Perhaps a Perspective Shift Today…

phil pirate

My silly, lovely, wonderful husband!

I’ve been reading Natasha Metzler’s blog for a few years now.  She inspires me with her graceful willingness to be transparent in pain, all the while giving God glory for the beautiful, blessed life that he created for her.  I am humbled by her faith, and by her conscious decision to take every situation in her life and find God’s blessing(s) in it.  What a beautiful testimony to the power of God’s love and grace, and how it can so magnificently transform us through our pain and disappointment.

This month she is writing a daily post on what she loves about her husband.  One new thing each day.  I love this, because each one has caused me to stop and reflect for a moment on my own husband.  Today she wrote about how her husband blesses her with his gift of conversation.  I love that something so common, so taken for granted, so quotidian (to quote my friend Bri), is described in such a way.  I love it because my husband blesses me in this way, too.

How many times does he allow me to talk his ear off when we go to bed…too late to talk…but knowing that I need to decompress?  The answer is too many to count  And so many times has he offered a perspective to me that I have not yet considered.  So many times he has offered a Biblical framework in which to see my concerns anew.  So many times he has thoughtfully expressed his understanding of a Biblical principle that opens up a new level of understanding for me.  So many times…in the middle of the night…when I am downloading all my worries and rants to him.

I am so very thankful for him, and for how he helps me reshape my thoughts and worries.  I am thankful for his depth, and for his willingness to be tired the next morning because so many of these deep conversations happen in the middle of the night.  I am thankful that he listens (even when he’s tired), and that he hears…that he seeks to know my heart intimately, and that he prays for and with me.   I am so very, very thankful that God saw what I needed and provided in such extraordinary measure.

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I was Blind, but Now I See

Five Minute Friday, a writing challenge hosted by The Gypsy Mama:

So, here’s the skinny: I’ve been thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing.

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Just painting with words. Finger-painting even.

So now on Fridays at The Gypsy Mama, a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Your words. This shared feast.

A Five Minute Writing Challenge <—click to tweet this!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give your best five minutes on:

See:

This has been a big problem for me lately.  I can’t see what’s going on inside my husband’s head.  He has been under enormous stress at work.

  • Frustrated client
  • Long days
  • Emergencies on the weekends
  • Safety standards violated
  • Upheaval in the office

There’s more, but until last Friday, I had no idea that any of this was happening.

My husband does not bring his work home, so what I “see” in the evenings is a man who is tired, sometimes cranky, sometimes short with me, and who would would much rather relax on the couch and play with our son than anything else.  He doesn’t want to make decisions.  He doesn’t want to be griped at.  He wants to be…peacefully…in his home.  And a hot meal would help.

I haven’t been able to see all of this, because instead of purposely looking past the shortness of the response, or the sigh that isn’t a sigh of frustration at me, I instead have taken it personally, assuming that he is angry with me, frustrated with me, or in general not happy with me and the state of our life.  And I get angry…at him.  And we argue.

I don’t want to carry all the emotional and mental burdens of his job, and I do want to be a good wife to him.  It took us having one of our rare big fights arguments for me to see…that he has been internalizing all of this stress when he is home so he can keep me from worrying.

How have I been so blind?

The Perfect Man (the story that won’t go away!)

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 Clearly, this survey hit a nerve…and a funny bone!  It is still making news, even if only to make huge fun.  And frankly, the survey (and the women who responded) do deserve a fair razzing for this.  I mean, really, smart jeans?  Watches soaps?  Admits looking at other women?  I don’t know about you, but I have more respect for myself than to settle for a man who “looks” at other women and sees fit to “admit” it to me, and any man who loves and respects his other half will go out of his way to make sure she knows that he has eyes only for her.  That is a real man.

This is not to say that I am against knowing what you want, and making choices that reflect that.  There is no such thing as “the” perfect man, but there are many, many men who are perfect for someone.  Facebook comments alone reflect that one person’s “perfect” is another person’s “not so much.”  Take a look at the following lists…

Woman   #1 Woman   #2
5’8 to   6 feet tall
Toned and athletic
“Blue” eyes
Short dark hair
Smart dress sense
Non-smoker
Gets ready quickly
Stylish
Wants a family
Earns £48,000 ($77,000) a year
Loves shopping
Eats meat
Clean shaven
Smooth chest
Enjoys watching football
Educated to degree level
Earns more than his other half
Jokes around and has a laugh
Sensitive when his wife/girlfriend is upset
Says ‘I love you’ only when he means it
Has a driver’s license
Can swim
Can ride a bike
Can change a tire
Calls mom regularly
“Can sing”
Physically:
-Under 35
-average to not more than 50 lbs overweight
-5’7″+
-no major health problems
Spiritually:
-Reformed
-church membership history of at least five years
Family:
-willing to start a family within a year after   marriage
-wants 4-6 kids
Sexual Purity:
-previously married/engaged acceptable with   legitimate grounds for termination
-has not had sex outside of marriage
Personality:
-outgoing/extrovert
Financially:
-has job
-steady job history of at least five years
-3-6 months reserve
-place to live (i.e. not with parents)
-wants me to be a homemaker
-can support a family without requiring me to work   outside the home
Relationship:
-he will continue to book the next event & escalate   the intensity of communication with each exposure.

I love that these women put some thought into what would work for them, and therein lies the benefit (I believe) of the otherwise ridiculous survey.  Far from identifying what society’s “perfect man” is, an idea that is even now being laughed at and razzed mercilessly, it is instead causing women – and men – to talk about it, to think about it, and to otherwise give voice and form to what in many cases is a more nebulous idea in our heads.  I know that’s true for me.

Before I married my husband, I had ideas about what would or would not work for me, but I never actually put pen to paper and specifically evaluated each criterion.  So,  after 10 years together and 8 years of marriage, I’m giving it a shot…

My 2002 “Perfect Man for Me”

  • Physically: like the look of him, manageable health issues
  • Spiritually:  be the spiritual leader of our home, but not overbearing and legalistic; understand that my spiritual history has been challenging and difficult
  • Education:  prefer someone with a college education, but not a deal breaker
  • Family:  wants children sooner than later; open to adoption (flexible on number, ethnicity, gender, health issues, family background); no children out of wedlock
  • Sexual Purity / History:  only two requirements other than truthful answers (if questions were asked); preference that if divorced, there were no children involved, but not a deal breaker; had never shacked up with a woman
  • Personality: makes me laugh; likes good (deep) conversation about substantive things; less introverted than I am
  • Interests:  common and complimentary interests (firearms, scuba diving, music, travel); hobbies (woodworking, home improvement, cooking, golf)
  • Financially:  can support a family with my having to work outside the home; supportive of my desire to be a stay-at-home mom; has a steady job and a home
  • Dating Relationship:  since we dated long distance, he had to make efforts to see me; make efforts to continue our phone and email communication between visits; treat me respectfully

My husband was and is all of the above, and though there were (and are) some rough edges still to be smoothed, he is without question the perfect man for me.  I told him several times over the course of our courtship that I could not pursue a relationship ever again where I felt myself getting lost.  I had that happen more than once, and I had come to the point where I would rather be single than wishing I was.  I’d rather be miserable and alone than miserable in a relationship.  Strange thing, once I got to that point, was that I became content with my single life, and that is when I met my husband.

Perhaps all this is to say that the key to finding that perfect man is to stop looking.  Know yourself, live your life in a way that reflects that, and be content.  Most importantly, live in a way that glorifies God.  That is the most alluring trait of all.