Marriage – Part two
Before I continue my marriage series (Part one here), I want to establish a few things, which have helped me through the years. For those of you who are about to get married and those of you newly married, here are some very handy tips which I feel will go a long way to helping to nip unhealthy habits in the bud.
Establish Clear, Non-Negotiable Toilet/Hygiene/Gas Boundaries
Number one. Keep a box of matches or candles in the bathroom. After male/husband completes a number two in the toilet then he must either light a match or the candle after this. There is nothing sexy about poo wafts coming from the bathroom into the bedroom. Nothing sexy at all. If girl however does a number two, she can be excused from lighting a match or candle as her number twos are far more delicate and do not have quite the intensity of aroma as males.
Number two. After male/husband has completed a number one he must always leave the toilet seat down. It is not loving wife well, to expect her to use her delicate paws to put the toilet seat down every time a male has to urinate. Also, not flushing the toilet after using it, is actually sinning. It is almost surprising to me that it is not one of the ten commandments. Establish this early in relationship/marriage.
Number three. Loud farting and burping from males is actually unacceptable behaviour and should be reserved for when male/husband is alone or amongst other males. If however girl/wife wants to occasionally release the odd delicate omission of gas that is okay and is an exception to the rule as holding it in will give her a sore stomach. Moreover, her omission of gas does not smell like rotten eggs and does not hang around in the atmosphere for up to an hour. Hence the double standards.
This topic is not up for negotiation and makes complete and utter sense. End of discussion.
Excellent. That has been established. Very important. Let’s move on.
“Be gentle with each other and protect connectedness at all costs.” Shawn Bolz.
Mark and I were watching ‘One Flesh’ this week. This is a documentary about church leaders in ministry and how they do marriage. Jake Hamilton and his wife, nearly lost their marriage while being in the midst of intense ministry which involved Jake travelling all around the world as a worship leader to packed out events with thousands of people. Meanwhile, his wife was at home with his little family and their marriage was slowly falling apart. After reaching breaking point their marriage has been restored and they are now passionate about living transparent lives and sharing candidly about their relationship and journey of restoration in the hope of cultivating healthy marriages especially amongst church leaders. They interview well-known couples in ministry such as Heidi and Roland Baker, Shawn Bolz and his wife Cherie and many more.
During his interview, Shawn and his wife share how in within the first few months of getting married they had intense emotional highs and lows as Cherie got pregnant within a month and lost her father from ALS within the year. As they describe how they dealt with the extremes of emotion, happiness, grief and changes to life as a newly married couple they discussed how they made a decision to no matter what, “be really gentle with each other and protect connectedness at all cost.” This resonated so loudly with me.
At the end of last year, Mark and I went through a loss to which the details at this time I won’t go into. However, it is suffice to say that it rocked every fibre of my being.
I felt grief to the very core of my heart, and pain so heartbreaking that it was physical
As a female I think I felt and dealt with my pain very differently to Mark, who was also going through the same loss. As we processed and journeyed through our pain very differently, what I remember distinctly about my husband was how gentle he was with me. He would hold me while I would sob so hard I felt like my body would break. He would stroke my hair while I lay awake for hours on my knees too exhausted to pray but too distraught to sleep. While he didn’t indulge me to give into self-pity and despair, he didn’t hurry me through my grief. He had so much grace for me when I took out my pain on him. He didn’t force me to talk as I often had no words. He refrained from preaching at me. He chose his words so kindly. He gave me months and months to recover even though he only needed a fraction of the time. He had so much grace. He was so gentle.
His gentleness was my safe place. I could process when I was ready. I could be loved. I could take my time. I knew I was safe. He protected connectedness.
There will be times in your marriage where life speaks loudly
In those times you have a choice, to choose connectedness with each other. You can choose no matter what, to be gentle with one another. To give each other so much grace. These situations are often crossroads in marriages and relationships. But beloveds, if you choose gentleness, you will protect connectedness. You will be okay, and your relationship will be so much deeper, stronger and more powerful. I promise you.
I realise I just went from 0 to 100 in terms of intensity and depth. All points however are all foundational marital advice. I have no regrets. Alas, this leaves me time for only one more point. Also, I may go over my 1500 word limit for this article Mark Greenwood. (He is not as gentle when it comes to my writing). I do so for the sake of healthy marriages!
See the Destiny in Your Spouse
One of my absolute favourite things to do is to dream about my husband’s destiny. To actually choose to see his calling. To ask God what He sees when He looks at my husband. I love to spend hours hearing what is on Mark’s heart for the coming year/years. I love to hear what he is dreaming about. No one in this world loves my husband like I do. No one is better positioned than I am to see him more clearly. To cheer him on in his dreams.
At the beginning of 2018 Mark and I sat down with our diaries and wrote down our annual goals for the year. We had both previously been seeking God separately to get these prior to coming and laying them out before each other. After talking through our dreams together, we then articulated a plan of how we would work toward achieving this in the next year.
Having articulated and knowing each other’s goals and dreams, not just for the long term future but for the upcoming year, I know Mark’s heart. He knows mine. We have established our dreams separately with Jesus and together with one another. We can now be each other’s biggest cheerleader and encourager. I can do everything in my power to make his dreams come true.
Two actual examples from our lives.
I know that I have a destiny in the world of business, health and writing. With our local business, Mark poured himself out to start my business of Dr’s Orders. Every Friday and Saturday he helps me wash up/sweep/clean and do anything I ask in the kitchen. He administrates the ordering, supplies and money. He does all the deliveries. He helps me with my writing. He subscribes me into writing courses. He helps to lay out and proof read my articles (and Caz my proofreading goodness). He posts all my articles on my website. He manages my website. He screens shots any encouraging comments and sends them to me.
He is my biggest servant and greatest fan
It is Mark’s Destiny to become a revelatory Professor. To do so means that he needs to study. Let me be clear. Mark didn’t finish year 11. He is however one of the most intelligent, capable people I know. And trust me, I have worked with the cream of the crop in terms of intelligence and capacity. So I see this destiny on his life, even clearer than he does.
This year he has started a graduate Certificate, to work towards this dream. Every Monday used to be our day off together. Now it is his day to study, and my day to do business, write and be the gatekeeper and personal protector of Mark’s Mondays. I make it my personal mission to protect his day of study. I make sure his phone is off. I ensure that I handle all the customers. He is not allowed to do any business or see anyone until he has completed all his study for the week. Plus extra. As I have had some experience with study I am fully available to be his personal tutor in anything he needs (even though the topics bore me to tears). Finances for his study, in my mind are irrelevant. There is no price too high. It is his destiny.
I am committed to making his prophecy of becoming a ‘revelatory professor’ true. I would give up all my dreams to make his come true. I mean that with all my heart. For now, I’m the gatekeeper to his study days and personal tutor at his beck and call. He better get a High Distinction! That’s all I’m going to say.
Mark is also going to make my dream of a vacation to Bali in the next few months a reality. Aren’t you darling? Shubba.
Terribly over my word limit now. Hence, I will end abruptly there. I pray you are finding this beneficial and useful and that my transparency will lead to your transparency. Let’s learn together and live healthy, kind and gentle marriages. Marriages where farting, burping and poor toilet hygiene are non-existent and where gentleness, connectedness and dreaming together are our biggest priority.
I hope you know that you are deeply loved and richly cherished.
The Healthy Hiccup