David has done so much for me through this pregnancy. He takes his role as "dad to be" and husband seriously. He works crazy overtime and still makes time to help with dishes, laundry, food, and waiting on me when I'm feeling crummy. There has been a lot of me feeling crummy through this pregnancy! He's still so excited about meeting his son, us being a family, planning all the family activities we'll do together (he's planning hiking trips for us!!!), he's even excited about helping teach our son school lessons!!! Its amazing! I'm getting everything I could have dreamed of and sometimes more! Thank you God!!!
What I see in David as a spouse, partner, lover, and friend illustrates in my mind how I feel marriage should be according to God, and why without these important characteristics its obvious people have the common problems we all hear about in marriages, among a few others I'll list from my personal observation over years of relationship issues, way too many "relationship books" that I read for fun, and of course, my own marriage.
I think the ultimate foundation for a marriage (besides God, of course), is one's approach and attitude toward marriage and your spouse... way before you're even engaged. David has done well bringing a mature, Godly attitude into the open for me and demonstrating it in himself. See, both of us, without knowing the other felt this way first, believed that in a relationship the guy and girl should each be a whole person on their own. That they weren't looking to be completed by someone, or a relationship. That neither person was depending on the other to fill in gaps or dissatisfaction's in life. We both believed that when you're committing to a person to marry, you're committing to serving that person, doing everything in that person's best interest, not fulfilling yourself. If both people are committed to this attitude, there isn't room to worry about yourself and if you're getting "enough" of anything. Too many people, and even in our marriage class, talk about who should get what out of the marriage. I know there is a place for this discussion. It does help a wife to have an idea of what pleases a man emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, and vice versa (which will bring me to some personal observations in a moment*), however, no matter whether your spouse is always fulfilling his God-given role to you, you are still responsible for fulfilling your God-given role to him because ultimately, we answer to God individually, and He will judge us for how we behaved in our lives, and our marriage is a huge part of our lives and where we have the most opportunity to demonstrate our commitment first to God. I give David a lot of credit for being the first to state (while we were engaged) that he believed his ultimate duty and personal goal is to serve me. No matter what I do, he still has to live with me in an understanding way and fulfill his God-given role as husband. Throughout these early stages of marriage, he has continued to put into practice this belief; which works to his advantage because I see his efforts and keeps fresh in my mind how I ought to treat him. Being good to one another comes easy when we're both working at it and acknowledging the other's efforts!!
Ok, so *personal observations regarding men vs. women needs. I've had some issues with the lists of "typical male preferences" lets call it, and "typical female preferences." These lists include everything from emotional to how we follow travel directions. They're CRAZY! in my opinion. Here's why:
Example 1. Women go by landmarks, men go by street signs, etc.
SO not true in more than one relationship in my life. I have ALWAYS wanted street names, mileage, house numbers, cross streets, exit numbers!!! PLEASE do not bog down my thought process and cognitive map in progress, with trying to look for a barn with red shutters kind of back from the road almost to the street where you'll turn directly across from a giant chicken holding a bowl of rice... WHAT???!!!?? UGH! My hubby, and other men I know are all about looking for landmarks. I hate it. Which relates to the next example.
Example 2. Conversations - Women want this format: Details, feelings, problem. Men want Problem, facts, solution.
UHM! Not this chica! Please don't make my mind chase your dialogue all around the neighborhood of the issue. Tell me what you're talking about, stick to relevant details, lets solve this problem!!!! I know I'm not the only girl like this! Especially in the jobs I've had... people call in and give you WAY too much information and you spend 10 minutes trying to figure out what in the world this has to do with your job and why they think you should be able to fix anything that they see as broken.
Example 3. Women prefer cuddling and emotional support and would be fine if that's all the further they ever went. OH NO baby! Man, if we've been cuddling for like 5-20 minutes and nothing else happens, I start feeling frantic and wondering if this is EVER going ANYWHERE... lets get to the party already! You know what I'm saying? This issue when discussed in class actually makes me REALLY MAD. Most men spend forever talking about how they need more action at home and want women to really understand that... What am I supposed to do? Speak up and sound like a brazen tiger? See, women are never given the floor to express carnal desires if they have them (at least not in these settings I've witnessed), and believe me, I know other women who have them ;-)
Example 4 and final (for now ;-) ) Keeping up appearances. Men have also spent a lot of time talking about how important it is for the little wife to look even when just keeping the home and not going out anywhere. I have more to say about this, but do men think women don't care what their men look like? Pretty sure we do. Did our guys pick us up for dates back in the day in baggy sweatpants, or no pants, and expect us to fall madly in love with them? Dress it up guys! Our eyes still work too ;-)
So, all four of these examples, and there are more, are "truths" I grew up with. My dad preached this way of thinking, other men from pulpits, in Bible studies, and other formal and informal groups, pretty much every relationship book I've ever read espouses these "truths", so I went with it. Even though I knew many things supposedly "true" about "all" women were not true about me, I went ahead and assumed these things would be true about all men I encountered. After all, they seemed pretty true for all the men in my family I know well enough to know these types of things about them.
HOWEVER!!!! Believing these "truths" and trying to apply them to my behaviors towards men with whom I dated and then the man I married (at a much greater level once married), caused some big problems. Some guys just are not going to be like "every guy" is said to be. My man likes landmarks, my man likes to cuddle, my man seriously does not care how I look around the house and thinks its stupid that so many men talk about it like its a big deal; he "prefers me to be comfortable" (which, if he cared, it would be lucky for him that I still "try"). I wanted to say something to this effect in class while we were on this subject because it went along with communication. If we assume our partner is going to fit into these neat, tight little stereotypes 100% of the time, we're in for trouble. We need to each get to know our particular partner for WHO THEY ARE, not what tons of books and "experts" say they are. We could save a lot of agony from misunderstandings based on misrepresentations of our spouses. When I finally figured out David just was not like other guys (Praise the LORD!), and he could know more of my tastes and preferences, we could talk/relate on each other's level. Life just works when you know people for who they are, not what the stereotype says they should be.
Am I making sense? Can you all read me loud and clear?
I mean look:
David thinks this is beautiful! My BIG 'OLE prego belly is beautiful to my hubs :-) I totally was loving feeling and watching my son move, but the rest of me was feeling pretty crummy... pretty close, but not quite to my worst. He's just the best ;-)
Ok, those are my most recent thoughts on marriage ;-) Besides loving mine and all!
Still to come... how we spent of 4th of July... food updates... prenatal appointment issues... fun!