I've been married a lonnnnng time. Jim and I were just babies when we tied the knot way back in the 1800's.
I love him and he loves me, and we love the family that we have created...but, know this: any good that is in us is all because of God and His grace.
Because of HIM.
But people look at us, and they base what they think on what they see.
We all do that, right?
But you know that no one is perfect, right? And no marriage is perfect. Add several children...one child born with Down Syndrome, one child born very prematurely...and subsequently diagnosed with cancer...and two healthy children born in-between.
Just sayin...there's been some stress.
A teeny-tiny bit.
Jim and I are two imperfect parents...raising 4 imperfect children...in an imperfect world.
But, like I've said before: we are committed to each other, and to these children we brought into the world.
We have good examples in our families, with both sets of our parents having long-lasting marriages.
Our faith in God is the foundation of our marriage, but also? There is laughter. And lots of it!
One of the greatest lessons my Mom ever taught me was to have a good sense of humor. And she didn't teach me by setting me down and saying, "this is what you should do." No. She taught me by her example, and I could not be more thankful. It has been such a gift.
Because THIS happened the other day:
I was putting ketsup on my plate for whatever it was I was eating, and Jim said, "you put too much ketsup on your plate."
TIME OUT. I need to share that ketsup, specifically the EXCESS and the WASTING THEREOF, has been an issue in our family since Joshua discovered the deliciousness that is ketsup, and proceeded to put it on his plate for nearly every meal, nearly every day...of his whole life.
He would squeeze a Texas-sized blob onto his plate, and, of course, wouldn't use it all...and Jim-the-Frugal would FREAK. He would launch into a dissertation on how wasteful it is to pour out that much ketsup, and attempt to use LOGIC to convince Joshua to just squeeze out a little, telling him, "you can always get more."
Anyway...where was I?
Oh, yeah. I was putting ketsup on my plate, and Jim said, "you put too much ketsup on your plate."
And I said, "I know...I didn't mean to...it just came out too fast."
And HE said, "it came out because you kept squeezing the bottle...I watched you do it."
And I said, "the ketsup got caught in the lid, and then when I tried to open the lid more, it made the ketsup come out too fast."
And he said, "no, you just did that to make me mad."
And I said, "OH GOOD GRIEF. I did NOT."
And he said, "Moose, I've been married to you for 35 years...I know you were just trying to get under my skin."
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd there you have it. Marriage.
And where, in our earlier days, this trivial conversation might've escalated into an argument, I just laughed it off...because, seriously?
I can see where Jim might think I would maybe...on occasion...intentionally try to push him over the edge.
Because, yeah...I've done that.
He gets huffy and his face gets all red and his voice gets all high-pitched and he foams at the mouth.
Okay...he doesn't really do that last part.
It's just that I'm married to a Type A person. Or, more accurately, a Type A+ person. He is a Christian, and a wonderful husband, a loving father, a loyal friend, a dedicated employee, a faithful son, a good brother...but he is wound up tighter than a drum, and sometimes I just need to let out some of his air...so the rest of us can breathe.
And just like I've come a long way in thinking about what's logical and efficient and wise in any given situation, he's come a long way in learning how to see the humor in things. And LAUGH.
You have to pick your battles. I mean, I wouldn't use a time of extreme stress over serious issues to decide to be all funny. That would just be cruel.
I would, however, use humor to diffuse a situation that has been blown way.out.of.proportion.
I remember someone telling me a long time ago: "major on the majors," and I took it to heart. This philosophy works well with kids and teens (and young adult children)...and it also can be applied to marriage. If we keep God first and each other second...if we value our home and our children above the distractions of the day...if we seek out ways to minister to others...then that's a pretty good start.
"...love one another..." John 15:17