I have always looked forward to my 30th birthday. Everyone seems to dread it (maybe I will in a few months when it is closer), but for me, it marks a really neat milestone–it means I will have spent half of my life with my husband. We met when we were 15. We’ve been exclusive ever since. & as much as we ride the marital roller coaster, I thank my lucky stars every day for him. Neither of us are easy people to live with, but somehow, we make it work.
I’ve been thinking about marriage a lot lately. It seems like so many of them are falling apart around me–& it just makes me think. My MOPS meeting this week featured a speaker that had a few things to say about husbands. He rubbed me the wrong way–a few times–but the first was when he opened the floor for what he jokingly called “male bashing.” Joke or not, I just don’t partake in that activity. & it reminded me of part of a book I read that talked about “public respect” of our husband, and how damaging it can feel to a man when his wife openly teases or puts him down. Call me old fashioned, but my partner & I are a united front–no one, especially me, talks negatively of him when I am around. I will have it no other way.
So many of my thoughts keep coming back to that book, my marital “epiphany” book, that I read a couple of years ago on the subject of men & marriage. If you are looking for a good self-help read, a quick, easy read, then I highly recommend the book For Women Only, by Shaunti Feldhahn. (You can also find her website here.) There are little bits of wisdom scattered throughout it that pop into my head daily. This book has significantly impacted the way I understand my husband, the way I treat him & the way I think about our relationship. All very positively. Here is one of my favorite excerpts:
When a man is affirmed, he can conquer the world. When he’s not, he is sapped of his confidence and even his feeling of manhood. And believe me, he will, consciously or unconsciously, seek out places where he receives affirmation. Home is the most important place for a man to be affirmed…It’s not about being the supportive “little woman.” It’s about realizing that despite their veneer of confidence, our husbands really do “carry their treasures in fragile containers,” and they crave our affirmation.
My favorite class in college was called Love, Marriage and Sexuality from a Catholic Perspective and one of my professor’s quotes changed my marriage: Love is a Decision. We choose our behaviors, that enrich or destroy, our relationship, she said. It made so much sense to me. It seems to be more & more true every day. Especially now that there is a little girl watching our every move & she is picking up on how we interact and choose to love, and show that we love, each other.
Gosh, this feels like forever ago.
& yes, I was a blonde for 24 years of my life…my roots still are…must be the california in me… ;)
[image credit: YJM Photography 2004]