and miscarried again. and got pregnant again. (this pregnancy) my emotions have been all over the map for the past nine months. ((and i'm working on a post all about that...i'm just trying to get it out...and get brave enough to hit publish)) in the past few weeks shaun and i have been at our worst (again) and finally in the end our best. a few weeks ago i could count on one hand how many times we actually talked during the week. this lasted for two weeks. it was, for lack of any other terms, pure hell. (and i'm sure hell is even worse than that) i was starting to get those 'get me out of here' feelings. and hated it. yet didn't care all at the same time. we were mom and dad. but not husband and wife. and that sucked. everything about our marriage sucked...again. how had we done it? so much had gotten in the way of each other. and i'm SO thankful for our devotional book we're working through. we do it every sunday night and one sunday brought out the arguement. and by the next monday (yes i know. an entire week plus. we're stubborn.) we finally got brave enough to talk about it. we talked. we cried. and we got better. and a good better. a different better. a better i can't really explain even...which means it can only come from god!

and i'm so glad we worked it out before our conference. yes it was the monday of last week we finally talked. it helped us be more attentive i think at the conference. and has really brought us closer together. will we fight again? ummm...pretty much a for sure thing. but will we go about it a bit differently? umm. yeah. i know i will. i like the wife i'm becoming. even six years into the deal. and like i told shaun, sorry, you're stuck with me. ((even though the 'd' word has entered my brain a few times over the past six years..it's never ever been an option for me. for us))

marriage isn't easy. it's not supposed to be. marriage is work. and work is hard, most of the time. it can be easy too. but anyway you look at it, it's hard. and SO worth it. it's worth fighting for. MY marriage. YOUR marriage is ALL worth fighting for. i'm not going down without a fight. which means...we win. our marriage wins. so my friends...don't stop fighting. it IS worth it.

why did i feel the need to spill my guts today? i have NO idea. it wasn't anything i'm proud to share. i hate the fact i even ever felt those things. but it's real people. real life. and my life is a real life ran by god. won by god. and i'm giving god ALL the glory for keeping me fighting in my marriage.

if you've made it this far...THANKS for reading. :0)

12 loving words from you.:

Jen@Scrapingirl said...

I love conferences without the kids. I'm glad you learned something about yourself, and had fun.

Fox Family said...

This was an amazing post! Thanks for sharing, and being honest. Not alot of people would actually talk about how they have felt/struggled with their marriage. It is not easy to talk about with your spouse, let alone whoever may be reading the blog! I am glad that it got resolved though, and that the conference gave you a good laugh.

Jen said...

sounds like you learned something AND had some fun and that's great! Thanks for your honesty and bravery.

Amanda said...

Wow, thank you!! I know EXACTLY what you've been going through. I've always said the first year DH and I were together were the worst. But looking back, the past couple years have been the hardest. We're at this point of finding ourselves all over again, and finding each other again. The last half of your blog post sounds so familiar. We have/are been there so many times. I know what you were thinking. I unfortunately have been feeling/thinking the same things for some time now. I HATE those feelings. I love my husband. And as you said. It isn't an option! That would be taking the easy way out. If god wanted us to take the easy way out of things, he wouldn't have created marriage and love!

Alicia said...

I was laughing about men in a white room and not thinking of anything!! So true! Yes, we are definitely wired differently!

So sorry that it wasn't all that you expected it to be, but you can be sure that God had you there for a reason.

Kelli @ RTSM said...

I just told my hubby the thing about men not thinking anything, and he said "I can think about nothing". LOL! The conference sounds like it turned out okay...even if it wasn't exactly what you were expecting! A weekend alone was probably great anyway!Thanks for sharing...and I'm sure you know that lots of other people go through the same stuff you described, but the most important part is that you said divorce is not and never will be an option! That is exactly how I feel too!

He & Me + 3 said...

So glad you and Shaun had your talk...It is nice to get things out in the open and to make things right in our marriages. Communication is such a key part of it. Marriage is worth the fight.
Sorry the conference wasn't all you thought it would be...but atleast you had time away with Shaun.

Booklover1212 said...

What an awesome post! Sounds like you had a fabulous weekend!!

By the way - I gave you an award over at my blog! Please stop by!


~ Jennifer

A Joyful Chaos said...

Great post! Reminds me of the book "Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spagetti"

This matter of marriage is a lot of work, but so worth it!

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Well said! Our marriages are worth fighting for. It's difficult sometimes. But our families (and us) deserve it. Thank you for the reminder.

Glad you guys had a great weekend. Take care my friend!

christy rose said...

I loved reading this post and hearing how far you have come in recognizing so many of the tactics that the enemy uses in trying to destroy our marriage relationships. Communication is the key and recognizing what an amazing gift that God has given each of you in Him and in each other makes desiring to communicate enjoyable. You are so sweet to have been so open in this post. Openness makes growth possible! I am excited to see where God leads you and Shaun and your beautiful kids as your life journeys on in Him.
Hope you have a great week!

Shannon (Coupon Mommy Of 2 ... Now 3) said...

Hey thanks Amanda for giving me tips on getting the comment #'s. That one was the easist one yet!! WOO HOO