Bad Meatloaf and Toxic Brownies-Lessons from the Newlywed Years

26 Jun

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
Genesis 2:24

marriage

Jim and I will celebrate our 23rd anniversary this weekend. No big plans. Just hanging out and having fun. Relaxed and easy, seeing what the day brings. Probably blueberry pancakes-for-breakfast kind of stuff.

This is a much different version of newlywed Beth.

I had in mind what the “perfect” wife should be.  I mean, that Proverbs 31 woman had it all together.  Fabulous cook.  Business manager. Clean house. A master at multi-tasking. And she probably knew her way around Hobby Lobby with her eyes closed.

Me?

The one time I fixed meatloaf was the last time I fixed meatloaf.  I vaguely remember numerous trips to the bathroom.  One of us may or may not have thrown up. Good times.

And then there was the curtain disaster. I proudly hung a new set, complete with the big puffy valance in the middle, just in time for our first dinner party.  Then a guest whispered, “I think those are up backwards.”  Awesome.

There was my attempt at making a wreath.  Scarred for life from glue gun burns.  Who needs feeling in your left pinky-tip anyway, right?

And let’s just say never have vegetable oil and Murphy’s Oil together on the kitchen counter.  Because the brownies you make for Bible study could taste funny.  If they don’t combust in the oven first. Or kill you by poisonous fumes.

But I pushed through, determined to be the wife I thought God and Jim wanted me to be. Until the Saturday I ironed 14 dress shirts. Let me tell you – those babies hung in the closet like starched domestic masterpieces.

I thought so, anyway.  Then Jim mentioned I had done all the collars wrong.

 (To any guys reading this: Do not try this at home. Trust me.)

He had to be kidding!  I had spent my one day off on these shirts, only to hear I had not done them correctly.

Jim thought he was helping me.  I thought he was hurting me.

I cried. He sighed. Then came the words all wives must be hardwired to say.

“WHY DID YOU EVER MARRY ME? I CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT!”

What Jim said next was probably out of sheer desperation to end my meltdown, but I know the Holy Spirit gave him the words I needed to hear.

“I didn’t marry you just to do things for me.  I married you because I want you to do things with me.”

Definitely a lightbulb moment.

“For” had become a legalistic to-do list of unreal expectations.  “With” could become a to-do life of real experiences.

I needed to choose which I wanted for our marriage.

Fast forward to 2013. If you come for coffee, five loads of unfolded laundry might be on the couch. The bathroom should be deep cleaned. And you could write your name in the dust.  (Feel free.  It’s an acceptable alternative to a guestbook).

Those things always get done.  But given the choice, I’ll pick being with my husband.

Because perfect homes and perfect marriages don’t exist.

Memories.  Good times and tough times. Happy days and sad days. Together.

That’s what is real.  And breathes life into marriage.

Newlyweds (and those still learning) ~ go live life as one. Pray faithfully. Serve the Lord fully. Love others freely.

Be passionate. Embrace each day. Laugh a lot. Don’t be afraid to hurt. There will be mistakes and problems. Commit to solve them.

Together, with God’s help, you can do this marriage thing.

Just be careful with the brownies, okay?

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5 Responses to “Bad Meatloaf and Toxic Brownies-Lessons from the Newlywed Years”

  1. Michelle June 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Laughing as I read this…funny I can visualize this happening. You and Jim are a beautiful couple. Great work Beth!

    • Hearts Unfold June 27, 2013 at 1:10 am #

      Thanks Michelle! These are just a few things that left Jim shaking his head! Our marriage defines grace!

  2. Brenda Robinson June 27, 2013 at 12:58 am #

    Great Great word my friend!

  3. Beth Sharpe June 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Love your message Beth 🙂

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