Cultivating a Two to One Marriage

After 9 long months of planning, organizing and stringing together my dream wedding, there I stood in my white dress looking outside my hotel window, staring into the dark and gloomy overcast sky that was looming over every inch of our town that morning. This yucky dark day was our day, the day David and I were going to say “I do” and the day the two of us were going to become one. Despite the weather and a few minor hiccups throughout the day, our wedding ended up being more beautiful than I ever dreamed. And on that day we promised before God, our family and friends that we would love each other forever “times a thousand” and then danced the night away into ignorant wedded bliss.

The wedding- as we’ve all heard a million times- is just a day, a simple launching event, the event of joining two together and becoming one in the eyes of Jesus, family and friends. But the good stuff, the down right messy and magical stuff that’s in the “ever after” of marriage, that’s where the deep and intentional messy living that makes it all worth it happens. Two becoming one is a lovely sentiment and a difficult reality. It paints this beautiful word picture of a husband and wife standing in the center of this perfect marriage bubble surrounded by life and beauty, with the rest of the world looking onward from the outside saying, “wow, now there’s something special, there the two of them are taking on the world, standing strong in their marriage, and facing whatever comes their way with a smile all while seamlessly madly in love.” If you’ve been married for over 24 hours you know this sentiment isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. It’s hard, it’s cyclical and takes a lot of work from both sides to stay relentlessly committed to one another and your marriage.  

For David and I, the reality of keeping one another the main thing, putting the other person above yourself, and navigating the tons of junk that life can throw your way woke us up from our bubble pretty darn fast. I remember us strolling through Target a week after our honeymoon, steaming at one another over a disagreement of how much money we should spend setting up our new apartment together. We lived in a relatively small town and saw more than one person who wanted to congratulate us during our tumultuous walk through Target that day. We were so frustrated that when an older couple we knew well came up to us to congratulate us, I bursted out in a flustered tone “We’re in a fight, yay for marriage,” and they laughed and patted us on the back and strolled right along. I think they laughed because they weren’t surprised and they knew this small moment would be one of many over the years as we became more familiar with how to be one with each other. And it continues to be a humbling reminder every time we find ourselves bickering in aisle 5 at Target.

Five years later and more in love than ever, it still takes choosing daily to be one with each other. We have gained a lot of ground though, because we’ve learned the secret sauce it takes to stay together, play together and love passionately together. And that’s why I’m here today- I want to let you in on the secret. Now before I pass this amazing top secret marriage advice along to you, I should probably get off my high horse and say that I only know this secret myself because others have taught and modeled this for us time and time again these past few years.

Okay so here it is… the secret to two becoming one and staying that way is that it takes a heck of a lot more people than just the two of you. That’s right, the whole “two to one” thing is actually a group effort; we’ve found that our marriage is healthier when we are actively engaging in community with friends, seeking wisdom from those ahead of us, and centering ourselves on Jesus consistently. All three outlets that are beyond our “one bubble” have proven time and time again that two becoming one is best when others are there to support and encourage your oneness. In fact, our marriage is healthier and more passionate than ever before because we’ve experienced the relentless support of our community and Jesus overwhelm our marriage time and time again.

So what does this actually look like? How can we actively invite the right people into our bubble through the peaks and valley seasons of our marriages? I can sum it up in two of my favorite words: AUTHENTICITY AND INTENTIONALITY. It requires a healthy balance of both of these characteristics to find the sweet spot between letting too much into your marriage, and over protecting and isolating your marriage from the outside world.

I’ve so enjoyed inviting you into our story and look forward to sharing more with you. In the meantime pursue your spouse, find your way back to the center of your bubble and love the heck out of one another with intense vulnerability!

 

Shhh… it’s time for silence.

BEING

SILENT

WITH

JESUS.

Wait… what? Silence? What is this word you speak of? Quiet in the chaos? Theres no such thing.

For the first time in my relationship with Jesus I’m learning the invaluable lesson of silence and being. I am simply being with my Father who loves me so. 

My entire life and journey with Jesus has been centered around the idea that prayer and interaction with God is surrounded by all the what-if’s, dear Gods, help me please requests that fill my head and my heart. Never once have I truly sat in the notion of “BEING STILL AND KNOWING HE IS MY GOD”

Up until now this notion always seemed like a sweet and romantic gesture about walking with Jesus, never a reality to actually center my self around.

Yesterday, I was doing my new “quiet time” (click here to buy, cause its amazing) and was reading about Mary and Martha and when Jesus came to their house to visit and speak to his followers.

” As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”Luke 10:38-42 (NIV) 

This story is very familiar to me, I’ve heard it a bunch of different ways and always the preacher or the commentary point to the same conclusion; Jesus was pleased with Mary for simply being with him and Martha was discouraged because she was too preoccupied with preparing for Jesus to stop and just be. Now thats a great message it really is, we can all learn a lot from the surface of this story, we need to stop and be with Jesus and not be too busy to experience what God has right in front of us with him. But yesterday this story evolved for me.

Have you ever thought to wonder what would happen if Martha had simply just sat at the feet of Jesus like her sister Mary?

Would she automatically feel closer to God, more at peace, more content? My guess is a big fat NO WAY, for someone whose immediate response to a guest coming over was to make sure the house was cleaned, food was on the table, all her guests were properly cared for and she was ready at any moment to meet any need they may have, that sweet, caring, woman is incapable of being still. Even if she forced herself to put down the kitchen towel, forget about perfectly pinning her messy bun, and wiping down all the counter tops and got on her knees before Jesus I venture to guess her brain would still be turning at 100mph. That’s her zone, Martha thrives at above the mental speed limit, hustling and bustling is her go-to theme song and sister goes hard in the paint all day long with maybe one quick prayer and coffee break in between nap time and school pick ups for the kids. Martha needs a mental break, Martha needs to stop being so hard on herself, Martha needs to lower her expectations, Martha needs a drastic change or else home girl is going to swifter her way right into a nervous breakdown. (replace Martha with your name and read again, sound familiar?)

You see, Martha’s intentions were not wrong, or sinful or harmful, they were well intended, kind and generous. Our Martha, she became so consumed with the “things” she wanted to do for Jesus that she had lost sight of the simple request Jesus asked of her “There is only one thing you need to be concerned about” That one thing is JESUS and BEING WITH HIM. All the rest of it, its not bad, but is it worth all the heartache, stress and anxiety your never ending to-do lists bring? Definitely not.

So what do we do with this? In theory being still with Jesus sounds amazing, if I could get any silence in this house that would be a miracle in the first place, let alone silence, space and rest to just be with the Father. I’m not going to lie its tough to get to that place, to force yourself into silence and prioritize this stillness with Jesus. But I have found, each day that I make it happen it gets easier, clearer and my desire to find this space grows immensely.

What’s the benefit of stillness with Jesus? How does this look in my day to day life? In only a few short days its started to change my desires for myself as a woman, a wife, a mom, an employee, essentially its changing my desire for all of me.

This is what I want for you and more importantly what Jesus wants for you…

  • I want you to find rest for your physical tired body
  • I want you to be mentally whole and healthy, not burdened with anxiety and fear
  • I want you to be able to see each day as a gift filled with joys for you to experience
  • I want you to run to Jesus for safety at the first sign of danger not feel the need to post it on FB
  • I want you to feel worthy, to know how deeply loved you are
  • I want you to be confident that you do not have to have a perfect home, or a Pinterest pinned living room to feel good about yourself. Newsflash subway tile is not the stamp of approval for a life well lived.
  • I want you to know that your to-do list no matter how well intended does not define your success today
  • Things are simply things, that is all. Your soul, your family, your relationships these are your eternal priorities, stop shoving them aside for a later time. It may never come if you keep preparing so hard for it.

Here’s the deal, Jesus loves you, he wants to know you and wants you to know him so you can experience this world they way he’s designed you to. He wants you to experience peace, joy and growth and these are readily available to you if you just put one foot in front of the other and run to that comfy chair in your favorite corner of the house and plop your hot mess self in and begin with stillness before him. It may seem awkward at first, you may have no idea what to do but I promise you if you try and really quiet yourself that Jesus is there waiting to comfort you.

So today let’s be still and know that our God loves us, is for us, and has a plan for us.

*To those of you who are not a Christ follower, can’t stand the Christian faith or anything churchy for that matter you are welcome here. I truly think learning the practice of silence and stillness can be applicable to all of us so I hope you try it anyways!*

And lastly a prayer for silence, feel free to use this to start your own practice of stillness with Jesus today:

Jesus, this is awkward.. I have no idea how to be still with you. I have all these things that have to get done, all these worries I want your opinion on, all this crap going on in my life, I need to figure out how to survive here. But today I am putting all that aside, I know you already know whats going on inside me, what my worries are, so I continue to trust you with those things and today I just want to be with you. So as I sit here quiet, trying to train my brain to not wander off, I pray you speak to me in some way. Show me your love for me and what you have for me to glean from this today. Seriously God, a simple nudge or mental image to know you’re actually listening would be really helpful right about now. Thanks for loving me. Bye – Amen.

Keep On Dreaming,

Kate

*To those of you looking for a great devotional resource, today’s blog post is inspired from the devotional “Emotionally Spiritually Health Day by Day” by Peter Scazzero. Click here to buy now on Amazon!*

 

 

 

3 Things Having a Kid Changes in your Marriage

Hello! It’s Three Things Thursday, my new favorite weekly blog segment.

In honor of my 4 year wedding anniversary today’s 3 things are based on marriage and family.  Love you babe!

3 Things that changed in our marriage after having a kid: 

  1. Unplanned quality time is harder to come by.. before having a kid we spent unfathomable amounts of time together, we just had no idea how much time we actually had until we no longer had it. Now we are well aware, on most days our opportunity for unplanned quality time is limited to anytime that Lincoln is asleep, when we can schedule a sitter, or… nope that’s about sums it up. Even if we put on a movie or find a way for him to distract himself for a bit our parent hats are still on and we are on alert. At times we wish we could just take off to a movie or lay in bed and watch movies all day just the two of us. We’ve both had our fair share of crabby days because we wish we could just do whatever we want, but most of the time we don’t even notice this change. We’ve adapted to it and learned to thrive through it, our unplanned quality time is not gone all together, it’s just grown by one! And those moments with Lincoln where we are all spending time together doing whatever wherever are the times we’ve experienced some of the funniest and sweetest moments as a family of 4 *David get’s mad when Hiccup is not included in the family count*
  2. Vulnerability has reached an all time high! From the moment we found out we were pregnant with Lincoln our level of intimacy and vulnerability changed greatly and for the better. Discretion no longer played a role in our marriage. When you’re 41 weeks pregnant, experiencing terrible gas, and have to rock your hubby’s underwear to survive, all that mystery that lead to sweet baby making flies right out the window with your size small lace panties. Loss of the mystery sucks, it’s similar to when you move from dating to marriage and all the physical no no’s you tried to follow are no longer off limits, after I Do the excitement dissipates ever so slightly. *Come on, you know what I’m talking about!* Here’s the thing though, the newness, the unknown mystery of it all, yeah that’s sexy, but something new happens too and its amazing. The surface mystery is exchanged for this insane vulnerability and intimacy that is only gained from experiencing life so closely and deeply with another person that you’re intertwined, connected and bound by these moments that only you two know, only you two endured and only you two can relish in. The day I went into my emergency c-section and David my held my face so sweetly and sang over me while I cried in absolute fear, when David rocked me and Lincoln in his arms when I cried in anguish struggling to breast feed, when we watched Lincoln crawl after weeks of physical therapy, and the day we lost our most recent baby and had to say goodbye on an ultrasound. These moments and the many in between have created this special bubble that only David and I live in, you can read about them but my words pale in comparison to the depth and insane beauty of living and experiencing these moments together. So I say so long surface sexy and bring on the real life loss and love that makes our marriage sexier than Hollywood could ever pretend it to be.
  3. We can’t take ourselves too seriously anymore… We have always known how to have a good time, to be silly and laugh but with a kid this has only increased by about a bajillion! Let’s be honest we’ve never really had our lives completely together but before Lincoln arrived we could somewhat mask how insanely unqualified for life we were. Now it’s on display for the whole world to see and it’s incredibly humbling and increasingly hilarious. Lincoln could care less how something looks on the outside, how other’s may perceive our parenting style, or how we discipline and how we have fun. Lincoln just is, wholly and uniquely, he is who he is and expects the same from his Mama and Daddy. So this whole try to fit a specific mold as a person or a parent it’s not what’s best for us and certainly not what’s best for Lincoln. We are a mess and an honest to goodness example of what needing unrelenting grace looks like. Perfection is not the prize, being the best InstaMom is not the goal, being pretty and put together while making money and creating home made crafts for a perfectly scheduled toddler is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN and THAT IS OKAY!! *Do you hear me future Kate, I know you’re going to forget this by breakfast!* Just be present with your kid, with your spouse and with your friends. In the end your legacy is not what you did, it’s how you lived and how you loved!

The End.

*I hesitated posting today’s 3 Things out of fear of scaring away my friends who are married and on the fence about having kids or offending people who simply don’t wish to have kids. Both stances of which I support. Here’s the deal child rearing is not for everyone, it does change the dynamic of your relationship and takes a lot of effort to keep your marriage the main thing. However, in my case, the juice was worth every bit of the squeeze. Having a child has challenged and enriched our lives in more ways than we ever expected; and my love for David is stronger and fiercer than ever before. We owe all our thanks to Lincoln being in our lives. But again, not for everybody and I totally get it!*

Keep on Dreaming,

Kate