Live Each Day Like You’re Moving to Germany

In the past two weeks I have spent every spare moment trying to get in time with my family and friends. I have scheduled coffee date after coffee date, driven 9 hours to visit my brother in Florida (who has lived there two years, and I never visited once before), and countless hours back and forth between my home and school so that I can spend evenings with my parents. While I know that part of the reason I haven’t been able to do this before now is that I have had a lot of school responsibilities, the fact still remains – I have wasted a lot of time that could have been spent building relationships. 

I am so grateful for this month that has allowed me to spend such a great deal of time with my family and friends. I am treasuring every moment, because in many cases I am not sure when or if I will see some of these people again. I hope and pray that I do! But it takes two people to keep up a strong and healthy relationship from a distance.

I say all of this to encourage you – live each day like you’re moving to Germany in two weeks. The reality is that we don’t know when our last day will be. Just this week my aunt’s father was diagnosed with cancer. There is too much at steak in this life to live alone. For the longest time I have been a huge proponent of my “me time,” and I have neglected friendships that I could have been building up. Please don’t make the same mistake. Even if you are like me and could easily spend five evenings a week alone, make the effort to reach out. 

For myself, it has been really beneficial to make appointments with people and keep a calendar. It may seem crazy to have to set up an exact time for a coffee date two weeks away, but it helps me to know exactly what I have going on with who in the coming weeks. It is also refreshing to know that in reality not all of my time is being taken up with scheduled events. Even with all of the things I have going on, I still have plenty of time to read a book and refuel my introverted side. In a book called Never Eat Alone there is a quote by Margaret Wheatly that says,

Relationships are all that there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can do it alone. 

If it is a huge challenge for you to break out of your shell like it was for me (and still is some days), start small. Make it a point to spend intentional time with a friend or family member at least once a day. When we take the time to speak into someone’s life, we are investing in God’s kingdom.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 

Fact or Fiction: Relationship Edition!

Okay, so I know I’ve been married only a little over a year so I may not be the most qualified to write this blog post. However, I’m definitely more qualified than someone who has never been married, and so I still think I have at least a little bit to bring to the table on the subject.

Before I got married, I really enjoyed reading romantic novels. I steered away from anything too steamy, but I looooved reading Francine Rivers, Lori Wick, Kristen Hannah, and I’ve even been known to pick up an occasional Janette Oak (notice that only women write these… hmm…). I loved the stories about handsome, God-fearing men who swept ladies off their feet by quoting scripture or cradling babies. COME on ladies… who doesn’t love a man holding a baby. Can I get a hallelujah? Just kidding. But seriously, the truth is that most of these stories are a little far-fetched. Now don’t get me wrong here, my husband is AMAZING. He is exactly what God intended for me to have, and he and I are like two peas in a pod. But there are certain expectations and standards that come across even in Christian fiction about the way that relationships should work. The reason is that the author is writing about the perfect relationship! No one wants to read about something that isn’t ideal. That is totally fine for fiction, but you have to realize that real life deals with imperfect human beings. So here are a few examples of things that differ slightly from movies and books on the subject of relationships, and my take on what actually happens!

#1: You will fall asleep every night in your husbands arms.

You will learn very quickly that you and your husband have completely opposite body temperatures. After about ten minutes of snuggling, I gotta get out from underneath the furnace and breathe a little. We would both die of heatstroke if we stayed in each others arms all night!

#2: You will spend your evenings reading the Bible together and discussing deep theological issues. If you’re not doing that, you’ll be playing board games together or watching the sunset.

One of the first things that I learned about marriage is that you do not have to entertain the other person all the time. You may be marrying your best friend, but after being in the same house with them for a few days you need some time to yourself! It is like any other relationship. Sure you will eat meals together and talk about your days. Of course you will still spend time with your husband, and you might occasionally play a board game, watch the sunset, or talk about spiritual issues. But it won’t be every night. And that’s okay! Some nights you’ll read a book while he plays video games, and some nights you’ll watch a movie. Trust me, I adore our date nights and the time that we spend together. But it really is totally normal just to do something on your own every so often.

#3. You never fight.

Not a chance. If you are in a healthy relationship, a little disagreement is going to happen now and then. And maybe even a few big ones! But the important thing to remember about conflict is to keep the communication lines open and always be willing to listen. That is easier said than done, but a little give and take will go a long way. Remember that pride may win a few arguments, but you’ll loose your partners heart in the process. /p>

#4: Husbands and wives are supposed to complain about each other behind the other person’s back.

I have noticed that a lot of TV shows these days feature a husband and wife who are constantly going behind the other’s back to talk about their problems with friends. I would strongly caution against this, except in extreme cases. There is absolutely no reason for you to tell all your girlfriends all about how your husband doesn’t pick up after himself, or doesn’t put the toilet seat down, or doesn’t do this or that. Oh by the way, I’m not talking about my husband here! Just listing examples. I would seriously challenge you to come up with a good Godly reason for complaining about your spouse. The truth is that if you complain about them to others, you will build up bitterness in your heart towards your spouse. I have seen it happen before, and you need to run from that! Instead, try the exact opposite. When your friends start complaining about their husbands, compliment yours. Always be on the lookout for the positive attributes of your spouse.

Now I will say that there are cases when you might need a friend to talk to if you need to figure out how to approach your husband in a difficult matter. However, however, however, this is a rare case. This should only be done with ONE very close friend who you trust not to spread gossip, and who you know will give you sound advice. And this should only be done after talking first with your heavenly Father to see what he has to say on the subject.

#5: Happily Ever After

This is probably the most common myth that we girls are taught from the time we heard our first fairy tale. You only hear about all the drama leading up to the relationship, but no one knows what happens after the prince and princess have their wedding! All we know is that they are supposed to live happily until they die. Allow me to let you in on a little secret. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. Marriage is hard. Marriage takes commitment, loyalty, and a whole lot of love. Marriage is also fun, and romantic, and can definitely be happy, but it is much more than that. Happiness is short lived and can change in the blink of an eye. However, joy is not. Joy comes from treating the other person with a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love, not from flowers or chocolate or romantic kisses (although those are great too!!). Whenever I start to feel the pressure and whenever I don’t feel like loving, I think about 1 Corinthians 13 and I ask myself, “How do I love my husband right now in this moment.” The answer is this: be patient, be kind, do not envy him, do not boast about yourself, do not become prideful, do not speak rudely to him (or make rude gestures, or roll your eyes), seek his needs above your own, do not sweat the small things, do not keep track of the things he does that annoy you, and keep track of the things he does that are good. Always defend him, always trust him, always believe that he will do what’s right, and keep loving even when the going gets tough.

That is what love is. It’s not easy, and it’s not always fun, but I can promise you this: if you love like this, your love will not fade away with time. If you love like this you will be 80 years old and still be with the same person. Now THAT is what I call Happily Ever After.

Alright, that’s all for now folks! Hope you enjoyed the advice of a non-qualified air force wife 🙂