I purchased this little chalkboard that sits on our piano. I wanted to somehow have this message in a place I'd see it many times a day. The sunglasses were Mama's and typical of those worn in the 70s. I thought they carried a bit of whimsy with them.
The word, 'established', is interesting. One definition says: "set up on a firm or permanent basis" another says: "achieve permanent acceptance or recognition for". I believe that when the hubs and I stood before God,our pastor, family, and friends in 1975, we promised to establish our home together.
For sure, the process wasn't all that easy. We were really young, both the youngest of six children, and had set ideas of what a marriage should look like. We didn't go to pre-marital counseling because we were afraid the pastor would try to talk us out of being married. The trouble was that we didn't know what we didn't know.
Terry made good money on the oil rig and thought we'd have our brand new trailer house paid off in a matter of months. That hope fell through as the months flew by. I was scared to death of bills so as soon as one came in the mail, I paid it. (Not a bad idea, but I had no idea of how to set up a budget.) The pastor might have given us a window to this information, but we were stubborn and didn't ask.
We wanted to be grown-ups so we didn't ask our parents about budgeting. I had no idea how much to spend on groceries per month. One thing that was funny about us was that we loved our Spanish-style red shag carpeted trailer so much, we didn't eat out much. We didn't think there was a cafe in town that could match the decor or my cooking. (Don't laugh! I did well for a 19 year old.)
Terry had decided that the man was the boss and called all the shots. I had been advised to never allow myself to be pushed around by a man. (You see where this is going?) Let's just say, that little by little the walls came down and we both learned that we loved one another more than wanting our way.
The first chip in my armor came from a Women's Day at church. The speaker told us to put God first, our husband second, our children third, and the rest of the family after that. You may not believe this, but I had no idea. Somehow, I had put my parents second to God and Terry way down the list. That was the beginning of peace in our home.
Another big influence in our lives was Dr. James Dobson. I remember one illustration he gave on his Focus on the Family film. He said that the stuff you purchase requires upkeep. If you buy a swing-set, you'll need to tighten the bolts once in a while. Some people get tired of the up-keep and see a better swing-set in another yard. They move in there with another spouse and sooner or latter, the bolts have to be tightened there, too.
The point was that in every marriage, first, second, third..., you still have the same up-keep and issues. Why not stay with the first one and work it out. That little illustration made an impact on me. I was reminding Terry of that illustration and his answer surprised me. He hadn't forgotten it and it was some of the glue that kept us together.
We are empty-nesters now and don't have the hassles of scheduling life with 3 boys in school activities and needs. It is quiet in our home until Terry gets here. He is always full of fun and jokes. He has taught me to find humor in almost everything. I have learned that my husband of all these years has the best intentions for me and it makes me want to think the best of him.
Before, I was always looking for ulterior motives. There were none. He is the kind of fellow who says what he means and doesn't hide motives. He has a kindness in him that comes from the Lord. (His mother was like that.) I've learned to wait for about 2 seconds before I respond to him if I think he said something hurtful. In that 2 seconds I have time to look into his blue eyes and see the love. That has saved my hide. It has made us closer than ever before.
He has forgiven me every time I didn't pause for 2 seconds. I also learned how to forgive. Our marriage hasn't been perfect, but I'm glad we are established. It is only by the grace of God that each of us found our way.