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Marriage Monday: A Cautionary Tale

Posted by Julie on March 26, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’m happy to be able to participate in Marriage Monday. Today’s topic is all about romance. What’s your experience with romance in marriage? This tends to start off strong from the husband early on, but fades, often leading to disappointment.

I can’t say I have great advice for anyone. But I can share my story and maybe you can relate and not feel so alone. Or, perhaps you are a newlywed and can draw something from this post that will help you implement strategies to keep romance in place.

Ah, romance.

I still tear up watching Almanzo fall in love with Laura Ingalls and show such vulnerability on her 16th birthday on “Little House on the Prairie.” I warped my VHS tape of “Sixteen Candles” when Samantha walks out of the church and finds Jake waiting…for her. “Never Been Kissed” when Drew Barrymore’s character waits on that baseball diamond and he shows?

Be. Still. My. Heart.

I love romance. I’m even writing a contemporary romance. You would think my married life is full of rose petals and stolen kisses.

And that’s where I’ve had to set up realistic expectations. Because many of my favorite romantic moments came from great imaginations, writing, and acting. Cinema. Books. But marriage contains what entertainment doesn’t.

Clogged toilets. Laundry. Groceries. Paying bills.

Once the wedding presents have nicks and smudges, it’s normal for the romance that came from dating and those early married years to cool down. I didn’t think about this. After all, my husband even created a computer program chronicling his love for me. He wrote a poem for our first anniversary with a dozen roses. In my mind, he made “16 Candles” Jake Ryan seem like a romantic wannabe.

Fast forward. Two kids. His job demanded a lot of time. Active in ministry.

I went from receiving a poem to getting e-cards.

And for a season, even that disappeared.

I felt rejected, and that quickly turned to resentment. During those years I grew in the Lord and a lot of the baggage I brought to the marriage disappeared. I didn’t need a lot of romance, but I was hungry for anything that would help me see I was viewed as something more than the family secretary, bill payer, laundry master, and diaper changer.

My advice is if this is you, be realistic and understand romance has seasons, it ebbs and flows, but if it feels forgotten, don’t be resentful. Be communicative. One day I blurted how frustrated I was and that if anything happened to me, the only grief would be because he would wonder where dinner was. That got his attention and he stepped it up. But I should have spoken up sooner, and without volcanic anger spewing everywhere.

I also felt like romance was a tit-for-tat competition. If I wasn’t receiving romantic gestures, I didn’t think it was necessary to give them. It’s not a game. It’s a marriage and wives, as hard as it is, we have to initiate a lot of things. I think romance is one of those areas I have to initiate. I have to realize my gesture might not be returned.

But romance is about the heart, and I need to keep track of my heart motives.

Because when I’m operating with the right heart, there’s nothing more romantic.

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4

Marriage Monday: My Story on the “S” Word

Posted by Julie on February 20, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s Marriage Monday! e-Mom wants to hear from you, so take a look, write your post, and link up.

Join us for Marriage Monday!

Here’s your chance to tell us what you’ve learned about submission in Christian marriage.

 

I know that for some women, this is a particularly challenging topic. If you’re uncomfortable with this one, no worries. Feel free to take a pass this time around.

However, if you’re ready to dive right in—but stumped as to how to begin—you might consider selecting one of the following writing prompts.

1. Define the Greek word for submission, “hupotasso” [hoop-ot-as-so].
2. Tell us a story. Show how your submissive attitude blessed your husband on a specific occasion.
3. Expound this biblical passage: Ephesians 5:22-33.
4. Discuss what the Bible has to say about submission outside of marriage e.g. to bosses, political leaders, and other authorities.

Or, you can cover this topic from whatever angle the Spirit leads.

 

You don’t need to twist my arm to tell a story, and perhaps, this is a story you’ve heard before. But I think it breaks down how simple submission is and hopefully wiped away the many, many misconceptions about it. Too many husbands use the word to treat their wives like a doormat, and too many women live independently within marriage. Before I get into my story, let me say this, I love submission in marriage. You know me well enough to know I’m not a doormat. I get my say, a lot. And yet, it’s important I not trump my husband and take over. We are a team. Yet, submission in part means as head of the home, he’s got to answer to God about how he did. I don’t envy that. But I do want to encourage him in the role. And I believe I’ll have to answer to God about how well I cheered him on.

So here’s my story.

A few years ago we were invited to a wedding out of state. I felt because of the relationship my husband had to the groom, we should go. My husband, knowing what a toll a trip would take on finances and our time with two kids, felt we should decline.

It would be tempting for me to nag on him and keep at him about how important attending would be. Trust me, I wanted to. I could see long-term, and going felt right.

But I felt that gentle nudge of the Lord request I stay silent and be prayerful.

Less than 48 hours later, my husband approached me.

“I just got a call. We’re not just asked to the wedding, I’ve been asked to be in it, as best man.”

That changed everything. He saw what an honor the request was and we both agreed to make the budget work so we could attend and my husband be in it. We had the best time, despite the many miles and short time span.

That's us at the wedding where I kept my mouth shut!

That’s submission to me. We work as a team. I give my input, but he’s allowed final say. And 99% of the time, he agrees with my input and goes with it. For that rare 1%, it’s up to me to give him that freedom to do what he believes is best on behalf of the family. Sadly, a lot of husbands take this as a pass to do what is best for them personally. That’s not how it works.

When he does something different, it’s my job to let God be God. Perhaps his choice is best, and we’ll be blessed. If he’s wrong, it’s not right to say I told you so. It’s a teachable moment for all of us.

If I allow God to work.

How about you? What are your thoughts on submission?

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2

Better Late Than Never: Marriage Monday & Overcoming Boredom and Apathy in Marriage

Posted by Julie on February 10, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I missed the actual Marriage Monday e-Mom hosted, but it’s a great topic and I thought I’d use today to talk about it. She used a quote of mine regarding boredom and apathy in marriage that still rings true. Check out her post to see what I said.

Monday's topic was overcoming boredom and apathy

I wish I had a lot of wise things and suggestions to share on this topic. e-Mom’s post is terrific, but the statement about reserving 15 hours a week for play jarred me. For those that have young children or even teens, this seems impossible. Perhaps it is. But let’s not throw out the whole idea. I know I can be all or nothing, and I think if I go nothing on this idea, our marriage misses out.

e-Mom wrote that when her kids were younger they reserved two nights a week for things to do that were just for them. She emphasizes no matter what stage you are in, spending time with your husband doesn’t have to be about money.

My husband and I just returned from a once in a lifetime cruise. Just us. Yes, it was divine. We’ve only been back a few days and the vacation seems months behind us. He puts a minimum of 40 hours in a week, often more. He’s involved with our church’s Passion Play and that’s in high gear.  We have two kids who need our encouragement and time. I write and mentor. There are bills to pay, dogs to walk, chores, you get it. You live it, too.

So how do we overcome boredom and apathy?

Be intentional.

Get out the smartphones (we are a techie family) and put something on the calendar. We love movies. With Red Box, expense shouldn’t be an excuse. We sometimes watch Turner Classic Movies together. I have a couple marriage books we haven’t tackled. Perhaps setting aside time to read those is in order. It’s a mild winter here.  We should at the very least take a walk once or twice a week as a couple.

We took a belated 15th anniversary cruise last week

Will we get in 15 hours a week together, especially in this Passion Play season?

Probably not. I’m being honest.

Although my life is all about surrender, here is something I won’t surrender to: boredom and apathy in marriage.

What about you?

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20

Marriage Monday—I Always Sleep with My Thin Pillow My Husband Calls a Sheet

Posted by Julie on January 16, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Wishing you a wonderful day off if you’re able to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day today.

 

It’s time for Marriage Monday. Join e-Mom and women from around the world, I suppose, as we blog twice a month about marriage. Today is a prompt for women only where you take the following prompts and answer as fast as you can. Let the other women get to know you. I look forward to reading YOUR answers!

Answer the following prompts as fast as you can and link up to Chrysalis blog

I am….. feeling my age today. Thank you, Pilates.
I want…..the things on my mind to disappear with no effort on my part. I can dream, right?
I have…..so much editing to do it’s overwhelming.
I wish….. I had more time to read.
I hate….. that I have such sensitive hearing. So many sounds hurt my ears.
I miss….. my family.
I fear….. the health insurance process will never be a breakthrough in my life.
I feel….. down, but not out.
I hear….. things from 5 miles away, as well as every small sound you make.
I smell….. my grilled cheese sandwich.
I crave….. chocolate
I search….. for coffee places and their hours so I can plan a meeting.
I wonder….. who will be President.
I regret….. ever eating pizza at Pizza Hut. It does NOT agree with me.
I love….. my hair
I ache…..for people to live free in Christ.
I care….. when people trust me enough to share.
I always….. sleep with my thin pillow my husband calls a sheet.
I am not….. going to argue with a combative person.
I believe….. the days are over for living a lukewarm or dishonest life. You’re for Him or against Him.
I dance….. with my daughter for exercise.
I sing….. along to duets for a fun time.
I cry….. when I’m overtired and/or frustrated.
I don’t always….. believe God, even though I believe in Him.
I fight….. for the underdog.
I write….. surrendered.
I never…. eat brussel sprouts.
I listen….. to kids laugh and never grow tired of it.
I need….. words of affirmation. It’s my primary love language.
I am happy…..because I am blessed.

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10

Marriage Monday: Have Some Children Pray

Posted by Julie on October 17, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Twice in a row! It must be a record. I’m excited to be able to participate in e-Mom’s Marriage Monday. Before I share her topic and my personal story, I think congratulations are in order.

e-Mom is a grandma! I love her story and I’m with e-Mom, the timing of this precious birth isn’t a coincidence. Such a beautiful post, I hope you read it and leave your congratulations.

But sometimes those baby stories aren’t all happy ones. Part of my “broken places” that I share with others is my experience with infertility and PCOS journey. Although I drive my family nuts by being so open, I do it about what personally affected me in hopes it encourages someone else.

And today, I think there is someone out there who needs to know my story.

I learned at age twenty-five I had PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. The symptoms for me were irregular periods, acne, and hormonal imbalance. The doctor sat me down, knowing I was in a serious relationship that looked like it was heading for marriage. He spent 45 minutes with me sharing his story, even though we both heard the crying babies and other patients outside the other door.

He was candid and let me know that I would most likely have difficulty conceiving, if I could do so, at all. His encouragement was that as a man of faith, to take his words as just that, words. He was a mere doctor. He suggested if I wanted to have children some day, to ask children to pray. I left with hope, although devastated at the facts before me.

Fast forward and I was a newlywed and conceiving was on my mind, a lot. It’s funny, when you’re told you can’t have something isn’t that when you realize that’s the one thing you want? I never grew up wanting to be a mom or anything full of maternal bliss. As soon as I realized it might not be an option, I wanted to be a mom.

The PCOS for me was unique and challenging. Now that I’m 16 years after that diagnosis I realize how severe the hormonal imbalance was and I wish I’d fought harder for my peace of mind. The depression, just daily depression for no real reason beyond the imbalance assaulted me to no end. Add to it the sadness I felt regarding the situation and I was at times emotionally paralyzed. I’m not afraid to share this all was so consuming there were times I saw myself heading to the medicine cabinet for permanent relief. I write this not to be dramatic but to say to the woman reading this who feels the same—tell your doctor these things. Mine had no idea it was that bad. It wasn’t until years later when I started early menopause did that doctor understand how severe my moods were. I am now on a low dose medication to combat that and the menopause symptoms I had as well. I feel new and alive. Please don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You are worth it.

But…there was the physical pain as well. I was in such discomfort I could go to work and then I’d go to bed. It was constant pelvic pain that felt like I was in a vise. One night I was in such misery I remember crying out to God. I let Him know I was His and I knew there was more to my life than this. I understood I had something of purpose to do with my life and being in bed wasn’t it. I surrendered my ability to have children. I told him if I needed a surgery to end all chances to conceive, so be it. I just wanted my life to move forward.

From that surrender, things moved fast and the peace of God was overwhelming. My surgeon told me there was a procedure he could do that would not end my chances to conceive, but enhance them. He was fearful I would get my hopes up. I was adamant that this was no longer about conceiving, but just being able to live. I authorized the surgery. We moved into our first home. Nothing and no one could stop me, despite the pain.

Although the surgery isn’t done so much today, it was a wedge resection. He took half of each ovary out and in recovery he let me know he had never seen such large ovaries. It explained my constant pelvic pain. Turns out mine were FIVE TIMES the size of normal ovaries. I instantly felt better, even as I recovered.

The whole time I worked with a girls’ ministry at my local church. I asked them to pray for me and to ask God that one day I could be a mom. These girls believed God and pressed in. To this day when adults come to me for prayer I remind them to seek out kids. They are the ultimate prayer warriors.

I say all that to say…seven months after the surgery I was pregnant.

That baby is 13.

Another story for another day is in 2001 I miscarried, but I knew God had one more child for us.

In 2003 we had a daughter.

If you are struggling as an infertility patient I pray you don’t let the diagnosis own and define you. Believe God. Go to Him. Seek Him hard for His plan for your life. Don’t let doctor’s words trump God’s promises.

And have some children pray.

Did you know during the month of November this blog features YOUR thankful posts? Slots are filling up but I’m still looking for your thankful thoughts. Learn more here.

Also, Tuesday at 9pm EST I’m having an hour chat just to hang out with and encourage moms of all ages and stages. Although the overall topic is what do you do with your kids on October 31, all mom topics welcome. Just because we do things different doesn’t mean we should do them alone. Log in as a guest, I do rest. Please help me spread the word.  Free room link: https://connectpro19068335.adobeconnect.com/julie-arduini-the-surrendered-scribe/

Lastly, I’m teaching highlights from the John and Stasi Eldredge book, Captivating. Thursday nights at 9pm EST share my own experiences, film clips and a video link in hopes of all women seeing how Captivating they truly are—always were, and always will be. If you don’t have the book or missed the last couple weeks, no worries. Join us! Same room link as above. I need all the help I can get letting ladies know about this life-changing book—just one hour a week!



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