Video games can be good for your marriage

Standard

When I met Tim I was quite arrogant. I overlooked ignored all the things that annoyed me because I thought that once we were married, I could change him. Because he was the only one that needed to change, right?

One of the things that I thought needed to change was his playing of video games. Obviously married men have no need for video games, right? It seemed childish to me. And a waste of time. I didn’t understand why Tim would want to stay up into the wee hours of the morning playing video games. Weren’t there more productive things to do? Like sleeping?

Ten years into marriage, I have a completely different view of video games. I have actually learned to appreciate them. Video games allow Tim to have an adventure, see the world, and learn about different cultures for way less money that it would cost to actually go that place in person. Playing video games can also be a stress relief because he can shoot things or blow things up in a video game without actually being destructive in real life. He can also play online with friends and use a head set so that they are having a conversation while they are playing the game. Tim can keep in touch with some of his friends from our time in Korea this way.

There are a few games we have played together over the years. We spent many hours playing Risk Factions and Guitar Hero early on. It gave us something to do together. Clarissa and I currently enjoy Just Dance

I have learned that women like to talk when they spend time together. Men are usually more willing to talk when they are doing something next to each other. I have heard this described as shoulder time.

Tim and Clarissa have a lot of shoulder time together playing video games after dinner. They call it “Daddy Daughter Time.” And although some people may think that they should be doing things unrelated to screens, I see the value in what they are doing. They are having an adventure together, having great conversations, and making memories. Currently they are playing a game set in Japan and they can see downtown Tokyo and some of the places we have actually been to on vacation.

There are set times in our schedule where Tim has time to game. Usually during some down time on the weekend, after the girls are in bed and after we have had some time together in the evening. It allows him some stress relief so that when he is with his family, he can be more present and happier. So you could say that video games make Tim a better person and are therefore good for my marriage.

I am not saying that husbands should come home from work and just play video games and ignore their families. But I see nothing wrong with video games being a hobby. 

 

Our Story : The Wedding

Standard

We got engaged the same week as my sister and her wedding was three weeks before ours. Add to that the fact that the school system transfered me to a different grade level at a new school on October 1st. Needless to say, we had a very busy fall.

Another couple from our church got married the same weekend. Their wedding was at a different location on Friday night. Some of our musicians were in the other wedding so they could not attend our rehearsal. One of the pastors attended the wedding as well so he left our rehearsal early.

I like to do things very traditionally, but Tim does not. Our wedding day was Saturday, December 19th, 2009. Tim picked me up from my parents’ house about 9 AM and we headed to the church. That gave us about an hour to hang out in the Chapel before anyone else arrived.

At 10, I headed to the dressing room to get ready with my bridesmaids and Tim met up with his groomsmen. My friend Mary (who was 12 years old at the time) did my hair. Jordan (one of my middle school girls) did my make up. I was dressed and ready for pictures about 11 AM.

We were ready for pictures on time but the photographer was late. Sometimes December in Virginia Beach is 70 degrees and sometimes it snows. On our wedding day, there was snow in Pennsylvania and freezing rain in Virginia Beach. The photographer was coming from the peninsula which was flooded so she had to take a different tunnel.

By the time the photographer arrived it was almost noon. We wanted to take pictures before the wedding. Instead of waiting for Tim to see me walking down the aisle, our photographer took pictures of the reveal. I was glad that we did that. When Tim first saw me he said, “Your hair…is curly?” He had never seen me like that before and it took a few minutes for him to get used to it.

We had time to get pictures of the wedding party finished before the ceremony.

Tim’s mom, with the help of some of the youth group moms, set up the fellowship hall for the reception.

I would love to say that the ceremony was exactly how we planned. Or that even though it wasn’t, I just enjoyed every minute. Sadly, that is not what happened and I do regret my attitude about that the first few minutes of our marriage.

My dad walked me down the aisle and gave me away. My friend Mary did a beautiful dance to For My Love. Scott gave a wonderful and hilarious version of our love story and tied it in to the gospel. At the end, right before Pastor Nate presented us as husband and wife, I realized that there was supposed to have been a second song in the ceremony. It was the song that didn’t happen in rehearsal because those musicians were at the other wedding. But Nate said there was no way to bring that song back into the ceremony and pronounced us husband and wife.

So instead of being thrilled to be married, I walked down the aisle to the lobby very angry. Poor Tim. He definitely did not feel loved in that moment. I was so upset about a song.

After the guests had been dismissed to the fellowship hall to watch a performance by my Polish Folk Dancing group, we went back to taking pictures. The musicians did play my song, Chorus of the Saints, while we were taking the family pictures. After they played my song, I was happy and had completely moved on. But if I could do that day over again, I would not be upset about the mistake in the ceremony and just be excited to be Tim’s wife.

The reception was the best party I have ever been too. Tim and I had our first dance. Then I danced with Dad and Tim danced with his mom. My Polish Folk Dancing friends led the guests in several different dances from other countries. Tim wasn’t into the dancing. But I had the best time.

We had a rice krispies wedding cake since it needed to be gluten free. There was also a frozen custard bar with toppings to make your own sundae. There was plenty of other food as well.

After the reception, Tim’s parents had paid for us to spend our wedding night in a hotel. We stayed at the Hilton on the oceanfront. The view was beautiful and it snowed. They delivered champagne to our room, which I dropped, and it pretty much exploded. We had a really fancy dinner of filet mignon because one of Tim’s uncles gave him $200 at the reception and said, “Don’t tell your aunt…”

Our Story: Engagement

Standard

About a month into dating, I bought the book 101 Questions to Ask Before you Get Engaged and we started discussing it. Question 5 was to tell 3 reasons why someone would want to marry you and 3 reasons they would not. Then we started talking about what it would look like to have an August engagement and a December wedding.

At this point, we saw each other a few nights per week after work. We did some kind of activity together on Saturday, went to church on Sunday, and usually had lunch with my parents before I went to Polish Folk Dancing practice on Sunday afternoon.

Towards the end of March, we started talking about engagement rings. Tim asked if I wanted a diamond or something like an emerald or sapphire? I told him that traditionally, the man should pick out the ring. He thought that was silly since I would be the one wearing it.

March 28, we were at the mall walking around and decided to “start” looking at engagement rings. We really liked the setting on one ring with two diamonds and a dark blue sapphire in the middle. But I really liked the lighter blue topaz on a different ring. The clerk at Helzberg convinced us to buy both rings and they could just switch the stones. Tim gave me the other ring as a promise ring until we were officially engaged.

The following week, Tim asked my parents for their blessing to marry me while I went to a meeting for my mission trip to Kentucky. The church I was attending was very conservative and it was common for the man to ask permission of a girl’s father before proposing. Tim thought it was silly but humored me anyway. He asked both of my parents because he thought it was weird to ask just my dad and he wasn’t really looking for permission anyway.

On April 10, 2009, We drove to Pennsylvania to spend Easter with Tim’s parents. I met his parents Friday night. We hit it off really well. They actually reminded me of my parents. His dad loves history and was very hospitable. He asked about me and my family. His mom has a servant’s heart and was ready to make all of Tim’s favorite meals and treats. She was easy to talk to as well and we talked about things like the house and food.

We did a lot of running around on Saturday morning. I knew Tim was planning to propose that day, I just didn’t know any details. So whenever we went somewhere, I kept wondering if he was going to ask me.

Eventually, we drove to Shikellamy State Park because we were planning to go to a scenic overlook in the trees where you could also see the Susquehena River below. But halfway up the mountain we discovered that the road was still closed for the winter! So we had to go back down. Then we went to a park in the marina below.

We walked around and held hands. I kept thinking to myself, “okay this is it,” every time we walked past something cool like a little shelter or a swing. Eventually, we got to the end of the island on this little pier thing. And the view was so beautiful! You could see the mountain we tried to go up, a really cool looking bridge, lots of trees, and the river was beautiful. So I was really excited and started taking pictures of the scenery.

After I had taken pictures of everything, Tim came up behind me, put his hand in his pocket, pulled out the ring and said, “Will you marry me?” And I, like a dork said, “You’re not going to get on your knee?” He kind of rolled his eyes at me, smiled, got on one knee and asked again. To which I replied, “Yes. Of course I will marry you!” He got up and hugged me. And then he gave me my first kiss! We asked someone walking by to take a picture of us together and then headed to the car to call family to announce our engagement.

Sunday we went to church and his mom didn’t know how to introduce me to people. I was her future daughter in law, her daughter in law to be, Tim’s fiance, and Tim’s future wife. All at different times. His Grandma came over for Easter dinner. I also met his brother, an aunt, and an uncle.

On Monday, we drove home from Pennsylvania. We stopped at King of Prussia Mall on the way home. It was huge. We pretty much held hands the whole drive home. Tim must have been sitting at a funny angle because by the time we got to my house his side was really sore.

Our Story : The Beginning

Standard

It is hard to believe that Tim and I have been married ten years next week. I thought I would spend some time this month sharing our story. Also, how appropriate to begin our story on a Friday the 13th…

Before I met Tim, I was a fourth grade teacher. I spent my Friday nights at an International Folk Dancing class. I was the youngest by a decade or two but I really enjoyed it. Eventually, the people who ran the class invited me to join their performing Polish Folk Dancing group.

Our story actually starts in Richmond, the night after a dance performance at a Polish lady’s house. Somehow at the breakfast table, Donald and I started talking about my love life. Or lack thereof. Anyway, Donald is a fun guy, but he’s one of those guys that has a new girlfriend every week. At some point I said that I was waiting until I got married to have sex and probably until I was engaged to kiss. He was floored, but said he knew a couple of hard core Christian guys. Well, we left and I pretty much didn’t think anything of it.

Apparently, that night Donald went to a Super Bowl Party. He was talking about our conversation with a group of guys and was so amazed that there was a girl who just wanted a nice guy who loved Jesus. So he asked if anyone would be interested in a girl like that. Apparently two guys raised their hands and Donald picked Tim. Donald showed him my picture on Facebook.

Donald told me that a guy named Tim Faust was going to send me a friend request on Facebook. On Tuesday, February 3, 2009, Tim and I became Facebook friends. He then sent me a message and asked if there was another way he could reach me besides Facebook. So I sent him my phone number.

Two hours later, he called me. We talked for about an hour. During our conversation, he talked about the possibility of getting a new job in another country like Philippines or Afghanistan. On the phone we talked about how God is Sovereign, and so if He wants something to happen it will, no matter where Tim is. But when I got off the phone I prayed, “God, if you want me to be in a relationship with this guy, he needs to be local.” So the very next day, we’re on the phone and Tim says, “I can’t really explain it, but I feel like God is staying I need to stay here. And I think you might be a big part of the reason why.”

We talked every night that week for at least an hour and decided we needed to meet in person.

Monday, February 9 was our first date. I walked into Tropical Smoothie, and the first word out of his mouth is not “Hi.” but “Wow!” Apparently, I look better in person than in my Inspiration Awards pictures. We hung out for about four hours and set up another outing for Friday night. We talked on the phone every night in between.

On Friday, February 13th, we meet at the beach. We walked for four miles on the boardwalk. We talked about lots of random things. After our walk, I stood there, waiting for him to get out of the portapotty, staring at the ocean, and knew that I had never felt this safe or protected or loved before.

We then headed to TGI Fridays for some food where we decided we can officially call each other boyfriend and girlfriend. Then we went to my house to hang out. I introduced Tim to my dad as my boyfriend. What happens next is what I call Tim getting to know my parents. But Tim refers to it as the interrogation. That is the difference between introverts and extroverts I guess.

Saturday was Valentines Day and I already had plans. I was to see a play with my best friend and also attend youth group that evening (I was a youth leader at my church). We decided that we were not going to do anything for Valentines Day but Tim would meet me at church on Sunday morning.

On Sunday, he showed up with a rose. I said, “I thought we weren’t going to do Valentines Day?” to which he responded, “It’s not Valentines Day!” He met a lot of people at church that day and got grilled by half of them. But everyone who met Tim liked him.

Our first official date as a couple was the following Saturday. We went to First Landing State Park to what we affectionately called “The Hallway of Trees.”

He told me he loved me on Tuesday over the phone. I told him I wasn’t ready to say it yet and I wouldn’t say it on the phone. He thought I would say it Saturday when I saw him in person. At which point I told him I couldn’t yet and when I did say it, it would mean I was ready to marry him.

The next Saturday, we went to Lakewood Park. We’d had already had our first fight and he was really down because of work and stuff. So we’re on this bench under the trees talking and I asked God what I could say to make him feel better. God said to tell him that I loved him, even though I wasn’t sure if I wanted to marry him yet. I didn’t have to know that. So I told Tim that I loved him.

My last hesitation about Tim had to do with his faith. I spoke church-ese but Tim definitely didn’t so sometimes I wondered if we were on the same page spiritually. One morning I was asking God about it and then I read my Bible like I always do. It just so happens that in the book of Philippians (that I was reading anyway) there is a verse that says “Timothy has proved himself faithful to the Lord.” After that my mind was pretty much made up.

When Tim was a teenager, he was at Epcot with his family. While he was watching Riverdance he heard God say that his future wife would “have green eyes and be of Irish descent.” I just so happen to be Irish and have green eyes.

Emptied book review

Standard

Do you have an author that you really connect with? One who you feel like writes “just for you.” Wynter Pitts has been like that for me the past few years. A girl mom who loves Jesus, she has written so many resources for girls and for their moms.

Last summer, she wrote God’s Girl Says Yes to teach tween girls about saying yes to Jesus and growing the Fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Two weeks after the book was released, Wynter went to be with Jesus. What I didn’t know at the time was that earlier that day, Wynter and her husband Jonathan had submitted the final proof of a book on marriage.

I really enjoyed the last book that Jonathan and Wynter wrote together called She is Yours about praying for your daughter. I knew I wanted to read their marriage book. I also thought it was interesting that God chose to take her home the day that this book was finished.

Emptied: Experiencing the Fullness of a Poured Out Marriage did not disappoint. I enjoyed reading Jonathan and Wynter’s story. As usual, they had great thoughts to point us toward Jesus as we seek to glorify Him in our marriage in their usual conversational tone. I appreciate that everything they write feels like a conversation I would have with a close friend.

Some of my favorite thoughts from the book :

  • Be fruitful and multiply isn’t just birthing children. “Ask yourself. Can I reproduce the character, qualities, and gifts God has given me in those He has put in my path, biologically or not?”
  • “If Christ is at the center of our marriages, our job is not to create a confortable life, but to develop a life that is securely grounded, despite uncomfortable circumstances.”
  • They remind us several times that your spouse is never the enemy. The Enemy (Satan) is the enemy.
  • The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference.
  • The first part of the book talks about things you might want to stop doing because they damage your marriage. The second part of the book talks about how to build the Fruit of the Spirit into your marriage.
  • “Though we have a certain amount of kindness in our lives by nature because we’re made in God’s image, the Bible tells us the only way to be filled with this fruit is through His presence.”

Sheet Music book review

Standard

One of my dear friends and I had lunch together at our favorite Mexican restaurant the day before I got married. We talked about all things married life and she recommended the book Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage. A few other people recommended it as well so I bought it. It has survived the move to two different cities in Korea and I finally got around to reading it this fall, nine years later…

I’ve heard Dr Kevin Leman speak several times on the Focus on the Family Broadcast so I figured I would enjoy his book. It wasn’t quite a conversational tone. But much like Enjoy! The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women, it was very relatable and sometimes funny. He spent some time talking about the needs and desires of men verses the needs and desires of women in a marriage. I had to laugh so many times, just realizing that Tim and I are completely normal. Dr Leman seems to describe Tim very well when he talks about men and me when he talks about women. So that was a comforting thing and I do feel like our marriage is in a great place right now anyway. He does talk about different positions but most of this book is about the why and not the technical details of sex.

Some of my favorite thoughts and ideas from the book:

  • “Remember, you weren’t put together on overtime at a factory in New Jersey. You were designed, crafted, molded, and sculpted by no less a designer than God himself. And when he birthed you, he sat back, smiled, and said, ‘This is good'” (234).
  • “Try to begin listening to the man who loves you rather than all the men who want to sell you something (talking about the marketing on TV or in magazines)” (233).
  • “Great marital sex is about learning to love someone else the way he or she wants to be loved” (33).
  • “The beauty of married sexuality is that you have your whole lives to grow and explore and enjoy each other” (115).
  • “A sexually fulfilled man will normally be a better father and a better employee. A sexually fulfilled woman will have less stress and more joy in her life. Sex is vitally important to a healthy marriage” (45).

Enjoy! a book review…

Standard

As someone who grew up during the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” movement of the late 90’s, all kinds of purity messages were thrown at me. I entered college thinking “sex is bad.” Or at least, to avoid any kind of physical intimacy whatsoever. Then I got married and expected the programming that I had heard for the last 10-15 years to magically disappear and be excited about sex.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been married for 8 years now. Sex is wonderful. But it took a while to reprogram my brain. I think that while talking to Clarissa about sex the conversation will be more like, “Sex is wonderful. But God designed it to be with one partner for life, once you are married.” I don’t want her to need to reprogram herself once she is a married woman.

I really liked Enjoy! The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women. The book is written by Christian sex therapists and published by Focus on the Family. It was helpful to read, from a Christian perspective, what a lot of women think and feel during sex. Made me feel normal instead of weird. The chapters weren’t super long so it was nice to read one night and then spend a few days thinking about what I read. It took me less than a month to read the book.

 

What is it like to be married to me?

Standard

I read Christin Slade’s blog. She is a homeschooling mom of seven. Two of her children were recently  adopted from Africa and it has been neat to watch that story unfold.

In December, Christin started a Facebook book club that I am very happy about. I like that I can read a book at my own pace but discuss it with other women.

What’s It Like to Be Married to Me?: And Other Dangerous Questions is our second book. I have to say that I really enjoyed it. The whole point of the book is to examine the way I respond to Tim. To look at my actions and motivations and seek Jesus in how I can be a better wife/lover.

I have to say that this book has helped my marriage. I started reading it right after we moved to South Korea. It has been eye opening to see how critical I can be. This book has really helped me to focus on encouraging and helping Tim. Our marriage is much stronger now.

I think Tim would agree that I have changed the way that I respond to him. Last week I wrote out Ephesians 4:29 on a sticky note and stuck it in a place that I would see multiple times per day to remind me to only say things that were helpful.

image

Tim asked if I was doing it for Clarissa because he thought I was doing a better job responding to him that way.

Some of my favorite takeaways from the book :

I can make a list of Tim’s faults. But then I need to go through the list and make a list of my own wrong responses to his “faults.” ouch.

I can’t see into Tim’s heart if I am trying to change him.

Let the Holy Spirit be Tim’s teacher. I need to be his cheerleader.

I read the book straight through on my phone. After I finished reading the last chapter, there was a section to go through and do either a ten or twelve week bible study with the book. I think that I may try reading it again that way over the summer.