Check Point with your Man!

If my husband and I are not in sync with each other, it makes for a strained night of entertaining.

We’ve had an argument or we’re not seeing eye-to-eye on something. STRAIN. We haven’t resolved something from the night before – thus bitterness has settled in. STRAIN. We haven’t had enough “alone time.” STRAIN. We’ve been rushed and hurried all day long. STRAIN.

In our earlier years of entertaining, my husband and I would often find ourselves in one of those scenarios. As the guests would arrive, we’d have smiles on our faces. “Everything is just fine! Come on in and let us lie to you that everything is just fine!” our faces would tell them.

Today is our anniversary, and I like to look back to see how we have grown as a couple, and what I personally have learned over the years. This 17th year of marriage reminds me … “marriage requires aptitude and grace.” (Matt 19:11, The Message)

Marriage is a huge commitment and very hard work. We learn the art of compromise and what sacrifice is. We learn to move graciously with each other and in the power of unconditional love and forgiveness. But as we are willing to learn, grow, and change, the rewards are vast, including as we work together to reach out to others.

What is my Check Point with my husband before our guests arrive?

I try to connect with him in some way, right before the guests arrive at our house for dinner. It could be working in the kitchen together, sitting and having a drink and relaxing for a few minutes, or just making sure we are on the same page for the evening.

How can we truly give to others if we’re moving through the evening with fake smiles on our face?

I’ve found it to be miserable and dishonest.

I remember earlier in our marriage, getting into arguments right before walking through the church doors on a Sunday. We’d put a smile on our faces, meet and greet, and act like nothing was wrong. How many times have any of us done this? We put a wall up, smile, and basically lie to those around us.

What are the rewards to being on the same page?

Everything seems to flow. The whole evening falls in to place and gels. My husband and I occasionally make eye contact, or we put our arms around each other, or we grab each other’s hand under the table. We put our guests first, but we don’t forget about each other. We have unity – something that in earlier years we did not have because of tension and strain in our relationship.

What if you don’t ever experience unity?

Go on a date night with your spouse and bring up this subject. Let him know that you want to “connect” before your guests arrive. Let him know what the rewards are and why it’s important for you to be honest with yourselves first – so you can then be real with your guests.

Try it and see if it works! Do it!!

But if you are capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it!” (Matt 19:15, The Message).

(Read last years’ June 8th post about our Focus on the Family interview with Dr. James Dobson & marriage, here. Photos: more daisies from our yard; table setting last week using “wedding dishes,” garage-sale glasses, Target-clearance daisy side plates; our wedding day 17 years ago!)


OKGardners said...

What a beautiful wedding picture of you two "younguns!" Happy Anniversary to both of you. You are both an inspiration to other couples - no matter WHAT our age is.

Have you notice how much your son looks like his Dad? You two still look very young to me. A Beautiful Couple created by God.

Betty in Oklahoma

Julie said...

Congratulations on your 17th anniversary.

I am so blessed to have a husband who enjoys hospitality alongside me..... we've just got to keep making the effort... It's so vital in this day and age to connect with others.

BTW, we are loving the book "Married But Not Engaged". We see alot of our past in the pages and it is giving us verbage to what we have lived and learned. Each day I look forward to reading a little more.

PS. I'm the Julie that emailed you!!! : )

Barb said...

Yes, MBNE is a great book, and a fine example of how in sync Miz Sandy and Mr Paul are! Wedding pic--aw, all flowery and young and fresh!

Org Junkie said...

Happy Anniversary, beautiful picture!

Andrea said...

Good post, Sandy!

Bobbie said...

Beautiful wedding picture! AND Target daisey plates on clearance? I am there to get some tomorrow.

Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall said...

What a great post, loved this:)

Elise said...

This is an amazing post - it is something we all struggle with, I know.

In particular, I work on being relaxed and kind to my *entire* family when we have company over, for I hate that feeling of being fake when company arrives; seeing my family's strained faces, knowing they *know* I'm not being real...

Thank you for sharing this, for reminding us. (((Sandy)))

Grace said...

happy anniversary!

although i'm not married yet, i can fully appreciate this post. i've often been forced to sit in the presence of couples pretending to be happy (and even some who don't even bother pretending). i wish i had the nerve to send this link to them...

Julie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog:

Oh and on the book...the cool thing is that my husband and I just started a small group with young couples. (We are 49 & 50, they are 29, 30)...and this book is going to be good for them too. I can see things already that we can pass along to them from the book. Things we have been telling them, yet in a different way.

I'll keep you posted as we read along.

PS. My husband also got "No More Christian Nice Guy". We'll read that one next. : )

Stephanie said...

I love those pics, very pretty ! Thanks for sharing such a sweet story!

Miss G said...

This is good, thanks! I'm just updating my links and added you to my list of people I wish I knew in person. Thanks so much for sharing your life and ministry with us. Kelly

ValleyGirl said...

What a beautiful wedding picture!! It looks like a fairytale!

This post really hit home today as hubby and I have had our 'issues' lately. I hate the fake Mr. and Mrs. Sunshine and Daisies and yet some days, it seems like they're the only ones living here. We always manage to work out our issues and the peace and contentment and cohesiveness that follows is amazing. I'm not sure, but it almost seems like we need the strain periodically to remember how wonderful our relationship is and to remind us to be thankful for it, to cherish it!

ValleyGirl said...

Oh shoot, I forgot to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Happy Anniversary. Your wedding picture is truly beautiful. Wonderful post. ~ Lynn

Fuschia said...

This is so true. We have actually excused ourselves from a table of guests to go "fix" things between us. A little awkward, but the tension was even MORE awkward!

Happy anniversary! Your wedding pic was lovely.

GiBee said...

Happy anniversary! We just celebrated our 18th year anniversary on June 2, and after many, many years of entertaining, I can totally agree with you that you can't truly give to others if you are moving around with fake smiles, and are strained and tense... getting on the same page and connecting is so important!

Tammy said...

Sandy...first of all, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

You don't know how this blessed me. Mainly because (and I'll just take off my fake smile for a moment here...);) hubby and I have had some tension lately. With us, it comes and it goes, but it's so easy to look at other couples and think they have it all together, all of the time!
That's because perhaps some of them are also painting on those smiles...
So thank you for your honesty! I was so encouraged!
I'm heading over to read your interview now...

(And wow, that is a breathtakingly beautiful wedding photo!!!)

Kirstin said...

What a beautiful picture. We're going on 16 this year~

this is a great post! and one I think we all can relate to. I know I can.

mrsjones6 said...

Happy Anniversary! Seventeen years is something to be so proud of in this day. You guys make a beautiful couple.
My hubby and I always try to be in sync as well before having guests over. He and I spend much time preparing for the evening together. We learned a long time ago that if both of us are not into hosting and in tune with one another, the evening will flop!
The reminder is great for us!
Hope that your summer is going well for you all!

Susie said...

Happy Anniversary to you both! I love all the great advice. I'm about to celebrate my 16th and I definitely agree with keeping in sync with one another, and of course chasing each other around the house doesn't hurt either.

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

What a beautiful word about connecting with my husband :) Thanks for sharing your story. I well remember those senarios of having an arguement and then "pasting on a smile". It all starts in the heart, doesn't it?

I especially liked the verse you used in Matthew 19:15. "Growing into the largeness of marriage." How well put. Marriage can be a wonderful experience as we allow God to work in it!

Still learning and growing...
God bless,

Donnetta (momrn2) said...

I have gotten behind on my reading and am just now getting to this but I hope you'll know my anniversary wishes are just as sincere as the day you truly celebrated!!!

Happy Anniversary!!!

I have always appreciated the honesty and vulnerability that you share!

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

I've just returned for a week's vacation, so I'm a little late in sending anniversary wishes your way. May the coming year be filled with blessings for you both.