Category Archives: family

Wives-What it Means to “Submit”

I don’t think submission to a husband is easy but I also don’t think it’s wrong. There are a few synonyms to the word submit that I found quite entertaining:

  • endure
  • tolerate
  • humor

Endure your husband’s behavior because (hopefully) you know he’s not doing anything out of selfish ambition. Any good husband genuinely has his family’s best interest at heart. Whether or not his choices are always right we don’t know, but you can at least testify to good intentions.

Tolerate the fact that God has put this in the bible because clearly we weren’t gonna do this all on our own. If it makes you feel any better, he also had to tell people not to murder.

Lastly, humor him. Don’t make him feel like his ideas or methods aren’t correct because they aren’t what you’re used to. Your way isn’t the only way and it’s not always the right way either.

Sometimes I think about how I “submit” to my husband. This is a staggered occurrence that is done normally in response to him behaving in a way I find acceptable, and in those moments in between submission, I am simply living. I am a loving, kind, challenging and sometimes an argumentative wife.

But submit is such an ugly word, isn’t it? You look at it and you think, “Submit? Me? To…HIM?!” At the moment the idea of being submissive is annoying to me. However, the scripture is specific about who the submission is directed to.

Let’s take a look:

GOD, LOVE & FAMILY (1)

 

This scripture is almost instructing us to inspect the way we submit to the Lord. If our submission to our spouse is supposed to match that of the way we submit to our heavenly Father, then perhaps that relationship- the one between heavenly Father and daughter-is the one we need to evaluate.

When I think of how I submit to God, I think of a parental relationship that doesn’t quite match the one I had with my parents as a child. As a child, I obeyed out of fear and I rebelled out of resentment. With God, I obey because of what he’s done for me, and because it seems an (almost) appropriate response to his unconditional love for me. It stands to reason that how you view God in your life is directly related to how you will respond to his words, either in obedience or the opposite.

Regardless of the circumstances, it’ll be a lot easier for your husband to love you as Christ loved the church if he’s got a wife that is willing to compliment his efforts instead of thwarting them, and it’ll be a lot easier for you to submit when you take comfort in the love of a husband who loves you like Christ loves the church.

In other words, wives submit to your husband as to the Lord.

More Than Just Mommy

There was a time when I wouldn’t allow myself to be more than a mother. I thought that if I took on anything else I would be doing a disservice to my children. After all, their father is in the army and we all know how much time he spends working…they didn’t need two parents that didn’t have time for them. The results of this lifestyle were borderline catastrophic. I fell into deep depression. I lost my friends one by one. And my relationship with my husband was under water. All because I took this one aspect of my life…and made it my everything.Untitled design

Today I find myself in the position of fighting for my time. I’ve learned to embrace that there are other things I can do, and I desperately want to do them, but I’ve got a handful of other things (and little people) at home that need tending to almost constantly. And with a recent upheaval of all I own (moving from Germany to Texas) this struggle has grown exponentially. Today I know what I want to pursue, I simply struggle with how.

Recently I’d heard a message from Terri Copeland Pearsons about how she knew how to prioritize her life even though she was a traveling speaker. God helped her divide her time so that she was able to be there for her children when they needed her, and she was able to fulfill her other duties without neglecting her family. This was eye-opening to me, because before hearing this I hadn’t deemed it possible to have that type of wisdom…to have balance.

Mom Quote

Have you ever had this overwhelming desire to be and do more than just be a mommy, but failed to execute because your little one’s still needed you? And you still wanted to be needed by them? I’d always had this fear of being insignificant. In reality, allowing children to learn independence in certain areas of life is commendable, but many moms -like me- refuse to allow that process to run its course. We want to spoon-feed life to our children bit by bit.

To be more than just mommy we have to let go. Let go of fears of being insignificant to our children; mostly because they haven’t got very many expectations for us in the first place. We have to look away from other mothers who appear to have everything perfect and under control. We have to stop comparing ourselves to them; its unhealthy and fruitless. Lastly, we have to get up and take action. We’ve got to actually do something! Everything seems impossible until it’s done.

 

Mili-Wives: How to Stay Sane

After 3 years we PCS’d from Germany to Texas and, after a month of living here it hit me, as I sat on the couch, one day this place, this place I JUST moved into will be the place I miss. One day I will have to pack up everything I own and start my life all over again in another state or maybe, once again, another country. That very thought paralyzed me in a state of severe anxiety. I’m sure you’ve been there before.

It isn’t that I’m homesick anymore, because home isn’t a specific place for me. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved to Maryland in the 9th grade and Virginia after I graduated. People would ask where I was from and I’d randomly pick from the various places I’ve lived…and I was not a military child. So no, homesickness doesn’t come from a location. It comes from the people around me that have made that location feel like home…and every so often I’ve got to start that over with all new people. In an effort to describe the way that feels, all I can say is, IT SUCKS.

Life is not

Non-directed steps. That’s it, isn’t it? None of us has any clue what we’re doing! We just get up everyday and expect things to work out. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, but we keep moving. That’s exactly what a military family has to do…figuratively and literally. We’ve got to keep moving. The fact is, when the non-soldier of the family, whether that is dad or mom, is out of sorts and stressed, that will eventually begin to affect your children in more ways than one. Take it from me. I was immensely depressed leaving Germany and, as a result I unfortunately neglected my children, which threw them into a state of depression as well.

So here’s what you do: KEEP MOVING. If your children were in sports or taking an instrument or in a club of some sort at your last duty station, waste NO time, be sure to get them right back into the swing of it at your new duty station. They’ll make friends right away and have a small sense of familiarity doing something they enjoyed.

Make your house a home. You don’t get your household goods for another 3 weeks and you’re sleeping on that ugly loaned furniture in the meantime. Been there. Go to Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart and pick out a few new things to make the place feel home-y. Let the kids pick out new rugs for the bathroom or a poster for their bedroom. Make the place your own right away!

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Be there for your soldier. He’s got to adjust to an all new setting too, doesn’t he? Surprise him with lunch one day or set your alarm super early to get up and say a short prayer with him before he leaves for PT. Leave a note in his pocket telling him how much you love him. Call him randomly and ask how his day is going. Stay aware of how things are for him, because this change is just as drastic for your soldier as it is for you.

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Lastly (although I could go on and on) YOU need to get plugged in. Go to the FRG meetings. Join the PTA or find some other area to volunteer at your children’s school. Join a local gym. Take a class at the local community center. Visit churches in the area and go on a Wednesday…in my experience it was always easier to meet people on a Wednesday than Sunday. Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to stay cooped up in the house alone, sulking and wishing you’d never left your last duty station. Your family needs you and you need your sanity!

I hope you find these suggestions helpful and I hope you’ll share them with someone you care about. If you’ve got your own ways of staying sane through a PCS please share the in the comments!

Till next time…

R.L.

 

Dealing with Resentment as a Military Spouse

8 military years feels like more than a decade when you are a military spouse and I wrote this to touch the nerves of those who have dealt with (or are dealing with) resentment for their spouse. I hope you enjoy and please comment, your thoughts are welcomed!

When your marriage becomes an afterthoughtYou must be patient because it’s not his fault. He’s not working ridiculous hours because he wants to; still you find yourself getting angry. “I’m here alone, you know?” you say to yourself, inwardly hoping your spouse will hear your heart. As selfish as it may sound, you’re over all of it- early mornings, late nights, long field training, deployments, everything. And with yet another impending change looming over your heads, you find yourself growing increasingly doubtful about the sanctity of marriage. Perhaps, in his mind, this change is exactly what you need, but to you it’s no more than another avenue to a broken dream. An opportunity to get your hopes up only to have them shattered by reality. There is no hope for better days. Maybe outside of the military, yes, but that is all.

He’s a soldier now, and as a soldier his phone doesn’t stick to his hip, it sticks to his brain and he is slave to it; awaiting the next order from a higher rank on how to live out his next day. Every conversation has become about work. When he wakes up he is a soldier. While he is home he is a soldier and when he’s away from home, but not at work, he is a soldier. Perhaps the idea of a neglectful spouse is far exaggerated when that person becomes a soldier. His entire identity becomes enveloped in rank, positions and ratings. Whoever he was before military life, well, that man is dead and gone. Only remnants of him remain in your mind.
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Your relationship as husband and wife is starting to feel like no more than an afterthought. If there were a time when he put any energy into being a better spouse it is no more. “I suppose we’ll have a happy marriage after,” you say to yourself, “after work, after dinner, after school, after the kids, after bed, after all is said and done, we’ll have a conversation that resembles a couple of friends that used to know each other. People who once spent a lot of time together but slowly fell into the soul-sucking droll of everyday life, until one day they were no more than passersby, exchanging a smile to be polite.”

You knew military life would be different than being a civilian, but you had no idea just how tightly your life would be tied to your soldier, being forced to uproot your entire life every few years and having to start over in a new place with new people who you will inevitably be saying goodbye to, forever, one day. You simply wish for a sense of normality. There is a world of people out there that can separate home and work life, you know? They go to work and come home to enjoy their families and you find yourself asking, so often, “why can’t that be us?” And perhaps it can be, one day, but you can’t begin to think of where to start.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO END THERE

As a word of encouragement to military spouses, it get easier. The hard part is looking past the uniform and remembering who your husband is. It may be even harder to help him remember who he is outside of work. The military owns you, in a sense, and there are jobs where they are called all hours of the day and night about work, so switching off is extremely difficult. Still the need for a “normal” family life will always be there, and it is up to the spouse (whether husband or wife) to be there to foster that sense of normality.

You’ve got to do your best to make your house a home and, without negating your spouses military achievements, show them how much more important quality time with family really is. Resentment may feel like it’s unavoidable sometimes but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Forgive, move on and live life the best way you know how, as a loving, supportive spouse.

If you or someone you know can relate to this, please leave a comment! And if you know someone to understands what it’s like to feel like a neglected military spouse, please share this with them!

Till next time…

R.L.

 

Opposing Views on Correcting Your Children

Raising children and differing perspectives on discipline and family values can cause controversy in any relationship. On my last family post I spoke about the importance of allowing your husband to be the head of the house. I personally know a lot of women that are naturally dominant and I wouldn’t say they have intentions on becoming “sole ruler” of their household, but their personality is just one that is naturally in charge…yet it’s no more difficult for them than it is for me to allow our spouses to be the head of the house. I don’t have a bunch of reasons why we should do this, I have one; the bible says so.

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I think there are a few things in the bible that we may struggle with obeying and for those we must simplify it down to the fact that we should do it just because God says so. When our children ask us over and over, “Why?” when they are told to do something, there comes a point when we have to just tell them, “Because I said so,” and let that be that. You have to trust that God loves you and knows what is best for you; this makes it easier to obey.

 

Today we are here to talk about how to deal with the issue of having opposing views on how we discipline our children. Some call it punishment but I’ve always felt that word was a bit harsh. To discipline a child is to educate them on what they’ve done wrong, why it is wrong and the effects that the wrong choices have on them…consequences.

Methods of discipline

When I was a child my father had one primary means of discipline-the belt. My sisters and I were spanked. I think in today’s world that is frowned upon, but I have never found that my sisters and I, or any of my friends who were spanked, have ever looked back and resented our parents for spanking us. It taught us to have a reverential fear for our parents and, more importantly, to refrain from doing the wrong things we knew we weren’t supposed to do. I’ve never felt abused, ever.

Standing in the corner. There were times when my parents were just irritated with my behavior and they’d just have me stand in the corner for a while, with my hands at my side. I’d stomp my foot in protest, and that would earn me another five minutes in the corner. Any more stomping and I’d be on track for another bout with the belt, but I knew better than that.

Writing sentences. My dad would have me write 100 sentences. Sometimes it would be a scripture about obeying and sometimes it would just be, “I will obey my parents.” It didn’t matter to me what it was, it drove me crazy because I had to write it a hundred times!

Taking away privileges. Today we’ve got a LOT more privileges to take away than we did when I was little. I was told I had to stay inside and not play outside with my friends. They didn’t have to take away television because I didn’t often watch TV…I was a bit of a tom-boy and preferred the outdoors. Not being able to go outside and play was a nightmare for me. Today I take away my children’s electronics because they are millennial and that is all they care about. Cell phones, Nintendo’s, tablets, laptops, Xbox, Playstation…they’ve got it all! When I take one away I take them all away, no exceptions. It’s sad how terribly this impacts them, but this is a new day and age we are living in.

Of all the ways to discipline that I’ve listed here, I’ve had to use all of them on my children at some time or another. I will say that I’ve only had to use the belt a handful of times, and I’m not sure it had much impact since mommy isn’t a heavy-handed 6-foot tall man like my dad was. My husband has had to spank on occasion as well, but we certainly don’t spank our children as much as we were spanked in our childhood…maybe we’re just soft.

Methods of discipline (1)

Perhaps you don’t you any of these methods of discipline, but your spouse does. Perhaps you feel like any form of discipline is a disservice to your children…I assure you it is not. Still, there are going to be times when you and your spouse disagree and I think I have a way to help you with that.

Talk About It

Easy peasy right? Not! I’ll give you an example from my own experience to help you with this one:

My oldest son is 9 years old and he lied to me. He and his brother had been saving their allowance and his brother (7 years old) had more money than him. I found out that my oldest had taken a euro (we lived in Germany) from his brother’s allowance! I was angry so I brought the two of them together and asked how much money each of them had. They told me and then I sent them to get their wallets and count it. I had the stolen euro in my pocket. My oldest had dropped it unknowingly earlier in the day and I picked it up, knowing it was not his.

They came back to me and my 7yr old reported that he did not have the euro I’d given him. I asked my oldest multiple times if he’d taken it and his response was shady, “What? Ummm, no I don’t think so? Lemme see, uhhhh. No I didn’t take it, honestly.” I sent them away and called my oldest back to me minutes later. I asked him again if he’d taken it and he finally confessed. I then showed him the money that he’d taken. I wanted to discipline him right then and there, but I was angry and I’ve always made it a point not to inflict consequences out of anger…it just feels like revenge when we do that. I simply told him, “You are in trouble and I will let you know what your consequences are later,” and I left it at that.

Later I discussed with my husband the situation and asked what he felt was best to do, and together we decided how we would discipline him. His privilege of receiving allowance was taken away for a while, since that’s directly connected to his offense.

Become a United Front

Even if just one of you decides the consequence for your child’s behavior, show that you are a united front by approaching the child together and discussing his behavior as a group. It shows that you support each other and, for mom, that even though daddy is “head of the house,” he’s not the sole parent in charge of discipline. You work together and earn your child’s respect (because they will not simply give it to you just because you are parents).

Take your Time

As long as it has been made known that your child will be disciplined, take your time discussing it with your spouse to be sure you are on the same page. As a mother it is sometimes very difficult for me not to try to defend my children’s behavior. I take no joy in seeing them disciplined, but I understand the importance of showing them the error of their ways and how much of an impact these years have on their adulthood. I want them to grow up to be respectful men!

Pray

These aren’t exactly in order of importance, but you gotta know how important it is to pray. My husband and I don’t pray anything spectacular when it comes to marriage or parenting. I normally say something along the lines of, “Help us to be the husband and wife you need us to be to each other, and help us to raise our children the way you want.” Nothing fancy, just keeping it real.

I hope this helps you and your spouse to be able to come together and discuss the important issues regarding disciplining your children. Tell me what you think! What are some common ways you were corrected as a child, and do you use those same methods on your children?

Is Your Husband the “Head of the House”?

I think huge issues arise in a marriage when it comes to how the children are raised. Your upbringing is basically the foundation for how you will parent your children. Even if it is simply to avoid doing what you think your parents did wrong, you are using their blueprint as the guide. The trouble begins when you and your spouse don’t share common views on how children should be raised, and that is an easy way to cause strife in a relationship.

Lack of mutual support when setting boundaries for our children
Taking sides with the children instead of supporting me as the husband/head of household
~Sam
You remember my friend Sam, don’t you? A few weeks back he shared with me a few gold nuggets from his over 30 years of wisdom as a married man, and I’ve taken that inch and turned it into a mile! These (above) are a few things he mentioned when it comes to raising children, and I’m certain they are common issues in any marriage. The part about supporting the husband as the head of the house hits home with me in a big way, and I think a lot of women can relate to struggling with this issue.
I don’t think that I desire control simply because I am a woman. I don’t think I desire control because I’m just some bossy control freak.

I think I desire control because it is in my nature. I am naturally in charge of my own domain and having my husband step in as the head of the household does not always sit right with me.

The fact that it is in the bible only makes it more difficult, because then obedience to God takes precedence over my own will. I don’t obey God because I have to. I don’t have to, he gave me free will. I obey because I love him and I know his best for me is far better than my best.
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That’s a heavy hitter though, isn’t it? I know in my own personal experience that I have had a plethora of times when I’ve taken my children’s side instead of supporting my husband…and it pisses him off to no end. “You’ll do anything to take up for your children,” he said to me one time. I didn’t feel bad about it at the time, but I now see the error of my ways.
If we are a divided front, our children are going to get away with murder. They know they can butter me up and get what they want when daddy says no. They know they can put on a sad face and come to mommy’s shoulder and get out of trouble when daddy is correcting them, and that, my friends, is dangerous. You may think your children prefer you and respect you when they do things like that, but it is the exact opposite. They are manipulating you because they know you do not support your spouse in their efforts to discipline your children.
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If you respect your husband, even a little, if you believe that he would never intentionally hurt you or your children, and if you believe that he genuinely loves you, that should be enough to treat him as the head of the household. If he is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church then think about what that means for you. Christ died for us. He suffered pain so that we wouldn’t have to and now he sits next to our heavenly Father pleading our case so that we can spend eternity in heaven with him. How on earth can that be a bad thing?
Now, of course, we don’t expect our husbands to be as perfect as Christ, but he certainly can try, and it would be a lot easier on him if his wife were a supportive partner and not a hindrance to his leadership.
I can see a few women right now thinking, “He doesn’t know what he’s doing, I’m not just going to bow down to him like he’s some king and I’m his subject,” and to that I say, “Get real.” God would never place his child beneath someone. Don’t you think he knows the important part wives play in the household? Why else would he have taken a bone out of Adam’s body to create woman? We are necessary! Don’t lose your value from one verse. God highest and best is for us to allow our husband to be head of the household, and our obedience to that verse will open doors that you never saw coming. Good things will happen.
If you, like me, have a difficult time allowing your husband to make important decisions, there are two things you can do about that:
  1. Pray for him. Ask God to give your husband wisdom and prosperity. I pray Psalm 112 for my husband all the time.
  2. Talk to your man! Help him see how important it is for the two of you to work as a team and not as an employee-employer relationship. Be kind and try to use examples that he can relate to. Open up about how much you want to be there for him.

Keep an eye out for my next family post, where we will talk about a few ways to help you and your spouse come together even when you’ve got opposing views on discipline, and I have a few tips for you on how to have a successful disagreement, without allowing the children to ever know it happened.

Til then, talk to me! How do you feel about allowing your spouse to be the head of the house? Husbands? Do you think it is necessary to take on this role?

Rely on God for…Free time?

I wondered for a while if the example of selfishness that I’d given you in that last post,   “I Remember” was adequate enough to illustrate the point I was trying to make. I imagine most people would simply say that my husband was being selfish because basketball isn’t exactly a priority in life. I imagine you’d say that he should have, at least, taken the time to be there for his children, if nothing else. After all, he’s got boys so it would have totally been appropriate if would have taken them with him to the basketball practice, right?

(ps: if you’re just coming in on this story, take a look at my last post and the one before that to get a good foundation for what I’m talking about here.)

PEACE

I explained to you that God told me he wanted me to depend on him for “that”. What was the “that” anyway? It was my free time. The time of the day where I was supposed to be able to breathe easy, finish chores, eat, watch TV, read a book, pray…whatever. It was supposed to be my time and I was in debt of free time for months now. When my husband left for basketball practice, I can honestly say that I believed he was being selfish; but the truth of the matter is that my husband worked (and still does) crazy hours. So sure, I needed time away from kid nation, but he needed an outlet where he could be free as well. My husband needed a place where he didn’t have to be a soldier, and he didn’t have to be a dad or husband…he needed that time just as badly as I did and he too needed to depend on God to get it.

So, in the question of who was selfish here, it was both of us. Let’s face it, even though my husband needed that, it was horrible timing. I was doing over-time at kid nation and I just wanted to get away; but I was selfish just as well. I didn’t even take a moment to consider the fact that my husband was just as exhausted with life as I was, just in a different way. His work is different than mine, but no less taxing. Sadly it took me this long- 3 years later- to see things from this perspective. Had we not been thinking of our own needs back then, the situation may have played out far better than it did.

remember the lord in all you do

So, I suppose the questions remains of how do I rely on God for free time? (take a look at the verse above) I think this is one of those things where you have to have FAITH. For just about everything in life, faith in God is so supremely necessary. Without it, you won’t trust God to give you what you need. (Pay attention to the word give because God is not planning to make you earn what you need in life). God was simply waiting for me to use my faith to open the door and allow him to provide that free time that I needed.

He helped me get my children on a proper schedule. He helped me wake up on time in the morning LONG before my munchkins woke up. He helped me get my household chores done, and after all that (and more) somehow, time with my children no longer felt like work. I could enjoy them once I’d managed to enjoy time alone.

Later on I was able to start seeing things through a new perspective. I began to see how heavy the weight was on my husbands shoulders as the sole provider. I saw how much he really did need basketball and flag football, because without it he was just plain grumpy!

So here’s our lesson for the day:

Home is where

Ask God to give you direction and he is more than willing to show you how you can rely on him for your free time…or whatever else it you need today.