finding meaning in the mundane

Category: marriage

Volume Control

volume noise knobMy house can be a very noisy place to live.  There are 3 kids, 2 adults, and one dog living under this roof.  From the moment the kids wake up until the moment they go to sleep they are creating noise.  It is amazing the things that they have that make noise.  Hands raking through a tray of legos, baby bottles that cry and suck, Super Mario Bros bouncing their way through their mission of squashing advesaries and collecting coins… And then there is the piano.  Holy toledo!  What an amazingly loud household we have here. My kids are not to blame, I contribute to the noise level here as well.  I’ve got music playing in the kitchen, alerts dinging on my phone, Jimmy Fallon on the TV, and my voice rambling along at million miles a minute.  In the background of all this, is the traffic and activity of the world around me.  Motorcycles showing off just how loud they can be, people yelling at the bank teller nearby, and horns honking because the person didn’t move through the recently turned green light quick enough.  It’s a noisy life.  Continue reading

3 Steps to Have Better Fights With Your Spouse

Marriage, Fights,

Before you were married, did you think that you would ever fight with your future spouse? I didn’t. I thought that everyday I would be greeted by rainbows and butterflies. I thought that those birds from Mary Poppins would fly to my window and wake me up with their merry little song. Then after a homemade breakfast I would ride into work on the back of a unicorn.

I was living in a fantasy world.

Every married couple will experience times in their relationship when they do not agree, and will display their disagreement passionately. Let’s just call it what it is- every married couple will fight. I used to work with a guy who could barely say that he and his wife would fight. The word fight just sounded so harsh to him. Let’s just do ourselves a favor and call it what it is.

The first fight that I can remember having with my wife Tiffany was in the middle of Shop Rite over what kind of ‘taco family’ we would be- soft shell or hard shell taco’s. You think I’m kidding. I’m not. You can’t make this kind of stuff up. She wanted hard shells because that’s all she ever had growing up, and I of course wanted the opposite for the same reasons as her.

Normal people will experience disruptions in their relationships. How we deal with those disruptions is the question.

When you get into these heated disagreements, you can do three things to get to the other side of that disagreement.

1. Disarm

The best thing that you can do when you feel the conversation getting a bit more heated is to disarm it-take the pot off the heat before it boils over. This is when you need to quickly clarify the situation. Clearly the other person thinks that you have done, thought, or said something. Here is where you put a stop to that thought, and quickly.

2. Define

In the midst of a fight, words can often fall out of your mouth that you never would have let slip when your emotions are a bit more calm. Heated arguments often remove the filter that we have over our tongue. One of the most helpful things you can do is to define the situation. You can do this quickly and easily by saying something like, “What I hear you saying is _________”. Or by asking a simple question, “What do you mean when you say ____________?” “Help me understand where you are coming from.” Understanding the heart of the issue helps you find a resolution to it.

3. Dig-in

Any relationship that is worth having is worth fighting for; even in the midst of your most difficult conflict. After you have disarmed the situation, and defined what you are fighting about, it is time to do the dirty work of figuring out why each other is feeling the way that you are. Take a deep breath, sit down, relax your shoulders, and begin to discuss why you are where you are. Keep asking why—eventually you will get to the bottom of it.

Just because you have a fight doesn’t mean that you are the worst couple in the world. No! Normal people have disagreements. Maybe your parents portrayed that they were the perfect couple who never fought. I promise you they did, just not in front of you. Everyone disagrees at some point in time. Do yourself a favor, commit to working it through before you get to the place of disagreement. Decide ahead of time how you are going to function when the temperature gets hotter!

Guess what kind of taco household we are now! Leave it in the comments.


4 Ways To Stay Intentionally Married

MarriageTonight Tiffany and I are going out to celebrate our 9 year anniversary!  We were married on August 7th, 2004.  Okay, so the celebrations are a little off by a few days, but whose counting, right?  Over the course of 9 years we have moved 8 times, served in 3 different churches, had 3 children, and remodeled 2 homes.  We have gone through our share of ups and downs.  Yet, she is still my best friend, and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without her.  The other day she went to the Women of Faith Conference in Philadelphia which meant that she left us for Friday and Saturday.  Listen, I am not complaining, grumbling, or looking for the congratulatory wow-you-made-it pat on the back.  I am a dad, not a babysitter.  I should be able to feed, bathe, and clothe my kids so that my wife can get away and recharge.  Doing the girls hair?  That’s another story.  While she was gone, I found myself thinking, everything is more fun with her around.

I realize that God has blessed me beyond what I deserve with a loving wife and best friend.  This doesn’t happen overnight.  We have worked hard to make sure that we stay in love, and that we continue to develop our friendship together.  Here are 4 practical ways that we stay intentionally married.

1.  Delayed Dinner

Every now and then Tiffany and I will feed the kids and then get them in bed before we sit down and enjoy a meal together.  There is nothing worse than seeing Tiffany work so hard on an awesome meal only to have it be peppered with arguing children.  It is so enjoyable to slow things down and share a meal together- just the two of us.

2.  Laugh at the kids

Yes.  I said at, not with.  We make sure that we laugh AT our kids.  Why not?  They are so funny!  They are consistently providing us with quality entertainment.  Have you seen this video?  Man, that’s a throw back.  But it cracks me up every time.  When the kids are going crazy, and the house is filled with noise, loose lego pieces and creepy dolls laying facedown, Tiffany and I have to just look at each other and laugh.  This is a crazy life, but it’s our life.  Laughing helps!

3. What are 3 things you want to do?

That is a question that we have gotten in the habit of asking each other on Thursday night.  It helps because it clarifies the expectations that we each have for the next day.  It also ensures that we are taking care of the other person’s needs.  Here’s an example of one of my things… I told Tiffany the other day that I wanted to just enjoy my cup of coffee on the porch.  That may sound like nothing, but that was huge to me.  The ‘3 things’ do not have to be big, but it has been so healthy and meaningful to us.

4. Put your spouse first

We live in a culture that adores our kids.  I get it.  I love my kids too.  There is little else that brings me as much joy as my kids.  But there should be at least two things that bring me more joy than they do; my relationship with God, and my relationship with my wife.  If I have my relationships out of order than I am going to be setting myself up for failure.  I put my relationships in this order, God, Tiffany, Kids, and then my ministry.  I am a better husband when I am a better follower of Jesus.  I am a better dad when I am a better husband, and I am a better pastor when everything before it has been well taken care of.  We need to be careful that we love our kids, not worship them.  Practically this means that sometimes we won’t make everyone of Noah’s soccer games because we have something as a family that is more important.

What else would you add to the list?  How do you stay intentionally married.  Leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear it.


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