Tucker is our not quite two year old, seventy-five pound chow lab. Although he’s losing some of that puppy mischief, that dog needs to chew.

Needs to.

And if he can’t find something of his, well, he’s going after something of ours.

Lady unmentionables. Shoes. Stuffed animals. Those are his favorites.

You get two confessions today. The first is I can’t even tell you the amount of money I’ve spent trying to find a toy that can survive the chewing. When he was a puppy I found a solid bone that he didn’t pay a lot of attention to. So I tried the ropes.

That usually results in strings all over my carpet and a dog chewing my shoe.

Stuffed toys? They die a quick death.

I went with name brand. The Kong toys lasted a few hours to a few days.

I’ve tied old socks together. You name it, I’ve tried it.

Yesterday I found that original solid bone toy. I don’t know what it’s made of, but I put it on his bed and he is gnawing and gnawing. It’s not even half gone. It’s not a flashy or expensive toy, but it’s the one he’s meant to have.

Second confession? Somehow my mind made the leap from dog bone to marriage.December2014tucker

I flirted with a lot of options to keep that dog happy. Flashy. Labels with fancy promises. And in the end, the best bone toy was the one that had been there all along.

Whether on an entertainment update between celebrities or connecting with someone on FB, I see too often a marriage fall apart because things seemed stale and someone went in search for something more impressive. It’s heartbreaking because it affects everyone. Kids. Extended family. Friends. Co workers.

We’re closing in on our 20th anniversary. What I love about where we are is we know each other well and the insecurities and holding back from the early years is gone. We’re the deepest level of friends.

But you know what? I was hit hard this year with the enemy trying to trip me up. My husband was often not physically around because of a huge project at work, or, home but locked away in conference calls. While he did that, I was reeling from medical things, writing frustration and flat out warfare where I felt alone and depleted. My mind started to entertain the what if’s. What if I married someone else? What if my real husband is out there wondering what happened to me?

That’s all stinkin’ thinkin’ from the pit of hell. And if I weren’t clinging to Christ each day, I would have fallen for it. It wouldn’t have been long before I went in search of a flashier toy with a lot of promises.

And I would have been destroyed.

How did we move forward? We went back to the basics. It might not have looked like a fancy answer, but we remembered how much we gained early on by attending meetings where couples wiser than us shared basic marriage hacks and principles. We went to a different church than our own to listen to married pastors with covenant thinking who shared simple stories about their marriage and takeaways. Nothing big. Pretty simple. But we learned a lot, received good refresher info, and most of all, were intentional in spending time together.

We’ve done the same with the hot tub. We have an inflatable thing that gets the job done. We’ve made dates to meet up to talk about our day, the schedule, the kids, finances and how we’re feeling. It’s a safe place for us. It’s a simple plan. But it’s helped us not just survive, but thrive.

And that’s how I made a leap from a dog toy to marriage.

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