Response to “I Just Wish He Would Have an Affair”

Monique Honaman wrote a blog for the Huffington Post recently in response to a comment she has heard numerous times lately:  “I just wish he would have an affair.”  The women who have confided this desire assert that they are married to wonderful men whom they no longer love.  These wives can not “justify” divorcing husbands who treat them well, love them and their children, and provide for their families.  If their husbands would betray them by having affairs, then the woman would be free to leave them without feeling guilty.

Ms. Honaman concluded that she didn’t have an answer for women in this circumstance; however, she postulated two opposing views that she could justify as reasonable responses.  Paraphrasing her words, the views would be (1) you made a vow, so stick with the marriage and (2) end the marriage because life is short to be unhappy.  You may read Ms. Honaman complete blog at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/monique-honaman/i-just-wish-he-would-have_b_1297919.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl12%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D141998

While the two views Ms. Honoman expresses are probably the two most common responses to a friend’s or acquaintances’s declaration that she is unhappy in her marriage, neither of them offer the guidance that is needed.  All marriages go through “dry” times.  Love is an emotion that ebbs and flows.  Just because a woman does not feel the glow of being in love, doesn’t mean she cannot regain that feeling.  So what advise should someone give to a friend who expresses discontent with a good marriage?  These are lessons I’ve learned from my own 31-year marriage and observing others, such as my parents who have been married for 57 years.

1) Focus on the attributes that drew you to your husband in the beginning of your relationship.  If you are like most brides, you were head over heels in love with him on the day you walked down the aisle.  Think back on those days and remember how you felt when your love was new.  Your husband is still the same wonderful man you married with the same wonderful qualities.

2) Regularly make time for dates.  Marriage needs to be nurtured.  When you first began dating your future spouse, few things in your life were more important than spending time with him.  In the hecticness of life, time alone with one’s spouse often takes a back seat to work, children, and volunteering.  You can’t nurture your relationship if you aren’t spending quality time with your spouse.

3) Create opportunities for growth and fulfillment such as working on a project with your spouse or taking a class together.  Having a common goal and achieving it together can restore a sense of unity and accomplishment.  In the early days of a marriage, a couple makes plans together, such as starting a family or buying a house.  They work together for their mutual happiness and fulfillment.  As those goals are met, it’s easy for couple to become complacent.  Set new goals and dreams that will carry you into old age.

4) Look beyond your present unhappiness and envision the happy times ahead for the two of you.  If you have children, you can look forward to their graduations and marriages and future grandchildren.  Plan a special trip to commerate a significant anniversary.  Dream about the places you’ll go and the things you will do after retirement.

5) Remember your vows. You pledged to love this man through better or worse, in sickness and in health, til death you do part.  At the end of the ceremony, the minister pronounced you husband and wife.  He did not say “And they lived happily ever after.”  Of course you want to be happy and you deserve to be happy.  But happiness is fleeting.  No one is happy all the time, and no one is unhappy all the time.  If you stay true to your vows and work at loving your husband, it is very likely that happiness will return and that you will be even happier than you were in the past.

If you are unhappy in your marriage, I would urge to carefully consider the cost of divorce.  Not only is divorce the biggest financial mistake you can make, it is one that many people regret. It is likely that you are married to the love of your life–you just need to make an effort to rekindle the love that lead you to marry him.

Lessons Learned from a Former POW

This week I had the opportunity to hear former POW Paul Galanti speak about his experiences during nearly 7 years of confinement in North Vietnam’s Hanoi Hilton.  It’s hard to imagine a tougher situation to find one’s self in, yet Commander Galanti began by saying that there were positive aspects of his confinement.  Although he mentioned some of the extreme hardships, he focused his remarks on those positive experiences. 

The men who were confined together, some for as long as 9 years, formed bonds that are strong nearly 40 years after their release.  They keep in touch and hold periodic reunions.  No one complains if the service isn’t perfect at the reunions–they know what hardship is and it is not having a meal that is less than perfect.

Although Commander Galanti did not reference God or faith in his remarks, it was evident that the men were sustained by faith.  They had faith that they would survive the ordeal.  They had faith that the government and their loved ones were doing all they could do affect their release.  They also had faith in the human will to overcome the darkest of situations.

The most fascinating  part was when he described how strong his memory was during the days of solitary confinement.  All the lessons from his college courses came back to him in minute details.  Later, when he was reunited with a larger group of men, the college-educated among them taught what they had learned to the others.  Upon release, former prisoners were awarded up to 120 credit hours for materials taught to them by their fellow captives.

So, what lessons can we learn from Commander Galanti and his imprisonment.

1)  The mind needs periods of silence. Commander Galanti was able to recall his college lessons clearly only because he was in solitary confinement and spending long periods in silence.   The Bible teaches us  to ” Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)  We need periods of silence and solitude to reflect on God’s Word and to hear his voice.

2) We can survive whatever life throws our way.  Commander Galanti and the other men in the Hanoi Hilton faced hardships that most of us cannot even fathom.  Yet, they not only survived but they rose above their circumstances.  God promises that He will be with us in all circumstances and “He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”  (1 Corinthians 10:13)  There must have been many times when the prisoners were tempted to give up, but they remained strong and determined to survive their terrible circumstance.

3) Being connected with others is important.  For the prisoners of war, communication with each other was their life blood, despite the extreme punishment they endured if caught.  Through their clandestine communications they got to know one other and encouraged each other in the darkest times. The Bible teaches Christians that they should “not give up meeting together” but should “encourage one another.”  (Hebrews 10:25)  We need the support and encouragement of our Christian brothers and sisters.

4) It is important to be optimistic and have hope.  The prisoners were confident that their confinement would end one day.  They were sure that the end was in sight and would come within six months or a year.  They continued to be optimistic as the months  stretched to years.  They looked forward to the day they would be released and returned to their families.  God wants us to have hope, too.  He has promised good to us, even though we may be going through a dark period.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

5) Good can come out of terrible circumstances.  The men who were held captive in the Hanoi Hilton could have become bitter and angry about their circumstances.  But they didn’t.  They chose to redeem their time to help one another and to better themselves.  Several of the former prisoners, including Senator John McCain, have served in prominent positions in our government.  The Bible teaches us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)

We often face difficult circumstances, but most of us will never face the hardships that compare to those of the American servicemen imprisoned in Vietnam.  We should strive to follow their example of rising above our circumstances to look for the good in life and be all that God has intended us to be.

It was an honor and a privilege to hear Commander Gilanti speak.  I was uplifted by his message of optimism.  Nearly 40 years after his release, he continues to spread his message and improve the lives of others through his work.  He serves as an inspiration to all of us.

What hardships are you facing today?  Will you strive to rise above your circumstances and face the world with hope and optimism, striving to be the man or woman God created you to be?  Will you allow God to give you hope for a better future?

My God is Mighty to Save

For Christians, Easter is a time to celebrate Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection in victory over death and grave.  Jesus’s death paved the way for us to be forgiven of our sins, and His resurrection gives us the hope of eternal life with Him in Heaven.

When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I received the promise of eternal life, but I also gained a richer, fuller, more wonderful life here on Earth.  Everyday Jesus walks with me through the joy, triumphs, trials, and challenges I face.  He hasn’t promised me a life without troubles, but He has promised to be with me through every step of my journey.

God’s peace fills my heart.  I am assured that God loves me more than I can even comprehend.  My God is mighty to save.  On this Easter Sunday, I am thankful that He has saved me.  I want to live today and every day to bring honor and glory to my risen Savior.

 

Mighty to Save
 
Everyone needs compassion
Love that never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

Savior
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender

Shine Your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King
Jesus
shine your light and let the whole world see
were singing
for the glory of the risen king

Blessings Through Tears

Laura Story’s song Blessings is the song which I most identify with at this time.  Our family, like most families I know, has endured some very difficult situations in the past few years, but in the midst of the difficult times we have felt God’s presence every step of the way.   His strong arms have carried us through unemployment, bereavement, and uncertainty.  We have absolute assurity that our God is in control of our lives and our future.  Athough we would never pray for God to bring difficult circumstances our way, we recognize that He uses those circumstances to reveal to us our need for Him and to help us grow in our faith.  Life on Earth will be challenging some days–many days–but as the song says, “This is not our home.” 

 

Blessings

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

 

 

Who Put the Closet in the Bathroom?

After months of house hunting, we put in an offer on a house today.  Overall, we really like the house and it meets all our needs. However, it has two features that are on my list of pet peeves in houses:  the master bedroom closet is in the bathroom and there is no porch or covering over the front entry.

I might not mind the closet being in the bathroom if it were as well-designed as this one.

I wonder what brilliant designer/architect/home builder first decided to that it would be a good idea to force a homeowner to walk through their bedroom to get to their closet.  It must have been someone of substantial influence in the home building world, as this feature has been found in many of the homes we have seen during our home search.  It doesn’t make any sense to me, and logic dictates that it can’t be good for clothing to be exposed to the high humidity of a bathroom.  If our offer is accepted on this house, our first order of business upon taking possession will be to have the bathroom and closet remodeled. 

Not a bad house, but it would be much nicer with a portico covering the entry.

I don’t understand why anyone would build a house without a front porch or at least a portico over the stoop.  On rainy days, I don’t want my guests exposed to the elements until I can open the door and allow them to enter the house.  Also, a porch or portico adds architectural interest.  Obviously, it’s cheaper to install a front door with a simple stoop, but I find those designs don’t have the curb appeal of a house with a grander front entry.  If we wind up buying this house, adding a portico will be high on our “must-do” list.

  This experience led me to enumerate other house design pet peeves of mine. 

1)      Cook top in the island.  I like to have a large counter space for chopping vegetables, baking cakes, and other food preparation.  The island is the ideal spot and having the cook top in the island interferes with that.  I won’t even consider a home with this pet peeve.  I look forward to my grandchildren being old enough to sit around the island and help me make cookies.

2)      Kitchen counter visible from front door.  I don’t want my kitchen counter to be the first thing guests see as they come in my front door.  If I had a kitchen with that design, I would have to keep my kitchen spotless all the time.  There’s no possibility of that happening, so I eliminate houses with that design from my search.

3)      Laundry room/closet in the kitchen.  Fortunately we haven’t seen this often but we have seen it.  My kitchen is the hub of my house and there is more than enough going on in there without having to deal with laundry there.

4)      No foyer.  Most of the houses we’ve looked at had at least a small foyer, but a few have come straight into the living room and one entered into the kitchen. That will not do for me.

5)      Carpet in the bathroom.  We aren’t seeing this often but we have seen it in a few homes.  I suppose those homeowners liked the warmth carpeting provides, but I think it would be difficult to keep clean.  At least this pet peeve is easily and relatively inexpensively fixed.

6)      Walk up basements.  Our preference is that the basement door be at walkout level.  If that isn’t feasible, we would prefer no basement entry, as walk up basements are prone to flooding.  This is one pet peeved that cannot be changed, so those houses don’t make it on our list of contenders.

7)      Laundry in basement.  We currently have a colonial home with a basement laundry room.  It does provide for a spacious laundry area, but I am tired of carrying laundry up and down two flights of stairs.  We’ll save those houses for homebuyers with younger legs.

8)      Tiny showers.  The home we are trying to buy has a shower that is larger than a cruise ship shower but not by much.  I’m not sure that I could shave my legs in that shower.  While we are remodeling the bathroom to get the closet out of it, we will be increasing the size of the shower considerably.  We’ll probably add a built-in seat while we’re at it.  My husband will much prefer that to me refusing to shave my legs.

Those are the top 10 things we are trying to avoid in our next home.  We realize it is unlike we will find the “perfect” house without any of these features.  However, we will only consider houses that can be modified to eliminate any pet peeves.

What are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to house features?  What will make you say “no way” to buying a house you otherwise like?

My One Word for 2012: Intentional

I have been pondering my One Word for 2012 for two months now and have finally chosen ‘Intentional’ as my word for the year.  When I began considering what my focus for the year should be, I recalled a note a co-worker wrote me upon her retirement a few years ago.  She thanked me for reminding her “to keep the important things the important things.”  I wasn’t aware that I had ever done that, but I appreciated the compliment and have tried to live up to it. Of course, I fail more often than I succeed but I keep trying.

In trying to find a word which would encompass “focusing on the important things,” I considered thoughtful, purposeful, and balanced, before deciding on intentional.  The dictionary definition of intentional is “done with intent or purpose; deliberate.” I want to live my life with purpose and be deliberate in my actions.

My goal for 2012 is to be intentional in focusing my time and energy on what is truly important rather than simply responding to situations that present themselves.  This will require me to set priorities and take actions that will help me to accomplish my priorities.  

This year I want to be intentional (1) in getting deeper into God’s Word and growing closer to Him, (2) in seeking His will for every aspect of my life, (3) in putting relationships ahead of accomplishing a to-do list, and (4) in taking steps to maintain my health, which will include losing weight and exercising more.  I want to intentionally choose activities that will enhance my life and my relationships rather than those that simply fill my time.

Living intentionally this year will mean that I will spend less time mindlessly watching whatever show happens to be on television or surfing the Internet, less time playing Solitaire and Angry Birds, and less time stressing over situations that may or may not occur and that won’t matter to me a week later.  I’m sure I will fail often–it’s so easy to fall back into old habits–but my hope is that by making a deliberate decision to live intentionally, I will move closer to my goal of focusing my attention on the truly important things in life.  As I do that I will come closer to accomplish my life goal of bringing honor and glory to God in all that I do.

Happy Valentine’s Day to My Favorite Valentines

Wishing a very special Valentine’s Day to two little people who have captured my heart completely.

Grandson DanielFrom the moment we first learned we were to be grandparents, Steve and I were filled with love for our unborn grandchild.  We were so delighted to meet Daniel and have enjoyed every moment of watching him grow from a baby to a toddler.  He is full of energy and discovering new skills daily.

Granddaughter BrooklynWe were overjoyed to learn last spring that a second grandchild–to be Daniel’s cousin–was expected at Christmas time.  Again our hearts filled with love for this child that we did not yet know but whose birth was greatly anticipated.  Brooklyn arrived 6 weeks ago to everyone’s great delight.  She is a good natured baby who loves to be held and cuddled.

Every moment we spend with Daniel and Brooklyn brings love and joy to our hearts.  As Steve and I celebrate our 35th Valentine’s Day together, we are truly very blessed.  God has given us three amazing sons, two beautiful daughters-in-law, and two very precious grandchildren.  Our hearts are filled with love and gratitude to God for His amazing blessings and His love for us.