Do This One Thing To Make Your Marriage Stronger

The one thing my husband tells our children and any other young person who askes is this, “Move at least 3 hours from both sets of parents.” I have to say I agree.

Lest you think we hate our parents, let me set the record straight- we don’t.

But, with that said, if parents are close at hand the process of leaving your family of origin and creating your own, new, nuclear family will be greatly thwarted.

I had an overbearing mother and my husband had an over bearing father.

To be clear, neihter was overbearing because they hated us. They loved us dearly. The problem was that they both thought that they knew what was best for us but they didn’t agree on what that was.

So there Tony and I were caught in the middle. This created a lot of stress on our newly born marriage. We hadn’t been “grown” long enough to be comfortable with not doing what we were told by our parents.

I can’t really figure out why either thought we needed to be told what to do. I mean we were all of 19 and 21!

Can you blame them? I am still weighing in heavy on my 19 and 21 year-old children’s lives. They were just being parents and we were just being children.

And that was the problem, we needed to stop being children and be adults.

My second daughter did what her dad said. She left Canton and moved to Galveston TX, 5 hours away, with her new husband. She said that even though we weren’t the meddling kind of parents, she would have continued to depend on us instead of her new husband. The distance caused them to forge a tighter bond faster.

So, do yourself a favor, put some distance between you and your parents so that you can become one.

What I Wish I Had Known… Two things that would have saved me so much grief.

When I married my husband at the mature age of 19, I had no idea of what I was getting into. Who does? What I also didn’t know, at the time, was that the unrealistic expectations of perfection and “normal” that I carried were going to steal so much joy and make adjusting to married life so much harder.

Here are two things I wish I had known:

  1. I wish I had known that all of these big, hairy, problems I thought we had were just normal challenges that every young couple faces. It is so clear to me now (I am 48 as I write this) that it takes time to blend two different families of origins, two different communication styles, two different sets of needs, and two different approaches to life. Gracious, when you look at what must be done to become “one” its nothing short of a miracle that any marriage survives the first five years.
  2. I wish I had known that we had plenty of time to work things out- it didn’t have to be all done and fixed and perfect by day 27 after we said “I do”. You think I am joking. I kid you not. That is what I mean by unrealistic expectations. I hold myself and all around me to a ridiculous standard of excellence. If I have learned one thing in these 28 years, it is to let go of my timeline and standards and accept what people are capable of and to know that it will work out if I don’t give up. Not giving up and forcing my agenda are two very different things. I had to learn the difference.

So, there it is. If I had known/understood those two things, our first years of marriage would have been much smoother.

What do you wish you had known?

The Key to a Long-lasting Marriage

Who was the person or persons that impacted your marriage the most?

Mine would be my parents. They embodied commitment.

We just celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. I am so proud of them!

They were committed because they made a promise and you keep a promise- through the good and the bad. There was plenty of good. But building a marriage is a hard job and 50 years is a long time. I am grateful for that example. They weren’t committed because it was all good- it wasn’t. They weren’t committed because everyone’s needs were met all the time- they weren’t.

I understood going into my marriage that I was going to be in it for the long haul. It made a difference for me when the dreamy romantic ideas of what marriage would be collided with the reality of unexpected pregnancies, bills and growing up. I made a promise of till death do us part and I would keep it.

My husband made the same promise and his parents had set the same example for him.

We made it through the tough parts and what was on the other side was definitely worth the fight. Now, as we enter new seasons where the kids are gone and what was working isn’t such a good fit any longer, we know that we will make the adjustments. Divorce isn’t even a word in our vocabulary- working through the difficut spots is the ONLY option.

We are committed to making this thing the very best it can be.

I love my husband and my marriage is my most valuable possession. It is the rock my life and my family is built on. So, I take care of it. That relationship is my priority and the rewards of treating it as such are HUGE!

So, tell me- who made the biggest impact on your marriage?

The Best Belongs At Home

So often, we give our best to our boss or our coworkers or our church family and we are so spent when we get home that our family gets the leftovers.

Leftovers are, 9 times out of 10, gross. Nobody wants leftovers, certainly not on a regular basis.

If we want a thriving marriage, then we must give our spouse our best. The world can take the leftovers, not the one who means the most to us.

Living Bravely in a Dangerous World

When you live with a first responder, you think about the “what if”. Not all the time, but frequently. At least I did. All in a vain attempt to make myself feel like I had a plan. There were times you had no choice, like when your husband needs to know how you want to be notified of his death. Would you like a phone call or a visit?

Anyway, this “what if” game carried on even after he was retired and working for Amazon. Now, he commuted everyday. Having been a first responder’s wife, I knew that getting in a car is the most dangerous thing we do everyday and the odds of us being killed in a car accident are higher than any other way to die.

You see, danger is ever present, we cannot safeguard everyone against any and all threats. We just have to live bravely.

During one of my episodes, I got fed up with myself. I said to myself, “Why don’t you use that active imagination and write that story- the what if that actually did- in that book you keep saying you will write one day.”

So I did. Brett Bentley lost the love of her life too soon. She is convinced no man will want to live in the shadow cast by Adrian Bentley. But, at a vulnerable time in her life, she needs protecting. In walks Alex. For the first time in 6 years Brett meets someone who makes her feel alive. But can she be brave enough to put her heart out there again?

My Favorite Love Story- Part One

As you know, I love a love story. I believe that every person does, too.

I am often asked what is my favorite book or love story.

The answer is easy- our love story.

Tony and I met in college. It wasn’t love at first sight. As a matter of fact, we crossed paths for months before we were even aware of each other.

The first time Tony saw me, we were in the cafeteria and his best bud- the guy I was dating- pointed me out. Tony was interested in my roommate. She was more his type, short and fleshy with dark coloring. I was 5’4″ and weighed in at 105 lbs, no curves just long an lean. Dark blonde hair with green eyes. Not what he normally dated.

Before Tony I could count the guys I dated that were shorter than six foot on one finger. His best bud was 6’4″. The first time I really noticed Tony was while on a date with the best bud. A group of us had gone to the West End in downtown Dallas. I wound up walking behind him and thought, “Wow, he has a nice backside.” And he did. As a college athlete planning to return to Turkey and play pro soccer, he worked out about 8 hours a day.

We became more aware of each other. One night the team had come back from an away soccer game and we were all hanging out in the co-ed. A remark was made that someone had taken Tony’s shirt from the locker room. I asked him where it would have gone and he said he had no idea. I have no idea what possessed me, but I hooked my finger in the neck of his jacket and pulled it out. Looking down at his bare chest took my breath away. He had the biggest set of pecs I had ever laid my eyes on. I am certain I blushed. I began to look at Tony in a different way.

If you are wondering about the best bud, we were never serious. He and I had no business together- we were both way too self-involved. He would one day be the best man at our wedding.

A few weeks later, Tony and I went on our first date. Dancing at Billy Bob’s Texas, and it was life changing.

I am not joking and I am not being overly dramatic.

We may not have been love at first sight, but that date? That was it. Being with Tony was like soaking in a hot tub. I was at ease for the first time in my life. Wrapped in his arms, I never wanted to be anywhere else.

Tony says he knew then that he was going to marry me.

But, that is not where the story ends. I broke up with him a few weeks later. But that is a story for another day.

Celebration Day! 27 Years Strong

tony holly state park 2 2018

Today is our Anniversary!  27 years ago I made the best decision of my life!

As I sit here and think about what had transpired over these years, I am in awe.

There is a phrase I like to use about Tony when people are talking about marriage and so forth-

“Just as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, Tony Ross is a faithful man.”

It is the plain truth.  A few months ago, I was on my balcony watching the sunrise and reflecting on the past two years (this has been the most difficult season of life we have ever walked) and I said to God, “Just as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, you are a faithful God.”  It struck me then, I see God better because of the way my husband loves me.  THIS is what marriage was meant to be.

Big romantic gestures, long strings of words expressing his undying love are not his style.  He speaks love by his day in and day out small acts of kindness, grace, and faithfulness to me.

There have been those that have said Tony was too laid back for them or too boring. But here’s the thing- when the proverbial sh@# hits the fan- I don’t have to wonder where he is or what he will do.  I know- he will be by my side, leading the way, and telling me that it will all be okay.  Life is “exciting” enough, I’ll take a Mr. Steady over Mr. Excitement any day.

There are not adequate words to express what he means to me, to describe what 27 years of being one means, but I don’t want this day to go by without telling you how GRATEFUL I am at being Mrs. Tony Ross for 27 years!

Blessed Are The Problem Solvers

Nothing wears me out faster than someone who constantly talks about a problem and then finds flaws with every option presented to fix said problem.  I have no patience for this- at all.  So often, we can find ourselves doing this to our spouse.  We voice a problem and then shoot down every idea or solution presented by the other side.

Eventually this evolves into an adversarial type of relationship and this will spell doom for a marriage.  Perhaps the couple does stay together until death do us part, but there is a lot more to a healthy marriage than just living under the same roof.

If we are to live together in peace- we must choose peace.

We must choose to be problem solvers.

Solving problems brings peace.

Instead of looking at your husband as someone to be conquered, bested, and put in his place- you need to look at him as your ally in this game of life.  Life brings many battles and many challenges- we need an ally.  This doesn’t happen over-night, but if you will choose to see your spouse as your ally and choose the path of peace instead of quarreling and bickering- your home will be a much happier place.

 

Mathew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they should be called the sons of God.

 

eirénopoios: peacemaking, a peacemaker

Original Word: εἰρηνοποιός, όν
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: eirénopoios
Phonetic Spelling: (i-ray-nop-oy-os’)
Short Definition: pacific, loving peace, a peace-maker
Definition: pacific, loving peace, a peace-maker.

 

So, when a problem presents itself- don’t choose sides.  Choose to work with your spouse and find a solution that is good for all involved.  Then you will be peace makers and others looking on will know there is a God when they see peace reigning in your home.

 

Which One Will You Be?

roses and herbsProverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds her house,

    but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

 

This has been a scripture that has been woven into my mind for many years.  I’ll admit that in the beginning of my marriage I was very foolish.  I talked before I thought, I got angry too fast and I held on to things that were not worth my time.  Then I discovered the truth-

The difference between a wise woman and a foolish woman is that the wise woman knows what to hold on to and what to let go of.