For those of us observing Lent, it is a cruel calendar trick to have Valentine’s Day immediately following Ash Wednesday. Fortunately, I have found a wonderful way to create both a gift and tribute to my husband, as well as observe the Lenten season without abstaining from a sweet desert. Those of you who know me, are aware I do not typically take strong religious stands or post about my religious views as I struggle with them just fine in private and within my own family, but this is an exercise valuable for any marriage, regardless of beliefs. I would love to take the credit for this adventure, but a woman by the name of Laura with a lovely blog called Peace of the Prairies gets all the credit for this idea in her post series: 40 Days to a Stronger Marriage.
The premise is simple; rather than giving up ice cream or chocolate, focus on a challenge (in this case a marital challenge) to intentionally live a spiritual and whole life. I had just read this post as I walked into mass on Wednesday evening. In between my little one’s hiccups and the toddler beside us banging his truck, I was able to hear snippets of the priest’s message. He spoke of giving up dark and ugly thoughts and emptying out ourselves in order that we may be filled with the good of the Lord. The two clicked. Giving up ice cream was nice and a lovely exercise in self-discipline, but truth be told I would most likely eventually fail at that attempt as I do most years and then heap on some of that well known Catholic guilt. But working on my marriage? Letting go and emptying out negative thoughts and feelings about my spouse and allowing that space to be filled with the joy the Lord intended our marriage to provide, makes sense and is something to which I actively wish to commit.
My husband and I are at a turning point in our marriage. We have just become new parents. The time is joyous and wonderful and amazing, but it’s also exhausting, frustrating, and at times can overwhelm us to the point that we are no longer loving towards one another. My participation in this challenge is my commitment to my loving and wonderful husband to do what I can to keep our life together joyous as we tackle these early years of building our family.
Day 1 of the Challenge: Pray for your husband.
I participated in day 1 of this challenge by replacing any negative feelings I was having for him with a prayer. For instance, when I wished he would hurry up and get home to tend to the baby for a minute or two so I could have a break, I prayed that he would journey safely and swiftly home to us. When bedtime approached and he was tired and grumpy and I was glued to the computer trying desperately to just finish one more thing before joining him, I prayed that he would have patience and understanding in the face of my imperfections.
Day 2 of the Challenge: Tell your husband of your intent to participate in this challenge and focus on your marriage during the Lenten season.
Day 2 was a particularly challenging day for me as itty bitty decided to sleep only on my
lap and wanted to constantly nurse. Day 2 was also Valentine’s Day and I had
woken to find little chocolates and love notes all over the house, but I had
nothing to give my husband in return.
I planned to make banana bread loaves
shaped in hearts or some other crafty Valentine, but instead I sat glued to my
computer chair with the Pinterest Boards mocking me. So nursing at the keys, I
completed Day 2 at the keyboard by placing a button on my blog indicating that I
was in this challenge and sharing it with my husband as his Valentine. For
those of you worrying that a blog button just doesn’t cut it; don’t worry too much about the hubs– I also ordered him a big manly pizza!
Day 3 of the Challenge: Write out 10 things you love and appreciate about your husband. Share them with him.
1. My husband has an amazing sense of humor. His ability to gravitate me away from a bad mood or letting something stupid ruin our entire day is one of his most admirable qualities.
2. Hubs has this incredible ability to appreciate some of the smallest nuances in nature. He actually looks at bugs, insects, leaves, smells the proverbial rose and shares them all with me. I’ve had a whole new appreciation for the world around us ever since he entered my life. Our first date was actually a trip to spy on a den of red fox cubs.
3. He is contagious with his excitement. If he’s pumped about something, the whole family is along for the ride!
4. My husband puts our family first above all other worldly relationships. He may listen and appreciate the opinions of extended family members and friends, but ultimately he and I together choose what’s best for our family. When the world thought we had gone crazy by making the decision for me to let go of a career I had spent over a decade building to not only stay home, but also homeschool in the face of substantial student debt, he continues to stand firm, grounded, and resolved to make it work.
5. He honestly, truly, deeply believes in the Lord, God with all his heart and soul. His faith is untouchable. Many of us want things to be OK or hope and think that they will turn out alright. He literally knows that God has this and it really will be OK.
6. He’s a Honey Do List kind of guy. I always wanted a sexy man in a flannel who could fix stuff around the house and now I have one!
7. My husband knows he’s not perfect and can see the human weaknesses within himself, but unlike me he doesn’t dwell on them. He works hard everyday at being a good and true husband and father.
8. My husband is educated beyond what the traditional schools he attended taught him. He has the initiative to actively seek out knowledge and grows in character and skill as part of his daily lifestyle. When our hot water furnace broke and the funds weren’t there to pay someone to replace it for us, I cried. The hubs googled, read, called people in the know and fixed it (see # 6).
9. My husband isn’t just educated, he’s also smart. He knows the most amazing and random stuff. We really may see him on jeopardy someday.
10. I can honestly say I have never doubted my husband’s love, faithfulness, or commitment to me and our marriage.
Day 4 of the Challenge: Write out 10 things things you feel your husband can improve upon; things you don’t like about him. Pray over this list and then destroy it, symbolically letting go of the little things that can make a big difference in your marriage.
Day 5 is yet to be published and I look forward to reading her next challenge. If you are looking for a special way to celebrate your marriage this Lenten Season, I encourage you to check out 40 Days to a Stronger Marriage at Peace of the Prairies.
Erika @ Prey Species, wife, mother, and blogger happy to share my little piece of the digital universe
If you have comments, questions, or wish to share something wonderful in celebration of your husband, please do so. I’m a new blogger and still get pretty giddy over getting comments 🙂