Tag Archives: Marriage

Those Pesky Idiosyncracies

27 May

It’s been said that married men should forget their mistakes. There’s no sense in two people remembering the same thing.

It’s also been said that marriage is a relationship where one person is always right … and the other is the husband.

Those jokes are funny, but not too kind to the menfolk!

Unfortunately, marriage is a sea of challenges that requires graceful navigation!

I was recently encouraged by a book about this complicated relationship. Elaine W. Miller wrote We All Married Idiots, a book that examines three things we will never change about our marriages, and then she offers ten things we can all work on to improve the husband-wife relationship. (1)

In one chapter, Elaine talks about learning to live with each other’s idiosyncrasies.

“Since living with idiosyncrasies is a part of marriage,” she wrote, “You might as well treasure those peculiar habits. One day you might miss them. I know I did.”

Elaine’s husband Dan was a tapper. He tapped on things. “I think in his mind the whole world is his trumpet as his fingers play a perpetual tune,” she said. “He taps the table when he eats, the steering wheel when he drives, the newspaper when he reads, the pulpit when he preaches, and my shoulders when he puts his arms around me.”

The tapping got hard to take. “If I let it,” Elaine said, “his tapping gets on my nerves. Many times I have said in an irritated voice, ‘Would you please stop tapping!’

“However,” she added, “when he was hospitalized and I was uncertain if he would live through the night, those words weren’t on my lips. I stared at his silent fingers, held his motionless hands, and pleaded, ‘Please, God, let me feel his fingers tapping.’

“Funny how our perspective on idiosyncrasies changes under different circumstances,” she said. “Many will admit the very thing that bugs them is what first enticed them to their beloved, and what they will miss the most when their loved one is gone.”

I remember reading about a woman who hated her husband’s snoring. She complained and poked him through the night. But after the man died, she told a friend she’d “give anything to hear that man snore again!”

Those pesky idiosyncrasies are simply more proof that we are all unique, and the truth is, every marriage has them. It is our attitude that makes the difference. Elaine explains that love is kind (according to 1 Corinthians 13:4). And what does that look like? “Being kind to your mate means overlooking those oddities that sometimes drive you crazy. The next time your love does the idiotic, remember this ~ you married an idiot and so did your spouse.” (2)

Elaine points out that the words “idiosyncrasy” and “idiot” both come from the same Greek root word (idio) meaning “common man.” In other words, we all do things that are a bit eccentric or peculiar from time to time.

As I thought about this, I realized how many times simple kindness and grace ~ and especially loving words ~ have acted like soothing oil in my own marriage. (Sometimes I can’t believe that my husband has put up with me this long!)

Rather than focusing on each other’s quirks, we’ve chosen to concentrate on what is good, pure, lovely, etc. (see Philippians 4:8). Some of those pesky idiosyncrasies remain, but they aren’t “issues” anymore. We’ve learned to love and accept each other and try to see each other through the eyes of the Redeemer we both love.

When I stop to think that God created me with unique idiosyncrasies ~ and He loves me ~ it encourages me to share the same kind of love with others, especially my spouse.

How about you? When you think about your spouse (or if you’re not married, a boss or a parent or someone else you have a relationship with on a regular basis), is there something that the person does that really bugs you? Could love, acceptance, patience and mega doses of grace ease your frustration?

(1) Elaine W. Miller, We All Married Idiots (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2012), p. 7.

(2) ibid, p. 7.

Elaine Miller is a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and has authored two other books, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms and Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives. http://www.splashesofserenity.com.

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Love, in Spite of Us

12 Feb

A funny Valentine’s Day story appeared in Reader’s Digest:

Richard B. Blackwell wrote, “Every Valentine’s Day, our campus newspaper has a section for student messages. Last year, my roommate surprised his girlfriend with roses and dinner at a fancy restaurant. When they returned from their date, she leafed through the paper to see if he had written a note to her.

“Near the bottom of one page, she found: ‘Bonnie ~ What are you looking for here? Aren’t dinner and flowers enough? Love, Scott.'”(1)

Scott clearly loved Bonnie in spite of her silly hang-up.

Some time ago, I heard my husband’s cell phone ringing and went to retrieve it. He had left it at home, so I called the caller back to let her know.

Then I thought that I should let my husband know. So I called his cell phone.

Yeah, you heard that right. Duh ~ one of my “blonder” moments.

My dear husband has experienced many of my “not quite connecting the dots” thought processes. He is amazed that anyone who loves apologetics, studies Church history, and conducts research for two ministries can come up with the lamest statements.

I’m not stupid, but sometimes my brain just doesn’t fire right…  you know? I heard that Einstein was the same way. I don’t know if that’s true, but it comforts me, somehow.

But my point here is, my husband Bob loves me, just the same. He understands how I function, and he accepts me because he just loves me.

It’s a wonderful picture of God’s love for me, only on a far deeper level.

I have nothing to offer God, in and of myself, because I continually choose the foolishness of sin. What a comfort to know that “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). He loves me, not for who I am, but for who HE is. And my love relationship with God all began with Him. “We love Him,” the Bible says, “because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Love is a choice … and God chose to love me! I am amazed and grateful.

Aren’t you glad that God loves you, in spite of you (not because of you)? As Christians, we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). We are accepted because of God’s love for His Son, and the loving sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf as a covering for our sin.

Makes me want to create a Valentine for “the Beloved” today. Why don’t you join me and post a note somewhere today expressing your love to Jesus? And take some time in prayer and meditation to reflect on His love and grace that gives and gives and gives … in spite of us.

(1) Reader’s Digest online, “11 Funny Valentine’s Day Jokes,” compiled by Amy Zerello

Coffee, Anyone?

19 Sep

I (Pam) am pretty sure there are a few coffee drinkers in our audience. Here are a few humorous coffee mug slogans I have come across:

  •  Instant Human, Just Add Coffee
  • Coffee and Love Taste Best When Hot
  • Sleep is a Symptom of Caffeine Deprivation

In my new book, 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband,  I highlight ways to wow, surprise, please, 52 Ways to Wow Your Husbandand love your man ~ even if something about him drives you just a little nuts! For example, my husband, Bill, loves his coffee. But along with Bill’s love of coffee, he also has a habit that could be very annoying, that is his aversion to get the coffee mugs into the dishwasher. I find coffee cups every place imaginable: in the garage, in the car, in the truck, in the closet, on the sidewalk, on the deck and patio, in the shop, in the office, on the stairwell, in the bathroom ~ you name it, and I have likely found a coffee cup there.

It is a good thing that we are authors and speakers because we love collecting the coffee mugs from all the churches we speak at and all the TV and radio shows we appear on ~ and we need everyone of them!

In  my new book, 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband, I share how to make this year the best year of your man’s live by giving some ideas on loving and living with your guy.

How did I handle the mugs issue? I am not a coffee drinker, really. I might drink a non-fat latte, but for the most part coffee makes my heart race, and I prefer that only Bill makes my heart skip a beat! Bill says that I am naturally caffeinated by God, and it takes Bill drinking three cups of coffee just to keep up with my energy. Bill has an internal homing device that helps him spot a Starbucks green awning! 

Bill&Mug

One of Bill's many mugs!

Appreciate the Difference: Coffee is a part of what makes Bill… well, Bill! One day, as we were preparing to move homes, I was doing that “last load of dishes” and I realized it was composed of all coffee mugs ~ 47 of them to be exact! It made me smile because years ago, I decided to pray for Bill every time I saw one of his empty, displaced mugs. I was seeking to apply the principle “love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

I have embraced the ever-reappearing dirty coffee mug with fond affection, because it reminds me of my hard workin’ man who requires caffeine to do all the wonderful acts of service that benefit so many, including me.

Celebrate the Difference: For Bill’s 50th birthday, we celebrated by having Bill select and then roast his own brand of coffee. It took one afternoon to visit a coffee farm, select the beans, roast it to perfection, and design the label. I knew I had a winning date as he sat, lingered a moment to savor the aroma of his Farrel Family blend of Mountain Thunder Vienna roast. He took a sip, and I watched a big grin appear on my husband’s well-caffeinated soul.

Integrate the Difference: I take note of when Bill’s “Farrel Family Roast” runs low as I know a mug Farrels Hugof his favorite blend, with just a touch a real cream, will endear his heart to mine ~  just like that empty,  dirty cup does when I discover it in the next unusual place.  Praying for Bill when I see a coffee mug, even when I travel and might be away from Bill, has become my life rhythm.

Today, take that thing that is driving you crazy about your man and make it a prayer, a celebration, or a date to WOW him!

And, if you are willing, sign up to make this HIS best year ever: Buy 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband and we’ll sign you up for this fun challenge and encourage you as “wow”!

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