Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Marriage’

32 Things I’ve Learned

This Thursday marks 32 years of marriage for Greg and me.  Many don’t know this – but we were 20 and 21 when we got married – still in College and had no job, prospects or money.  We just went for it!  And it kinda worked out  😉  And although I don’t recommend or even advocate people getting married as young as we were – there is something to be said for growing up together.  We were too poor and stupid to know any better – so we just plodded along and most of the time it worked out okay.  This is not to say that our marriage did not have any bumps and bruises along the way.  I think it’s a given just from living that long with another person!  If someone says their marriage doesn’t ever have any friction or difference of opinion – they are lying – or someone is stuffing their personality and opinions down deep.  This can happen sometimes to save conflict, or to keep up appearances – but is not very real or truthful.

Besides sharing the same faith, belief system and values – there are some other things I’ve learned about our relationship through the years and what has made it work.  We are far from perfect and sometimes I think I am hopelessly flawed.  But somehow it has worked out anyway.  For those of you interested in what makes a long-term marriage work  – Here is my list…

 

1.  A sense of humor is a must

2. Money doesn’t bring happiness – but it sure can help

3. You don’t marry the other person’s family – despite what others will tell you.  You marry the man.

4. No one knows you as well as someone you sleep with.

5. Your partner cannot fill you up.  That’s God’s job.

6. Friendships come and go – your spouse is your only reliable best friend.

7. Always be kind

8. Learn to look beyond the flaws

9. Keep forgiveness in your back pocket

10. Always stick up for each other

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously

12. Appreciate the little things

13. Have children – the only real expression of your love in human form.

14. Appreciate your differences

15. Don’t be needy

16. Don’t be jealous

17. Enjoy music

18. Take a walk everyday

19. Adopt a puppy or two

20. Be happy and content in your own company

21. Love your neighbors

22. Make a difference

23. Learn to communicate and dream together

24. Laugh a lot

25. Walk away from unhealthy people

26. Be totally honest

27. Love those who marry into your family like your own

28. Be friends with your grownup children

29. Leave a ministry job if it is affecting your marriage

30. Be ready to reinvent yourself

31. Talk about everything everyday

and last but not least…

32. Be the person he would fall in love with all over again.

 

wedding picture

Anniversary Week

31 years ago tomorrow I walked down the aisle at 20 years old to say “I do” to Greg. One of my favorite memories from that crazy day is the song that Greg and his two brothers sang to me, “What a difference you’ve made in my life”. I found a version by B.J. Thomas – and although it is not the same as the karaoke version we used back in 1981 it is still a fun memory to hear it played today.

Marriage has its ups and downs and we certainly are not a perfect couple by any means. We are flawed human beings who have done our best to stay current and adaptable to any and all situations that life has thrown at us. There were misunderstandings and people who have come and gone in our lives. There have been weaknesses and shortcomings in both of us, but they have also been the glue and bonding that have become a key element in keeping our marriage, love and friendship alive.

I have changed much since I was 20. I’ve discovered things about myself I didn’t know or couldn’t reveal when I was younger.  I’ve experienced things along the journey that made me stronger and made me want to be a better person.  And there have been those that have planted seeds of freedom and courage in me.  Some of those people are still with me today – but most are not.  The one thing that has stayed constant is my relationship with Greg.  He has stood by me and truly been a best friend.  He has allowed me to grow and express myself.  He has given me wings to do the things I feel called to do.

Humor and laughter have remained a constant thing in our marriage.  We have always laughed and still laugh many times a day.  We have found a new-found communication in the last 4 years or so and we talk about things for hours now, instead of just brushing them aside.  We have favorite programs we like to watch in the evening – and we love to walk and talk.  We share a love for coffee and puppies.  And we both agree that our two “children” are the best looking, brightest and most adorable – EVER!

Our solid foundation has been a faith and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This has kept us strong and in tough times has given us strength to make the right choices and do the right thing.  And we have found that God’s grace renews everyday – is fresh every morning.  So glad for this!

We look forward to 31 more years together.  Still doing life together and enjoying each new day.  Supporting and encouraging each other’s strengths – but standing by the weaknesses.  Being true to our vows and believing the best in each other – always.

God Bless

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

The Risk Of Friendship

There is a conference happening next weekend in Chicago called “When Jesus met Mary – A sacred friendship gathering”. It is a conference exploring friendship between men and women. Here is the link from the website of Dan Brennan.  Dan is an author and leader of this event – he is also a new friend of mine, and I have enjoyed his blog articles and things he has written on the subject of men and women.

This has been a subject of much debate over the years – emotional affairs seem to be on the rise – especially in churches and among leadership.  Can a relationship between a man and a woman who are NOT married – be just a friendship?  Can they love each other, be concerned and care about each other?  Be involved in their daily life, share humor, special moments and kindness?  I believe they can.  My friend and fellow blogging buddy Alise Write wrote a great article on the subject today of “Guard your heart” – what does it really mean?  To put a fence around it – or to love recklessly and on the wild side – like Jesus did?

We all have a story – or know someone who does, where it taints our idea of platonic love between the sexes.  I get it.  And it is a risk to love someone – regardless of gender.  But I believe with all my heart that it doesn’t have to be that way.  I believe that we can love – with no fear – like Jesus did.  Where the end result is a deep and lasting friendship.  Is it a risk?  Yes – all the time.  I’ve risked myself several times, been misunderstood, been betrayed, humiliated and accused – because of someone’s fear.  But I believe that there can be a safe place to have others in our lives – where understanding, respect, kindness, gentleness and love – compel us to do right – not wrong.  And I believe that day is coming – as we move past our fear of sin where we bind up the protection of our heart so tight that no one can get in – and where every one of the opposite sex looks menacing and evil – and into a better place of community and relationship where we don’t think of others as “scary”, “sinful” or “just wrong”.

As I’ve written about before – I have had several male friends in my life – before I was married and since.  I still have several that I consider very close friends – who I can count on – and I know would have my back in any crisis or situation.  They are stable, kind, funny and solid.  And I love being able to be myself with them with no judgement.  I love that I don’t have to explain myself to them – and I love it that Greg agrees that all of these men are good people – and he is friends with them as well.  There is no room for jealousy in our marriage – and we have done the hard work to rid ourselves of that – and we have a better marriage because of it.

I’m hoping there will be a day when this subject is an understood one – where people can agree to love deeply and build relationships based on trust and the common good. Where friendship is not seen as suspicious, because of so much abuse – but instead looked on with acceptance and love.

I want to challenge you today:  Live a life of love – of intentional relationship – with no fear.  Take the risk of friendship.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

God Bless

The Vow

Greg and I went to see “The Vow” the other day.  The previews were very compelling and the idea of the story was refreshing to me – but when I learned it was inspired by actual events, we had to see it.

This movie is about the true life story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter.   You can see their story here:  True Story of “The Vow”  Two months after their 1993 wedding – an accident robbed Krickitt of her short-term memory.  She could not remember being married – or even knowing Kim.  Pictures did not trigger her memory – and finally a counselor suggested that Kim “date” her again.  It was very discouraging – at first he tried pushing her into remembering – but it did no good.  He did not give up and eventually she fell in love with him all over again.  It is truly an inspirational story of a second chance and choosing to love again.

I have always felt like the natural process of events – if we had the chance to go back and relive them – it would ultimately lead us down the same path that we are now on.  I cannot prove it – because often times we think about going back in time with the knowledge that we now possess – and that isn’t fair, or realistic.  It would lessen our regret – if we could really wrap our brain around this concept.

Think about it.  If you had no knowledge of events in your future and you were presented with the same events in your past – met the same people and walked the same journey – wouldn’t you have chosen the same things?  Wouldn’t you have had the same experiences?  Dated the same people?  Walked away from the ones you should have?  And even married the one you did?  We cannot change the past.

This is how it was for Krickitt.  She did not remember being married.  She didn’t remember him at all.  But there was something she liked about him which was why she had chosen him the first time.  It was just a matter of time.  And when he stopped pressuring her – and just gently started to “date” her – everything changed and she had the chance to fall in love with him, naturally – through the course of time.

Often times we “push” our own agenda because we think we know better.   Every individual has to choose for themselves and experience the one moment that will ultimately decide for them – what is right.  I have witnessed parents try to pressure their kids in and out of relationships with all their “knowledge” and “wisdom” – only to rob them of finding out through the course of time – what the right thing is for them.  Sometimes when we are pushed we act in ways we would not normally.  That undesirable boyfriend or girlfriend looks WAY more appealing when everyone is against them.  It creates a “Romeo and Juliette” syndrome which is based in fantasy and emotions rather than clear-headed thinking.  When people are left alone with all the options and are free to observe for themselves – often times the result is an “Aha” moment.  Little quirks and habits they would never see while they are so busy defending would suddenly be noticeable.  Things that they would not be able to live with would be plain.

This story is incredible because this man had to do just that.  Stop pushing.  Let things run a natural course.  Let her discover for a second time – why she chose him in the first place.  And the funny thing – in the movie, she had been engaged to another man.  When she lost her short-term memory – she could only remember the other man.  She soon found out why she had left him before marrying him.  Left on her own to decide for herself – it was only a matter of time when she discovered those things she couldn’t live with and why she had done what she had done the first time.

So – the question is this:  If you lost your memory – would you choose your spouse again?  Why or why not?  And if they lost their memory – would you be the chosen one?  Do you push – or let things run a natural course of time – and just trust God?

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.

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