Category Archives: My Love Life

Don’t Just Stay Married — Stay Engaged

On July 16th, 2010, I got engaged. On May 29th, 2011, I will no longer be engaged, but married — by definition.

I saw this phrase on this blog the other day

“Don’t Just Stay Married — Stay Engaged.”

Deep huh?

How huge is it to embrace an intentional mindset to continuously stay engaged even after the wedding day.

But wait, you were already engaged — your married now..

  • True, you may be married now, but try looking at the word “engaged” as a verb rather than a period of X months before a wedding..

What does this look like?

  • By engaging in your marriage, you are:
    • communicating with each other
    • supporting/encouraging each other
    • serving each other
    • praying with each other
    • actively leading
    • setting goals together
    • acting according to their love language
    • being intentional with your actions
    • being affectionate

Engage in your fiance/spouse. Don’t let the “engagement” stage die just because the wedding came and went..

What else can you do to actively stay engaged in your marriage/relationships?


5 more things learned from being Engaged.. Part 2

I’d like to continue this post from my “Part 1” of 5 more things learned from being engaged for 5 months now.

Here is 6-10.

6. Learn to love what he/she loves – Since we’re creepin’ up on the wedding date, we’re having to think about house decorations, plates, furniture, etc.. I’d like to think I have good taste in some things, but I’m learning that it probably better to let her take on these details. It’s unnecessary to disagree on the small things — because in the big picture, it’s JUST decorations/plates/furniture/etc..Aside from those small things, learning to love what he/she loves just adds to the bond that the two of you have..

7. Give together – I can’t tell you how awesome it is to give something as a couple. This year, we opted to “adopt a child” during the holidays. Knowing that you are bettering a situation directly, and doing it together, is something very special. Whether its giving towards Water is Life, the Tapestry project, The Adventure Project, Mocha Club, or the intersection hobo near your workplace — take on this quote from the legendary John Wooden:

“You can’t have a perfect day without doing something for someone who’ll never be able to repay you.”
John Wooden

8. Quality time – Life get’s in the way. Work gets in the way. Reality shows get in the way. But it’s so freakin’ important to be intentional about time spent together. Cherish the quality time, turn off the TV and just talk. Go beyond surface conversation, talk about the future, talk about goals/aspirations/career paths…Be Intentional!

9. Support one another – This is huge. I can’t even explain to you how incredible it is to have a second backbone who supports you in anything you do. Whether its talking about future opportunities, career direction, or even in a conflict, knowing that you’re better half is 100% behind you is irreplaceable.

10. Embrace the art of encouragement – For some weird reason, if Paige encourages me in any way, I’ll remember it for a long time. However, if my parents or good friends share that same piece of encouragement — it’s a quick “Thanks” and quickly forgotten. It’s a huge part of me that wants to put on my best for Paige, and being an “words of affirmation”-type guy, those insignificant comments become very significant in my eyes.

BONUS
*11. Don’t wear slip-on Puma shoes – Probably the single-most important lesson I’ve learned in this time of engagement. No matter how much you love those slip-ons, your a big boy now and should probably ditch the high school shoes. It doesn’t matter how sentimental these shoes are to you, or where you’ve walked in them — all good things must come to an end. I guess it’s time to throw them away…

What are some things you’ve learned while being engaged/married?

ML


Why Marriages Work/Fail

Nate Thiry is a lover of God and people. If he’s not twittering, he’s most likely supporting local businesses, serving at LifeChurch.tv YKN, or dominating his Masters program. One who challenges me on a weekly basis by his thoughts and words of wisdom, I’m honored to have Nate guest post on my blog today — Send him some link love & check out his blog “Pity Laughs.”

Why Marriages Work/Fail by Nate Thiry

My two biological parents are happily married…just not to each other.  They are both, in fact, on their 3rd marriage. Simple math would tell you that I’ve been through 3 total divorces (and witnessed a few more) none of which were my own.  If you’ve begun to have pity on me, I wish you wouldn’t.  I really turned out pretty good, by the grace of God, & it’s these experiences that have given me this perspective on marriage: don’t get divorced.  Now, I’m not married, nor have I ever been married, but I’ve gained a wealth of information both by watching those who are, and those who were.

You see, I watch and learn quite a bit.  I watched my parents get divorced, and learned that it sucked.  I’ve watched people stay married, and I learned that it’s awesome.  I’ve also learned some foundational things—common denominators, if you will.

Marriages that are TRULY built on Christ, and that TRULY apply biblical principles every day will never fail.

Marriages that are built on selfishness will always fail.

Sure, I make it sound easy, and I know it’s definitely not.  I also know those aren’t the only two scenarios of marriage.  I’m also not saying it won’t take a lot of work, and that everything will always be rainbows and butterflies if you go with the first option.

A lot of times, I feel like we over-complicate things in life (especially marriage) but God gave us a simple, yet great example of marriage in the 5th chapter of the book of Ephesians.  Someone could give me all the marriage advice in the world, but none would top this stuff.  Let’s check it out in The Message translation for a little added flair.

“23 The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. 24 So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands. 25 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.”

Soak it in.  Drink it like a warm pot of tea on a cold day.  It’s that refreshing.

“What’s my role as a husband?” Lead like Christ

“What’s my role as a wife?” Submit like the church

Don’t say He never told you!  Now make it work.

NT


Being Proactive..

Thanks to some good discussion with my good buddy, Nate Thiry, I’ve been thinking about the word “Proactive” and what it really means.

Proactive – Action and result oriented behavior, instead of the one that waits for things to happen and then tries to adjust (react) to them. Proactive behavior aims at identification and exploitation of opportunities and in taking preemptory action against potential problems and threats, whereas reactive behavior focuses on fighting a fire or solving a problem after it occurs.

—–

During this 10 month engagement –I’ve almost been overpreparing for the preparation stage of Paige and I’s marriage.

I’ve been:

– Reading marriage blogs
– Studying lists of do’s/don’ts as a couple
– Books
– Listening to podcasts at work
– Talking to fellow husbands
– Watching Craig Groeschel’s archived series on marriage
– Following “MarriageMentor“, “NWAMarriages” or “RelationshipMgr” on Twitter

….Anything and everything that can help better prepare Paige and I for the next chapter of our lives, starting May 29th.

Why am I doing this?

Throughout my high school days and into college, I’ve had a front row view of ways some spouses went about their marriages. Putting work first, letting finances tear them apart, being selfish, being cold-hearted, forgetting the reason they got married in the first place, and ultimately having to crawl back from the lowest of lows to get to a place of contentment. So, in seeing this — if I can do some things to prevent the lowest of lows, you better believe i’m all about it!

So, I talked to Nate about all the above — about how I  want to make sure we’re ready for everything;  the foreshadowed struggles,  the 24/7’ness of living with one another, the finances, careers, etc..

And Nate just said — “Dude, don’t worry so much about your marriage falling apart — through this engagement stage, it’s obvious that you are being proactive.” He continued on by saying “…you’d have to start worrying about things if your relationship became inactive..”

Let that sink.

While its great to read up on tips to being a great husband, or how to handle conflict in the best way possible, or how to stay out of debt, or how to balance work-life with home-life — just know that being proactive in your relationship will help combat the destructive behavior that sometimes plagues marriages due to inactivity.

What can I do to instill pro-activity within my relationship?

  • Establish/Maintain strong communication skills
  • Be supportive
  • Build trust
  • Uphold a HIGH level of respect for your spouse/fiance
  • Practice a lifestyle of servant-hood to each other
  • Make her needs your needs, her desires your desires, her goals your goals
  • Find common interests and share them with each other
  • Get on the same page
  • Be real & open with issues
  • Makeout
  • Act only out of love
  • Keep God in the center

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” – Eph 5:33

That’s all I got..

ML


5 Things learned from being Engaged.. Part 1

First of all, what are the capitalization rules for titles? I’m sure mines all wrong..

Anyways,

5 things I’ve learned while being engaged for 3’ish months..

Part 1:

1. It’s good to start developing habits that you want to bring into a marriage.
This includes maintaining laundry, cleaning after yourself, or leaving the toilet lid down at all times. I guarantee I won’t hear the last of it if I’m always leaving face shavings in the sink, jeans on the bathroom floor, or clean clothes not put away. So, an effort to work on these things to ensure a peaceful living situation concerning my “bad habits around the house” is mandatory, b/c let’s be honest, Paige is a lot more clean/orderly than I am..

2. Your mindset changes
Entering into a mindset of eternal marriage rather than just another “relationship” really brings a fresh/new outlook. You embrace the concept of “long term” wholeheartedly and look at every little thing from a whole new perspective. For example — How in the world will I be able to sleep if she likes her room this hot? or Will I start reading the newspaper and/or drinking coffee regularly before work? or Do married couples still need “me” (or alone) time? or Can I still play ps3 as a married man? Haha.. Thank God she loves Call of Duty..

3.  It’s better to get engaged, then get married 3 months later.. (we still have 7-8 months left………….)
While waiting 7-8 months to be married really ensures a solid preparation for a lifetime of fun, quarrels, & dirty diapers(not for a LONG time); for the “instant gratification” people that we are — it seems like forever away for an antsy engaged couple.

4. Establishing a spiritual bond is more important than establishing a physical bond
While physical bonds/chemistry is important, for obvious reasons, it’s always so critical for an engaged couple to seek the Lord together and apart. Why apart? Well, spending time with the Lord by ourselves strengthens our individual walks with God, thus strengthening it THAT much more as a couple. Right now, Paige and I are reading a YouVersion reading plan together. The goal is to read the whole bible in a year – we are almost done with Genesis & are in the middle of Matthew. It’s a time together that we really value & really hold at high priority.  Another incredible time to have with your fiance is to pray together. It brings your relationship to a new level that not only honors God, but strengthens your bond as a whole.

5. You’ve GOT to be strong!
Yea, the wedding day is in 7-8 months, but the temptations are going to be there every second until that wedding. You’re very attracted to your fiance, obviously, and you know your going to marry that person anyways, BUT, as a couple, you’ve got to make it a priority to stay strong & stay pure. Communicate what your dealing with & fight them head on. Give it all to God so your marriage will be THAT much stronger in the long term.

Part 2 — Coming soon.

ML

While your reading this blog — check out this post where I talked about planning a MARRIAGE rather than planning a WEDDING.


Plan a Marriage..not your wedding!

Most of you girls who have landed on this, ages 7 – before you get married, most likely have a good mental picture of what you want for your wedding — the flowers, the displays on the reception table, your ideal wedding dress, blah, blah, blah..

But do you have a good mental picture of what you want for your Marriage..

I heard this thought the other day:

Many people mistakenly plan their WEDDING more than their actual MARRIAGE..

My thoughts:
I’m not saying you have to plan the next 30 years of post-married life. I’m saying sometimes engaged couples get so tied into wedding planning — the colors, the food, the outfits, the money involved — that they lose focus on the reason their tying the knot in the first place.

Sure – weddings take work, planning, details, etc.. but I’m thinkin’ a marriage that SHOULD last the rest of your life should no doubt take priority over a 4-5 hour cermony + reception..

By planning a marriage, I don’t mean planning a trip to the Colorado next winter — I mean really plan for a marriage and what will eventually come up..

Here’s a list of some things that you can do to plan for a marriage that not only honors each other — but honors God. (I’m using “her” throughout this list, referring to my fiance, Paige. Obviously, if your a girl, replace “her” with “him”) —> Unnecessary disclaimer..I know.

Here goes:

– Turn off the TV & any other distractions (cell phones, iPads, Kindles, computers, music — does the list ever end?) and look into each others’ eyes (thanks Kyle/Jen for this post)
-Ask questions about the future
-Argue a little (yes, FIGHT! speak your opinions in a respectful way)
-Find out how she processes conflict & the best way to find a common ground/solution.
-Find out little things YOU can do to make her smile..
-Talk about touchy subjects (views on topics, opinions about Obama, sex..)
-Find out how she likes her oatmeal cooked?
-Learn her passions — Make her passions your passions…her dreams your dreams.. (Thanks Nichole/Charlie)
-Talk about kids, jobs, thoughts on living locations..?
-Don’t even joke around about Divorce..
-Foretell financial situations (this is hard to do, but get on the same page on where your finances lay for the next year or so..)
-Affirm your love for her..
-Respect, Care, & put her as YOUR #2 (God as #1)
-Pray with each other/Read a YouVersion.com reading plan together..
-Go OUT of your way to make her feel valued.
-Protect her
-Defend her (after all, you ARE on the same team)
-Continuously love & actively support one another.

It’s so important that you know that even though you may fight, argue or whatever you do — at the end of the day, you are on a team. You are on each others side, backing up each other regardless of what may come up. So get ready, prepare your hearts and develop a healthy mindset before venturing into a life together..

(if your married already, you can take bits and pieces from this — but this is mostly for newly engaged or seriously dating couples..)


Love Extravagantly ..

The last 10 days I’ve been engaged, I’ve been exposed to a few things that I’m pretty passionate about..

Almost everyday, I overhear wives talking “mess” on their husbands. The same girls who make vows to love and cherish these guys are the same girls that are going behind their backs and talking about them like annoying 8 year old little brothers. This makes me sick – even more so that one of the “wives” is only 3 months into her marriage. I would MAYBE understand if it was a one-time venting session, but it’s constant! A continuous flow of negativity and degrading of their “other half.”

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that Paige and I will have run-ins, arguments & disagreements – but the same way that the conflict started is how it needs to be resolved – between each other! Overcoming conflict in relationships not only is healthy, but its also a great way of growing closer together and overcoming obstacles as “one.”

2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.4 So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

James 1:2-4 (The Message)

In these 10 days I’ve heard people say, “Michael, are you crazy [for getting engaged]?” or “Don’t ever get married – all wives do is take your money and nag, nag, nag!” When I hear stuff like this, I almost want to ask them more their relationship with their wives. How it started off? Are you pursuing her? Are you going “all out” for her and putting her needs in front of your needs? Are you honest with each other? Do you respect each other?

In this time, as an engaged guy, I aim to never get to that point. I’m sure some of you reading just shook your head as if to say, “Michael, Michael, Michael – your young, in love, only time will tell before you and your [future] wife will want to get rid of each other.” But the thing is, that’s the trend – that’s the norm – to have a good relationship for a few months, maybe a few years – then it being all downhill for the rest of your lives. Well, my focus, and our focus, Paige being involved in this, is to go against the grain. To continuously love and pursue each other, while keeping Christ in the center. Sure, things won’t be perfect all the time, but that’s life. But it’s also a choice on how you handle your imperfections, your conflicts, and how you come out on the other side – stronger or weaker.

I strongly encourage you to really seek out your other half – find our what their goals are for the week, encourage them to pursue them, & be their biggest support. After all, your on a team. There is no reason for married relationships to be short lived.

So, go against the grain, be a salmon and swim upstream. Love your fiancé/spouse unconditionally, trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, and love extravagantly —  even in world where that is obviously not a trending topic. #twitterreference

I’ll conclude with this passage from 1 Corinthians 13 — one of my favorite chapters:

3 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.4 Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,

5 Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

6 Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

7 Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message)