How To Annoy Your Husband

I’m not really an expert at anything. I once had a lady tell me that she could do a hundred things with great mediocrity; I know the feeling. But there is one thing that I do believe I have mastered and it is this: how to annoy your husband.

 

It’s very difficult to be a sweet perfect wife.

The day before we were married when I wasn’t annoying at all.

I tried that road at the starting line of our marriage. Once we started running the actual marathon and I got a taste of just how long till death do us part really is, and just how long I’d have to strive for perfection I realized that it was an effort in futility.  I reasoned that if I couldn’t master how to be perfectly pleasant all of the time, I may as well master the opposite.  After all it feels good to be wholly accomplished in something.

So without further ado here is my take on how to annoy your husband.

#1. How to annoy your husband with your cell phone

Never remember to plug your phone into the charger so that your battery is either dead or nearly dead at all times. This way he can’t reach you or will be afraid he won’t be able to reach you, should there be an emergency. When you do remember to charge your phone, take the one charger that he has designated as his and remove it from where it is always plugged in. Then plug it into a random receptacle around the house. Immediately forget where you plugged it in so that later when he goes to plug his phone in neither one of you can find it.

In conjunction with this or as an alternative: lose, break, or otherwise always keep your cell phone in a state of disrepair.

Accidentally have the ringer turned off: all the time. Especially if you are running errands and it’s getting late. Do go shopping and have it turned down so that you miss all of  his calls and messages ; leaving him to wonder where you are and whether or not he should call the police to report a wife abduction.

Also: just simply don’t answer it.

I mean yes, usually it’s because the baby is crying because the toddler put her in the toy chest and then threw in all of his favorite blankets on top of her, then shut the lid and is now sitting on top of it eating a pile of warm gooey messy cookies you just baked that he shouldn’t have in the first place…but, the reason you never answer your phone is irrelevant.  Just don’t.  Let him assume it’s because the children are all studying a second language, the house is clean, and you are soaking in a warm bath ignoring the world.

Finally- ask to use his cell because yours is dead, lost, broken, etc. while he is in the middle of playing Clash of Clans. ( Clash Royal- whatever)

#2. How to annoy your husband while mowing the lawn

This is such a great one because you have the advantage of being “helpful” while being totally annoying at the same time. And he can’t complain because, after all, you did just mow the lawn.

Your man will most likely prefer to have pristine, perfectly straight lawn mowing lines in the yard. When he mows the lawn it’s a big deal which direction the lines go, as well as keeping the lines straight and even. So basically you need to mow the lawn like you have adult attention deficit disorder. Which, if there are children in the home, or you have a brain that functions like mine; this will be no struggle at all.  I happen to have both my brain and kids! So this is a breeze.

Exibit A – Not Annoying

 

Exhibit B – Annoying

 

 

 

#3. How to annoy your husband while working on projects around the house

Definitely spend more time watching than working.

With a look of great skepticism ask him questions like,

” Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

or

” Huh, I didn’t know you knew how to do that.”

and the ultimate one,

” Maybe we should call my dad and ask him? ”

While working together make sure you have constantly malfunctioning power tools so that you have to interrupt what he is doing and enlist his help in straightening out whatever mess you keep getting yourself into.  This will assure that the 1 hour worth of yard work you guys were gonna knock out together eats up an entire afternoon.  Receive any advice he gives you on how to operate said power tools with stubborn indignation.

Finally, tackle home projects while he is away. Preferably ones he was skeptical about or said no to.  Most likely his irritation will be brief once he is eclipsed by the brilliance of your completed project and he will apologize for his lack of faith in your creative genius.

#4.  How to annoy your husband with intimacy

Send him alluring texts, emails, snaps etc. only to be completely exhausted at the end of the day after you finally get your kids to sleep. Then fall asleep on the couch while watching t.v.  Eventually roll off the couch and throw yourself into bed with ” don’t even think about it” written all over your face.

When your husband is clearly interested and doing his best to “express his interest in you” prattle on about anything you can think of. Going on and on about the conflict you are having with your mother or mother-in-law is really icing on the cake. Nothing like emotional conflict with your parents to take the wind out of your husbands sails of arousal.

If you really want to go all the way with this one, say something random out loud during actively intimate moments like, ” Oh dangit! I forgot to take that Redbox movie back! Why do we even use Redbox!”

@ Coffee Fest refueling for even more annoyingly good fun.

#5 How to annoy your husband while driving together

The best thing to do, other than second guessing his sense of direction, is to outrageously gasp or brace yourself at any sudden stops, if he follows anyone too close, almost hits a pedestrian, accelerates too quickly, or if you are driving in bad weather; anything to heighten the tension in the vehicle. When the tension builds to just the right amount say, ” Do you want me to drive?”. Bam.

If you are the one driving there really isn’t a whole lot you have to actively do to be exasperating. You know the whole ” female driver” thing.  I’m afraid it’s a true story. Just the act of you driving is probably a little hair raising for your man.  I said probably.  If your relationship doesn’t land in this sphere then congratulations to you.

#6. How to annoy your husband while on a date

Note my husbands worried expression

Have very strong opinions about what you do for the evening while simultaneously having no opinion at all.  Be in the mood for any kind of food except for his first 5 or 6 suggestions. Force him to spend 30 minutes driving around the city while you keep saying, ” I don’t know! Anything sounds good, and I picked last time. Seriously I don’t care whatever you want.” When he says, ” Okay, McDonalds it is!” Throw him a look of exasperation and get irritated.  Eventually end up at the place you went last time and order the same things, because it’s just that good.

While you are out absent mindedly bring up conversations that trigger arguments between you.  It’s probably a good idea to try and hash out some of those things in the middle of your favorite Italian joint.  Especially if the issues are of a deeply personal nature, then you can have the added bonus of making the wait staff feel out of place when you both fall awkwardly silent every time they come over to see how everything is going.

Tip them well.

As I type this I realize that this could be an extremely long list, I mean, infinity long. That’s just how much of an expert I am.  But because this is a blog I’ll wrap it up with the speed round of annoyances:

Cry, cry often.

Say ” I’m sorry”  to ad nauseam.

Pack him a lunch with a defunked ice pack so that his sandwich is waterlogged by the time he goes to eat it.

Compare him to the husbands of other people you know.

Nag. Nag again. Throw in a little more nagging for good measure.

Of course the classic, ” I’m fine!” when clearly you are not.

Ask him about the attractiveness of other women

or

body image questions in general, ” Am I fat?” Is this too saggy? Is this too small, or too big, or just “too” of something.” There’s a lot of material there to work with.

Always go on about how you need new clothes and you have nothing to wear.

Go shopping for clothes and come back with things for the kids instead.

Invite people over on the one weekend he has free all month.

Run back into the house 3-4 x to get things you’ve forgotten inside.

Leave him waiting in the vehicle for excessive amounts of time waiting for you while trying to leave home for a function, or while trying to leave said function, or while you “run” into the store for 1 thing.  ( 1 thing… bahahahaha!)

Here’s the thing ladies. All of these things; all of the completely obnoxious things that you do won’t matter in the end! Because you’re a woman, and let’s face it, you’re irresistible and it’s okay if you drive him crazy in more ways than one.

So the next time you feel like you just can’t get it together, you’re tired of failing at everything, or you just can’t find that one thing you excel at- give the annoying wife thing a try.

You may find that it’s your thing too.

Cheers*

Holly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Led Us Down The ” Wanna-Be Farmers ” Road

We are not farmers. We have a barn with some animals in it, a chicken coop, and some pasture.  I’m not sure if that qualifies us to be called farmers quite yet. Even hobby farming feels like too generous a term.

My husband spent part of his childhood on a dairy farm. First it was cows, and then they ventured into dairy goats. He didn’t walk away with 100% good feelings about the experience.  When we first started dating he asked me,

” Do you have any interest in farming?”

I said, ” Nope.”

He said, ” Oh good, this (our relationship) might work out then.”

We laugh about that conversation now. Proof that people do change over the years, and marriage is about figuring out how to evolve together as that happens.

There is one main reason we have started on this journey :  the pursuit of delicious food .

” I’m not an activist; I wouldn’t put that on my business card, but what I’ve come to understand—and I’ve yet to find any example that flies in the face of this—that when you are chasing after the best flavor, you are chasing after the best ingredients, and when you are chasing after the best ingredients, you are in search of great farming.” – Chef Dan Barber

Dan Barber is an amazing Chef who several years ago was a pioneering force in the farm to table movement.  When I first heard this quote last year in a documentary I was watching it spoke to me, because it’s exactly where I am at.

Our oldest daughter sheep watching

 

As a family, we are pursuing great flavor. Eating is a huge part of the human experience. Think about how often, and how much time a person will spend just thinking about, planning, preparing, and eating food.  For me I want more than cans, boxes, and cling wrapped packages of unnaturally colored beef.  I want to use the food we eat, this necessary part of survival to meet not just my physical needs, but the needs of my spirit.  For pleasure, satisfaction, and communion with the people that I love.

This is not to say that I’m fanatically dogmatic about making sure only the purest most delicious foods are served up. Survival also means we are going through the drive through at McDonald’s on occasion for their dollar menu burgers because I didn’t plan well, we’re all exhausted and I need to feed my crabby kids lunch with the $10 I have in my purse.

That happens; even the most ardent advocates for anything find themselves to be hypocrites from time to time, and that’s okay. We all still have a right to feel passionate about things. And we could build lives where we are driven by 80% conviction and 20% compromise I bet the world would change for the better, while still maintaining some grace and humility toward ourselves and our fellow man.

My husband  and I moved here because we wanted the space to raise our own meat.  We are omnivores for certain, but slightly more carnivorous at heart.  We love good meat, and feel passionate about learning how to cook it.  Along with that has come the understanding that good meat comes from happy animals, and happy animals come from good farms.

Another inspiring person for me has been Chef Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall.

” Of all the creatures whose lives we affect, none are more deeply dependent on us- for their success as a species and for their individual health and well being- than the animals we raise to kill for meat. I’m talking about the common domestic livestock- poultry, pigs, cows, sheep, and goats. We control almost every aspect of their lives: their feeding, their breeding, their health, their pain, or freedom from it, and finally the timing and manner of their death, We have done so for many thousands of years, to the point where their dependence on us is in their nature- evolutionarily hard-wired. With these physical controls come moral responsibilities. Their suffering, or lack of it, their animal happiness, or animal misery, are down to us.” -“Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall ” The River Cottage Meat Book”

Hugh is a Chef from the UK who left his London restaurant life and started farming to supply his own restaurant that graces the English countryside.

I first heard of him though his beautiful work,  “The River Cottage Meat Book” .  I came across it about 9 years ago and was taken in by the seriousness in how he approached his responsibility as a meat eater.  In the book he makes a moral argument for being carnivorous, and attaches it specifically to our responsibility to raise the animals we eat with dignity and respect.

Arabelle lovin on poultry

9 years later that message has burrowed down deeper into my head. It feels good to sit down at the table to a grill roasted chicken that I know was walking around our yard, scratching, pecking, sleeping in the shade, ruffling it’s feathers in the soft dirt under a tree.

Along with the satisfaction of responsible consumption is the enjoyment of better flavor. Deep dark beautiful stock from our chicken bones left to simmer on the stove all day, is nothing like the stock I’ve turned out from chickens raised en masse.  It’s amazing the difference that it makes!

It makes sense though doesn’t it? We reap what we sow. It’s a message we’ve preached from our pulpits, a lesson lectured to children from parents. Be good, work hard, be kind, be honest, and you’ll have a good life ( generally speaking). Doesn’t it follow that our food would be the same?

The more good we put into our livestock- the more good we’ll get out. The more good we pour into our soil and plants- the more good we will gain.

I’m not here to pontificate on exactly what that means or how that looks. I’m in the midst of trying to figure that out myself.  There are so many opinions on just what is best for the earth, for animals, and for us- and I’m inclined to believe that there are little bits of truth and reason in the expertise of many.  After all it seems that scientific advancement and traditional knowledge can be, and should be a symbiotic relationship.

We will keep learning .

For now I’m looking forward to the day that we are self sufficient in the meat that we consume.

I’m thankful for the lessons that this venture will teach us, and the chance for my children to gain knowledge and compassion.

I don’t know where this road will eventually take us. I have a hard time thinking too far into the future, but one thing I know for sure…. It’s going to be delicious.

Dinner on the deck with some of my favorite people, my brother, his wife, and their children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thing About Having A Lot Of Kids I Didn’t Mention…

A while back I talked about what it is like having six kids. Which I feel a little silly writing about in the first place because I know plenty of other families that have the same amount of children, and several that have more.  But big picture having more than 3 kids is out of the norm, and having more than 4, or dare I say 5, qualifies as an alternative lifestyle.

Since it’s popular these days to lament about the struggles of living an alternative lifestyle, I’ve decided to jump into the fray.

Let’s talk about what it’s like to go out in public when you have a big family.

When you have a big family people stare at you. They stare unashamedly. Many times they stare and then shake their heads as they turn and walk away.  I suppose it’s kind of like coming upon a parade while you’re in the grocery store. Heck, spectate long enough and there may even be candy thrown.  ( or toys, or crayons, or cheerios, or the car keys that somehow made their way out of my bag and into the fist of a small child.)

Apparently seeing a mom with several children is one of those car accident situations where you just can’t look away.

I try to tell myself that it is just because I’m insanely attractive and my kids are so cute and well behaved that people stand and stare in amazement.

Probably not. But it could be.

Every time I leave the house someone somewhere will comment about the size of our family.  Like a mathematical equation where 1+1=2 , only in this case me+6 kids= please-comment-about-my-life.

The thing I hear most often and without fail is, ” You’ve got your hands full!”

This is true and I’m sure they mean well.  I certainly do have my hands full.  But the thing that is frustrating about this comment is that people say it because they want to say something about the size of our family but don’t know what to say.  So it’s a safe way of commenting on the pack of kids we have without being obviously rude.

Imagine you are wheelchair bound and someone says to you, ” Looks like you have a hard time getting around!”

That is a true statement, but truly unnecessary all the same.

The ” You’ve got your hands full” comment is the most common reaction I get.

The second one is, ” Are all these yours?”

This one is just a little awkward because it’s being asked by strangers. What if I had a sibling pass away and I now have guardianship over their children and it’s been an extremely painful loss and family struggle, and I burst into tears as I explain that a few are my late brothers children who we’ve adopted…

Thankfully for them the answer is simply, ” Yep! They sure are!”

Those two statements I hear every time I leave the house, no matter where I go- I am not exaggerating.

” Do you run a daycare?”  Is next in the lineup.

What?

This would be understandable if I were at a park, or the zoo, but I always have this said to me when I’m in a store.  Once I was in Woodmans and literally had this said to me 3x in the span of 15 minutes, all as we made our way through the produce section.

Why in the world  if I ran a daycare would I bring my daycare kids grocery shopping with me? I barely want to bring my own kids, let alone someone else’s kids. I’m a little nuts, but I’m not insane.

Next would be the all too clever, ” Don’t you know where babies come from?”

…. why yes. Yes we do. Obviously…

and the beat goes on:

” You must be catholic.”

” Are you farmers?”

” You should watch more t.v”

” You and your husband need a new hobby.”

” How many kids are you gonna have?”

” How do you afford all those kids?”

” You must have to drive a bus.”

” You’re too young to have all those kids.”

” You’re crazy!”

” I can’t believe you have all those kids.”

” Couldn’t you get a babysitter?”

A few years ago I was in a small town grocery store going through the checkout. I had a pregnant belly and 4 kids with me. The cashier said to me,

” Is four kids not enough for you?

Sigh*

Here are some interesting observations:

Observation #1: White middle aged women are the worst.

They make the most comments and do the most head shaking by far than any other demographic.

Black women make comments too, not as often, and when they do they have a very different feel.

An example would be: (as opposed to the middle aged white woman cashier who asked me if 4 kids wasn’t enough for me) I was checking out at Wal-Mart once and the 30 something black woman cashier said , ” Girl you crazy! I don’t know how you do it. I got 3 kids and they drive me crazy. They talking at me every second I’m home an I’m like, go.”

or another time,” Them all yo kids? That’s amazing. You get it girl!”

There’s surprise, but a lack of condescending voice.

Then there are Hispanic women. Who never fail to smile at us and say things like, ” These all yours? They are so cute! I want a big family too, but I only have 3 now.”

There are many reasons why my apocalypse plan is to run away to the Mayan Riviera.

Observation # 2: Seniors are the sweetest

I can’t think of a single time I’ve had an older person say anything to me other than, ” What a beautiful family you have!”

Which just goes to show how quickly culture changes and shifts in what is considered normal. These are the people that most likely had big families themselves or were raised in one.  They will never know how much I appreciate their encouragement.  When I have a wrinkled old couple stop to coo at our baby and ask me how old they all are I want to say, ” Bless you! Bless you!”

Observation #3 People don’t harass my husband… just me

Proof of sexism, maybe? Maybe not.  Regardless of why, it’s true. My husband rarely has people say anything to him while he is out with all of the kids. Because  a daddy with a pack of children is sweet, but a momma? Is irresponsible.

 

I’ve been followed around stores by overly concerned employees before who reprimand the kids if they get a little too close to merchandise. This has happened on more than just a few occasions.

The strange thing is my kids don’t act like animals in public. Sure the baby cries here and there, and I have to tell my 4 and 6 year old from time to time that the stacks of toilet paper in the store are not a good place to take a nap. But all in all they walk along with me, laugh, poke one another, and talk about the stuff they want to buy.

What bothers me most about all of this nonsense is not how it affects me. Sure I get embarrassed or angry, like the time I was at the clinic and a woman walking down a hallway said, ” Oh my g-d ! Are those all your kids? ”  so loudly other people turned to watch our conversation.

What really gets to me is the fact that my children are old enough now to feel embarrassed.  When strangers make these comments it is as if my children are accessories rather than real people with feelings and thoughts; deserving their respect. Imagine someone talking about why you exist in front of you as if you are not there.  The underlying message they get from society is: you are a nuisance, you are too much, you shouldn’t be here.

Society likes to talk real loud about how they care about kids, especially in politics- they are held up as a primary reason for supporting that platform: Do it for the sake of the children!

And yet our culture is very intolerant of them. Parents feel guilt when they have to bring a child along to an appointment, to the store, or with them on an airplane where some parents pass out earplugs and an apology note to the other passengers; because heaven forbid they have to share space with children who you know, act like children occasionally.  We love kids, and they are really important- but could you please put them away, keep them hidden, keep them in school or daycare where we don’t have to mingle or put up with them. And this applies to all parents. It doesn’t matter the number of children you have, at some point parents will be made to feel like they are an annoyance for bringing their kids out in public spaces.

Here is what these people don’t see when they look at us:

They don’t see that my husband and I have been blessed with meeting a sweet new baby six times. There is nothing like it in the world the first time you hold your newborn and we’ve gotten to experience that joy over and over.

  1. They don’t see my 7 year old son who spends the day quietly daydreaming about traveling the world and rescuing animals. 

My 10 year old daughter who is so capable and happy to help her momma, balancing our roly poly baby on her small hip.

Or our 6 year old who sings the most hilarious songs at the top of her lungs while she’s in the bathroom, supposedly brushing her teeth.

The 2 year old who says to me, ” Oh Mommy, I got it!” while he tries to help me fix something or carry in groceries.

Our 4 year old with big beautiful brown eyes who loves to brush my hair and is always setting up a salon so she can brush her sisters hair.

And finally our fat baby.

When I’m alone with her people tell me how cute she is, they stop to ask me how old and what her name is. When we’re all together she becomes just one more.  But she’s beautiful and soft with rolls on her arms and thighs. Her cute smile lights up our family and her crazy adventurous spirit makes us laugh.

They don’t see them laugh and play with one another. They don’t see dear friends who pile up on the floor and watch movies together, run in the sprinkler, or work together to keep our home running.

What people see when they look at them is work.

What they don’t seem to see…

is the reward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Top 7 Bread Baking Questions Answered

I get a lot of questions from friends and family about bread baking, and lately there has been quite an uptick in questions. There must be some bread baking bug in the air? I hope so! Because bread baking is a really beautiful way to connect with food. There is something soul satisfying in partaking in a process that has been practiced around the world for thousands of years.

With the move toward mass food production bread baking is no longer a necessary part of life for many people; which is sad. There have been times where I have sat with a thick cut piece of toasted challah dripping with butter and honey and thought, ” So many people will never know the glory that toast can be.”

Along with losing the experience of great bread, we’ve lost the knowledge of great bread. The average person doesn’t know where to begin with yeast, flour, and water.

What should it look like? Did I do this right? Why did it deflate? It’s sticking! GAH! NOW IT’S FALLING APART!

Gone are the days of knowledgeable minds and skillful hands in everyday kitchens with children alongside of them covered in flour; learning skills they will pass on to their children.

I’m going to walk you through some common bread making mistakes and hopefully help get those interested out of their mediocre bread baking struggles and moved onto better bread.

And for those of you who have no interest: get interested. You may find a new love.

So let’s get into it…

Problem #1  ” My bread is too dense, did I knead it too long?”

You did not knead it too long.

This is something I hear all. The. Time. ” Did I knead it too long?”

Nope, you didn’t.  People are afraid of over kneading, but really it is very difficult to over knead bread. It’s not like making pancake batter, biscuits or pie crust where you are trying to keep the gluten as relaxed as possible. With bread you want a strong network of gluten to help your bread hold it’s shape during baking and give the interior the strength it needs to hold in steam. Your bread dough can easily be left to turn in your kitchen aid with a dough hook for 30 minutes or longer without being over worked.  If you are kneading by hand it is nearly impossible to over work it.

So take that idea and throw it out. It’s not happening.

The reason your bread is too dense is you are not kneading the dough enough, and you are adding too much flour.

I use to do this, and I’ve seen other people do it. They add flour until their dough comes together and isn’t sticky at all, then they begin kneading.

This is WRONG.

You need to leave the dough pretty sticky before you begin kneading, or mixing with a dough hook in a mixer. It will feel kind of wrong.

A good rule of thumb is to add flour until your dough looks like a very very thick batter and just pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but still pretty loose.

( These video clips were filmed in my home with my cell phone… where 6 children 10 and under live… so the quality is sub-par and there is noise in the background… and clutter. Alright then, moving on…)

Then knead the sticky mass for about 10-15 minutes until the dough starts to come together.  You may need to add some extra flour- that’s okay, just add it a little at a time.

Your dough should look like this when it is ready for the first rise :

If you’re using a machine this is much easier because you can set a timer for 15 minutes and walk away, and not have worry about dealing with sticky dough all over your fingers.

At this stage drizzle a little oil over the dough and your hands, then turn the dough out into an oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap to let it rise.

If you are doing this by hand turn your wet sticky dough out onto a floured surface and using a bench scraper, scoop up the dough and smack it down hard onto the counter. Do this over and over, adding as little extra flour as possible. Do this until the dough comes together from gluten formation, NOT BECAUSE YOU’VE ADDED FLOUR.

Here is a video I made of my daughter a few years ago demonstrating this kneading technique.  I decided to use it here because she is actually doing a really good job- and demonstrates perfectly how it should look.

Continue reading “Your Top 7 Bread Baking Questions Answered”

10 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage

We celebrated our 11 year anniversary last weekend which is a pretty big deal by today’s standards, but on the grand scale of till death do us part, 11 years is a drop in the bucket.

 

I wanted to write something about marriage in honor of the occasion; what to write about is difficult because marriage is such an intense complex relationship.  But if I were going to throw some important things I’ve learned about marriage into a 10 point blog post- this is it.

 

#1. Always make them their own food- or bring them their own drink

” Hey baby I’m making a sandwich do you want one?”

” Oh, no thanks, I’m good.”

This is a lie. They aren’t good- they are never good. They will eat yours. Whatever it is that you made to snack on, whatever beverage you have settled down to enjoy, the spouse who passed up the offer will take the snack or drink and consume most of it- because marriage is actually socialist in nature and there will be redistribution of snacks.

Don’t even ask. Just bring one for them right away.

#2. Be specific

Be specific about where you are going, who you will be with, what time you expect to be home, and update when/if plans change.

Ladies- if you are going grocery shopping but “may” also “swing by” Target, or Kohls, or TJ-Maxx, or all three – LET HIM KNOW. Just tell him, ” I’m going out to shop- I may not return until tomorrow- I’ll keep you posted” Get over your guilty feelings and be honest with yourself and him about what you’re doing and how long it will take.

Guys…. same. Be realistic about when you will be home. If you realize it’s going to be later- call-text-facebook-snapchat-carrier pigeon or falcon your lady a message so that they know you haven’t ran off with another woman, or been abducted by aliens.

It is always ALWAYS better to know what to expect from your spouse. Being mentally prepared for how long they will be absent is far better than leaving them counting down the minutes until you return.

#3. Get over stuff

When we first got married my husband would throw his wet towel on the bed after taking a shower in the morning. This use to irritate me to no end. After asking, nagging, and internally complaining about this- I gave up. I stopped ragging about it and just started hanging up the towel.

In turn I prop my feet up on the dashboard when I sit in the passenger seat and absent mindedly press my toes up onto the windshield. This leaves little toe prints on the glass. My husband doesn’t think this is cute or endearing. He’s asked me on several occasions not to do it, but I inevitably do it anyway- not out of spite- but out of laziness.  And while I doubt he has become endeared to my cute lil toe prints smudged onto the bottom right side of the windshield- he doesn’t say anything about it anymore.

Because it’s dumb. It’s just dumb to let yourself be upset about the little mindless things that your spouse does! They’re not trying to annoy you, they’re not engaging in their little quirky behaviors out of spite- they’re just things they do without thinking.

That is what I mean by stuff. The small things they do that get under your skin sometimes- that stuff

– get over it.

You are just as irritating, I promise. And the more grace you give to your spouse ( assuming they are not a jerk) the more grace they will give to you.

 

#4. Listen to that inner voice that tells you when you’re being a jerk

This may be just me, but I definitely have an inner voice that lets me know when I’m being a jerk.  In the middle of an intense discussion, borderline argument, or a moment when my temper flares I can feel it – the gentle reminder that I’m the one at fault, I am over reacting, I need to shut down the sarcasm, or stop talking and just listen.

Heed that voice! Be honest enough with yourself to admit in those moments that either you are the problem, or you are contributing to it, and be willing to step back.

My husband thankfully has a lot of emotional control and rarely says or does things he regrets in the heat of a moment.  I on the other hand need to listen to the ” don’t be a jerk voice” and when I do, I’m always thankful for it.

#5. Don’t shut down

This is the opposite side of don’t be a jerk. I suppose you could call this the ” Don’t shut down” voice.  Communicating emotion doesn’t come easily for everyone, and if you are one of those people- know that your silence or lack of participation in the conversation is hurting your spouse.  You are sharing  your life with them and need to trust them enough with your heart to share what you think and feel.  Your effort to connect in this way and work through difficult issues will help your emotionally driven spouse to feel close to you, and it may even help them be better listeners- as they won’t feel the compulsion to fill the silence during times you tend to shut down.

#6. Be honest about money

Be real about your spending habits. Be willing to take responsibility for the ways you help or hinder your finances. If you feel like you have to hide anything in this department- something is wrong. Your spouse should know and have access to every penny that comes in and every penny that goes out.  Be unified in this area.

#7. Be honest about sex

Be honest about what you need. Be honest about what you don’t like. Be honest about what you do like. Be honest about how you feel. Be honest about your struggles. Be honest. Be honest. Be honest. If you feel like you can’t communicate openly with your spouse about this part of your marriage- seek counseling.

#8. Be someone you’d want to be around

I had a moment a few weeks ago where I was irritated about my husband being late at the end of the day. I was burned out and ready to have another adult in the house. As the minutes ticked by and I waited for him to get home, I got more and more un-likable.

He got home, I was unpleasant, we bickered a little bit and then had to stop and say to ourselves, ” What are we doing? I’ve been missing you all day and this is how we’re going to spend the time we have together?”

It struck me- why am I acting this way? Would I want to come home to me?

Nope. Not at all.

This is not to say people should perpetually be happy even in the face of real stress or heartache; but ask yourself, ” Am I an enjoyable person to be with?” ” Would I want to spend time with me?”

Or am I just a complaining nagging ornery spouse? On any given day, am I sucking the life out of the people around me?

I’ve known some life suckers; they are miserable themselves and make those around them equally miserable.

#9. Don’t think you are better

You are not a better person than your spouse.

If you think that you are working harder, you probably aren’t.

Think you care more about your children? You probably don’t.

Think your spouse is less humble and giving than you? Wrong.

It’s easy to be self focused.  I can’t always see what my husband does to keep us going. And he can’t always see everything I do.  It’s not as easy to tune into the life of someone else and all the burdens they carry.

  1. Unfortunately it is all too easy to tune into their faults. I can see where my husband fails, and while I could easily make a list of my shortcomings- mine are understandable. I have justifications for them and plenty of reasons why I do what I do.  I am easily convinced of my superiority as a  partner.

Continue reading “10 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage”