Compatibility Isn’t What Makes Marriage Work

Hello, sweet people!

I originally wrote this post in 2016 — it’s crazy how drastically life has changed since then! But I’m more convinced than ever that compatibility isn’t what keeps a marriage together through the long haul. I’m also convinced this is a lesson we need to learn every year. 

I’m learning what real love is … and it’s beautiful.

There are many misconceptions about love and how best to make relationships work. One of the most deceiving and killing is the lie that compatibility is necessary for a thriving, successful love. Sadly, many friends, lovers and even church family separate when they feel a drift in their compatibility from one another.

Friends, this is wrong.

What Makes Marriage Work

When we base our vows on the typical definition of compatibility  we head down a road of disappointment. Marriages are not meant to be built on how well you compliment your spouse and how well your personalities work together.

Nothing in life is meant to be built on this.

Spouses can be annoying. You can be annoying. The traits and personality quirks you initially found cute can turn into irritants. We’re meant to rub each other raw … that’s one way God works our character.

Instead of basing a relationships value on how well you work together examine your ability to suffer together.

The original, Latin root for compatibility is compati which means to suffer with

Suddenly, being compatible isn’t as fun as before.

Sweet friend, how well do you suffer with your friends, spouse and church family? How well do you show them genuine, authentic love?

Young lovers, please don’t base your relationships on how well you compliment your significant other without asking yourself the simple question: am I willing to suffer with them? Will you suffer with them when finances get tight? Will you suffer with them when they lose all respect, when your child is dying, or when they lose a job?

Make Marriage Work

Honestly, this has been an interesting and new concept for me. I knew that Dalton and I’s relationship needed to be built on an enduring, committed love … but the idea of suffering with? Well, #tbh, that threw me off.

To avoid being overwhelmed, I took this new challenge one practical step at a time. In the past, suffering with Dalton meant being able to give a good back massage when his body ached and cheerfully keep to our budget. I knew that if you aren’t willing to suffer through the small, inconvenient moments then you’ll crumble when the hard stuff hits.

And how true that was! For us, suffering changed from minor irritants to gigantic hurdles! We endured living apart for 7 months while our son had surgery after surgery. For Dalton, suffering meant sleeping on the hospital couch for 9 weeks while I was on bed rest, not turning up the heat in the winter to save money, and driving back and forth each week so I could stay with Uriah while he was in the NICU.

Had we based our marriage on the easy moments we couldn’t have made it through the last few years. How thankful I am God carried us through that traumatic season of  life!

And it’s true for all of us — you may hit iceberg sized difficulties in the future but for now you’ve been given small opportunities to grow deeper in love.

What do you think? How have you grown in your ability to suffer with your friends, spouse or church family? Or is this an area needing strengthening? Share your heart … and let’s grow in grace together!

With love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Encouragement for the Woman who Feels Forgotten

I see you, sweet woman. 

Whether you’re single and lonely or a busy, married mother covered in grimy children (and wishing for some alone time), I see you. And while I can’t reach through this screen and squeeze your hand I want you to know that you are not forgotten. 

No matter what stage we find ourselves in, it’s a common theme to feel forgotten and surpassed. In my own life, I can look around and see the ordinary, fun things we’re not quite able to do just yet for fear of germs and sickness and, in all honesty, sometimes I feel forgotten. 

Do you ever feel that way? Like you just don’t fit in? Or worse, that you could fit in but no one seems to even notice you’re missing? Maybe you have so much to offer but this season of life keeps you too busy to volunteer (I’m looking at all my working moms and caregivers out there). 

Friend, I’m here to tell you that you will never be forgotten or passed over.

Christ paid too much to forget you.

I’m very emotion-based so whenever I feel that my husband and I are not as harmonious as I’d like (aka, we bickered over diapers or late dinners again) 😉 I begin to feel like I’m unraveling. 

And when my inner being is filled with this unraveling feeling I tend to not think clearly — I go into panic mode, looking for any way to calm the inner chaos a minor conflict created. 

I’ve recently learned something so precious, so timeless, that has changed my chaos to calm and it’s this simple:  

Simple, isn’t it? If nothing can separate us from the love of God doesn’t that include the emotional mess I created when I melted down from a tiny, minor argument between myself and the man who loves me? 

And if I can relax and trust that I am not forgotten, that God the Father loves me entirely, then I can rest, relax and not become emotional goo. 

And if God the Father cares that much about me and the ridiculous mess I can be, then, can’t you trust that He sees you in your season of life? He sees you hiding from your kids in the bathroom. He sees you longing for a hidden dream long put off. He knows your tired and wishing to be a stay at home mom. He hasn’t forgotten you even when the rest of your community has. 

Sweet friend, God sees you, He loves you, and He will never forget you. 

If you are feeling forgotten and longing for a friend, leave me a comment. I would love to get to know you. We’re all walking together in this journey! 

With love, blessings, and coffee, 

Frannie

The Importance of Being Understood

Have you ever felt the ache to be understood? As mothers, I think there is a strong desire to have our fellow mama’s understand us, our choices, and our life situations.

We want people to understand, not just tolerate, why we’re late to church again. We want the picture-perfect Target moms to get why we’ve got circles under our eyes, a double shot Venti latte in hand, and three uncombed children practically spilling out of the cart. I think we want to be seen for the mess we are and accepted with a hearty “I’ve been there, I understand” smile.

I know I do.

Lately, I’ve been longing to be understood. I want people to understand the ache in my heart when I’m scouring grocery store aisles for prune juice and probiotics. I want to be understood when I walk through Hobby Lobby with a darling son and equipment that won’t stop alarming. I crave the acceptance that only comes from similar experiences.

I know my heart’s cry is needy. Why do you need to be understood, Frannie? Just do you. Be you. But it isn’t that easy. Feeling alone in your situation, whatever season of life it is, can feel exhausting.

Imagine the pure joy I had when someone accepted, understood, us. We were cruising JoAnn Fabric’s aisles and I was starting to feel myself shrinking as Uriah’s ventilator kept alarming. It’s this loud, repetitive sound that occurs when he is breathing fast and, since he was so happy and excited to be out of the house, the whole store could hear us coming. 😉

And whenever you carry a child with loud medical equipment you tend to get sweet, kind, pity-filled looks or stares. And as well-meaning as those looks may be, you can’t help but wish to be normal, not pitied, and understood.

As I was cruising past one aisle and entering another, I turned and saw a 15-ish year old young man with Dwarfism looking Uriah over. And, without one ounce of pity or look of sorrow, he looked me in the eyes and said, “That is a cute kid.”

That is a cute kid. 

No “how can I pray for your son?” No awkward side-eyes. No bold stares. No pity-filled, lip quivering looks. Nothing but pure admiration for a little boy who is so much more than the trach sticking out of his neck or the machine beeping wildly beneath the stroller.

It was in that moment that I realized that young man understood us. No, I’m not saying he understands everything about our medical journey or difficulties. He probably has no experience with a trach or feeding tube.

But he did understand what it means to be different. He understood sticking out in a crowd. He understood the fear, the worry, the awkwardness of not being normal.

And in his innocent way, I felt embraced. I felt like he was part of the tribe I needed to find. I felt like Uriah was seen for who he was and accepted without question.

(I always worry when I share these posts that you, my amazing reader and friend, will worry that you’re making me feel uncomfortable, that you’re part of my complaint. I promise you, you aren’t. We have an amazing group of friends across this nation who have embraced us, given us courage, and love! I tend to only struggle with these feelings when I’m surrounded by folk who don’t know us.)

How about you, friend? Are you longing for someone to simply look at you and understand? Are you hoping to find a tribe who accepts you, your children, husband, home, and time schedule without question or judgement? You’re not alone, I promise. We’re all looking for friends who understand. 

The beautiful thing is that there is always one Who does understand and that is our Heavenly Father. He knows our hearts, knows why each tear falls, and invites us to cast every care on His Son, Jesus. He came to tend to the broken, the weary, and the hurting.

And after He works on us, we can find ways to understand and be there for others. 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Peace Is a Gift God Wants to Give Your Home

It’s been such a long time since my thoughts found there way to this beloved space. Life, life has kept me busy and when I’m not busy I’m tired. (Mom life, am I right?)

At the moment I’m sitting beneath our covered porch listening to the pounding spring rain and thunder. I’ve got a bathrobe, freshly showered hair, and iced coffee on the scene while my men sleep soundly inside.

Life is so good. Marriage is so good. Motherhood is so good. God is so good.

But good doesn’t mean easy.

This season of life has me learning. Worry tends to bog me down these days; fear, what-ifs, and unknowns can change my moods from naturally cheerful to fretful and irritable.

What if I’m not feeding Uriah well enough (since we’re still using formula as he struggles to tolerate blended meals)? What if I’m not loving him enough? What if he needs more surgical repair and I’m not advocating hard enough? What if he gets sick again?

I’ve worn my emotions and mind to a thread wondering if I’m doing enough.

And like God often does, He led me to some wisdom exactly when I was ready for it. I was on the verge of breaking down into an unusual fit of tears and found a book with words that spoke amazing life and peace into my hurting soul:

When we release our children into the Father’s hands and acknowledge that He is in control of their lives and ours, both we and our children will have greater peace. -Stormie Omartian

Ah, isn’t that good? Sweet friend, wherever you are in life I hope you can pursue trusting God’s care and letting go of worry. Whether you are a new mom, a special needs mom, or an older mom with a way-ward child, this peace-filled trust is meant for you and your children.

I know trust isn’t easy. We like to control life (at least I do). I like being in charge of my little kingdom, I crave responsibility.

But I can’t control health. I can’t control insurnace approvals. I can’t even control milestones.

But I can trust that God is in control and I can enjoy the amazing peace filling my heart when I do.

The sweet thing is that peace is a gift God wants to give your family. Your Creator God longs to fill your home with peace that passes all understanding. A calm, restful attitude doesn’t have to come forced, wrestled into submission. It’s a gift, free to His people who choose to simply rest in God’s great love and power.

Here’s to hoping my worry-filled days can point you in a better direction. Here’s to wishing you may know the “blessed assurance” that Jesus will meet your needs.

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

He Won’t Be Little Forever

Just a snapshot of my little hot mess. I promise, he didn’t fall off the ottoman during this process. 😀

Dear mom of young kids,

I know, I know. One more blog post addressed to you, the coffee-driven, alone-time-missing, mass. You who are in the middle of post-Christmas cleanup and credit card statements out the wazoo. Yes, hello, you.

I’m with you. I haven’t a dozen of young children but I do have one. A precious, darling one year old. Sometimes I think he counts for at least two since he currently requires specials cares which involve me dragging around his ventilator, priming his feeding pump, and eye-balling the tiny fists which LOVE to pull out his trach because it is oh, so, fun to make mom get her cardio in. 😉

But really, I understand. Moms are tired. We’re worn down. Even on the amazing, good, organized, low-key days we’ve still got a million things weighing on our mommy brains. It’s exhausting, I get it.

I mean, I’m currently speed writing this. I’m still in my nightgown and it’s 2 p.m. I’m in the middle of trying to keep Uriah entertained while I get the house organized and sanitized since Christmas and a 4 day pneumonia-related hospital admission has me playing catch up.

But there is more to this momhood than busyness, and diapers, and weariness.

Just this afternoon I paused my bleaching and washing to prepare Uriah’s lunchtime meal. When I came close he lifted his darling, chubby arms. Hold me, Mommy. I picked him up and gently laid his tummy against my chest and swayed that little boy who loves to practice tummy time in my arms.

And in those 3 minutes I caught a vision of what might be in the next 30 years …

I imagined laying my head on my 31 year old son’s shoulder; we’re dancing at his wedding. It’s a special day. My son, my Uriah, is grown, tall, and beginning his own life. And there I am nearly 60 years old. I’m probably shorter and fatter than ever but my son doesn’t see that. All he sees is his momma. The woman who loved him.

In the 3 minutes it took to pick up my baby, dance with him on my chest, and let my shoulder get soaked through with snot, I saw what could be. 

One day, our children will be grown. One day, we won’t have littles little enough to embrace on our shoulders. They’ll be bigger, independent, and moving away from the homes we desperately keep for them. 

Dear, tired, worn, frazzled momma. Cherish these moments with me. Cherish the little person you’ve been given because, in the blink of an eye, they will be grown and gone. We’ll never be able to hold them to our shoulders like we can now. I know it’s hard to slow down. I know you have a million-and-one things on your to-do list.

But while you strive to do your best keeping up with life, rememeber to appreciate and enjoy the people in it. <3

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie