Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Leading With My Life

Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.

~ Victor Hugo

There is much in life that bewilders me.  Things I either do not agree with – or am simply at a loss to understand.  Many times I have been tempted to be in a theological debate with others who do not believe the same as I.  But have discovered that it is when I close my mouth – open my heart and really listen, that I really learn something.

Simple values, principles and character issues cannot be debated.  But much of life sits in a “gray” area – which is neither right or wrong.  Some things are more profitable and beneficial to us as a whole or individually – but if neglected or not deemed important does not affect our salvation.  And just because someone has a louder opinion in person or online does not make them more right than you or me.

And if you want to get really spiritual about some issues that we quibble about – some are not even spelled out in scripture *gasp* – therefore they are open to personal and yes *groan* our own brand of church affiliation and denomination – especially those in which we were raised as children.

I believe that my life and not just my words should lead.  I can give a flowery argument for politics, religious beliefs,  sinful ‘dos and don’ts’ and shout to you about “all we need is love” and yet continue to live a negative, frustrated, prejudice and narrow lifestyle, showing no tolerance for my lesbian neighbors.  I can abhor divorce and even be quick to judge you if you have had an emotional or physical affair – and then be so unguarded and puffed up with self-righteous pride that I am not even aware that it is happening to me.

And because God is the only one that can really look into me and see my heart – it is Him that I want to please most.  What does it matter if I say things and try to convince everyone how spiritual and wonderful I am – if I’m harboring un-forgiveness, pride, arrogance and secret sinful thoughts?  I cannot pretend with God.

People will not remember what I say (who can blame them?) but hopefully they will remember me for the life that I live.  Someone who has survived and overcome even when at times it would have been easy to throw in the towel.  Someone who in spite of differences – has chosen to stay in a long term marriage, learning that marriage is a series of being willing to change, learn and grow.   Who had a career change more than 15 years ago because I felt God was leading me into teaching instead of a potentially lucrative sales career.   Who tries not to judge – but tries to listen, accept and validate everyone I meet.   Who has been dealt some interesting blows in my personal life, ministry and even survived betrayal from a good friend.  But instead of having a pity-party and living with the pain and humiliation of certain events – I got back up and decided to be an encourager and a giver, knowing what it feels like to have things taken.  You see it’s not the events in life that define us – it’s the life we lead in spite of those events.

And so as my seasons keep turning and spinning – I plan to hold true to my roots and principles but change my opinions and keep an open mind and heart.  And most of all…

Lead with my life.

When was the last time you were tempted to argue with someone and chose instead to let your life be proof enough of what you believe?

 

Dear Lord – help all I come in contact with today to learn how valuable, unique and influential they are.  Help them see that simply by living their life for others and giving themselves away is the key to happiness.  Help them to trust you to show them how to become all they were created to be.  Help them to lead with their life.  Amen

 

God Bless

How Do You Love?

Last night Greg and I watched the movie “Three Men and a little Lady” – made some 20 years ago or so. In the last part of the movie – the leading man finally finds the courage to tell the leading woman how he feels about her. She wonders what took him so long (5 years later) in fact on her wedding day to another man – he finally confesses that he loves her, not just for her 5 year old daughter, but for himself alone. Complicated? Yes. Self serving? I’m not sure. Does he have the right to love for just how it makes him feel? With no regard to how anybody else does? Because it brings him happiness to love her?

This has always been a topic of conversation around our house. Greg has always claimed that love in its most stripped down mode – is selfish. I’m not sure I have always agreed. I’ve had my share of relationships (in the love department) gone sour and very bad. And though I agree with the premis – I have trouble coming to grips with loving someone just because it feels good or because they love me. Aren’t people worth loving even when they don’t love back? How about those who choose to walk away? Are we to stop loving them?

The Bible tells us that God loved us while we were still sinners – and far from Him – Christ died for us. That kind of love is far beyond our comprehension. We as human beings have trouble with it. Most people who hurt us, mistreat us, stop loving us, turn away, love someone else, stop speaking, etc. – we write off as being unlovable and unreachable. Even when we have had relationship with them that has been good at one time. How different we are from the heart of God. God loves even when it is not returned.

Marriage – especially a long-term one is a great example of unconditional love. You don’t always feel like loving all the time. There are disagreements and differences. There is not always romance. You don’t say: “I will love you as long as it feels good for me and as long as you love me back – otherwise all bets are OFF!” Love is so much more than that – it is a choice. 7 days a week, 12 months, 365 days a year. Every year. Through rain and shine – thick and thin – in sickness and in health. Even when the person does not love you back in the way you think they should. Even when they don’t always understand you. Even then.

How do you love? Does your love have conditions? Is your love a selfish love that says: I will love you only if you love me back? I will give of my time only if I get something back from it? Are people worth loving just simply because they are?

I think they are.

 

God Bless

There Is Love

Make Your Move (Captain & Tennille album)

Image via Wikipedia

When I was in the 7th grade the song, “Love will keep us together” was at the top of the charts.  It was by the new singing duo “The Captain and Tennille” composed of married couple Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille.  This unique duo made several hits records and a Grammy in 1975 for the song above.

I can remember like it was yesterday, hearing this song over and over on the radio – and seeing them perform it on TV too.  I did “human video” to this song – long before that was popular – and would entertain my family and friends every time the song came on the radio.

When I was in high school – they produced an album that had Noel Paul Stookey‘s famous song on it, “The Wedding Song – There is Love”.  And although I LOVE the original – as heard on the TV show, “The Wonder Years” – I have to admit that there is no better version – or cover that compares to the one that Captain and Tennille did back in the 70’s.

It is a tribute to marriage – the commitment and promise.  And it is wonderful to see such a long marriage in a celebrity couple – knowing they are still together after all these years.

I found this video and thought it was really beautifully put together with pictures of Daryl and Toni over the many years together.

Enjoy and God Bless!

He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts
Rest assured this troubadour is acting on His part.
The union of your spirits, here, has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is Love,
there is Love.

Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home
They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one.
As it was in the beginning is now and til the end
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again.
And there is Love,
there is Love.

Well then what’s to be the reason for becoming man and wife?
Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life?
For if loving is the answer, then who’s the giving for?
Do you believe in something that you’ve never seen before?
Oh there is Love,
there is Love.

Oh the marriage of your spirits here has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is Love,
there is Love.

30 Year Ago Today!

30 years ago today – I married my best friend. He has seen me through good and bad times in life and in our marriage and has stood by me.

He allows me to be me – to express myself and grow. He understands me and gives me freedom to be the best I can be.

I chose well.

Happy 30 Anniversary, Greg. I love you.♥

Could You Sing This At Your Wedding And Beyond?

Yesterday our pastor spoke on a familiar passage of scripture from Ephesians 5:21-29

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church”

It is a powerful passage that has been abused and misused over the years.  But the point is that – just as we should take up the heart of a servant – like Jesus did for us by his demonstration and example – so husbands and wives should live in submission to each other.

If there is physical and emotional abuse – it should not be tolerated and backed up with the above scripture – as God clearly wants us to live as servants to each other.

As Stephen was talking – something stood out to me.  He said, “Husbands should be spending all of themselves on their wives.”  As a musician, my mind quickly thought of the lyrics where I had heard that terminology before:  Jon McLaughlin – “A Song You Might Hear At A Wedding”.  These song lyrics are powerful and I encourage you to listen to this great song video.  It is the beautiful expression of a man for his wife.  You will love the line “I promise to spend the rest of me on you”.  Powerful and poignant.

When was the last time you spent yourself on someone?  As a husband or wife – do you practice this each day?  Isn’t it about time?

 

God Bless

Say Once More

Love for Arts

Image via Wikipedia

Need a little love today?  This song is a great reminder.  As I creep closer and closer to my 30th wedding anniversary to Greg – I find myself hearing songs of love and closeness that remind me of our long love affair.  This Amy Grant song beautifully expresses love for another human being, our love for God  –  and His for us.

Dedicated to all you lovers out there!

Enjoy and God Bless!

Let me say once more that I love you,
Let me say one time, maybe two,
That I love the way that you love me,
And I wish I knew more of you.

Let me say once more that I love you,
Let me say one time, maybe two,
That I love the way that you love me,
And I wish I knew more of you.

Tell me that time can’t erase
This look of love on your face.

Let me say once more that I need you,
One more time or just maybe two.
Oh, my life will always be richer
For the time I’ve spent here with you.

Let me say once more that I love you,
Let me say one time, maybe two,
That I love the way that you love me,
And I wish I knew more of you.

Tell me that time won’t erase
The way that my heart sees your face.

I call your name,
You look my way,
It’s clear you trust each word I say.
When life is long and problems come,
You’ll always be my only one.
So now we’re standing face to face,
And with one look my eyes embrace me.
Squeeze away each haunting fear,
And say the words I long to hear.

Tell me that time won’t erase
This look of love.

Ohhhh….

Let me say once more.
I love you.
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do.

Let me say once more that I love you,
Let me say one time, maybe two,
That I love the way that you love me,
And I wish I knew more of you.

Let me say once more that I love you,
One more time or just maybe two,
That I love the way that you love me,
And I want to know more of you.

(I call your name,
You look my way, I love you.
It’s clear you trust each word I say. I do….
When life is long and problems come,
You’ll always be my only one.
So now we’re standing face to face, oh, I need you.
And with one look my eyes embrace me. I want you.
Squeeze away each haunting fear, more and more and more.
And say the words I long to hear.)

(I call your name, let me say once more
You look my way, that I love you,
It’s clear you trust each word I say. let me say one time, maybe two,
When life is long and problems come, that I love the way that you love me,
You’ll always be my only one. and I wish I knew more of you.
So now we’re standing face to face, let me say once more that I love you,
And with one look my eyes embrace me. let me say one time, maybe two,
Squeeze away each haunting fear, that I love the way that you love me,
And say the words I long to hear.) and I wish I knew more of you.

When Is It MY Turn? Please Pass The Teddy Bear!

Teddy Bear

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of years ago Greg and I attended a counseling retreat – that concentrated on intense communication between married couples.  We got to know several couples at this retreat in all stages of marriage – who had lost the ability to effectively communicate.  The retreat was led by a couple of counselors who had many suggestions to encourage the communication and health between spouses.

One such technique was using a teddy bear.  The spouse that had possession of the teddy bear – could do ALL the talking without interruption.   It was a “safe zone” for the spouse that held the bear.   And as long as they held it – they could do all the talking.  After they were done – they would pass the bear to their spouse and their spouse would be given the same treatment while holding the bear – no interruption – no fear.  This required intense listening – and validation to the partner who was speaking.  The idea being of course, that partner with the bear would affirm the other and say, “I hear what you’re saying….” or “I understand how you could feel that way…” thus verifying that they really heard – and not just sitting there thinking of something else.

Until last night – we had not used this communication technique and had almost forgotten about it.  We were having what you might call a “difference of opinion” and I could see that the “discussion” was going no where – no one really listening to the other at all.  No – in fact – we were both talking at each other – no positive interaction or exchange.  The discussion had pressed some “fear” buttons and immediately we went into a very familiar “dance” of words and programmed responses brought on by what we were interpreting as non-validation.  It was easy for us to slip into, “What???  I did not say that!” or “You ALWAYS say that”  “You’re not hearing me” or “That did NOT happen like that” etc.  This went on for some time until I remembered the retreat – grabbed a teddy bear that usually sits on the pink wing-backed chair in our entry way and grasped him firmly.   I brought him into the family room where Greg was sitting on the couch and announced, “I have the teddy bear”.

Of course this brought smiles and chuckles of recognition from him – but he continued to talk, saying, “HEY – I wasn’t through!”  “You know the rules”  I said, “The one in possession of the teddy bear – gets to speak”.

And so we continued in this fashion – smiling the whole time – but also realizing that there is something to this after all.  A “safe zone” where the one in possession can speak freely without interruption – forcing the other to really listen and NOT say anything.  It forces one to “button the lip” as it were.

It was amazing what happened after that – maybe the mood was different – maybe we both just started listening more – I don’t know, but I do know that we were able to dig a little deeper into some past issues that had been lying dormant – all with the bear on our laps.  And it was not long before the real issue came out and we were able to identify it – with no fear – only validation and recognition.

There is something about a teddy bear.  Ask any child who has one.  They are sweet – and you want to hug them.  They make you smile and feel like a child again.  And you just cannot be mad at a person who is holding one – try it and see if you can!

There are many methods to resolving marital conflict – this is just one that seems to really work – because it is a visual reminder that unless you are holding the bear – you cannot talk – you have to listen, be supportive and validate the one talking.  And I suppose that is at the heart of most miscommunication – wanting to be validated and feel heard.

Next time you have a disagreement – try bringing a teddy bear into the room with you – and suggest that your spouse hold it – and then really listen as they talk.  It will amaze  you as you feel the tension in the room lighten up and you find listening skills you never knew either of you had 🙂

Whose turn is it to hold the bear?

Can you sit still without interrupting until your spouse is finished speaking?

Are you one that encourages and validates your spouse?

Try it today!

God Bless

The Secret Of Doing Life Together (Featured on Some Wise Guy)

Today I have the awesome privilege of being featured as a guest blogger for K.C. Procter’s Blog – called Some Wise Guy.  I am always honored when other people read my “stuff” and see something worthy in it – what a surprise to me to say the least!  I wrote this specifically for his blog after some helpful ideas of what he wanted – and since he is featuring women for the month of May – I happily indulged him with an article about “The Secret of Doing Life Together”  about my awesome husband Greg.  I hope you will also visit Some Wise Guy to see it there and other great articles on his site. 

About ThatGuyKC: Father, husband, bible-thumping ninja, mac user, aspiring tentblogger, MBA student, cubicle dweller and frequent abuser of Twitter & Facebook.

My husband, Greg and I have been married for almost 30 years. That is a long time – especially in this day and age. Our happy marriage has not come without some conflict and adjustment along the way. In fact, I used to believe that having disagreements and points of discussion was not healthy – but now I can see that I was wrong.  Read More Here

What Else You Got?

Cover of "Love Is A Decision"

Cover of Love Is A Decision

We have good manners (or at least we should) we have possessions and things and we have potential to be the best we can be.

But we are living in a society with failed marriages all around us.  They fail – even when people have all the above things in spade.

We get married because we’re in love.

We are well-mannered, and well-meaning – even bringing material things and all kinds of potential with us.

And still – many marriages fail.

So I ask the question:  WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

Love – check

Good manners – check

Well meaning – check

Some material possessions – check

WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

You see – every marriage that fails – started out with these things too.  Yours is no different.  Or is it?

I have learned a few things being married almost 30 years.  It takes much more than just love, good manners, material possessions and well-meaning to make a good strong lasting relationship – that can go the distance.

WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

When the bottom drops out – life goes sideways and things aren’t fun anymore?

When crisis touches your family – financial security goes out the window and illness comes to stay?

When you have nothing else to give and the emotion of love is gone?

Here are some practical things to think about when contemplating marriage or in trying to better yours.

1. Love – ah the very word just makes us all warm and tingly, right?  It is something that great songs and Hallmark movies are made of.  “Love is all you need” and “Love means never  having to say you’re sorry” blah blah blah.  Nice sentiments – they sound so good and sing well – but they are NOT true!    I wish it was.  And there was a time not so long ago that I really thought love would be enough – but it was not.  Love is great but it can only take you so far.  Love is the great leveler – but it can also mess with your emotions and blind you. It is not enough when emotions can be fickle – and that feeling of romance and newness wears off eventually with anyone – especially in a long-term marriage.  This can be a  problem for people – if they don’t feel it anymore. Love – is a decision, therefore – not just an emotion.  It is an act of our will.

2. Friendship is wonderful and much more solid.  And friendship in marriage is a must. How many times have I heard that a couple was “in love” but as time wore on – they discovered that they did not even really know each other well – and they were startled to find out that they were not even friends.  When the emotion of love and romance wears thin – you must have something left to fall into – something safe and comfortable.  A friendship of heart and soul can save you when your marriage goes through a rocky patch – as all marriages do.

3. Respect in a marriage is also a must.  Many partners lose respect for each other when times are not exciting anymore – they withhold love – aren’t friends and don’t like each other anymore.  This leads to so many problems – the first and foremost is a sabotage of their own relationship.  Respect is given – as well as taken.  You must respect your spouse – but they  must also respect you.  And it is hard to hold that line – if you yourself are not respecting them.  How many times over the years have I seen couples talking badly to each other – even in public.  That is not good.  But you must be the first to respect. If you show kindness and proper respect for them – they will not be able to help but return it.  But you cannot have it only one way.  And respecting  means supporting your partner through good and bad times.  Finding a way to encourage the hopes and dreams of him or her and being that safe person that they can trust when life goes sideways.

4. Lead with your head and your heart will follow.  If you always allow your heart to lead you – you will be in trouble – as the heart is fickle and changeable – like the emotion of love.  We can feel love for many different people we have chemistry with. That doesn’t mean it is real. This is a hard one for many to deal with.  A long-term relationship isn’t always going to give you “tingles” – and if you get bored easily or need excitement 24/7 –  then long-term marriage isn’t for you.   But normally something needs to happen in you first.  You can’t always change things for the better – but that is the place to start.

5.  Be the person of integrity and character that you expect your partner to be. Living a life of character is hard.  We are not perfect and slip and fall in so many ways.  It is a daily choice – and sadly I have not always lived up to this – and maybe you have not either.  Don’t give up.  If you blow it – Jesus forgives – get up and try again.  He has promised to be with us on our daily journey and He will be there to help and guide us – giving us words of encouragement through His word and speaking softly to us through prayer.  He understands that it is hard to go through life without temptations – in fact we need to know that THEY ARE COMING.  No one is immune. Brush yourself off – and begin again – each new day is another chance to get it right.

5.  Don’t play the “blame game”.  That’s way too easy – and such a cop-out!  “They don’t respect me” or “They’re withholding” or “They don’t understand me” or “They don’t meet my needs” – are very common things that are said when going through a serious problem.  Instead of blaming – try finding out what is happening inside of you.  Have you stopped respecting them?  Have you withheld to punish or teach a lesson?  Have you failed to understand because they don’t understand you?  Do you meet their needs?

6.  Be the best person, lover, friend and confidant that you can be.  It starts with you.  Marriages still fail – but not usually when couples are sensitive to each others needs – putting their feelings and needs ahead of your own agenda and even your own happiness.  What you sow into them – in love, compassion, understanding, respect and friendship it WILL COME BACK TO YOU. And you CAN turn even a bad marriage around.  You can rekindle a dying relationship – bring a spark of life because of attention and determination – disciplining your heart and your mind to honor and love first – and let the feeling comes later.  Wait for it – it will come.

When couples wants to get married because “they’re in love” – this needs to be our question for them:

WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

God Bless

What I’m Most Thankful For

Starbucks logo

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been seeing status updates all month-long, on facebook – saying what people are thankful for.  I’ve even seen longs lists in various places by others, stating what they are thankful for.  But it was not until I saw my friend David put up such a complete and heartfelt list on his blog – that it really made me want to reflect on those things in which I am most thankful for.  And here they are – in no particular order:

 

1.  I am thankful for the love of a good man  (He’s loved me for 30 years – amazing)

2. I am thankful for my children who are young adults now with lives of their own – and who are finding their way and who both have a strong faith in God – and a great friendship with me and their Dad.

3. I am thankful for the opportunity to use my gifts everyday in music and I LOVE my students so much.

4. I am thankful for good friendships – both past and present and what I have learned from both – but especially the ones who stayed – you are the roots in my life.

5. I am thankful for Christian parents

6. I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ – that started at a very young age.

7. I am thankful for a discovery about myself that allowed me to be free to express myself without fear

8. I am thankful for like-minded believers at my church family – and especially my pastor Stephen and his wife Mandy.

9. I am thankful for Starbucks coffee

10. I am thankful for a fireplace in the winter

11. I am thankful for an outdoor grill in the summer

12. I am thankful for laughter – the daily medicine

13. I am thankful for facebook and my blog site to connect and reconnect with people from all over the world

14. I am thankful for Skype – so that I can see and hear my friends

15. I am thankful for my DVR that records programs I can’t see right now

16. I am thankful for my big screen TV for watching holiday movies and specials.

17. I am thankful for new facebook and blogging buddies – who have found a way of expressing ourselves that is quite unique to us.

18. I am thankful for a warm bed – with adjustable frame so I can sit up in bed and read or watch TV.

19. I am thankful that my husband still brings me a first cup of coffee in bed – after all these years.

20.  I am thankful for all my readers.  We are in a unique world of the written word – and if you have found  yourself here – you know a little more about me than most folks – because this is where I live and express myself.

 

God Bless

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