Category Archives: Love

Can I Borrow a Feeling?

And in other news, the announcement came today. It’s officially over. Friends of mine called off their wedding. I haven’t heard yet if just the wedding is off, or if the entire engagement is off–or even the entire relationship, though I expect the latter. (For the life of me I’ve never really understood the use of former or latter when you have a list like that. I’m just guessing at what’s the correct usage. Wow, we’re just laying it all out tonight.) That saddens me.

Marriage is a hard thing. It’s nothing to enter lightly. But it’s also something that doesn’t get easier. It’s not like a light goes off in your head and you know that this is it. It’s a commitment to stick with somebody and work things out. Some people think that there is one chosen person out there for each of us to marry (assuming it’s in the scheme of your life to get married, which is not a valid assumption). I’m not so sure about that. I think it’s more a matter of really working and trying to live with somebody. Marriage takes a lot of effort, and you can’t sit on your hands hoping that this is the one. You have to put forth the effort to make sure they stay the one. You’ve got to make the relationship happen. Obviously you don’t do that with any random stranger, you’ve got to have a deep friendship there. But there will be times when you can’t stand each other. Doubts will crowd your mind and you’ll wonder what you’re doing. And that’s when you stick it out. That’s marriage.

I don’t mean to harp on my friends. They’re unsure of what they’re doing and they’ve decided to hold off. That’s a smart thing to do. It’s also a very difficult thing to suddenly throw so many plans into the air. The chances of everything falling back into place again are slim. You’ve got even more work to do to keep things together. And I don’t just mean the relationship, I mean your sanity. That’s a blow to your sense of self, and regardless of where the relationship stands, you need some love. And sometimes in the midst of life, that’s hard to find. I hope against hope that they’re able to find it.

Wise in the Ways of Matrimony

Marriage. Marriage is what brings us together today.

How you read that line says a lot about how old you are. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

So I’ve been married for a year. Now I’m all wise and knowledgeable in the ways of holy matrimony. Have I learned anything in the past year? Yeah. Marriage is hard. It’s not all lovey-dovey and swelling romance like you feel when you pop the question. Most of it is mundane: Grocery shopping together, being tired and cranky together, foraging for something to eat together. When you’re dating or engaged all of those things seem so exciting and wonderful. You only do them together occasionally and it makes the mundane special. But when you do those things all the time it becomes part of normal life and running to the grocery store becomes a chore again.

A bit of the magic disappears when you live together. You find out what’s like after you hang up the phone or go home at night. Before you could hang up the phone and go back to your own little world. But marriage is all about sharing a little world together. You have to put up with one another no matter what.

That’s a lot harder than you think. At first it’s easy, but then things start to get touchy. It can go downhill from there, if you’re not careful. You have to remember a few things about the kind of commitment you made, and the kind of love you’re supposed to have. I always have to remind myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me, that sometimes other things are more important, that sometimes I have to let things go. Sometimes you have to sacrifice. And sometimes you have to sacrifice a lot. That’s what makes a marriage work. It’s communication. It’s working together. It’s learning when and how to be apart. It’s self-sacrificing and others-focused. That’s probably why most marriages don’t work today–most of us don’t know anything other than self-centeredness.

I guess that’s what I’ve learned this past year. I make it sound like a pretty rough year, and now my mom’s probably all upset and worried and I’ll get a phone call later tonight. But it’s not really that way, those are just the occasional hard parts. The times that make you want to throw up your hands and walk out the door before you say something you regret. But it’s not always like that. There’s the times when you hold one another close and let the day drift away. There’s the times when you just float around, not really caring what you do as long as you’re together. There’s the times when you wash the dishes together and you can hardly resist the temptation to soap her nose. There’s the times when you need one another, and you can feel that need deep inside, and you know you’d go to any length, put up with any crabbiness or ill-tempered attitude to have one another.

Marriage. Marriage is what brings some of us together today.

Christmas for the Spouse

I’m beginning to think that husbands and wives really shouldn’t buy each other Christmas gifts. Instead they should take the Christmas budget and have Christmas all year long. Instead of buying presents in December and feeling pressured, they just use the Christmas budget year round to buy each other surprise gifts. There’s no obligation. There’s no pressure. There’s no mad holiday shoppers.

I think it’s a brilliant plan. Yet what am I doing? Christmas shopping for my wife. Alas. I should have implemented this plan a while ago.

Marriage Advice?

What kind of advice can you give a friend who’s getting married? I often wonder this as my friends get engaged. I have a whole five months of experience, and you’d think that’s a whole lot better than no experience. I should probably share from my vast knowledge.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that nothing will happen simply by you intending it to happen. I’ve intended for my office to be cleaned up for five months now, and it’s yet to actually stay clean. Sure, it’s been picked up for a few days when the relatives were visiting, but it immediately returned to its former, unsightly state.

The lesson there is that you have to be intentional about what you do. That’s not really specific to marriage, but it seems more obvious now that I’m married. A lot of things become more obvious after you’re married. But being intentional is also helpful to your marriage. You can intend all you want to buy your wife flowers, but good intentions don’t score any points (and that’s just an expression, we all know that scoring points is not the purpose of flower buying–it’s trying to out-do the other guys).

Probably the most important thing I’ve learned about marriage is that it’s not glamorous. Before you get married you think it will be. But that’s because you always had the opportunity to get away from your loved one when they were at their worst. When you’re married, you rarely have that opportunity. Before you get married you have to go to separate homes at the end of the night (or the early morning, depending on how late you stay up). This separation introduces a sense of longing that immediately makes things more romantic and glamorous. When you’re married you just climb into the same bed and click the light off. Then your wife has to listen to you snore, grind your teeth, and then fight you for the covers. It’s not surprising that the romance seems to wear off pretty quickly.

Once a friend of mine said he was learning how to better serve his wife. Then it hit me. That’s what marriage is. Service. You’re supposed to put your spouse’s interests ahead of yours and serve them. That is unbelievably hard to do. When I come home after work I want to crash on the couch and watch The Simpsons and I want supper to be ready. But if I’m serving my wife, I should come home from work and make supper for her. There’s got to be some give and take. Which is really hard to do after eight hours of work when you just want to crash.

Marriage isn’t easy. That’s the one thing I’ve learned. You can’t just kiss and make up and hope it’s all okay. Sometimes you have to slam the door and angrily do the grocery shopping by yourself and come home and work through some difficulties. It’s called a fight, and only normal, healthy relationships have them. If you’re don’t ever fight, you’re in for some serious trouble.

Am I meaning to be depressing? Is this a plea for help that my marriage is going down the tubes? Absolutely not. I love my wife. It’s just it’s not all flowers and sex and disgustingly cute couples. Marriage is also about scrubbing toilets and paying bills and deciding who’s going to cook dinner.

Morning Breath & Shopping

One of the odd things I’ve noticed about married life is how incredibly bad your breath can smell in the morning. Of course I’ve always known about morning breath–I’ve seen the Scope commercials. But I had never actually experienced it and the fact never quite sunk in. But when you’re married and reaching for that good morning kiss, the morning breath becomes painfully obvious.

Another fun thing about being married is the inordinate amount of shopping you have to do. It probably doesn’t help that both of us lived in dorms before being married. We’ve spent the last three days shopping, and quite frankly, I never knew you could spend that much at Target. The worst part is we’re still not done. But thankfully someone invented the wedding gift–which most often comes in the form of cash. Which just so happens to be the biggest incentive for not eloping. And if you’re not concerned with outfitting your new home or apartment, by all means elope!


You wake up coughing and go to bed coughing. It’s been one of those days. Although I suppose it’s not as bad as it sounds. The in between wasn’t that bad. It’s just the morning and evening when this cough likes to attack and drive me nuts. Although it sets the tone for quite a lazy day. When you get out of bed only because you’re coughing too much to fall back asleep you really don’t feel like doing much. But the energy did come and the cough did subside. One week until spring break. Not even. Five days of school. Sometimes you just need a break. You’ve stretched yourself far enough and stretching yourself much farther is possible–just not very healthy.


In the deepest corner of my underwear drawer, behind the ratty pair your mother tells you to throw away–the laundry day reserve–is a tiny speckled black box. Inside the box is a smaller, black, treasure chest-shaped case that opens like a clam, revealing the pearl of an engagement ring.

It’s a small ring, size 4–it doesn’t even fit on my pinky, with a pebble sized diamond in the middle and smaller diamonds on the side. It was cast in 14 karat white gold, accented with bits of yellow gold. It wasn’t a two month’s salary ring. With my salary it’d be closer to a ten month’s salary ring. But that’s my salary.

Continue reading Engaging

Celebrating My Grandparents’ 50th Anniversary

Another day, another side of the family, and the contrasts of life. Today we celebrated my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Through it all they’ve been together–three kids, seven grand kids, and fifty years of ploughing fields and fixing suppers. Grandpa’s hand was shaking Sunday morning as they were called to the front of the church for a special presentation.

My Grandma & Grandpa–the most typical grandparents you can imagine. Grandpa always with his white straw hat, driving his pickup truck down to the river or into the watermelon patch. Grandma always selfless, dishing up a bowl of ice cream at night or offering bacon and eggs for breakfast, but always concerned with so much more. The two are so loving and caring of everyone. Even though I’m 700 miles away they keep up with the events of my life, always remembering me in their prayers.

Fifty years. That’s a long time. Partnership. Cooperation. God. These are the things they mentioned when asked how they did it. And before leaving the front of the church Sunday morning, Grandpa reached for the microphone, saying he had something to say to all the young people, “Being married for fifty years is really cool!”