Come On In! The Husband is Sharing.

(…And the thing you’re going to read about toilet paper? I promise, I really don’t use more than the average human being. I think.)

The “Hubby List” happened when Michael and I sat down recently with one of our favorite dinners: pasta, butter, and the all-fancy processed Parmesan cheese you can buy from the spaghetti aisle and it doesn’t need to be refrigerated before you open it. (Sometimes I get really sophisticated and add bread crumbs to the butter mixture, because clearly pasta needs more bread. Can you ever have too much bread? My mom and I would say no.)

And then I looked over at Michael.

He was warm and cozy with a blanket (we like to eat on the couch with about ten blankets each), Love It or List It was on and I was pretty sure they were going to “love it” (my favorite outcome…who ever feels satisfied when they list it), and I had extra cheese in my bowl and life was just – good.

Michael and Tucker in our favorite spot. Despite the slightly crazed look on Tuck's face, he really does love us... ;-)

Michael and Tucker in our favorite spot. Despite the slightly crazed look on Tuck’s face, he really does love us… 😉

And so I snuggled in and asked Michael between bites of buttered noodles what are the biggest or most surprising things he’s learned about being married for a little over a year and a half now.

He thought for a minute and gave me some answers. And then a gigantic-sized neon pink light bulb lit up over my head. Because clearly I had a brilliant idea!

And so then I squealed a little. And maybe spilled some noodles.

And I said, “OH WOW, HUBBY! This would be a good blog! YOU can help me write A BLOG POST!!”

And then Michael’s eyes got big and he paused his chewing.

And so then I came down a notch or fifty in excitement and also assured him he wouldn’t actually have to write.

Maybe he could just jot down a list of things he’s learned about being a husband in our humble year and a half experience.

And so then he smiled and said “Sure.”

So without further ado, Michael’s list: “What I’ve Learned as a Newlywed Husband”: (p.s. – you’ll notice Michael can say in like 10 words what takes me 300 words. But it’s totally cool. Can I get a “what what,” fellow female talkers of the world?!….No? …Bueller? …Bueller?)

What I’ve Learned as a Newlywed Husband

  1. Get her a cat. Don’t ask questions — just do it. (Well… maybe that’s just my wife.)
  2. When you buy said cat, make sure she cleans the litter box like she promised. Oh, wait…
  3. You will probably go through toilet paper at an exponential rate.
  4. You will have more baking supplies than you ever thought possible. Just let it all in. Good things will come from these items. 

    The Best Cookie Ever

    Life-Changing Cookie! Click on the picture. You’re totally welcome.

  5. Friday nights at home with your wife and a movie will probably become one of your favorite times.
  6. Do guy stuff with your guy friends. There is something healing about hearing things go boom.
  7. The more you lead her, the more she’ll follow. It’s an amazing gift how God designed it this way.
  8. Success at home is way more important than success anywhere else. If you are succeeding at work but failing at home, it is time for a long look in the mirror.
  9. Your growth in The Lord and your growth as a husband will be one of the most important aspects of your marriage.
  10. Don’t hide from arguments and conflict. More often than not, you both needed to shed those layers that were so uncomfortably ripped away.
  11. Your wife is a princess of the King. Treat her that way every day, and it will amaze you how she flourishes
  12. Your marriage will be the catalyst for the best and hardest things you will ever experience, but it is the best adventure God ever created. 

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He’s great. I love the man. 

And so now I figure, with Michael’s super mature and helpful advice to newlywed hubbys, maybe I should jot down some things I’ve learned, too.

Hear this: I. AM. NOT. PERFECT at always applying what I’ve learned about being a God-honoring and husband-honoring wife, but the lessons I’ve learned are worth mentioning because perhaps they will be helpful to you as they are to me on my good days when God helps me remember:

What I’ve Learned As a Newlywed Wife

  1. Unconditional respect is to my husband as unconditional love is to me. Clearly, we both need both from each other, but I’ve learned there are few things that build Michael up like when I believe in him and tell him I do.

  1. Just because he’s not doing things my way doesn’t mean he’s doing them wrong. We’re different people, so we’ll approach some things differently. Like loading the dishwasher. And emotions. And loud chewing noises.

  2. It means a lot to him when I recognize all the things he does for me, like make the bed. And it really means a lot when I turn around and do those things for him in return.

  3. Tell your hubby EXACTLY what you mean. Chances are, he will not pick up on the 3 million emotions in your head and then correctly translate them. Trust me. And on that note…

  4. He WANTS you to tell him what you mean! Because your husband wants you to feel loved! So if an extra hug or nice note would mean a lot to you, tell him! Otherwise he might not know. That sets him up for success, rather than confusion and frustration. 

    I told Michael how much I like when he brings me flowers. So then he knows to bring me flowers! It's like the best win/win.

    I told Michael how much I like when he brings me flowers, so now he knows! Win/win if you ask me 😉

  5. Pray with your husband. There is literally nothing more intimate. You’ll love it.

  6. Believe him when he says you look beautiful.

  7. When he hurts your feelings, always give him the benefit of the doubt: He didn’t mean to to hurt you. He loves you! Yes, he did hurt your feelings, and yes, you do need to talk it out, but approach the problem with a healthy and trusting perspective.

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Now, if someone would like to volunteer to remind me about these things daily, that would be awesome. (Kidding, but, really.)

Happy Tuesday!

God’s Peace and Love to you,

Robyn

Behind the Christmas Card (the one with the crazy cat…)

Greetings! Here is mine and Michael’s Christmas card for this year:

P1030795

And here is a more accurate representation of our family: (Tucker trying to escape, and us trying to smile while also making sure he doesn’t run and hide under the bushes just to be difficult while we wait with treats as people drive by and give us questioning looks because we’re outside in church clothes crawling around in the pine straw attempting to grab our furball like what happened last week).

P1030792

Sometimes the holidays can be like that, can’t they?

We want the first picture. The perfect one. The Christmas carols are playing and the candles are lit and the tree is bright and so shouldn’t everything be perfect, just this month, if no other time?

And if things aren’t perfect for me at Christmas, am I alone in that?

Is everyone else having a way more normal and sugary and wonderful experience as meanwhile Michael and I work through newlywed lessons only learned and planted beautifully in the heart while forged in the heat of challenge?

If your holidays, dear friends, at times resembled crawling in the pine straw (probably not, but you get what I’m saying) instead of decorating Christmas cookies, you are not alone.

And I don’t mean things were negative or bad all the time this Christmas.

Lots of times this Christmas season, things were wonderful.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow, dear friends! I am so thankful for all those good times!

I instagramed about our tree and cookies and presents, and we drank hot chocolate and sang carols and snuggled and laughed and watched the Polar Express and stayed in our pajamas all day.

But also lots of times this particular Christmas season, things were hard.

Michael and I were (and are) in the process of setting boundaries in respect to how we spend our holidays, based on what is best for our marriage – our marriage, the sacred beginning of our own little family.

Someone didn’t like – didn’t respect — the boundaries we needed as a young family, and it hurt.

Really hurt.

The kind of hurt where you choose to genuinely thank God for His Son while you string the Christmas lights because you must choose joy when the emotion isn’t easy to find in the moment.

The kind of hurt where your husband sits on the couch and prays and wants peace with someone he loves but it’s just not in his control anymore because people have free will.

This was our Christmas, dear friends. Our second Christmas as a married couple. Our second Christmas as our own family. As one flesh. And I am so thankful for it.

It was a beautiful time. It was sacred. It was also messy.

But isn’t beautiful and sacred and messy the story of our lives?

And isn’t beautiful and sacred and messy why we needed Christmas in the first place?

Because who could rescue us from sin so messy, but the God who made us beautiful and sees us as beautiful despite the mess? Who could rescue us but the God who chose to come in the most sacred, pure, loving way: as a newborn baby?

If your Christmas was hard, I know it’s disappointing. It’s frustrating.

Especially if you wrestle against perfectionism (you’re in good company here, folks) and your Christmas wasn’t like the picture, it’s confusing, even.

Please know Jesus didn’t come for the perfect.

Christmas didn’t happen for the perfect.

It’s so much better than that.

Like a fresh breath of air, Jesus came for you and me. He came because we’re not perfect. And our situations here on earth will never be perfect, and so we can celebrate Christmas because He came!

Hallelujah, He came!

And so now, because He came for you, He promises when there is pain, there is purpose (Rom 8:28).

When you hurt, He is near (Psalm 34:18).

When you trust in Him, you will live with Him forever in a place more perfect than we can imagine (John 3:16).

Maybe this Christmas was wonderfully peaceful and bright and joyful for you. I pray it was! Michael and I have had those simply sweet Christmases, too, and I know we will again.

Praise God for those Christmases! They are gifts.

With a humble heart and by the grace of God, I echo this: Praise God for these hard Christmases, too. They also are gifts. They are. And you are not alone in them.

This is the promise: everything that happens will be used for the good of those who love God. The hard Christmases will be used for good, and the peaceful, easy Christmases will be used for good.

What an incredible God we serve.

Dear friends, I don’t yet see the purpose in our pain from this Christmas. I don’t.

But I do see little glimmers of hope, like little surprises in the tree: the smile Michael gives me when we pray together, holding hands more lately because we’re a team and we need each other, praising God with hearts freshly bowed at the Christmas Eve service because we can see more clearly now in the pain how He truly is our Comfort, Shield, Savior. The moments where we share hearts because we have to lean on each other instead of watch TV. The moments when we look at each other in difficult situations with eyes that understand and we just know. We’re in it together.

These things are all the little gifts God softened my heart to receive this Christmas.

I pray whether your Christmas was easy or hard, peaceful or chaotic, that God gives you eyes to look back and see the gifts He gave. I pray we’ll all have eyes to see the gifts He gives today.

And I pray we all have fresh eyes to see, and hearts to know the greatest Gift we’ll ever receive in Christ Jesus.

Peace and blessings to you and your family,

Robyn