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Letter to My Younger Married Self – Maiden vs. Married

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Dear 28-year-old Diana,

It’s happened…you’s a married girl (ala The Color Purple)! Your teenage dream of finding the right man and being dressed in white to walk down the aisle to meet “the one” Cory  A. Jones happened. I am currently 42 years old and have so much to tell you that will give you peace in your heart and mind about what to expect about marriage.

Remember when you conceived at age 15 and had a son at age 16? Remember when you thought your life was over when his father left him? Remember when you thought you were unlovable because who would love a girl who had a baby? Well, you met THE ONE who dispelled all those lies. You met THE ONE who gave you value and worth. You met THE ONE who gave you purpose. You met THE ONE who has great plans, gives hope and a future. You met JESUS! He is THE ONE who has never failed you, never left you and never forsaken you.

It’s because of Him, that you started to know who you were as a woman, mother and a potential wife. He’s the one that made the connection between you and Cory A. Jones, your now husband who you met at the worst job you two ever had. He knew who you would need to be beside you and be the father and step father of your children. He would also be the one to dispel the lies about what men do. You know. Those thoughts about past experiences that men will leave, men cheat, men are selfish, men leave their children, and on and on. He’s a good one, D. He will represent sacrificial love to you in good times and bad. He is generous and will shower you with gifts and heartfelt cards of encouragement (even though gifts aren’t your primary love language, you like it 😀). You’ll know that he’s the one not on day one but as years pass and good times and trials come, Cory will show you that he is not what your father did and he is not what your exes have done. He becomes a Godly man who yearns to grow in the Lord and seeks His wisdom on how to lead himself and his family. You should learn to accept that early on.

You’ll learn that marriage isn’t easy. It will take daily work of prayer, reading, counsel, and introspective analysis to continue to heal from past wounds of your father and past relationships so you two could conquer the future together.

When the going gets tough…

⁃    Keep fighting
⁃    Keep praying
⁃    Keep worshipping
⁃    Keep speaking life over yourselves
⁃    Keep loving
⁃    Keep the faith
⁃    Keep learning

Love,
42-year-old Diana

 

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Letter to My Younger Married Self – Faith Prevails.

Dear 28 year-old Aileen,
Today you stand before a judge and commit to love, honor, cherish, and support Lazarus Dempsey, as his wife until death do you part. Right now, you do not understand what this all means. You have seen movie after movie of fairy tale romances and amazing weddings and I would love to tell you that your marriage will be just as romantic and storybook, but honestly it will not.

Your determination not to fail will keep you in this marriage at times when you feel like you want to leave. Coming from a broken home, and listening to your mother tell you that you will never have a good relationship with a man because her marriage fell apart changes you. You vow to never allow this to happen to your marriage and future family. You remember saying to your mother “Just because your marriage didn’t work, doesn’t mean mine won’t, just because your marriage ended after 13 years doesn’t mean mine will”. However, what happens is that you now put a microscope on the men you date. You look for extraordinary signs of love and devotion from your relationships, you constantly look for proof that this man will be the one that will remain with you for life and if these signs did not show up within a specific frame in time, you ended the relationship. In trying to control this process you added countless years of heartache to your relationship life. You turned cold to relationships all together and focused on work. But you learned, you could not have found him on your own, your tests were not the determining factor it had to be God. Well young sis, You Made It, here we are at 16 years of marriage and you are having fun!

House Keeping

Lazarus is from another country and therefore there will be some cultural differences that will creep up from time to time to challenge your view on his commitment level and his love for you. When this happens, I urge you to remember the phone calls that he made to you every morning at 9am to wish you a wonderful day and to pray for you. Remember all the hours he waited for you on a Friday just to walk you to the train station because that was the only time you would allow him before you were married. Then pause and remember that those things did not stop once he said “I Do”.

You are used to doing everything on your own because that is how you lived your entire life before your husband came into the picture. You will have a tough time letting this go but over time you will learn that you have to let go of some of it in order for the relationship to mature and for him to grow as a husband and a father and you as a wife and mother.

Lazarus has never said a disparaging remark towards you and your character, although you will have said many towards him that you will later regret. Remember that this is frustration and that you really can’t live without him.

Here are a few things you can look forward to over the next 16 years.

His unshakeable Faith

Your husband has a strong faith in God and is diligent in prayer and forgiveness. You will question his faith constantly. You will do this to mask your lack of faith and your loose relationship with God. Things have happened in your life that turned you from the word of God and at times seeing his faith in action will make you feel guilty and lost. Just remember that the Bible tells us we are to lead by example and that the husband is the leader of his home in Faith and Family.

Your Anger is Hurtful

When you get angry you hold it in until you can no longer do so and you lash out. Your husband is the brunt of all of this and it is not fair. Remember that you are not the only one that gets angry, you are not the only one with fears and disappointments. Lazarus will help you see this, as his approach to these scenarios is calm, cool, and collected. You secretly admire this about him but your silly pride will not let you acknowledge it. Remember to breathe during the storm and then speak, your words cut like double-edged blades and the wounds you inflict are deep. Don’t make him bleed for the things that were done to you and the people who made you bleed.

His humor is your balance

Aileen, you have so much love, laughter, and compassion for others and you rarely give yourself credit. You feel like you have to keep up this strong wall all the time because you don’t want to let anyone in. Your husband will make you laugh at yourself during times when you want to cry. He has a way of making you tear down the wall, if only for a moment. Laugh during these times and cherish them. These times will shape your marriage for years to come. You will come to look forward to these goofy moments with him because they really are saving your life.

The greatest gifts HE gave you through your husband

Four years into your marriage you will sit y our husband down and tell him the following:

“Laz, I may never be able to give you children. Things that were done to me in my past may have made this impossible. I know how important having children is to you and I do not want to stand in your way. I will understand if you want to leave me, in fact, I encourage you to go and find a woman who is able to bear children. I will hurt, I will miss you and I may be alone for a long time, but I will be able to live with all of that because you will have the children that I cannot provide.

His amazing response to you is as follows:

“Aileen, these doctors are not God and by the way they have spoken to you, I question if they even know God. We will have children in God’s time because God’s time is the best time. Do you agree?

You say:

Yes, but secretly you have a little doubt. However, true to our God and his amazing timing your daughter was conceived that night in January 2005. Your second child, yes, a second child will come in March of 2007.

Look at these wonderful gifts and their character and you will see the face of your husband, the strength of your marriage and the love your husband has for you. Your selflessness, as shown in this tough conversation, is one of the things he loves most about you.

Embrace Love

Throughout the years to come you will convince yourself that you do not deserve to be loved as deeply and unconditionally as others. You will tell yourself that because of your past you deserve less. I need you to open your eyes and realize that with Lazarus, you have gotten and will receive more than some people will ever feel in their lives. You are blessed, you are loved and you are amazing.

Your husband will call you “Dumb Dumb” from time to time to put out your fuse. This is a long running inside joke and it makes you laugh every time. Remember that communication, something you thought you were great at but have learned through marriage, is the key to your marriage. Remember your father told you “You met your match with this one”. Overall, you cannot see living this life without him and the family you share. He makes you possible!

Although your marriage had an unconventional start, your marriage is storybook, it is romantic and it is the most important relationship you will ever have. Looking forward to the next 16 years and the years to come. Continue to laugh, and allow yourself to be loved and give love every day.

44-year old Aileen

mrandmrs44-year-old Aileen

 

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5 Lessons about your marriage kids Learn by your Example: Part 2 (Integrity)

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In part 2 of 5 Lessons about your marriage kids learn by example is dealing with integrity. As parent, we can’t always choose the type of influence we have on our kids. We can influence them negatively, or positively. So the best thing we can do is to remain true to ourselves. But we must realize how our integrity plays a part in influencing their lives.

Integrity to our spouse. 

In your wedding vows, you usually shout, or some of you reluctantly utter these words, “I take you to be my husband or wife to death do us part.” Currently, only a little more than  half of us take that part of our vows seriously. We live in a society that says, “If it’s broke, don’t fix it, get a new model.”

There may be circumstances that you choose as the reason to get divorce, but you may be showing your kids that if it’s okay to quit divorce, then it’s okay to quit almost anything in your life.

When we decide to get married and then move on to have a family, we are making not only a promise to our wife/husband, but to our kids that we will do whatever it takes to keep the family intact. Since we as human beings aren’t perfect and make mistakes, we may have to work very hard to ensure our children that we won’t  hold those mistakes against our spouses.  

Integrity in our promises to our kids.

Another way our kids learn about integrity is when we make promises to our kids. If we promise to take them on vacation, attend their extra-curricular activity, check their homework, we better keep those promises. When we break them, it shows our kids that integrity isn’t important and it chips away at the type of integrity they should have for themselves. .

Integrity for people in authority.

Finally, the way we talk about people in authority; our President, our public officials, our bosses show our children the type of integrity we have for them. We can teach our kids about integrity not just by what we say, but what we don’t say. Has there ever been a time where your kids repeated something negative you said about someone else?

Are you living a life of integrity for your kids? As an iLoveStrong reader, what are some changes do you have to make to ensure you do?

 

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