Saturday, May 2, 2009


Rest day today. I'm taking a break. Hope you do, too. I hope to meet you here tomorrow!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Complementing Your Spouse

"If you agree with each other all the time, one of you isn't necessary." I don't remember where I heard that sage advice, but it just might set you free in your marriage.

Someone commented this week about their "middle ground" on decisions. Bravo! Cathy and I discovered early on that we needed to reach agreement on all major choices regarding our marriage and our family.

I can't tell you how many times I felt frustrated when she didn't feel good about a certain decision. I also can't remember all the times her hesitance saved us from disaster.

On the other hand, we have needed to move forward on something occasionally and my awareness of it helped Cathy see it.

You see, we need each other.

We complete each other.

We rescue each other.

And we often drive each other crazy!

How about you?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Life Lessons From Marriage

After Cathy and I had been married for a few years, we went on a little retreat. I can't really remember where we went, but it was some kind of Christian camp and it was off-season. That means we were about the only ones there. We took a walk and noticed a tether ball just hanging there begging for a game.

Now I'm a reasonably good-hearted guy and I wanted to make sure I didn't do anything to spoil the great time we were having. Therefore, I decided to "take it easy" on her. She immediate took advantage of the situation and demolished me! Certain that I had made it too simple for her to win, I amped it up a bit. She stomped me again! After several games and total humiliation of my male ego, we (blessedly) quit.

It turns out that Cathy is quite a competitor and she LOVES games. We play some sort of table game at mealtime almost every day and sometimes we play at both lunch and supper. It only takes 10 or 15 minutes and it's an important part of our marriage. Our current game is a fast-paced double solitaire we call Pounce. Some of you call it Nerts. We both have winning streaks from time to time and she is currently heaping me with daily doses of humility.

Still, I hate to lose! It's as if a volcano erupts within me when I can't seem to get ahead. Why is that? Am I really so fragile that a meaningless table game can spoil my meal? How does that fit in with love, joy, peace, gentleness and all those other "fruity" things Paul wrote about in Galatians 5?

What are you learning about yourself when your spouse makes you tense?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WHY did you do THAT?

(Women, you have my permission to hide this post from your husbands.)

(Men, don't dare use what I say here to excuse insensitivity to that lady in your life.)

A woman we know told Cathy about the apparent impact of Sunday's sermon on her marriage. "My husband bought me flowers. Very pretty ones!"

I have a secret to share with you. If I bought Cathy flowers, she would ask why I spent perfectly good money on something that will sit around for a few days, then wilt and die. She made it clear when we were young: "If you want to do something romantic, buy me See's Candy."

We're older now and pretty focused on things like diet and exercise, so neither of us eats much chocolate. Besides, we read The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
a few years ago. That's where I learned what she really needs from me in order to feel loved.

It's not flowers.

It's not chocolate, either.

Have you and your mate figured this one out?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Dawning Of My Electronic Age...

...through a labor-inducing device!

In case you haven't read it here before...I am NOT a morning person. People who know me are rather surprised by that -- I am up between 5 and 6 a.m. most days. But, in the "olden days", the story was different.

Cathy, on the other hand, loves the earliest part of the day. During college, she often arose at 4 a.m. to study. Her dorm was quiet during those hours and she tended to fall asleep early anyway.

At the start of our marriage, Cathy would turn into a pumpkin as early as 10:00 p.m. and get up before the sun. I would do the reverse, trying to get to sleep by midnight or 1 a.m. and waking up at 7 or later.

There was a problem. One alarm clock. I didn't think much of it. My "scheduled" wife would use the alarm to nudge her awake in the morning and she would nudge me a couple hours later. The only thing, as all non-morning people understand -- is that one nudge usually didn't get the job done.

The first nudge had to be followed by a solid "shoulder-shake." I need to explain this one. My sweet, petite wife was also in gymnastics as a kid. (Think muscle-wrenching, bone-jarring, fingers-bleeding pain.) She quickly learned that she needed to shake my shoulders assertively. Two or three times our neighbors placed calls to the weather service about what they were sure was an earthquake.

When that didn't work (it usually didn't), Cathy would turn the lights on and make continuous noise all around me. Finally, bless her soul, she would yell, "It's 8:15! Are you going in at 9:00 today? Are you still going to ride your bike? Are you going to shower?"

About that time I would get some tiny message way down in the fog of my brain and think, "I'd better get up." Over the next few minutes, I would gradually accelerate to full speed. That means I would starting rushing like a runaway freight train and get angry at anything or anyone who slowed me down.

For some strange reason, Cathy didn't like this arrangement. I can't for the life of me figure out her problem. My puzzlement didn't change her resolve that we must do things differently.

The day came. She told me that, from then on, she would awaken me ONE time. I got to set the moment for the wake-up call, but she would not be my snooze button. I couldn't believe her "selfishness" when she refused to do what I wanted.

But I adapted. At first, I crawled out of my fog before it swallowed me again. Then. One day. I fell back asleep. I was late. It was horrible. I blamed Cathy. She refused to accept my responsibility.

Gradually I got my own alarm clock. By that time, I didn't really need a snooze button. I'm still not a morning person. But I'll be up early tomorrow. Probably out running before the sun comes up.

Thanks, Cathy!

Dear reader, what bad habit did you have to break in your marriage?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Fightless Club

38 mpg! (Your actual mileage may vary.) Lifetime warranty! Money-back guarantee! An argument-free marriage!

Those are just a few of life's famous misconceptions. The problem is that Cathy and I said our vows actually believing the last one.

You see, we both grew up in healthy homes where our parents loved each other, loved their kids and loved God. Cathy may have heard her parents argue once. I never heard even that. Consequently, we entered marriage with the faulty belief that we we could have a life together without arguments.

Some of you are laughing at our naiveté. "Surely," you think, "you didn't really believe such a thing!"

Surely we did! We were so certain of our commitment that we quietly scoffed at the pastor (age of our parents) for whom Cathy worked during the summer of our wedding. He kept warning her that marriage isn't always easy. "Too bad he has a conflict-ridden marriage," we thought. "Because we won't."

That lasted a couple of months. Then, wham!

After that argument, Cathy gave me a rock to indicate the strength of our relationship. She wrote me a letter telling her side of a commitment that it would never happen again.

But it did.

And it kept happening. We're coming up on 37 years and still have conflict sometimes.

I'm sure glad we were taught about forgiveness.

What misconceptions did you have when you got married?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Birds, Bees And Bowling Balls

Bowling class. Tuesdays. 7:00 a.m. At a time in my life that I thought 7:00 only came around once a day. And it didn't have an "a.m." after it! But I needed a Physical Education credit and this provided it.

After orientation and a brief explanation of how to bowl (duh) with correct form (I actually didn't know) we were told to divide up into teams of three. The rest of the season we would be in competition. That meant each team must have a female/male mix.

I had few close friends in that early class and almost instantly they were on other teams. What should I do? Looking around to see who was there, I noticed her. Oh, I knew who she was. It was hard not to notice the cute, shy girl with the long, straight blonde hair as she walked across campus. We were also both natives of New Mexico, one state to the East.

But I was engaged. To someone else!

Oh. So was she.

So I got her attention and asked if she would like to be on a team with me. Our similar situations would take away any questions on the part of future spouses. She said, "Yes" and the semester of bowling got its start.

Something changed that fall. Not what you might think. What happened is that both of us ended up with broken engagements.

Looking back, I think we both wonder why we almost immediately started going out with other people. Part of it was that she was a good student, serious about her walk with God and full of self-discipline.

I was a goofball!

She tells me now that I fulfill one of the desires Anne Shirley had when thinking about a potential husband. She always wanted to marry a guy who could be bad!

Over they next few months on our small college campus, we flirted. I wrote her poems and told her they weren't personal. She became the bat girl of our intramural softball team. But I didn't ask her out.

I was afraid she would turn me down.

Finally, I got my courage up. After one of her friends told me that she would like to go out with me!

That first date with Cathy was 37 years ago this month.


I'm talking about marriage in church this weekend. If you are married, what attracted you to him/her?