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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

building up our relationship

shaun and i have married for 7 1/2 years. together for 12.

that isn't as long as some of you i'm sure. but it's still quite awhile. :)

but we're constantly trying to find things to do that build up our relationship. i'll be honest and say it hasn't been always. we started doing a weekly devotional a few years ago. we pray together most every night, but wanted something "more" to draw us closer to each other and even moreso closer to God. well then...i found some awesome devotional books to go through.

we're currently working through a new one i found. called "devotional for couples" by patrick morley. we only started it a few weeks ago...but LOVE it. we acutally quit the one we were doing, not because we didn't like it, but because it wasn't meaty enough. it'd be a good one to start out with i think.

our current devotional is split up into sections. the first part is focusing on deepening our relationship with each other. it's been awesome. you focus on a scripture. then read the devotion. then there is a discussion part. you both answer questions. sometimes the same one, or depending on the topic one for each of you. then there is the application. which involves more talking/sharing. and then at the end there's a prayer.

it really is in depth. and we love it. we spend probably close to an hour each week doing the devotion. it gets us talking with each other. sharing our hearts with each other. and just plain spending time together with God.

we usually do our devotion on sunday night each week. it's a perfect way to end our day, and start out
the week. we've talked so much about things that never would normally come up. and last week we built a campfire and did our devotions outside. ((and then spent time together talking in front of the campfire. ohhh it was so much fun and a teensy bit romantic! we're not "big" on romantic here. just plain ole couple with out a lot of hoopla. and that's us. and i love us. so much.))

i'll admit, i wish we could do this deep devotion every single night. but because of shaun's work schedule, and other things, it just works out nice to do it once a week. we do randomly do other devotions too, just not as scheduled or as in depth. i love learning more about my husband. i love seeing his heart and passion for God and well...for me. :) i see his heart shining through so clearly as he talks and shares. i love talking about our relationship. i love working through the kinks.

because yes we do have kinks. and honestly some of them would not have been worked out, had it NOT been for the devotions we do! we've even fought through one of them. but in the end...it was so much better, and i was so thankful for the fight. which is odd. but it is also so good.

i also think it is so important to show our kids how important we are to each other. that shaun comes before them. and that i come before them to shaun. and then God comes before shaun. and me too. the order HAS to be for our family, God. spouse. kids. everyone else. when that order gets screwed up. so does our family.

when i start putting the kids in front of shaun, it's awful for our relationship. i probably struggle the most with that part of the equation. it's easy for me to put God first. but it's hard for me to remember shaun comes first because i'm with him the least amount of time. (awake anyways) especially with the ages of our kids, they tend to need me a lot. so being a wife gets thrown on the back burner. and when that happens i notice that our whole dynamic changes. things start not being okay. whether it be kids fighting more. us fighting. me being crabby. whatever. then i start notice the "burning smell" and i realize that my wife role is sitting there burning. and i scrape off that yucky black burn on stuff. put it back on the correct burner...and things go back to how they are. i'm not saying my kids don't fight when the order is "in order" i'm just saying that somehow they notice how things have changed. and it throws the dynamics off kilter. 

i always make sure my kids see us kiss. or hug. or both. i make sure they see us being goofy and laughing together. and okay, i'll admit...seeing me pinch their daddy's cute behind. ;) i want them to see the love we have. that mommy and daddy love each other so much, and they're not afraid to show it. that i show shaun the respect he deserves. and that he shows me the love i deserve. the only way my girls are going to know how to be a wife and momma, is by the example i'm showing them. the only way dustin is going to know how to be a husband and daddy, is by the example he shows them. and we do are best to show them the best example they can see.

and it also involves them seeing us disagree. not have an argument. but disagree. that we do not always "get along". and how to work that out. if something comes up with them around that needs to be discussed in great detail and shouldn't be worked out in front of them, i will tell shaun it is not the appropriate time and we'll discuss later. if it's something minor and can be worked out. we work it out. and are sure to show them that we apologize to each other. and that we ask each other for forgiveness. i don't ever want my kids to think that we never fight. because, that ain't reality. at all.

((i had a friend recently tell me how growing up her parents only discussed arguments in the barn while doing chores. and that when they were older (high school age) and saw her parents fight, she thought they were getting a divorce because it was the FIRST time she ever saw them fight.))

through my book study we were given a challenge to ask our husbands how they feel loved by us. and they make a list. and then as his wife make a list on how I think i show him love. and to also ask our kids how they feel loved by us. one of the answers breigh gave, when i asked how i show her love...
"that you love our daddy"
then i knew. we're doing it right. maybe not all the time. but most of them time...we're doing it right. and they see it.

during our devotions this week shaun and i shared our lists with each other. i thought it'd be fun to share our answers. (and shaun totally knows and is cool with it. i would never share it otherwise)
::ways amanda shows shaun love::
* by the smiles she gives me
* making love
* praying for me
* giving me encouraging words
* making me supper (food)
* rubbing my back
* taking time for each other
* just talking

::ways amanda feels she shows shaun love::
* "the obvious"
* taking care of the kids
* cleaning
* doing your work wash ((since we were first married he has said i should not have to wash his work clothes, and he will))
* making you meals
* holding your hand
* smiles
* eyes across the room
* lingerie
* writing love notes

i loved sharing those with each other. i really wasn't too surprised by his list. he giggled at the lingerie part and i think was a bit shocked HE didn't think to put it on his list. ;)

::ways shaun shows amanda love::
* being head of our house
* praying with me
* kisses w/o strings attached
* kisses w/strings attached
* loving our kids
* working hard
* giving me "girl time"
* saying "no"
* homemade cards
* devotion time
* eyes, smiles, winks across the room
* secret kisses at ppl's houses ((so it's not like we're making out anywhere, but i love it when he finds me in the kitchen (or where ever) alone and sneaks a quick secret kiss.))

::ways shaun feels he shows amanda love::
* kissing her
* doing the dishes
* working hard so she can stay home
* taking time for each other
* texting her (love)
* just calling to call
* helping her with household
* talking

after we shared our lists i was shocked i FORGOT to put on helping me with housework. my husband is a rockstar helper with housework. he helps me out so much more than he needs to. and i love it. it's so nice to come home and have a load of dishes washed. because i really do feel loved when he does that for me.

i think he was happy to know that kisses with strings attached made my list. it's clearly a way a wife can show her husband she loves him. and needs to be shown. but i wanted him to know that as a wife who doesn't have a big of "need" as he does, that i do feel loved by that. and it IS important to me.

a topic like that can be a whole other post. ;) so i'll just say that i'm so happy how God has grown me in that issue. leaps and bounds. and i'll leave it at that before this really becomes a novel!!

here is a list of some of the devotionals that we have done. and encourage you to buy. it will change your marriage.
devotions for couples. by patrick morely ((this is the one we're currently working through))
songs in the key of solomon: in the word and in the mood. by john and anita renfroe
duets: still in the word and still in the mood. by john and anita renfroe
fireproof your marriage. ((couple's kit)) by jennifer dion.

4 loving words from you.:

Jessi said...

Great post. My hubby and I just celebrating our second year of marriage! :)
I think I'm going to check out that book next time I'm at the book store. It sounds really good and I've been looking for a good couples devotional book. Thanks!

Holly said...

I would love it if Anth and I did a devotional together.

Carol said...

I love this post! I couldn't help but share it with my husband (of 6 years this July)! You're right, marriage is a constant learning process and, fortunately, both of us are eager students. We also put God in the center of our relationship and pray for His guidance as we journey through life together!
Congratulations to you and your husband! Cheers!

Pamela said...

Investing in your marriage is always important to the foundation of family! It is wonderful and inspiring to hear about your devotion to each other.