just as friends

“Hey, so I was wondering if you’d like to go to dinner with me.” Michael’s voice on the phone sounded excited and rushed and I was fairly confident he was pacing whatever room he was in.

I, on the other hand, was paralyzed in shock and bewilderment on my bed in the sorority house.

It was our sophomore year in college.

“Who is it?” one of my roommates whispered, probably after seeing my face revert to an awkward shade of tomato.

I answered Michael. “Um, sure! Dinner is good,” I blurted haphazardly into the phone, trying to sound normal.

But I didn’t feel normal. I felt like I just agreed to go on a date with a boy – and boys, to be sure, were currently on my “no” list. I’d written off dating entirely after my senior year of high school, and I’d held pretty steadily to that standard up to this point.

But at least, I figured, this boy seemed like a nice one.

Last year, he’d agreed to carry my large, mysterious trash bag full of something out to my car at the start of Spring Break. The trash bag exploded in the parking lot, resulting in an avalanche of stuffed animals. (They travel with me. Don’t pretend you don’t also have a teddy bear or something. I just happen to have a million.)

Michael had laughed then, and asked me if they had names. (Of course they did.) Unhesitatingly, he’d picked them all up and brushed them off, cars whizzing past.

In that parking lot moment, I had decided Michael was nice. And comfortable to be around. Even if he was a boy.

“Great!” Now, on the phone, I could hear the smile in his voice after I agreed to dinner.

I panicked. My mouth got dry. Then I turned to my roommates. “It’s Michael,” I finally whispered.

One raised her eyebrows and smiled. The other silently squealed.

But I didn’t. I was trying not to faint or hide under my covers.

“So, what’s your favorite place to eat dinner around here?”

“…Moes.”

I was sophisticated.

“Erm,” he chuckled. “I like Moes, too, but how about somewhere nicer?”

I blanched. My mouth had lost the ability to speak without croaking, but somehow we settled on a place called Transmetropolitan in downtown Athens. A pizza place.

It ended up being a great date, I was surprised to admit.

We ate pizza and pasta, then went back to his apartment to watch Chronicles of Narnia while wolfing down Junior Mints.

I made sure to sit on the edge of the couch the whole time, on the entirely opposite side from Michael. I was practically perched on the arm rest like an awkward parrot. He didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he didn’t seem to notice. He was actually ENJOYING himself.

Why is he so calm? I wondered. We’re on a date. A DATE. (!!!!!!)

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college babies

After he dropped me off with that big, goofy grin I’d later come to fall in love with, I answered my roommates’ questions about the evening.

“It was a great date,” I admitted. “He even bought me junior mints because he didn’t have any chocolate at his apartment.” This was a big plus for me. Because chocolate.

 

“But…” I continued explaining, my brow furrowed in bewilderment. “I just don’t think it’s the right time. I don’t know why. I don’t want to be any more than friends right now.”

I prayed about it a lot in the days that followed, and I felt certain about my decision not to date him. I couldn’t explain why. It just wasn’t the right time.

And when I told all this to Michael, he shrugged his shoulders with a small smile. “Welp. If you prayed about it, then I can’t argue with The Lord!”

He said this good-naturedly as a joke, but there was tangible disappointment in his voice. I wanted to jump into a nearby bush and stay there a while. But I was also relieved, because boys, in my 20 year-old opinion, made things too complicated.

I wasn’t ready for it.

A few weeks later, I got another call. “Hey!” Michael’s voice.

My stomach dropped.

“Hey,” I croaked. Hadn’t I totally disappointed him? Why was he still talking to me?

“So, I was wondering. Would you come to my fraternity date nights with me? You know, just as friends.”

“Um. Just as friends?”

“Yep. I had such a great time with you, I’d really like to hang out with you as friends.”

Okay. But just as friends!”

If someone were to tally the number of times I repeated the phrase “just as friends” in the year that followed, well, we’d have a lot of tallies.

And so I went on his Christian fraternity’s date nights. Over and over and over.

And every time, I double-checked: “Just as friends.”

He’d agree every time. And every time, we had fun.

But I was stubborn. Like a donkey, or something.

Fast forward to that summer. We both signed up to work at a Christian sports camp in Colorado, literally by coincidence. Neither of us knew the other had signed up or had been hired.

But I quickly figured it out when we showed up at training together.

I was set to shovel snow away from the buildings (we were living at 9,000 feet above sea level), and Michael ambled up next to me and started helping.

“You don’t need to help. I’ve got this,” I said forcefully.

He wasn’t deterred. “Well, I want to help you!”

Gosh, I thought. This guy! Do I need to say “just as friends” again?

me and michael snow day (1).jpg

still college babies

But somewhere deep in the pit of my stomach, I was glad he was there next to me. I was a little homesick.

And so we shoveled.

He worked the first half of summer, and I spent the first half of summer at home in Georgia.

When the last half of summer rolled around, I flew out to Colorado in a pit of nerves. Being away from home wasn’t natural for me. I was scared. But I was also excited. I could tell I was right there in the exciting, albeit painful stage of truly growing up.

I arrived at camp.

Then I saw Michael. And I stared. And stared. And stared.

He was really…handsome. And, dare I think it? REALLY ATTRACTIVE.

He politely greeted me with a friendly hug. “You’ll love it here,” he assured me. “Best summer of my life.”

How is he so confident? I feel like I’m going to pee in my pants. And who are all those girls looking at him and smiling at him? Don’t they know he likes me?

 

Does he like me, still?

He went home, and I worked at camp. It was hard and awesome. I grew more than I think I’ve ever grown in the span of six weeks.

But still, by the end of the term, I couldn’t stop thinking about that goofy-grinning boy. Goofy-grinning man, more like it.

I couldn’t fall asleep without thinking about him, and I couldn’t talk without talking about him. (Sorry, Jaime.)

But by the time I got home, I was utterly confused.

God, I prayed. I like this boy. I do. And I’ve been telling him ‘no’ for over a year now. I’m sorry I’m so all over the place, but, if this is something You want for us, could You do something about it?

I wasn’t about to call Michael myself and profess my love because, honestly, couldn’t he get mad about that? Say something like, “Well it TOOK you long enough. Sorry. Too late.”

So I didn’t call.

Instead, he did.

The day after I prayed for our maybe-relationship, Michael texted me. “Want to go on a walk?”

Yes.

And we went.

Three months later I decided I wanted to marry the man.

And I don’t think we’ve ever said the phrase “just as friends” ever again.

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UGA graduation

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when I said YES!

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happy campers 🙂

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when is it the right time to have a baby?

“When is it the right time to have a baby?”

Well, I daresay.

I have no clue.

This was one of the first questions my newlyweds Sunday school class was asked. About a year ago. I still haven’t forgotten (because reactions were entertaining, to say the least).

The class was split into small groups and asked this question and was then unleashed to talk and debate and hash out some kind of an answer.

There were lots of answers. (All good, logical ones, by the way.)


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“When we have more room.”

“When we have more money.”

“When I can make a better dinner than Kraft Mac and Cheese.”

My answer?

“I don’t know. And I don’t pretend to. But goodness knows not right now.”

And still, as a year has passed, more friends get pregnant and more friends get engaged and more friends get married and more friends change jobs and more friends move and I’ve come to realize…

…if there was a “right time” for everything, wouldn’t that be boring? And stressful?

And if it’s true, that there’s one “right time” for everything, what if you miss the “right time” because you weren’t paying attention?

But isn’t God, our Creator, more creative (and abundantly more loving) than that?

My answer to the Sunday school question has changed. Because I think that God, rather than watching and waiting to see if we all make the “right decision” at the “right time,” takes a different approach.

A Fatherly one.

“He has told you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 (emphasis mine)

See, The Lord doesn’t require us to figure out the timeline of our lives. That’s not what His infallible Word says.

Instead, He requires us to commune with Him. To trust Him. *And we can,* because He will “instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; [He] will counsel you with [His] loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8, emphasis mine).

My answer now to the question “When is the right time to have a baby?” is still I have no clue.

BUT God knows. And He’ll let me know, too. When it’s time.

And that can go with the other fun questions….

“When are you going to find someone to date?”

“When are you going to get married?”

“When are you gonna have another kid?”

“When are you gonna switch jobs?”

“When are you gonna buy a house?”

You know, God knows.

And he’ll let us know.

So we can relax. And enjoy the present moment. Because the future isn’t a maze to figure out.

It’s simply a gift to be opened.

Dear Michael

Dear Michael,

Last night I saw God in you.

You didn’t know it – you were too busy teasing me, trying to make me guess what that gift is under the tree.

The one you wrapped up all nice with a bow while I was out, just because.

Because you know how much presents under the tree stir something in my heart like a little girl and the joy and smiles come so naturally with gifts…especially when they’re gifts from you.

And so you wrapped my Christmas present the day it came in the mail.

Because you couldn’t wait.

Christmas Present

And so when I came home late, tired from a full day, you held our cat and he bit your hand and you pointed to under the tree and there was the first gift of Christmas, wrapped carefully, just for me.

It looked so perfect under those Christmas tree lights.

You even agreed to take my picture with it…because you know that for me, it’s the First Gift of Christmas and worth celebrating with my tired, goofy grin from a long day.

But it’s not just about gifts, and you know that.

Because your love language is acts of service and so when I dropped your shirts off at the dry cleaning yesterday, I gave you a love letter.

And my love language is gifts and so when you wrapped that present up for me two and half weeks early and smiled that grin because you saw my own grin, you gave me a love letter, too.

But you reminded me of something.

We spent close to an hour laughing while we took turns wrangling Tuck and guessing about that gift.

I threw out every idea I could think it would be, and you just kept laughing because you knew I wouldn’t find out until Christmas, but it sure was funny watching me try.

And really, you didn’t know, but watching you watch me was the best part of it all.

You absolutely delighted in delighting me.

Your big smile and your kind eyes shining…watching your bride guess what gift she has coming…well, you radiated Jesus’s love.

I couldn’t help but think this morning how…if that’s how a mere man can feel, giving a gift, wrapping it up, waiting for the right moment to let his bride enjoy it…that must be a taste of what it looks like up in Heaven.

Our Perfect Father, lavishing good and perfect gifts on His people, the church…

…lavishing mercy and hope in the midst of our messes

…lavishing peace and joy in the midst of our chaos

…lavishing sunsets and bright grass and bare winter trees and warm water and colors and books and laughter and space heaters and picture frames and time to look upward & worship in the midst of our daily tasks

and all the while, I like to think, of our Perfect Father radiating perfect love, basking in the joy of watching us all enjoy His gifts…and even more, warming in delight as we recognize our gifts are from Him because He is good and perfect and because He loves us.

So Michael, last night, you showed me a glimpse of our Father’s love.

A small taste of Heaven’s smile.

An encouragement to delight in the Giver of good and perfect gifts.

A thought that perhaps…the gleam in your eye is a reflection, made in His image…of an even greater gleam in His eyes toward us.

Love,

your wife

p.s. – I’m about to wrap your present, too…so start guessing!

Moving + Decorating on a Budget: A Newlywed’s Moving Survival Guide

“Let’s move!” we said.

“It’ll be exciting and fun!” we said.

“Let’s move in August in the high heat of summer!” we said.

Next time we move, we’ll probably do it in like, winter.

Not summer. Sweat. Bees. More sweat.

PLUS there was the added factor that wife is to change as cat is to bathtub full of water.

So it took a little prodding to get me out of our tiny nest and into a different not-as-tiny-nest (“But I like hearing the neighbors through the walls! It makes me feel all cozy!”)

But – I’m happy to announce – the change and the bees and the sweat was all WORTH it, folks!

Michael was right.

Our new home is the best place for our little family.

I love it. A lot.

I don’t even miss the neighbors‘ footsteps or the smell of what they’re having for dinner each night.

Plus, Tucker has like 5,324 new stalking spots, so he’s pretty happy about it. (Still trying to figure out how to fend off the stairwell sneak attack. So far, it’s Tuck: 76, Humans: 0.)

Anyway, my favorite part has been decorating our new place to fit our needs (nothing breakable because Tuck will destroy it – except for the candlesticks that I TAPED DOWN to the mantle), and decorating the spaces to reflect who we are and to make our home a haven for us.

My sister worked with our budget and helped us pick out colors and lovely pieces for our space, and she’s brilliant at it. If it were up to me, the whole house would be pink and glittery, so I think Michael was especially happy for her help.

Before + After Pictures of our New Nest!:

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Wall Color // “Moonshine Grey” by Benjamin Moore // found at Home Depot. Pillows // Target. White Chair // IKEA. Mirror // IKEA. Coffee Table Tray // Target. Ottoman // hand-me-down, covered with duck cloth from JoAnn Fabrics (made by mama!). Lamp // IKEA. Side Table // church garage sale, people!

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Blue Rug // Overstock.com. Blanket Basket // HomeGoods.

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Curtains // IKEA. Side Table // HomeGoods. Vase + Flower (now destroyed by Tuck. That’s how I learned to tape things down, unfortunately) // HomeGoods. Mail Holder // Target.

fireplace

Occasional Chair // HomeGoods. Candlesticks // IKEA. Frames // Target. Painting // Lindsay Cox. Cat Lounge + Cat…Pet’sMart 🙂

Some other tips we picked up along the way:

  1. Embrace the chaos – it’s there to stay until a few months after you move in. Might as well accept and enjoy it for the adventure that it is!
  2. Increase the # of boxes you think you need substantially. If you count your belongings and decide you’ll need 50, get 75.
  3. Pack room by room or section by section, starting with the room you use the least to maintain a sense of normalcy for as long as possible!
  4. Once a box is packed, label it and indicate which room it WILL go to once it’s moved in. Michael and I color coded our labels to make it even easier (ex: green = kitchen). 
  5. Set a budget. Know that moving is expensive and you’ll probably go over the budget a little, but set a budget so you have realistic goals.
  6. Whole Foods hot bar is a great option for a “home cooked” meal prepared for you the fast food way!
  7. Be content with the fact that your new home won’t look perfect immediately. With budgeting and the time it takes, it will take months! And that’s kind of the fun part. Watching it take shape. Is it ever really done, anyway? Probably not. 😉 

Enjoy your day! Blessings,

Robyn

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. 

———————————————

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.

——————————————–

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

Fifty Shades’ Opposite: a love note

There’s a lot out there right now about Fifty Shades of Grey.

And I don’t want to spend my time convincing people how it hurts and misguides the heart.

We all know it does.

We do.

Deep down, the heart knows.

Instead, I want to sing, write, think about about the lovely things. The excellent, true, praiseworthy, admirable things.

I want to thank my husband for his safe, exciting, deep adventure love. His love that unclogs my toilet and yet still sees me as the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on.

And so through the easy days and hard days and blind minutes angry and soft moments happy and through the months and the years and all the while, my heart sings about this love:

Dear Michael,

I love how you give me the best slice of pizza and the scoop of ice cream with the most chunks in it.

I love how you’re patient while I learn how to be a wife.

I love how you enjoy being my husband.

I love how you’re not perfect. But you apologize.

I love how you forgive me before I even apologize.

I love how you’re logical.

I love how you love God.

I love how you pray. I naturally pray with emotion. You naturally pray with faith.

I love how you hold my hand.

I love how you make me coffee.

I love how I just say “fro-yo” and you smile and we’re out the door and in the car and I’m in my sweats and we’re getting fro-yo.

I love the way you look in your work clothes. In workout clothes. In pajamas. With Tucker on your legs.

I love how you bought me Tucker for Valentine’s Day.

I love how you tell Tucker not to bite me.

I love how he ignores you lots of times.

I love your arms. And your legs. And your face. And your hands. And all of you.

I love how you’re the most handsome man in the world.

I love how you put me first without even batting an eye.

I love how you’re an introvert.

I love how you sit next to me on the couch instead of the other room because you know I like being around you.

I love how you teach me things.

I love how you cook.

I love how you work really hard.

I love how you train for races.

I love how if you had it your way, I would run every race with you.

I love how you run better with me beside you. Even though my little legs slow your fast legs down.

I love how you tell me to chase my dreams.

I love how when I get tired, you help me chase them.

I love how you snuggle with me.

I really love how you snuggle with me.

I love how you date me.

I love how we have our own language.

I love your curly hair.

I love how you’re my best friend.

I love how you’re my lover.

I love how you know the Bible really well. Better than I do.

I love how you lean on God.

I love how any money you make is our money together.

I love how you call us a team.

I love being your team mate.

I love how when I accidentally spend more money than I meant to, you send me a winky face emoji and then sometimes you joke about how my purse and Target and The Loft are “where all money goes to die.” And then you laugh and you hug me and you tell me my new shirt looks nice.

I love how you’re proud of the money I make even though it’s not as much as you make.

I love how you’re proud of my writing even though it doesn’t make money yet, because to you it’s not about the money.

I love how you vacuum and clean the showers.

I love how you’re a strong sounding board for anxious thoughts. And I love how you help me take those anxious thoughts down.

I love how you’re strong in more ways than one.

I love your wisdom.

I love your intelligence.

I love how you’re good at your job.

I love how you do your job with integrity. Because to you, it’s not about looking good. It’s about doing the right thing.

I love how you work hard, but you always manage to put me first.

I love how when you don’t put me first, you fix it.

I love how when you hurt my feelings, you listen to me. And you care. And you apologize.

I love how when I’m wrong, you’re not afraid to tell me.

I love the way you look at me.

I love how I’m never embarrassed in front of you. Because you’re safe.

I love how excited you are to see me every morning when we wake up.

And every day when you get home from work.

I love how you’re taking me out tonight. Because it’s Tuesday and because I’m your wife, you said.

I love the roses you bring me.

I love the nights we play scrabble.

I love how I’ve only won once. Because you’re so dang smart.

I love how we argue. Because we do. And then we learn.

I love how you know me better than anyone else.

I love how God sees us as one unit. One.

I love how we move closer to that beauty every day.

All my love,

Your Wife

Safe, exciting, deep adventure love springs from Perfect Love (1 John 4:7-9). Perfect Love breathes life into our hearts, lives, and marriages.

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death…Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame” (Song of Solomon 8:6).

Happy Tuesday, Dear Hearts! 

Blessings to you,

Robyn

Dear Newlywed Wives, Before Your Next Argument

Dear Newlywed Wives,

During disagreements with your husband, you probably want “your way” sometimes. Probably a lot of times.

I know this, because I want “my way,” too.

Maybe you want pizza for dinner instead of Chinese, you want to vacation at the beach instead of the mountains, you want to watch Love it or List it instead of baseball, you want to do Christmas at your parents’ house instead of your in-laws because it’s much more comfortable for you, you want to paint the room “Fawn Brown” instead of “Charcoal Grey” because who wants a room painted with a name like “Charcoal Gray?” You like the name James instead of Matthew for your future child who isn’t yet in the works, you want to buy a new piece of furniture to make your little house a home instead of a new remote control for the TV with the spending budget. You don’t want a budget, but he wants a budget. You don’t want to clean the litter box, because you did it last night.

You want “your way” a lot of times because you are human, and your husband is human, too, so a lot of times he will want “his way.”

 Clearly, this will create tension.

My husband and I are very different people (praise God!) We balance each other out and we love our differences. I am so thankful for how Michael’s logic and even-keeled head brings my anxious heart to a steady beat, and he loves the way my creative mind and sensitive heart create fun and warmth in our lives.

But there have been times in our 1 year and a few months of marriage when our differences have caused us to want very different things. Then, we have disagreements. Arguments.

Our conversations during these times can start to run in circles because neither of us is budging and Michael gets tired because I like talking and analyzing situations WAY more than he does and then I start to get frustrated (Why doesn’t he understand where I’m coming from?! Let’s talk about this for another 5 hours until I get my way, please.)

Andrew Strickland Photography (33 of 53)

Fellow Newlywed Wives, I was given a piece of advice from a wise woman married much longer than we at this point. Her piece of advice sat in my heart for about a week, waiting for its moment to reappear when I was ready to fully hear it.

God decided I was ready this morning, and I awoke to this piece of advice knocking gently on the door of my heart and I immediately grabbed a pen and my journal.

The advice is this:

The one thing I wish I’d done better all these years is to be kinder to my husband in our disagreements.”

Oh.

Are you sure your advice isn’t, “Just keep pushing till you get your way?”

Because during disagreements with Michael, kindness toward him is not usually at the forefront of my mind.

Transparency, folks: getting “my way” is oftentimes at the forefront of my mind during arguments.

But, ah! The freedom, the goodness, in this wise wife’s advice. Not for its ease, by any means. But the goodness in this advice, Newlywed Wives, is rich.

You and your husband will disagree. He will want to do different things with money, you will want to vacation at a different spot than what he has in mind, he will not always understand your feelings, and you will not always understand his.

Yet what God gently impressed on my heart this morning is this:

What matters is not that I get my way, but that I am kind to my husband.

 And when I really think about it, at the end of the day with Michael, it’s not things that do or don’t go my way that I remember. Instead, I remember how I treated Michael in the moment. In tense moments. In the moments when I do get “my way.” In the frustrating moments when I don’t get “my way.” If I treated Michael unfairly or with an angry heart, it hurts me later when I remember. And I know it hurts Michael.

I apologize, yes, and Michael is forgiving, but I would much rather choose the path of life initially.

It’s how we treat each other as husband and wife that builds memories, strengthens, blesses, and builds our little family.

It’s not what we decide in a disagreement, it’s how we come to it. Am I giving Michael “his way” in love, or in anger? If I do what he wants in this situation, will I be cheerful about it? Or am I holding this situation nearby as a way to bring up later and get my way then?

Or am I showing my husband grace and sacrifice in love, as The Lord has done for me with His very life?

Andrew Strickland Photography (49 of 53)

On “getting our ways,” Newlywed Wives, God doesn’t have a scorecard keeping track of how many times we have wronged Him (Praise Him!), and marriage shouldn’t have a scorecard keeping track of when we did or didn’t get “our way.”

Modeled after our Father’s relationship with His children, marriage should have only opportunities to show grace and love and willing sacrifice. What is sacrifice if it is not willing out of love, or if it is kept track of? (Writing that sentence is more convicting than I would like to admit.)

We will not always give this loving sacrifice perfectly. Again, dear Newlywed Wives, we are human. So are our husbands. They will not do this perfectly, either. Praise God we have Jesus on our side, showering new mercies upon us and our marriages each morning! (Lam 3:22-23).

Praise God Who also knows the deepest joy and ache of sacrifice for those He loves, and Praise Him for giving us opportunities to show sacrificial love to our spouses.

And yet, regardless of who gets their way in an argument, dear Newlywed Wives, regardless of who sacrifices, I urge you in humility as one who makes this mistake too many times, make sure you were kind to your husband.

Make sure you spoke fairly. Make sure you disagreed with a respectful heart toward your husband’s thoughts and feelings. Make sure you spoke words that breathe life and not hurt.

The decision you both come to will be a fleeting moment.

Your words, however, will last.

 Make sure, fellow Newlywed Wives, you are kind to your husbands in disagreements.

I will prayerfully ask God to help me do this alongside you, dear friends, as we praise the God who gave the ultimate Sacrifice for us, that we might give the sacrifice of gentle words to the men we love most!

 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship…Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:1,10).

 Blessings to you and kind thoughts and gentle words,

 Robyn