Saturday, June 05, 2004

Marriage links for the week  

Rebecca writes about her casual attitude toward wedding anniversaries has not changed in her husband's absence. Thanks to Rey for the link.

Marla is proud of her husband.

One of the strongest proponents of marriage in the country, apparently and ironically, is a Catholic priest who teaches a class called "Christian Marriage" at the University of Dayton. His class is so popular, and his impact is so profound, that university alumni have set up a scholarship fund in his honor. He says the keys to a successful marriage are "knowing who you are, knowing your spouse and maintaining a focus, passion and dedication to each other."

I love dogs, and Fred's young lab looks like a delight for anyone who doesn't have to live with him. There are a couple of pictures at Fragments From Floyd of the pup chasing a butterfly and leaping for joy in a picturesque creek.

Friday, June 04, 2004

His and Hers XII  

Note: I posted this last week then left town. There was some sort of technical glitch. The post disappeared, and I was unable to do anything about it (and thanks, Rey, for posting in my absence). I'm reposting it again for this week.


His and Hers is a question or discussion topic relating to marriage that I post every Tuesday or Wednesday (though I didn't get a chance to do that this week). On Friday, my wife and I each write our thoughts on the topic. I invite other bloggers to do the same with their spouses as an exercise in celebrating marriage. This week's question is:

Merriam-Webster Online recently conducted a survey of their readers' favorite words. What are your top ten favorite words, in no particular order and for any reason at all?

Mrs. Happy's response

philanthropic
mandala!
havoc
ensues
globular
heck
heinous
kumquat
excellent (Mr. Burns-style)
entrepreneur

Curt's response

yonder
howdy
wherefore
happy
flappy
hijinks
inspire
askance
eschew
ethereal

Thursday, June 03, 2004

RLTB™  

Real life is holding the Ace, King, Queen, and Jack of Spades right now, compared to the 10 of Diamonds that blogging possesses, which means that real life is trumping the heck out of blogging. I will probably write more about it when I get a chance (maybe Monday), but for now I'll just have to claim my RLTB rights.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

How long has it been?  

by Steve Switzer

18 years, 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days, 12 hours and 34 minutes…but who's counting?

Many a man (including yours truly) has found himself at an uncomfortable loss for words when confronted with this familiar question, "So, how long have you been married?" The crowd grows silent, the sound of crickets are heard, all eyes are suddenly turned on him (especially the glaring eyes of his beloved). After a brief pause that seems to last forever, he responds cleverly with, "Not nearly long enough!" or "It seems like it was only yesterday!" — Of course, the other infamous question involves the actual date of the blessed event, but that's another story.

It is somewhat of a mystery why many men can remember the box scores of their favorite sports team since childhood, but they seem to draw a blank when it comes to remembering how long they've been married to "the woman of their dreams." But even if the date does escape me, I know that I could never forget the moments we've shared in "18 plus" years of marriage. So far, I can remember times when we laughed so hard that it hurt. There have been times when I, the strong he-man, cried uncontrollably in the loving arms of my best friend. When I stop and think about it, there has literally never been a dull moment in our marriage journey, and we're really just getting started.

I am reminded of the words of the Psalmist, David, "Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12) I think he is basically saying, "life is brief, and full of wonderful opportunities, so cherish each and every day you have." I also see this applying to the part of my life that I am sharing with my special friend and wife, Shelley. I believe that the better part of the last nineteen years of my life has been "a Gift within a Gift." So, every once in a while I stop and "number the days—cherish the days" of my marriage. Just as in life there are good days and bad days, in this relationship, there are definitely ups and downs. But every time I honestly consider the precious gift from God in the person of my wife, I gain a bit more wisdom. I have come to realize and agree completely with the words of Solomon in Proverbs, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 18:22)

It is hard to believe sometimes that we've been married almost nineteen years. It really does seem just like yesterday that it all began. While at the same time, I feel like we've been married forever. It is hard to remember a time without her. I cherish the days, each and every one of them, as the gift that they are from God.

So, who's counting the days? I guess I am. There have been 6,720 of them, and I'm still counting—numbering—cherishing each and every one of them.

By the way, the date was December 28th. Honestly, some things you just never forget!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

An 18-year-old gift from God  

by Shelley Switzer

When my friend Curt asked if I could write something for his Web site about being married for 18 years I was thrilled. We just celebrated 18 years of marriage. We also just celebrated our son's 13th birthday, so now we have 2 teenagers in our home and we enjoy them both very much. We also have a 6-year-old who keeps us young. (Or is she making us old? That's a whole other article!)

I sat down to write and now I don't know what to say. Let's see.

It's been the best of times, it's been the worst of times. No, no. Let me try again.

It seems like yesterday we met for the first time and then it seems like we have been together FOREVER! There have been days when he is just a few minutes late and I think my heart will burst inside if I don't see him soon! There have also been times when I can understand why women run over their husbands with a car. (Don't worry. The way I drive he could lie down in front of my tires and I'd still miss him.) I have to say that in 18 years we have had a LOT more good days than bad. So I sit here asking myself: How did that happen? Why do I smile even now thinking about the day all our kids are grown and gone and it's just the two of us? I can only think of a few reasons:

  1. From day one we always make sure the other knows we love them. In 18 years there has never been a day that Steve left for work and didn't kiss me good-bye. Even when I'd been up all night with a crying baby and I was finally sleeping, he'd kiss me good-bye. (I didn't always appreciate it then, but I do now. Sorry honey! I truly appreciate it now!)

    We also say "I love you" every day. We decided early in our marriage that if the unthinkable happened and one of us died in our sleep or died coming home from work, the other one would not spend days or years regretting they never said, "I love you." So he knows and I know. We are loved!

  2. We keep God in the center of our marriage and our lives. I had to learn this one. Steve can't meet all my needs, but God can. What a load of pressure off my husband when I finally figured that out!

    When we did have young children and it was all I could do to function, Steve would share what he had been learning in his devotion time. There were days I resented him for this. I wanted to have my own quiet time. But every time it got quiet, I fell asleep! Learning from what Steve was learning was not as good as getting it for myself, but in those trying times it kept me going and encouraged me to get back to my quiet times.

    Just a few years ago, God revealed to me to pray for passion in our marriage. I'll admit I fought it for a while. A good marriage should have that, why pray for it? When I finally swallowed my pride and realized Jesus said in the book of John "Without me you can do NOTHING," I started praying for passion and for God to show me how to love Steve more. What a difference it has made in our marriage!

  3. We make time for each other. This has been the hardest lesson to learn. Especially when the kids started coming. We had heard couples need date nights. Let me emphasize it again. You need date nights. Even if it's not out to eat. Just send the kids out and stay home together. Make time for each other. When you do get that time TALK, TALK, TALK. Talk about your hopes, dreams, discouragements, frustrations. Everything. Even if you are not a talker, learn to talk. You need that time to stay in touch with each other.

  4. Last, but not least, keep learning about marriage and each other. We read books or take classes to learn everything from ant farming to zoo keeping, but we rarely read books on how to keep a marriage going. Make it a point to read one Christian book on marriage a year or go to a couple's retreat. You never know when you'll find out after all these years that your spouse LOVES Captain Crunch! (Inside joke.)

So that's basically it. Why after 18 years, I love Steve more than the day we married. Why if he doesn't get home soon, I'm going to eat his sandwich and he'll forgive me. Why I can't wait to see what the next 18 has in store for us. Why I KNOW, marriage is a gift from God!

Monday, May 31, 2004

Marriage heroes  

My wife and I are responsible for the quality and success of our marriage even if the world assembles against us. I truly believe that even if every other marriage on the planet were to fail, if everyone we know constantly criticized us for remaining committed to one another, and even if the federal government outlawed marriage as we know it, Mrs. Happy and I would still be accountable to God for loving each other the way He intended. Our world, fortunately, isn't quite as hostile as all that, but it is still a generally discouraging place for those of us who value marriage. So we look for encouragement wherever we can find it, and God has blessed us with a huge source of encouragement in our pastor and his wife.

Sad to say, but pastors' families usually fall well short of role model status. Their wives gossip worse than anyone, and their kids cut a wide swath of mayhem throughout their childhood and teenage years. Steve and Shelley Switzer, along with their three wonderful children, are notable exceptions to this rule. Every member of their family loves Jesus and is devoted to ministry. They are a God-centered family, full of love and worthy of emulation, and they are an inspiration to my wife and me.

We celebrated our sixth anniversary last week, while Steve and Shelley celebrated their 18th in December. I asked them each to write a little something about having been married for that long. I will post their thoughts tomorrow and Wednesday.

I thank God for them, for their family, and for the example they provide to all of us.