Friday, February 15


          L ~ Listen, Learn    
   O ~ Open, Obey
V ~ Vie, Value
          E ~ Experience, Eat

     Yesterday, Jon and I celebrated our first ever Valentine's Day as a married couple! I know it's a more commercial holiday but I love the music and the heart chocolates that come with lovely cards and flowers! It was just how I always imagined it would be... sweet, romantic, full of kisses and laughter. We got coffee and I received some beautiful flowers. Snow was falling softly all day while we walked around in the mall munching on Auntie Anne's Pretzels, looking at everything we wanted to buy. Jon surprised me for dinner and took me out to Pappadeaux's where we tried fried alligator and a live Maine lobster for the first time! I'm not a picky eater... I just know what I like so it was a tad scary to try something new but I'm so glad we did because I loved it. Jon has definitely helped me branch out in the food department and he helps make dinner so much more adventurous and memorable.
     I honestly don't know how I ever made it without Jon. He has taught me so much about how to love and respect, how to cherish and not freak out. He's been the example that I needed in many situations and he can always bring a smile to my face. He has helped me live each day to it's fullest and not get caught up on the little things. Last night, we realized that we have not once fought in all our nine months of marriage! I'm not tooting my own horn because I'm here to tell you right now that we just agreed that we disagree about something just about every single day. But we haven't fought or yelled or slammed any doors and I attribute that to Jon. I'm not an expert at marriage, but the things I've learned so far will hopefully build an incredibly strong foundation for a long and happy marriage.
     Valentine's Day brings out all the sappy individuals, the star-crossed lovers, and the stereotypical haters, but no one looks twice when couples hold hands and openly express love. Because it's expected. My goal, every day, is to love wholeheartedly as if each day is Valentine's Day. And to do that I've come up with a list of things that I think are important to help make love a priority.
     L - Step one is to listen and learn. I've come to realize that listening was a lot easier while dating because now you're making dinner and cleaning up instead of going out to eat on your boyfriend's tab. But stopping to listen to what your honey is actually saying makes a huge difference in how you respond to them and vice versa. But listening doesn't come in handy only during conversations but when you disagree or when you are still trying to decide whether or not your feelings are going to be hurt over something that was just said. For instance, last night at dinner, Jon said that if there was one thing about me that he could change, it would be how picky I am. I had to sit there and think about what he said and about what he said. What I heard him say was, "I don't like something about you and I wish you were different." but what he said was, "I really enjoy trying new foods and I want to help you have these experiences as well because I really love it." See the difference? A big part of listening is hearing what the other person is trying to say, not always what they said and that's something I've had to learn about Jon. Things don't always come out the way he planned them in his head. It's important to continue learning about your spouse, bf, family, etc. otherwise it's easy to become disinterested. So, what flowers do they like, how do they talk, what is number three on their bucket list?
     O - Step two is about being open and obeying. It's never been easy for me to come out and explain what's weighing on the back of my mind. But as a married couple we are partners, we help each other. If Jon asks me what's wrong then I should try and genuinely share. Your spouse or parents or mentor can help clear away doubts or intercede for you. If you're having a hard time with something share, be honest about struggles and your feelings. Who better to lean on than a spouse that's pointing you to Jesus? If you want them to trust you, you need to trust them but along with that comes responsibility. If your husband shares with you something and he says he doesn't want anyone to know let me just tell you "please don't share with your friends" means "please don't share with your friends" not "please don't share with anyone but your best friend who's best friends with everyone". Obeying does not necessarily mean doing whatever you are ordered around to do, but really it means to respect the spoken and sometimes unspoken wishes of your spouse.
     V - Vying for and valuing your loved one is a major step in showing love everyday. What does it mean to really vie for your husbands attention? Well, how about this, there's the t.v., work, eating, lawn mowing, you, maybe kids, and sleep all grabbing at your honey's attention right? Ok, now which one do you want to win out over the others? You, of course! So, be the person he loves, be fun, funny, sexy, bake surprises, be spontaneous, flirt for heaven's sake! Man, I don't know what it is about women (especially me) but when we are in our zone... "Don't you dare try to tickle me I'm doing the frickin' bills!" And oh boy, what do you know!, life has won out and we are no fun again! How does this keep happening? Whhhyyy mmmeeeee???!?! If you want your spouse's attention make yourself available. Pause your movie and put scrap booking away for a night, seek out time to be together and allow yourself to be sought out and found. Then value the time you share together, value your special person. Take note of their quirky habits and cherish each moment you share because one day one of you might not be there.
     E - And the last and fourth step is to experience and eat. Throughout life we gain experiences, we experience new sensations and realities so be sure and experience life with your spouse. Give yourselves memories you can remember back to together. This one is important to me because I don't want to be three jobs, four kids, and two houses down the road and realize I haven't seen my husband (figuratively speaking) in thirty years! Jon likes to skydive so one of these days I'm going to go with him and experience what he calls "getting your knees in the breeze". Lol I'm sure I'll be terrified but I want to share that with him so we can look back and laugh about how loud I whooped and hollered on the way down! Another activity to do together is to eat. I can't express how important it is to me that Jon and I eat as many meals as we can together. That's when we bond and share ideas, it brings us closer together. So eat out, try new foods, cook together, and splurge on ice cream every once in awhile.

     So, while I'm not the expert on marriage, I just wanted to share what's been going on in my head and encourage each of you to live as if every day is Valentine's Day.
     Love much. :)

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