Your Marriage is Meant to Endure Conflict

Your marriage is meant to endure conflict! Learn how with AuthenticVirtue.com

Honesty time.

Sometimes, even in the happiest, God-centered marriages, your going to be angry. You’re going to be angry with your unmet expectations, forgotten trash, or cancelled plans.

Sometimes the cause is legitimate while other times it’s your own personal issue causing the angry, emotional torrents to come bubbling out. Then, there are the days when it’s not a his or her problem as much as it’s a hormonal problem or lack of sleep problem.

This is real life, ya’ll.

So, what do you do when you’re tempted to be angry? How do you adjust to the fact that your adorable, wonderful marriage may have grumpy days?

Realize bad days do not equal a bad marriage

Ugh. I cannot count the times I’ve felt like a failure because we had grumpy days. As Dalton’s bride, I took full responsibility for the constant, 100% never blue, happy days I wanted our marriage to be full of.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise when I fell to pieces the first time a bad day came around. I had placed an unrealistic expectation on both D and I.

Friend, grumpy days happen and they do not signify the apocalypse-ing end of your marriage. Grumpy days test you and your spouse’s humanness. It signifies that you’re both sinners in need of grace, God’s amazing gift of holiness and forgiveness.

So don’t freak out. Instead …

Assess the situation

What’s going on? What has turned your Knight in Shining Armor into something less than shining? Why are you acting like a shrew instead of the beautiful bride that you are? Are you tired? Hormonal? Is hubby carrying a stressful workload? Are bills piling up? Is there an family or in-law issue causing tension?

Assess the situation; most of the time grumpy days have root issues which go deeper then the current problem. In other words, it isn’t always about the cheese.

Take time to discover what’s causing the tension in your home instead of jumping to hasty conclusions. Then …

Communicate

I recently heard a radio speaker suggest couples keep an index card in the freezer saying, “I’m angry with you and want to talk about it but I won’t attack you. Is now a good time?” He suggested the angry spouse pull the card out of the freezer and hand it to the offending party whenever an issue required resolving or a communication stalemate has occurred.

I love this idea because I’ve found that communication is key. When grumpy days come it’s easy to let our inner Ice Queens take over — we’re hurt but we’re waiting for our spouse to breach the divide. Hours pass in uneasy tension as emotions foster anger, assumptions and bitterness. D likes to say, “Talk it out otherwise you’ll assume the worst.”

He’s right. Talk it out. Hand your spouse the ice cold index card assuring him that you won’t attack but want to get to the root issue of the problem.

Realize James 1:20

Confession: Anger is one of my big sins. For years I labored at maintaining my cool cucumber appearance only sharing my deep, angry thoughts and disappointments with family who knew and understood me. For years I allowed myself to not call sin sin.

I met Dalton and the façade pressed on (because, well, I wanted him to think I ways always sweet, wonderful and perfect … who wouldn’t?) 😉 It wasn’t till after we married and he mentioned that he didn’t like the burlap banners I tacked above every window and bare space our smallish home possessed. (Think up to 6-8 hot-glued tool, burlap banners — haha.)

He left for work and I threw myself on our bed. I was so mad. So angry in fact that my thoughts startled me. They were vengeful and malicious.

I’ve since made James 1:20 my key, go-to verse when I sense emotions getting the better of me. Because, truth be told, my anger will never work God’s righteousness in my life — only sin. It doesn’t matter how justified I feel, how badly I’ve been offended or how deserving of punishment the offender is. Our anger will not work one once of righteousness in our lives.

Forgive and Bless

Ultimately, I’m responsible for myself and my emotions. Grumpy days will happen and when we assess the situation (figure out what’s really going on), communicate (but not attack), and recognize that wrath will only hinder God’s work in our life then it’s time to move on. It’s time to forgive and bless. 

The beautiful thing about forgiving our spouses when they act grumpy or hurt us is that it’s life-giving to both parties. When Dalton forgives me for being an emotional ball of negative energy and chooses to bless me he is not only breathing life into my life but his.

So, do the next thing. Forgive and bless. I once heard the advice of baking your husband’s favorite cookies when you’re struggling with negative emotions toward him. It’s good for us to give up on steaming and steeping over our spouses faults and move toward finding ways of encouraging and brightening their day.

It’s good for them and it’s really good for you.

This is from experience because I’ve been there. I’ve been angry and have wrought havoc because I refused to handle the issue correctly. Let’s grow in grace by being women and men of God who handle the grumpy days properly. Knowing that arguments do not equal divorce, assessing the situation, communicating and forgiving will bring joy to your lives.

I know because I’ve learned the hard way. Marriage is meant to endure conflict. Learn how.

Free Printable @ 800x800 px with AuthenticVirtue.com

Need a little inspiration when days get tough? Feel free to download and print this 8×10 inch freebie printable. I love this quote by Fawn Weaver. Click here for the link and enjoy.

How do you handle grumpy days in your marriage? Did the arguments surprise and/or scare you? What are your strengths in dealing with conflict? Your weakness? Let’s grow in grace and community — this is a safe place to share!

Love, blessings and coffee!

Frannie

Morning Routines For the Morning-Challenged

An easy how-to for having a sucessful, productive day by a morning-challenged gal! Mmmm … morning routines. The earliest hours of day are filled with surprises — from the bursts of sunlight to the first notes sung by birds — this time is by far my most favorite of the day.

I haven’t always been an early-bird. I’ve had my fair share of sleeping in till noon. But marrying an (extreme, haha!) early-riser has helped me love waking earlier than most and starting the day before the sun.

The funny thing is that having a good morning doesn’t happen on accident. I’ve found that having established, purposeful routines are necessary for starting out the day successfully. And starting a day well usually leads to finishing well. Here are four tips I’ve found helpful in creating relaxing, productive and awesomely successful mornings.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Start the night before[/pullquote]

Having a successful, pleasant morning doesn’t happen without a little planning. (And this is coming from a girl who knows!) I’ve been known to jump into bed leaving the sink full of greasy dishes and the living room in disarray. Waking up was a chore because I had neglected my chores. No one wants to see ugly, disorganization first thing in the morning (and no one wants to fish out the stinky, soggy washrag stewing in yesterday’s dishwater — yuck!).

Prepare for your successful morning by spending 15 minutes tidying your home the night before. Load the dishes into the dishwater and push start, fluff the living room pillows, put away dvds and clear the miscellaneous coffee cups which multiply like rabbits. You’re sleep will be sweeter with the knowledge that you ended the day productively and your morning will be a lot more fun to wake up to.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Establish a routine[/pullquote]

Routines help humans excel at life. We work, play, relax and learn best when we know what to expect so why would we allow our mornings to be vague, chaotic surprises when it’s easy and awesome-feeling to have set habits and routines?

The beautiful thing is that everyone’s morning routine should look different. We’re all unique with different family sizes and situations so setting ourselves free from the pressure to copy others habits, expectations and routines is necessary for our personal productivity and success.

For me, I start my day by making a cup of coffee, kissing my husband (whose already been up for 2+ hours) and snuggling in the recliner for 15 minutes. Then, after I’ve had a sip or two of black goodness, I move to the kitchen and put away the dried dishes and start breakfast. I follow this routine every day including weekends.

Crazy confession: we eat the same thing every morning except for Sunday. Normally there are two options, oatmeal and eggs or oatmeal and a protein shake. And before you pity me and send me coupons let me say that there is an abundance of flexibility in keeping to routine in your meals. 😀 Oatmeal can be made traditionally with a variety of toppings (brown sugar, honey, berries, milk, cinnamon, chocolate chips, etc.) or in a parfait fashion with fruit and yogurt. And of course eggs can be cooked in countless ways (scrambled, fried, omelet, or muffin style). Having a few, select choices for breakfast make mornings easier on everyone (kids included).

Establishing a morning routine that works for you is an awesome way to make your mornings more fun and successful.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Take time to drink your coffee … and listen to something uplifting [/pullquote]

It’s so simple. I used to believe that being a good keeper of my home meant waking before dawn and jumping right into daily chores. False. Every thing in creation requires a few moments to warm up. Birds fluff feathers, cats stretch and dogs yawn. Even machines require warm-up time. Why should we be any different?

Friend, etch out time in your morning to simply be. Pour yourself something yummy and find a place to watch the sunrise. Rest. Relax. Pray. Listen to worship music. There’s nothing lazy about taking a few minutes to yourself. Mommies, you can even teach your little ones to play quietly in their crib for 15 minutes after they wake.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Do the next thing[/pullquote]

You’ve woken up to home sweet and tidied from the night before, began the day with your established routines and taken a few minutes to drink your coffee and enjoy quiet. What now?

Simple, do the next thing. Quite easy, really. 🙂 I’m sure many of you practical folk are laughing at me but I cannot tell you how easy it is for me to get distracted and put off what’s needed. (Too easy.) 😉

Do what works for you. Write a to-do list. Set a timer on your phone. For me, I write a list and work my way though. Normally, I start with Bible reading then move on to the daily cleaning which involves dishes, sweeping and vacuuming, wiping down the bathroom and dinner prep. By the time I’ve finished I’m free to move onto “fun projects.” Crafting, blogging, reading, Netflix, baking and miscellaneous house projects. 🙂 Is there anything better than having the freedom to do what you love? And all because you had a successful morning!

Good Monring Freebie Printable with AuthenticVirtue.com

For additional, therapeutic support enjoy this free, 8×10 printable I made. (I know, right? Frannie made a printable? Get ready world … she’s advancing and who’s to stop her!) 😉 Follow this link to download this darling print — print it out and stick it to the fridge for morning inspiration. You can make your mornings and days productive, friend. Believe it and put that belief into practice and you’re half way to making mornings fun and blessed.

What does your morning routine look like? Are you an early-bird or are you morning-challenged? Do you have any funny stories about groggy mornings?

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

3 Treasure-Filled Lessons Marriage Has Taught Me

Authentic Virtue

It’s been one beautiful adventure, my marrying Dalton. Today, we celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. For the last 731 days I’ve grown more in love with a man who is an obvious God-send.

Last year, I wrote a post titled 55 Things I’ve Learned After Being Married One Year. This year I feel a little less ambitious and long-winded. 😉 Here are my three most recent, most life-altering lessons marriage has taught me.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]It’s Okay to be Delighted In[/pullquote] Silly, isn’t it? We yearn to be loved but when the chance comes we freeze. Our minds swirl with dangerous ideas: no one could love me, no one could adore my faulty body, no one could find me irresistible — I’m not worthy enough. We push our husbands away and forsake their genuine, God-given delight in us.

Sweet one, stop. I’ve been there; I’ve doubted my husband’s words, ignored his truth and resisted being fully loved by him. I was afraid. It’s scary letting someone take full delight in you — they might find a flaw.

Dare to take the risk. Dare to fall into your Adam’s arms and dare to be his Eve. Believe that the love he has for you is the gift that it is and rejoice in it.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]It’s Okay to Love Fully[/pullquote] Okay, okay. I know this is strange. Somehow, in my single years, I developed the idea that it was wrong to be as in love with my husband as I am now. It wasn’t spiritual to make him my priority. It was embarrassing to be radiantly, happily in love. The vulnerability of having a person I’m loyal to above all made me sickeningly weak.

Crazy, right?

It wasn’t until I read Song of Solomon that I realized my error. We’ve been given permission to love our husbands fully — it’s good to be ravishingly, totally enthralled with our person. Love isn’t supposed to be conservative. It’s generously visable to the world.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]It’s Okay to be Weak  [/pullquote] Someone very dear spoke these words of life to me: receiving criticism doesn’t mean you failed, it means you have room to grow.

Marriage will reveal weakness. And, if you have an addiction to perfection like me, you can imagine the horror of having someone see you for the human that you are.

It’s okay.

Sweet friend, it’s okay to be weak. It’s okay to need forgiveness, restoration, and grace. That’s why Christ came. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.[/pullquote]

Two years married to a person who sees all my selfishness, greed and pride has been hard on the side of me that wants self-made righteousness — but it’s been good for the part of me that needs grace.

Reader, whether you’re married or not, I hope you know that it is okay to be delighted in, it’s okay to love fully, and it’s okay to be weak. When we learn to accept these truths life becomes treasure-filled; you may even wonder how you ever thought yourself happy before, these truths are that rewarding.

For a montage of our wedded bliss and a shot of us as a happy, watermelon-wearing couple, why not friend me on Facebook at Authentic Virtue Blog or on my own profile!

With love, blessings and one very happy, well-loved heart,

Frannie

Marriage Beyond the Butterflies and Roses

Loving Beyond Feelings

I recently had a dear friend ask me to write about marriage after the roses and butterflies stage. You know, the days when you’re not in love with love but the quirky personality you call husband?

Honestly, this has been a huge learning experience for me. Over the course of our (almost) two years of marriage I’ve discovered that I am a very selfish person: I love to be loved. And without knowing it, I can allow my love to be based on how well Dalton is loving me and how much I’m enjoying his love.

(Ew, can that really be me? it is these moments when I cry out with Jeremiah, “Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?“)

Thankfully, my Abba Daddy does not let me remain in my selfish, inherent love for love. He knows my deceitful, selfish heart and He loves me through it. He challenges my heart to learn to love people not because of how their love makes me feel but for who they are in themselves.

Loving people past the feelings of satisfaction they give us is something we as Christians must let Christ work in our hearts.

Our homes, marriages, churches and relationships depend on it.

The best way for me to describe loving someone simply for who they are is to tell you a little bit of how my husband loves me.

(Because he loves me with a tremendous, Christ-like love every day and I am honored and changed because of it’s consistent presence.)

  • He loves me for me and not for my physical prowess, beauty, smarts or talents.

I am not always beautiful, genius or elegant. In fact, my personality is the kind which takes more interest in the quirky, dry and unique then in the traditional, stunning ideas of beauty. I have zits, fluff and get tongue-tied far more then I like. 😉

But Dalton loves me anyways. He delights in who I am regardless of the state of my hair or the number the scale shows. He’s one of those people who would love me, care for me and treasure me even if I were burned tremendously and lost my limbs. His love is not shallow.

  • He loves me when I’m sinning

Dalton loves me even during the moments where I am full of sin. I’ve argued, gossiped, complained, belittled, disrespected and dishonored this man. Yet, despite it all, he loves me even while I’m sinning. His love is not conditional.

  • He loves me when I am destructive

There are times when I let my insecurities, anxieties, fears and past experiences make me destructive. Have you ever fallen into a pit of despair resulting in a hatred of everything you are and represent? Me too.

The best thing is when you have a person who sees you in all your misery yet stands by your side. These people remind you of who you are in Christ and what He has accomplished in and through you. Dalton is this person; even when I’m destructive he stands by me loving me. His love is not afraid to stand up to my bullies.

  • He loves me into forgiveness

Because Dalton loves me he loves me into forgiveness. As Dalton’s sister-in-Christ he does not turn a blind eye to my sin but confronts, lovingly, the sin I stumble in. His love is not condemning but life-giving. He points me to my Savior’s promise of forgiveness, sanctification and grace. His love is heaven-minded.

Loving someone past the roses and butterflies stage requires you to face their faults, ugliness, sinful nature and destructiveness and love them in spite of it.

Loving someone means loving them for who they are and not for how they make you feel.

Because if my husband based his love for me on how I made him feel he’d have left a long time ago.

Honestly, this is the kind of love we should exhibit for all our relationships. It can be challenging to love our friends, coworkers, church family for who they are and not for how they make us feel but it is necessary.

Let’s be a people who are known for enlarged hearts and love the person and not love itself.

With love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

How To Develop an (Awesome) Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law

What to Develop a Relatinship with Your Mother-in-Law?

We all know the traditional, stereotypical relationship expected between mother and daughter in-laws. (Cue snarky, drama-filled movies … should I get the popcorn and tissues?) 😉

And, honestly, developing an awesome relationship with your mother-in-law can be difficult.

But I believe it is totally worth it.

I’m not naïve in believing all in-laws relationships will be perfect; far from it! But I am a big believer in loving people through their (and our) imperfections and letting the love of Christ work relationships even in the most prickly situations.

Over the course of our marriage I’ve discovered a few ways to purposefully build a relationship with my mother-in-law (whose an awesome lady, by the way). These simple, every day opportunities have helped me build a great relationship with the woman who has loved my husband a lot longer then I. 😉

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”] Pursue Relationship[/pullquote]

There’s the saying “You can either be right or act right” and it’s incredibly true. As Christian women we have the opportunity to choose between being right or acting right and sometimes it’s a hard choice!

Pursuing a relationship with your mother-in-law means pursuing acting right instead of being right. When we pursue a relationship with our husbands we choose to love even when he’s being unloveable. We choose to see the best in him, choose to overlook irritations, and when we have to address issues we do it lovingly.

It’s the same way with your mother-in-law. If you want an awesome relationship with your mother-in-law (and you do!) practice pursuing a relationship with her over pursuing being right.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Expect Differences[/pullquote]

There is no way around it — your mother-in-law and you will have differences. She has a lifetime of experience, insight, mistakes and victories. You have a lifetime of the same. Most likely you’ll be two totally different personalities (she’s an early riser who runs her own business and you’re a stay-at-home, late-riser busy with home things; at least that’s my story). 😉

Maybe the only common thing between you is the love you both have for her son.

When we learn to expect and appreciate the differences in our mother-in-laws personality we begin to build relationship and foster friendship.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Communicate with Your Spouse[/pullquote]

So. So. So important.

Be open with your spouse about the struggles (or amazingness) of your relationship with your mother-in-law; after all, your man will probably have some insight into the woman he grew up with. 😉

However, this is not the place to nag, complain or belittle. Please, just don’t. Nothing is accomplished through complaining about your in-laws except alienating your spouse and providing bitterness a place to grow.

Instead, pray together over the difficulties you’re experiencing. Be constructive and purposeful in your discussions. Be honest without being mean.

Do this behind the scenes and you’re one step closer to developing a relationship with your mother-in-law.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Set Boundaries[/pullquote]

In every good relationship boundaries exist. This can be difficult and, thankfully, I have a great mom-in-law who is proactive in this area. With your spouse decide what boundaries are necessary for you and your marriage.

There will be days when saying no to your mother-in-law (and even mom!) will be necessary; learn to be okay with this! Graciously and lovingly stand unified with your spouse and hold to the boundaries you’ve set.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Discover Her Love Language[/pullquote]

Whether you know it or not, your mother-in-law is a human being; she has fears, dreams and preferred ways of loving and being loved. Take the time to uncover the treasure she is meant to be.

One way to do that is to discover what her love language is. Is she quality time? Then don’t lather her with gifts. Does she love her people through acts of service? Then pursue loving her the same way.

While loving people according to their love language isn’t a fix all it is one way to build friendship and understanding — two necessary elements of having an awesome relationship with your mom-in-law.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Love Humbly[/pullquote]

At the end of the day having a relationship with your mother-in-law simply means loving her humbly. Remember what love is: love is patient, kind, not proud and full of goodwill.

And you’re going to get a lot of practice loving.

Your mother-in-law may be prickly, absent, or obsessive; she may also be elegant, gentle and Christ-filled. No matter how she acts she is your opportunity to let Christ work through you and in you. Allow your Lord to work proactive, grace-filled, powerful love in you toward your mother-in-law.

And enjoy the benefits that grow.

How have you purposefully developed a relationship with someone the world tells you you’ll oppose? Share your ideas and heart with us. Let’s grow together in grace and community!

With love, blessings and alotta coffee (lately 😉 )

Frannie