Marriage; as it relates to cute shoes and combat boots

I just returned from an anniversary trip with my man.  The same man about whom I may once have said didn’t have a romantic bone in his body planned a trip without my help and told me just to keep four days open and pack my bags.  Now that’s romantic.  This is the kind of thing a girl waits for, longs for.  And I know most don’t get.  So I write this carefully, not wanting to brag, but to encourage that even the things that seem like were once impossible are simply not.  Dreams bigger than what you know to dream are possible when you hand them over to Someone big enough to handle them.
But some things need the right apparel…

Some deep discussions have been happening at my house lately.  All of them point to one glaringly obvious truth.  We (boys and girls) are just never really going to understand each other.  The differences are countless and vast.

It doesn’t mean we can’t coexist and even love each other madly, but it does mean that there are invisible lines drawn that need to be straddled and even hurdled occasionally in order to do life together well.

The stuff that makes us up is just made from different materials.  One group is velvet-coated rebar, and the other is more like massive steel beams.
I’m thinking that originally, when we were created, there wasn’t such a chasm of differences between us, but perhaps that whole kick-you-out-of-paradise-curse thing may have shoved the whole night-and-day difference thing into overdrive.

In my opinion, the list of differences can, for the most part, be summed up in two words.
Logic versus emotion.
To demonstrate my point, I’ll use just one aspect.  Competition.

This word alone is why I had mostly guy friends until I had a little maturity under my belt.
Guy competition happens every day in any scenario and can involve who can throw rocks farther, who can lift more firewood, or, oddly enough, pee the farthest (?).  And even after a fistfight a “Sorry, Dude” and a handshake is all it takes to patch things up.  A logical fight with a logical ending.

Girls.  Oh, no. We walk into a room and our competitiveness shows in the way we size up every other girl in the room to figure out how we fit in.  We take in all the hair, and shoes, and let’s be honest, the shapes of every one else and base our own score on what we see–as if olympic-like judges sit at a table in our minds determining our worth.
And a girl who is feeling especially insecure may decide to wipe out the competition with a word–to wreck a life with a well-placed emotional bullet that no handshake can ever repair.image

So, how in the world is marriage supposed to work in this craziness?  How do we find the balance across the chasm that divides with the odds stacked high like some Empire State-sized Jenga game?

I took my husband to see Man of Steel for Father’s Day.  Amy Adams, a favorite actress of mine, played Lois Lane.  For the first two-thirds or so of the movie, she functioned in her cute shoes.  You know, the ones with four and a half inch heels.  She got carried around by the big guy in her cute shoes and she ran from the bad guy in her cute shoes.  She fell in love in those same shoes, but when push came to shove, and her man was in trouble, the girl found herself some combat boots.

See, I’m usually the girl in cute shoes.  In fact, these are my favorite pair.  Image
This particular pair hurts my feet like the dickens.  Perhaps it’s my Dutch heritage that made me think wooden shoes were a good plan.  But, to the consternation of my son who has no idea on earth why a girl would wear something so impractical, I will wear them and quite happily because they are so darn cute.
But there comes a time…

A time when it’s time to put the combat boots on and fight for and alongside the man I married made of steel beams in the only way I know how.

As much as we want to, to act instinctively based on emotion or logic alone will always be unproductive.
Wanna know what I learned?  It’s the toughest thing I ever have to do, and most times I fail.  Fighting for our marriage, putting on the boots, looks mostly like keeping my mouth shut and letting go of control.  Right, wrong, or otherwise, there are times when I need to just back the truck up and let my man lead and watch the ‘S’ on his chest grow to superhero-like proportions.

The only bridge we’ve been given is to consider the other position.  To act outside of instinct and consider a different approach.  Loving intentionally.

Men, do the opposite of what may come naturally and LOVE!!!  Love her!  Be willing to lay down your dreams, your ego, your plans–for her.  Not that you’ll have to, but love her that much.  It’s not a logical issue this time.  But, that’s why God made sure to tell you the secret, and how to implement it.  Just love her.  If you really do it the way you’re supposed to, she’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.

Ladies, don’t react with that emotion that can destroy in a word, or even a look.  Put on your boots and fight by standing alongside and praying for him.  Make the decision to hold your tongue and let a loving husband lead.  Even if you’re darn sure you know better than he does.  Be willing to let him make a mistake and correct it, because a humble leader is what we long for, isn’t it?  We may think we can do it best, but truthfully, we are the most secure when the weight of the world rests squarely on some steel beams.

It’s never gonna be perfect.  But the moments when we sit well in our shoes make it worth it, and make for a much more comfortable journey.

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Happy 22nd Anniversary to us!!

What are some of the major differences you have to hurdle in your marriage or have observed in others’?

TA-DA!!

 This is it–the final countdown! Hopefully, you’ve been following along and read the first three parts to this lengthy project. But, if you didn’t, it’s okay, because the three points that follow are the ones that count. You could throw away the rest and have the very best marriage if you lived out what you are about to read. Mainly because I didn’t write them. Someone infinitely wise did and He knew what He was talking about. 

In case you’ve never thought about it, God gave us specific help in how to have a successful relationship by telling each sex how to do the thing that would be the most difficult, maybe not the most natural, but definitely the most rewarding for them.
What I mean is, girls, if we would just relinquish the need to control everything and allow our husband to be in the place of loving leadership that he is supposed to be, he won’t be able to help but love us the way we long to be loved!
And guys, if you would love us girls as completely and unselfishly as described, we couldn’t help but want to be everything you need! It’s a beautiful circle in which everyone is fulfilled and loved.

If only we could just get it right!

Here’s what He said…(Ephesians 5:22-28) 

3. This one’s for the ladies…

 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands. 

 2. Gentlemen…

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

 1. The Big Kahuna!

 I’m gonna start with a story. Once upon a time, at the Kirksey house, there was a big fight.  The details escape me, but what I do remember is that the very air in the house was palpable with the remnants whatever had happened. No one wanted to be around each other or could look each other in the eye. People had been wronged. 

All of a sudden, the husband asked his family to gather in the living room. As a demonstration of how to serve, he brought a basin of warm water and began gently washing the feet of his family. He ended by lovingly washing the feet of his wife as his children looked on. Not a dry eye in the house. 

Love enough to serve!

Service is sacrificial. It thinks of others more than yourself. It is love in action.

At the end of the day, if I can ask my husband, “How could I have served you better today?” and mean it, and if my husband will do the same, we will have the marriage dreams are made of.

 

We are working on it, are you?

Try it. I double-dog dare you!!

 Thanks for taking this journey with me. It has gotten me thinking and Christian and I talking just in the writing of it. I would love your feedback! Tell me if any of this struck a nerve or had an impact. What are your best marriage tips? 

Happy (Dating) Anniversary, Sweetheart. As always, it’s all for you…

Photo credit–Addie Kirksey

As I was about to publish this post today, I learned that my aunt, that I loved so dearly, had passed away. The last couple years have been very difficult for her, health-wise, and her husband stood by her and loved and served her in a way I’ve never seen before. His love is exactly the kind of love I aspire to. For nearly 58 years those two have been the best of friends and I am beyond thankful for their example. Thank you, Uncle Harry, for your leadership and servant’s heart. I love you.