Derek has spent a lot of time away this summer traveling. He counted and in the span of 38 days he spent 6 of those sleeping in our own home. Whoa! I was able to be with him for two weeks of the four that he was gone in July and then… I had two whole weeks to myself! Someone recently asked me, “You must miss him a lot when he’s gone, huh?” I happily replied, “I sure do, but I like the time to myself too!” That kind of a response either gets agreeable feedback or a frowned “how could you say that” scowl. Let me explain.
One of the hardest parts of newlywed life that I couldn’t figure out during the first few months of being married was balancing “me time”,”we time” and “others time”. For whatever reason, I was consumed in thinking that to be a good wife I had to be available for Derek pretty much 24/7. It’s not like he put that burden on me, I put it on myself. I figured out quickly that my assumptions were WAY off. Not only was I suffocating him with always being around, but I was noticing my happiness levels declining and moodiness was on the rise. That alone was reason to get some changes underway. No man wants to live with a grumpy wife!
Some couples can definitely spend every waking moment together and sometimes that works, but for us that’s not always the case. We are each other’s best friend and we have a blast and love being together but we know that for our personal health and that of our relationship’s we needed to discover the gift of “me time” and we’re so glad we did! While it is true that marriage is a partnership and that we as wives need to learn to be selfless in so many ways, that doesn’t mean we completely neglect in engaging in activities that make us happy or spending time with friends. I love to read and I had stopped reading and didn’t make much time for friends because all I cared about was pleasing Derek. I set expectations for myself that were way too high and became frustrated when I couldn’t meet them.
Enjoying “me time” looks different for everyone, in my opinion. Some need an hour or just a few minutes of it daily, others need a weekly scheduled “self appointment”, and some like me just need it a few times a month. Since being laid off I’ve had a ton of time to enjoy being alone, with friends, and discovering new likes. I won’t get time like this again once school starts in a few weeks and when I’m able to start working again. More than that though, when Derek and I can have a few hours away from each other we appreciate even more the time that we do spend together. I told a wife a few months ago that I actually like when Derek gets to have time to himself or with his friends because I feel like he comes back home with a different kind of renewed energy, not to mention funny stories! Besides, my “me time” likes don’t interest him most of the time. :)
Just to mention a few…One of my newfound likes is Bikram yoga. I know a lot of people have varied opinions on the practice of yoga but I enjoy this specific type because it’s an incredible workout and a great way to sculpt a lean body! I love walking/running in our neighborhood, which is luckily Downtown Orlando. I admit that one of my guilty pleasures is “pinning”, I love Pinterest! I love reading and browsing through blogs, and I enjoy taking the time to learn more about holistic living.
Take this as an encouragement to get some “me time” like…now! I know it can be hard for moms with kiddos or when the budget is really tight, but try to get a sitter (I haven’t had to realize how hard it is yet to do that, not denying that truth for you!) and there’s plenty of ways to have fun alone without the need of money. If you feel guilty about it, don’t! Let’s repeat it together, “me time is allowed!”
What are some of the ways that you already enjoy time for yourself? Do you have anything that’s sitting on your list waiting for you to enjoy?
Here’s how some women enjoy free time: http://www.redbookmag.com/health-wellness/advice/stress-relief-tips#slide-1
It’s no surprise to many that I’m not all that jazzed up about being in the kitchen. I do feel like a great wife when I can put a hot meal in front of Derek most nights of the week, and I feel like a champ when I try to use coupons and meal plan. Overall though, the kitchen isn’t my favorite place to be. I hold my breath each time Derek takes his first bite of something I’ve made and sigh with relief when he approves. (I try to sneak veggies into meals so he’ll eat them more… That hasn’t worked in my favor too well.) I have only had him not like a few of the meals I’ve made in our first year together. I’ll take a pat on the back for that one. ☺
Before we were married, I hardly knew the basics of cooking. My mom told me a few months before the wedding, “You’ll figure it all out when you kick into survival mode and have to cook.” She was right! I admire that she always had something ready for my dad to eat when he got home, and breakfast ready in the morning for us all. While my sister and I were still in high school, and I chose to be vegetarian, my mom did her best to accommodate meals for me so I’d get enough nutrients and protein, and would wake up extra early so that we would leave the house with a full belly. That act of love, I want to imitate.
I’m a great recipe follower and try to add or eliminate ingredients to make dishes healthier (I’m kind of a whole food-eating-lifestyle-freak! Trying to get Derek on board still…) While I don’t care much for pasta dishes or Italian food, Derek really enjoys it so I’ve dedicated Tuesdays to be my “experimentation” pasta day. It’s actually fun! He recently got home from his last trip of the summer with DJB and I wanted to have him a comfort dish ready. I don’t like traditional lasagna that much but I’ve loved discovering an alternative way with making lasagna rolls. Click on the post title to be directed to a link for the recipe. I use whole wheat pasta, skip the egg, add tons of herbs, fresh basil and spinach. It’s one of our favorites!
I like skimming through food blogs for ideas on easy meals, asking my girlfriends tips, pinning “to try” recipes, and FoodGawker is one of my favorite apps. This wife here has no shame that I’m not an expert in the kitchen… and that’s ok. 😃
What are some of your favorite recipes? Have you had any kitchen disasters?
Ps. I’m so excited I haven’t burned our kitchen down!
Lemon Drop Ball
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 C. butter, room temperature
1 C. powdered sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. lemon flavoring
3.5 to 4 oz. lemon flavored candies, crushed
In mixing bowl cream together the cream cheese and the butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, brown sugar and lemon flavoring. Scrape sides of
bowl. Mix in 3 T. crushed lemon drops.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap and place the mixture in it. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to harden.
Flour your hands.
Form into a ball and roll in remaining crushed lemon drops. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in fridge until serving time.
Serve with assorted cookies.
Why did I have to see this?
Mine, His, Our… Spiritual Life
I’m still settling back into “normal” routine after a week in Idaho with Derek and the DJB for camp. The little town of McCall, ID., is where the camp is held and boy, is it gorgeous! For being a native Floridian, I sure do love seeing mountains and rushing white water rapids and I highly appreciate good hair days there thanks to minimal humidity. While the theme of this camp was “The Fix” centered around Hebrews 12:1-2 concentrating on “fixing our eyes on Jesus”, I did a lot of self-inspection in my own life as the campers were motivated to do in theirs. I didn’t have much camp going experience growing up (scattered few) so I soak in every minute as if I were a camper myself. One thought that crossed my mind is the difference(s) in my and Derek’s approaches in our personal spiritual lives. Before we got married, we did a super long pre-marital course that covered almost everything under the sun, including expectations and God being the center of our marriage. That was the easy part for us in acknowledging that without basing our marriage on Him as the solid rock and foundation and not letting him “complete and perfect us” we’d be in a hot little mess. The other part, about the expectations, has been a little more challenging. However, in one area we’ve overcome! Before getting married, I had my own way of spending time with Jesus as did Derek. I’m eager to read a verse in 10 different translations to get the most meaning, to want to know the Greek definitions of words, to listen to podcasts from pastor’s across the country, to observe a theological debate, to highlight and write in the tiny spaces of my Bible, to ask “why” questions, to wake up at the crack of dawn to think alone, etc! Derek has his own approaches in exploring and experiencing the same intimacy with Christ. In marriage, I thought that our spiritual life together would be an explosion of awesome, that we would want to spend hours thinking and discussing the Bible and other “hot” Christian topics and all that good stuff. While we have had these times for sure, initially in my head I had set a standard and didn’t think twice that I was about to merge my life with someone who had different ways in this area. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get frustrated a lot at first with Derek. For example, after church on Sundays I’m usually ready to dive into a “pew report” giving my thoughts, agrees/disagrees, and overall comments on the service/ message while Derek needs time to unwind after what is essentially a “work day” too for him as Worship Pastor. I would get so mad and think “Does he not care about what just happened at church?!” Even worse, I can remember specific times where I would passive aggressively try to get him to pray with me, or do a devotion with me which in turn would end up ruining such a beautiful time that could have occurred had I been patient. Nothing was wrong with him, and guess what, he loves Jesus just as much as I do! I had to ask God to release me of the desire to control this area of our relationship and to chose to see the beautiful times when Derek initiated spiritual intimacy with me. I was amazed to see how God opened my eyes to see all the ways Derek was already doing that, in his own way! He would send me links to listen to new Christian music that we both loved and we’d share ideas of how the song could work, he’d sometimes send me texts of verses or quotes that made him think, he’d invite me to sit next to the couch and pray or would ask me what he could pray over me, he got us an engraved devotional book that has given us tons of topics to consider and discuss, and so much more! What’s all this lead me to say? That I’ve learned that we each have our unique ways of interacting with Jesus spiritually which is great and it brings such color to how we experience our spiritual life together, unscripted and no rules to follow! Does it work for some people to pray together at a designated time everyday, to read the same books, and overall do the same spiritual activities together, yes, and there is a time for that too but let the “our” in your and your honey’s spiritual life not depend on what you expect or what your friends are doing in their marriages. Do what works for YOUR marriage and what draws you two the closest together towards Jesus!
Are there areas where you’re pushing your spouse away with your spiritual demands? Is there room for compromise and/or creativity? Are you focusing on asking God to change your spouse rather than yourself?
Some of our favorite ideas:
-We enjoy listening to 94.5FM (Orlando) that plays Gospel music on Sunday mornings when we ride to church together
- I tend to pick one spiritual topic to discuss with Derek if I’m initiating the discussion as to not overwhelm him ;)
- I texted him a verse that I prayed over him and exchanged his name for the “you” in the passage - we sit on our balcony and talk randoms about creation ( that’s easy with all the crazy squirrels in Downtown Orlando!)
- he calls to pray for me when he knows I’m stressed or nervous about something - he sings me my favorite church songs (I got lucky that he can sing! He doesn’t ask for the favor returned. Lol.)
- we occasionally watch a podcast together
Let that time together, yes, be special and sacred but have fun and enjoy exploring new ways to love Jesus together because we have a mysterious, creative, and abundant God! :)
I haven’t shed light yet on the awesome mission that God allows us to take part in during the summer. It’s a multi-faceted calling, but we LOVE it! One of the parts of our ministry together is that the hubs, Derek, is the worship pastor at our home church in Orlando, FL., Orlando Baptist Church. We’ve got a crazy great worship ministry coupled with phenomenal musicians. As an extension of this from the church, he gets to travel to youth summer camps across the US with four of his friends and fellow worshippers, Jeremiah, Eddie, Jordan and Adam, to engage and teach these campers about worshipping in freedom. They’re known as “DJB.” They’ve been to churches locally at home and as far out in the mountains to McCall, ID! This week we’re in Citronelle, AL., at Rolling Hills Youth Camp where we’re ministering to over 100 teens representing 5 different churches. A unique fact about this week is that all 3 of Derek’s siblings (and spouses) and their youth groups are here as well. It’s beautiful to share ministry life with family.
DJB’s mission is to bring people and teens closer to Jesus in worship. The passion they have is alive and deep and transcends any generational gap! We get to interact one-on-one with campers throughout the week at these camps, and hear how Jesus is at work in their lives.
As a wife, especially a wife in ministry, it’s crucial that I be Derek’s biggest fan! I mean you can’t find a bigger DJB fan than myself even of you tried. ;)
You may wonder what supporting your husband/fiancé in his work looks like and sometimes it takes a little creativity and work!
PRAY for your husband in whatever his mission field of work is (teacher, engineer, cashier, pastor, chef, etc!) and pray for those that work with him. I constantly pray for Derek’s vocal chords, health, and all that goes into the “sound” of his voice. I pray that his mind be clear of distractions and that he stays focused on Jesus in worship. I pray that the guys stay in sync and in harmony with each other, especially towards the end of the week when their energy is running on fuel reserves. It’s amazing how they keep up though, you’d never know! I pray that Derek’s heart be purified, that his spirit be renewed, and for so much more. Pray uniquely and specifically for your lover and let him know occasionally that you do. It is a great sound for your spouse to hear that you took time to pray for them with him or not!
LAUGH with him! A week of work is intense for anyone, so imagine spending it with teenagers all day and late into the night. The guys play in the morning and evening so it’s like they work double overtime! Derek needs a little distraction at the end of the days (unless he just passes out to sleep) but I try to find ways to make him smile and get him to laugh, no matter how goofy I may be. And, laugh with your man’s friends at work, ministry, and at home. Derek likes knowing that I enjoy being around his friends. One time Derek invited me to come hang with him and his buds because he wanted me to- I was on Cloud 9! :)
MAKE the mission a bit easier where you see fit. By this I mean, if you can help then DO! For example, Derek drinks a tea to help coat his throat when he sings and I try to get it ready for him as often as I can. If he asks me a favor I try my best to do it without complaining or asking questions. That’s not always the case, but I try! He appreciates the support and extra hand help. I also try to take pictures and videos of the guys having fun and worshipping. It lets them know I care, that I’m engaged, and it’s just good memories for later!
LOVE and ENCOURAGE him. Derek is a touch and words of affirmation Love Language man. He wants to know when I notice specific things and I love to compliment him on things he wouldn’t think I noticed. Among many ways, love your man through smiles, kisses, caring about his work, listening to his ideas and not shooting them down, and by being present in the moment. I let Derek talk about whatever ideas he gets no matter how outrageous they are, and sometimes they’re wild! I try not to play on my phone when I’m with him in “work” because I love and respect him enough to stay focused and plugged in- makes him feel valued! I try to text him, verbally tell him, or even write him notes to encourage him. Sometimes they’re quotes or verses and sometimes it’s just a flirty, handwritten torn piece of paper. I don’t do it all the time but his little smirk lets me know he loves it when I do! He’s a consistent person but likes spontaneity so I try to change it up often. Plan a date night even that’s all about him! I got us tickets to go see a concert in a few weeks just because I could. Something to look forward to for us. Don’t let the day go by without letting him know he’s loved!
Again, this sometimes takes me some work and I can get lazy. But, I love Derek and want him to know I’m 100% for him and for us so I try to work hard to let him know.
What was the last way you let your love know you cared about his work/mission field? Let’s make it a priorities for us all!
Love in the Details
While I try to figure out how I want to structure the blog, I do know I want to share practical ways that you can love your spouse. In your duo, I’m sure there is one person who pays attention more to details and that happens to not be me. But… I do tend to care more about details when it comes to loving. When Derek sends me an expression of his love I want to know it’s unique to me. This takes work for me more than it does him. He’s great at it!
In other words, you can say “I love you!” but when you say “I love you because ________!” It makes a special difference. 😊 Disclaimer: don’t try to exhaust this suggestion, it’s great to say “I love you” too.
If you know Derek, he absolutely hates bananas. I, on the other hand, love the fruit and have one daily with peanut butter. My heart smiled when I received this text message. He thought of me when he saw bananas, not because the banana looks or smells like me (I hope not!) but because he took an extra second to snap a picture and send it of something that he knows I like so much. Simple love in a detail.
So, how are you going to specifically compliment your lover today?
I’m Giselle, living this YoungMarried life. I’m not a professional blogger, nor am I here to join the fad. I’m a “young married” (Stats: 22 yrs. old, married 1 year) and I wish there were more resources and blogs out there that chronicle and highlight this life. Just two months ago on May 14th, we celebrated our first year of marriage. Has it been easy? Mmmm, not quite. Has it been worth it? Definitely! Even our first married argument over how the toilet should be cleaned was part of the learning curve!
Recently, someone asked me “So, how has marriage been so far?” I told her it’s been quite the journey, but we have so much fun together. To that the person bitterly replied, “Well, you’re still smiling so I guess it can’t be that bad.” Huh?!
Derek, that would be the hubs, and I knew when we committed our lives to each other that it would take a lifetime to live out the promise we made in just a few minutes on the altar on our wedding day. We don’t pretend it’s all glitz and bliss, but we do agree that it’s a journey that’s worth taking! We are quite frankly tired of all the statistics that are against marriages thriving and surviving and it’s saddening to see so many people throw in the towel over issues that haven’t been given a healing chance.
I made a promise to Derek that I would stick with him until the end. A promise I intend to keep. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle this YoungMarried journey. If you’re a young married too you’ll find comfort knowing you’re not alone. If you’ve been married a long time, well, you’ll get a good laugh out of seeing us youngsters living the life. If for no other purpose these pictures, words, and stories serve but to encourage you to give your marriage a lasting, loving, and hopeful chance than the purpose has been served.
One day at a time in this married life!