Tag Archives: marriage

Make Me Great

18 Dec

Author: Bagande

 

This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me Series. The topic….. Something I wish I was great at.

 

There are many things I want to be good at. I would love to be able to play the piano and the guitar. I’d like to be able to bake something from scratch. I wish I could dance. There are several things I’d like to be better at. I strive every day to continue to be better at my career. Writing, singing, car mechanics, and computer skills also come to mind. (And I’m certain my husband wishes I were a better driver.) But if I could choose one thing to be great at, the choice would be an easy one. I want to be a great example.

 

I want to example a great wife. I want my husband, my daughter, any other girl watching me, and even my son to see grace. To see humility. To see selflessness. To see forgiveness. Purity. Partnership. Kindness. Passion. Gentleness. I want to show them that a woman can be independent and strong, to stand up for herself,  and still be an effective member of a team that compromises and gives when it’s needed. I want to example a love and respect for my husband that will leave a legacy of successful and happy marriage for my children and grandchildren.

 

I want to example a great mother. I want my children, my nieces and nephews, my students to see sacrifice. To see unconditional love. To see boundaries. To see structure. Fun. Laughter. Openness. Memories. I want them to learn to prioritize the people in their lives above the things. I want them to learn all of the personality traits it takes to be a great parent and I want them to be able to apply them when they have children of their own.

 

I want to example a great friend. I want my friendships to be great examples of love. Of laughter. Of sharing. Of fellowship. Of loyalty. I want to show how important it is to have people in your life who challenge you and make you better. People who will support you and lean on you. People who laugh and cry with you. People who listen to you and trust you. I want my children to learn how precious true friendships are and what to look for when finding those people they can count on.

 

I want to example a great woman. I want everyone who crosses my path to see joy. To see faith. To see courage. To see freedom. To see strength. To see hope. I want people to see that, despite life’s struggles and disappointments, there is One who offers strength when we are weak, comfort when we are broken-hearted, and a safe place to land when we fall. I want people to see God’s love when they look at me.

 

That is the wife, the mother, the friend, the woman I want to show my children. Those are the footsteps I want to leave for them to follow. I want to be a great example so that I may leave them a great legacy.

 

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Going to the chapel…..

24 Jul

My baby brother is getting married in a little over a week. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was looking forward to my own wedding. I was much older than he is now and I thought I knew so much. I thought I knew what to expect and what life would be like. I had no idea. I do realize that no one can ever prepare you for something like marriage and real life, but I want to try.

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To Eric and Kelley (and anyone else who needs it),

Making the decision to love someone isn’t always easy. But that’s what it takes. Loving them no matter what. Even if they leave empty Mt. Dew cans in the living room. Even if they say they will fold the laundry and it’s still sitting, two days later. Even if their snoring keeps you awake at night. Even if they say something that isn’t nice. Even if they don’t act like they love you. Even if you don’t want to. It’s hard and sometimes it’s messy. But, to make a marriage last, it’s necessary.

Working on your marriage should start before you need to work on your marriage. If you wait until there is a problem, things get much harder. Make date nights a priority. Make learning new things about each other a priority. Have those late night conversations like you did when you were dating. Continue to try to do little things that make each other happy. Let her pick the date activity. Go watch that superhero movie he’s looking forward to. Surprise each other with little tokens of your love. Don’t find yourselves, years down the road, realizing you know nothing about the other person and no one cares enough to make an effort anymore. Don’t even let it start.

Love is an action word. Gary Chapman writes a fantastic series called “The 5 Love Languages”. It’s a great resource on making sure that you are showing your spouse love in a way they can receive. Don’t just do things ‘your way’. Make sure you are doing things that are specifically acted out for the sole purpose of making the other person feel loved. The things they enjoy. The things they need. Sacrifice is an imperative part of making a marriage work. Just because you don’t particularly like holding hands doesn’t mean he doesn’t need it. You may find it silly to know that she needs to hear that she’s beautiful and the extent to which you love her everyday; do it anyway.

Have fun! Enjoy this time alone! Kids are great! They add so much to life that is incomparable. But, they take a lot as well. They take a lot of attention and love. They require stability and don’t allow for much alone time. They certainly change things drastically. I love both of my children! I do frequently wish, though, that my husband and I had been able to enjoy some time together, just us, before we added that component to our family. That wasn’t life’s path for us, but it is for you. Live each stage of life to its fullest!

Pray together. Make sure that God is in the center of your marriage, your home, your life, and eventually your parenting strategies. Continue to grow in your relationship with Him separately. Continue to support each other, challenge each other, and push each other to be better. He has all of the answers and strength that you need to make this marriage everything He designed it to be.

Fight fair. No name calling. Forgive past hurts and move beyond them. Bitterness is a dangerous trap to fall into. Be vulnerable and honest. Love unconditionally. Ask for help! There is no shame in seeking help from trustworthy sources that have your marriage’s best interest in mind. Don’t betray trust or confidentiality. Make sure no one else can be a threat to your marriage. (Friends and family included.) Make sure that giving up and walking away is never an option. Don’t even mention it. And never, ever forget that love, true love, conquers all.

I love you both and I wish you all of the happiness and joy that love and life can possibly bring!

The red squares

29 Mar

This week has been an interesting one. A week of debates, harsh words, and judgement. A week of closed-mindedness masking itself as open-mindedness. A week of hate, a week of taking sides, a week of regression.

The gay marriage debate is not a new one. It is something that has been argued back and forth for years. It is an issue that divides people quickly; with not much middle ground. It is a catalyst for people sharing their opinions, and attacking those that don’t agree with them. If you sit back and watch, you can see it causing a division that is miles wide.

I have friends that are on both sides of this debate. I have friends, whom I respect and love, that are on the opposite side of this debate than I am. (I won’t share my personal opinion here. That isn’t what this post is about.) Most people who are very passionate about this issue, on either side, are able to back up their opinion based on a strong set of beliefs. I have seen arguments for both sides that are worded very respectfully and without malice. Most of what I’ve seen however, is anger, disrespect, and an inability to accept those that believe differently.

People who are passionately pro-gay marriage are very quick to put down religion and those that place their faith in God. They are quick to point out how hypocritical and unloving Christians are. They are quick to claim their right to believe the way that they want while, at the same time, arguing that those that don’t share those beliefs should not be able to speak their minds. They claim to be open-minded, but they only mean open to what they believe to be true.

People who are passionately anti-gay marriage (usually the Christian demographic) are very quick to put down those that are gay or supportive of someone who is. They are quick to point out how disappointed God is in everyone else. They are quick to judge and condemn. They are quick to claim their right to believe the way that they want while, at the same time, arguing that those that don’t share those beliefs should not be able to speak their minds. They claim to love, but they only mean loving those who believe the same truth they believe.

When did we, as a society, lose the ability to disagree with respect? When did we lose sight of unity as a nation, as a people? When did we become so unable to be passionate about a subject, to stand on opposite sides of an issue, but to love despite our different opinions? When did we begin to let our differences divide, instead of just making for interesting, intense conversation? When?

Or were we ever really what I imagined?

This week has saddened me. Whatever the outcome, whatever the court decision, I fear this week is not something we will quickly recover from. The words that have been spoken, the lines that have been drawn, the relationships that have been changed… those things will echo throughout the future. And their effects may be far-reaching.

Unsolicited advice

4 Mar

If I could give someone advice, something that I think would make their lives better, easier; I could. I would love to, in fact. And I know that my advice is something that not everyone agrees with, and that’s ok. All I can tell you is my experience, all I can give is my own opinion. And, I believe very strongly in what I’m about to say.

Don’t have sex until you get married. I know that’s “old-fashioned”. I know that you may think that you’re the only one waiting. (You’re not, by the way. There are far more people making that choice than you realize.) I know you feel like he/she won’t love you if you say “no”. Say it anyway. Chances are, that in two or five or ten years, you won’t love each other anyway. And if you do, they will respect you and love you more for standing up for yourself.

Don’t have sex until you get married. Let me tell you why I say that. Let me explain to those of you who think I sound like a hypocrite. Let me share my thoughts.

Sex is something beautiful. Well, it should be. It is designed to be a beautiful connection between two people who love each other. It is designed to be a physical representation of a love between a husband and wife. It is designed to build intimacy and create a closeness you can find nowhere else. At its most basic, it is designed to create children.

What happens is, you find someone that you think you love. You may even actually love them. You have all of these feelings and hormones you don’t understand. You think that it is an expectation. You think that, because you love this person, you are supposed to have sex with them. And then you grow up. Or you grow apart. For one reason or another, you realize that this person isn’t intended to be the one you spend forever with. You break up and move on.

That’s life. It happens. But, if you’ve had sex with this person, they take a part of you that you can never get back. They have somehow changed who you are and what you believe. They have altered your expectations and views of love and sex. They have forever impacted you.

Everybody knows the physical consequences; diseases and pregnancies. These things are taught to every middle and high school student in the nation. But no one talks about the emotional ones. No one talks about the lasting effects that only you can know.

And then, one day, that person does walk into your life. That person that you are supposed to spend forever with. That person that is worth walking through all of the trials and difficulties for. That person that makes your life more beautiful. And you regret. You regret that you don’t have every piece of yourself to give them. You regret that there have been others. You regret that someone else knows you like that. You regret that someone else has known your spouse like that.

It takes away from what could have been. It takes away from what is supposed to be. It leaves room for added insecurities and doubts. It changes things.

That’s my advice. And maybe I’m wrong…. but if I’m not, you won’t be able to realize it until it’s too late. You won’t be able to realize the full meaning behind what I’m saying until you have met Mr / Mrs Right. So, just consider it. Consider that I might be right. Consider that someone else has stood where you are, and made the decision that you’re trying to make. Consider that maybe, just maybe, what’s popular isn’t always right.

You have options. You have choices. Make sure you make the choice that is right for you…. the one that will continue to be right for you.

Better with age

28 Feb

There are things that get better with age: wine, artwork, architecture. But some of my favorite things in life also get better with age and experience. People often fight like hell against getting older. Me? I’m pretty ok with it. I look around at my life, and I realize that my twenties had nothing on what my thirties have in store. These are the things, in my life, that just keep getting better.

Friendship – My best friend has known me forever. Literally. Well, since junior high school. It feels like forever. At that time, we were typical friends. We would hang out, talk about boys, laugh. And we still do. We get together as often as our busy lives allow. We still talk about boys and laugh. Only now, we talk about our marriages and our children. We talk about the most important things in our lives. We share our dreams with each other. We share our greatest heartbreaks. She knows me so well and I would be a mess without her! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also made a couple of other close friendships with some great women. They challenge me, they support me, they teach me, they help me grow. I am so grateful for these women who have enriched my life.

Marriage – I haven’t been married very long. Maybe I can’t say much on this subject. I’m no expert. But, I have learned a few things. I have matured. And because I didn’t get married until I was older, I think I appreciate it more than I would have when I was 20. I fight harder than I would have when I was 20. I understand better what it means. It is still hard and it is still work, but I remember what the alternative is. And I’m looking forward to what lies in store for the future.

Motherhood – When Isaiah was just a tiny guy, I made some mistakes. I made some mistakes that could have resulted in my child being one of those kids other parents talk about and nobody wants to be friends with. Someone who loves me a whole lot called me out on it and I stepped back and evaluated. I didn’t really like what I saw. Because it was just Isaiah and I, I had a tendency to let him get away with everything. He was not turning into the young man he needed to be. So, I changed. I made the concerted effort to be a better mom. I learned to let go of some of the things that don’t really matter and focus on what’s important. To focus on raising him to be a strong, confident, Godly gentleman. To focus on making memories he will remember. And, sometimes, to focus on me so that I can be relaxed and happy and better able to be his mommy. Of course, I still make mistakes. I am not perfect. I could probably stand to do some things better. But, I realize now that teaching him and correcting him are the best things I could ever do for him. They will make him a better man. And, aside from loving him, that is my purpose in his life.

I also have acquired a fantastic little girl in the last couple of years. The challenges of step-parenting (I hate that term, by the way. There should be another way to say it.) are more than I ever could have imagined. And the benefits are more than I could describe. There is an inexplainable bond that grows between a parent and a child. Every parent knows that. But there is something completely different, yet equally beautiful, and somehow so much the same about a parent and a step-child. This person that I didn’t love automatically because they were created by me. This person that I fell in love with just as I fell in love with her daddy. This person that I chose to love. That I chose to treat just as if she were my own. That I chose to vow to protect and sacrifice for. There is power in that kind of love.

Me – I hear people all the time talk about how they would love to go back and relive high school or the year they were 21 or 25. Not me! I look back at who I was then. I think back to the stupid mistakes I made. I remember the way I let other people treat me. I would never go back. I am in the best stage my life has ever held. I am confident (mostly). I am happy. I am in love. I have surrounded myself with people that make me better. I know who I am. I know what I want out of life. I am learning when it’s important to stand up for myself and when it’s important to let something go. I am learning how to be by myself sometimes. I am learning how to balance being a wife and a mother, and still being me. I know how to love someone without losing myself. I know how to make myself happy and not look to someone else to do it. I am learning how to be a little less stressed and a little more open to change. I am learning that life doesn’t always go as you have planned so you need to take what life gives you and run with it. The me I am now is better than I’ve ever been.

Go back? Not a chance. It has only gotten better with age.

What about you? Would you go back? Would you stay and look forward? Why?

My funny Valentine

14 Feb

Author: Bagande

It’s almost Valentine’s Day. My first Valentine’s Day as a wife. It’s a day that I used to dread. I hated going to work and seeing all of the women, the lucky ones, who were in love and getting beautiful bouquets or planning special dates. I always used to plan my clothing choices days in advance; and I saved my black for that day. There is nothing like a day that served just to rub in my face how alone I really was. I hated it.

Two years ago, just before Valentine’s Day, this man fell into my life. That’s not really accurate. I had known him for a couple of years, but I remember looking up on that day, and seeing his face like I was seeing him for the first time. I was having a rough day that day and he put his arm around me, in a friendly gesture, to comfort me. I laid my head over on his shoulder and I was home.

Now, I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. I look forward to it. I’m in love and I don’t mind going to work and thinking about my special date. I plan my clothing choices just like every other day; only I make certain I wear something happy and fun. There is nothing like a day meant just for celebrating my love for my husband. I love it.

So, today, I am going to do just that. I am going to celebrate my love for my husband. Here is a glimpse into the man who stole my heart, and made Valentine’s Day something to look forward to.

My funny valentine:

He really is funny. He can make me laugh when few others can. He will do the most ridiculous things to bring me out of a bad day. He has a pretty wide array of jokes; some clean, some not so much. He laughs at my stupidity and, most of the time, he appreciates my sense of humor. He laughs at himself, which is one of his best qualities.

He watches movies, just because I want to. Some of them he has realized he liked. Some of them he hated. And some of them, we haven’t made it to yet, but we will. Bridesmaids, Les Miserables, Step Up, Pitch Perfect, you name it. If I really want to see it, we do. And, mostly, he doesn’t complain about it.

He supports my habits. Chai tea, shoes, books, diamonds and sapphires. Some of my favorite things. And things that he always makes sure I have. Whether he is going out and surprising me with them, or giving me a push to treat myself. He always makes sure that I am spoiled with the things I love.

He plays. On any given day, if you walk into our house, you will see it. He plays video games and super heroes. He plays Barbies and princesses. He plays basketball and board games. He chases our kiddos, and sometimes me, around the house until they are all too tired to run anymore. He pushes swings and goes down slides. He is so involved in the lives of our children; the serious ones and the ones from which their happy memories will be built.

He holds on to me. He sits on the couch with his arm around me. He touches my back when I walk through a door ahead of him. He holds my hand in the car. He wraps his arms around me when I need to cry.

He takes care of me. He recognizes that I can take care of myself; and that I can do it pretty efficiently. But, he enjoys taking care of me anyway. He does things just so I don’t have to. He brings home dinner, sometimes, so I can take the night off. He carries the heavy groceries in from the car. He kills the spiders and takes out the trash. But, he lets me be independent and never implies that I can’t do anything. He gives me the perfect blend of the two.

He catches my eye. Sometimes, when he’s standing across a room from me, I’ll look over and catch him looking at me. And he’ll smile or wink. And this feeling I can’t explain courses through me. It makes me warm inside. It gives me goosebumps and those butterflies in my stomach. It reminds me of being a nervous, shy teenage girl again, when the boy I liked smiled my way.

He loves me. He loves me in a way that no one ever has. He loves me in a way that makes it impossible for me to stop fighting for him. He loves me in a way that makes it worth it, even when it’s hard. He loves me in a way that defies logic and rational thinking. He loves me in a way that is not always like I imagined it would be, but that’s ok. It’s unexplainable. It’s just… right.

No relationship, no marriage, no person is perfect. We aren’t either. But, we are committed, determined, loyal. We are in this together. We fight with each other, but mostly, we fight for each other. That man is my hero and I am his biggest fan.

And that is why I don’t hate Valentine’s Day.

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