Category Archives: edification

Dear Psycho Mom, or “Why Your Husband and Child Hate You”

Today, despite my loathing of the August heat in Georgia, we went to the park to see some very missed friends. Mini Gwinn and the other little ones were getting their sweat on while we moms were chatting away, catching up on the past few weeks. While we were there, another group of mom friends arrived, all with similarly aged children. When a high strung mom in neon arrived and immediately began shouting her daughter’s name (let’s call her “Stella Cate”, because she insisted on calling her child her full name), I considered leaving the park altogether, but missed my gal pals enough to stay, and just relocate to a different part of the playground for a while. Once “Stella Cate’s” mom’s friends arrived, though, the situation escalated quickly.

This poor little girl, who I later discovered was just a month younger than mini Gwinn, was (literally) being yelled at for every turn that her mother didn’t find approving. At one point, she touched a little boy’s face, at which point her mother screamed her name three or four times before making it to her daughter to whisk her away and reprimand her sharply for gently exploring. “Stella Cate, DON’T TOUCH THAT”, “STELLA CATE DON’T TOUCH THAT LITTLE BOY,” “STELLA CATE DON’T BREATHE!” It didn’t help that this mom had an unfortunately grating voice. If she was my mom, I would run away too, Stella Cate.

I digress.

So from behind my sunglasses I watched Stella Cate, and the other little ones (all around ~2 years old, give or take a couple months),  play the way normal toddlers play. There was no pushing, no shouting, just the normal toddling towards interesting things and around other toddlers, with minimal interpersonal interaction between them. She was a pretty quiet little thing, and was just doing what toddlers do: explore.

Let me pseudo- tangent for a minute, ya’ll. While pregnant, many moms do lots of research and reading about the upcoming delivery of a human, some delve into the first few months with a baby, and the bold read about the first year of a child’s life before they actually have one in their arms. I won’t lie, I read several (over 10) books about all of the above mentioned, but when it came to life after  the first six months or so, I wasn’t really worried. Instinct kicks in, and I’ve been around children in both a “learning” environment (teaching) and a natural environment (home life). No one parents identically, and I’m no expert on other children, but I’ve got my grasp on my parenting style, and I try not to judge others. My axiom with moms now is, “Unless she’s feeding her kids glass, she has her own way of doing things.” But, interwebs, this woman obviously knows precious little about toddlers, and if I ever see her again, we are promptly leaving.

Why so harsh, mombie? Lemme tell you. As long as psycho mom didn’t interfere with mini Gwinn and myself, she wasn’t feeding her kid glass (well, not physically. She’s just screwing her daughter up for the future, whatevs.), “not my monkeys, not my circus,” right? Until her daughter gently touched my son’s face, which mini Gwinn was totally cool with. I was totally cool with it too, until the neon whale came swooping down like a vulture onto dying prey. She screamed at her daughter, who by this time in her life is obviously used to the screaming, but she screamed in the same direction, very close to, my nearly angelic child’s face, which made him BAWL. For the record, my kid doesn’t really cry about anything. So I said to her, as she’s freaking out, “Your reaction and yelling scared him, he was fine with Stella Cate touching his face. Really.” So she began to defend her totally psycho reaction by saying, “I have to nip this in the bud now.” I wanted to say, “DEAR GOD DON’T LET HER EXPLORE!! CORRECT HER IMMEDIATELY!” But I instead asked how old she was then calmly explained that toddlers explore through sensory play, including touching one another. If you’d like to further your own education, interwebs, look it up on your own. You’ll find documents from universities, educational websites, early childhood development professional websites, ETC. My point: kids explore through touch. And I looked at that poor little girl, who had an expression of confusion on her face, and I felt bad for her. And I wanted to punch the mom.

You see, psycho mom, this is why your husband and child hate you. Too harsh, interwebs? If I had to be married to her, I’d leave her .And her daughter is going to (at the very least) go wild when she goes to college because her every move won’t be controlled by someone who yells as her “go to” method of parenting. I realize that this post is horrendously judgmental, but when someone makes my child cry because of simply screaming, they’re lucky I don’t go full Sarah Connor on them, particularly this woman. And when I see a toddler, with no reasonable amount of logic or self control, do what she is supposed to do naturally to grow mentally, I am reaffirmed that some people shouldn’t have kids.

This woman probably adopted a small dog nine years ago and abandoned it because she refused to learn anything about dogs, put it in her purse, and then threw it across a room when it peed in her Coach bag.

My point? Learn about that incredible human being you are raising before you verbally destroy her. Also, stop being a crappy human being. AND don’t shove yourself into workout clothes if you have no intention of actually working out.

I’m gonna go eat a sandwich. Maybe do some deep breathing exercises. Clearly I haven’t calmed down.

Happy (or aggressive) Friday!


The Problem with Elitism

“The master demon Screwtape identifies elitist humanity’s tendency toward “an ingrained habit of belittling anything that concerns the great mass of their fellow men.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters: Also Includes “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”

A few weeks ago we were dished out a little dose of elitism that came into conversation because Captain Laser Pants and I don’t have a “proper” dining room table. The height of the mockery (in public, mind you) was something to the effect of, “Dear GOD! You eat meals on a FOLDING TABLE?!” And my husband, being the pillar of reasoning and humility that he is, just smiled and said, “Yeah.” He could have said, “Dear GOD! You care about mocking people?!” or “You don’t have a college degree?!” or something equally rude and humiliating, but he didn’t. My husband isn’t in the business of making people feel badly about themselves or mocking them. In fact, he has an incredible gift (that I strongly believe is from God, because this is supernatural) that allows him to LISTEN to people during a debate or simple conversation.

Simply put, my husband isn’t an elitist.

If I had been with him, I would have held my tongue, all the while hurling cutting insults in my mind. As the years go on and we’re together, he has made me mature in this way substantially. While it’s temporarily fun to have the last word (especially if it’s several syllables long and deeply witty), it’s humane to be kind, let others have the last say.

You know what? We eat some meals on a folding table. We eat most meals in a hurry or on the couch. But the worth of our lives together is not made up of the contents of our rental home. The quality of our persons is not compiled of the designer labels we don’t wear or the way we could cleverly cut a person in public (but don’t).

The problem with elitism? The idea of degrading someone because he holds a different standard/ different way of life/ less knowledge/ more knowledge than the elitist is childish, petty, and comes off as insecure. The insecurity stems from the fact that most people aren’t qualified to be elitists in the first place. The problem with elitism is that no one is perfect. And if I scratch the surface of the elitist facade just a bit, I’m going to find something public- mocking- worthy.

But I won’t.

I wouldn’t want to disappoint my husband.


People I Love: Part Two – Mom Friends

It is possible that CLP and I created a monster.

Since birth, mini Gwinn has slept with a beautiful, hand knit blanket that was a gift from my sister’s mother in law. Literally, every night, he has been wrapped up in it and snuggled into the soft yarn of the blanket. He loves it. For fourteen months it served him dutifully, taking beatings in its constant trips across the floor as he crawled with it, traveling to Minnesota and Tennessee and home again, the many washes (on gentle cycle) from the spilled milk or the middle of the night accidents, and many other tortures such a delicate blanket should never endure. Now that he is a destructive toddler, mini Gwinn felt it necessary to deconstruct his blanket, string by string. It now has a gaping hole, smack in the middle of the blanket. Captain Laser Pants and I have had many worried nights that he may find himself stuck in the blanket, twined in the yarn, an obvious death trap waiting to happen. We decided, a mere two hours before bed time, to search frantically for a similar knit blanket at Target. Of course, being my child, mini Gwinn had no interest in the baby themed fleece blankets on clearance, nor did he feel particularly drawn to any knit blanket under $50. Finally, after racing through the domestics aisles like I’m on Super Market Sweep, I found a dark brown, cable sweater knit blanket, similar to his basket weave blanket (more in feel than style, obviously), on clearance for $19. He gave it a good squeeze with his chubby hands, and I rushed to the check out to make it home in time for bath time.

We settled in after his bath, snuggled in the new blanket (yes, I’m a bad mom, I didn’t wash it first, but I didn’t have time to, and couldn’t wrap my child in the blanket of potential death), and had his night time bottle (only one of the day, I promise). As soon as I put him in his crib, he EXPLODED in tears. Like, fits of howling screams and shakes accompanied by a river of heart breaking tears. I let it go on for ten or so minutes, mainly because he NEVER cries anymore, and I couldn’t handle it. We went downstairs and listened to his cello song (Bach’s prelude from Suite 1 for Unaccompanied Cello) three times. He so sweetly laid his head on my chest and his little hands on my arm and sank comfortably against me. When it was time to put him back in his crib, though, the same horrifying “DON’T LEAVE ME IN HERE, DEVIL WOMAN!” screams started again. I waited for fifteen or twenty minutes more and then couldn’t take it. I made him another small bottle and went into his room. With mommy magic I pseudo- stitched up the gaping hole with excess yarn, and as soon as I picked him up with the blanket against him, he cooed in delight. He polished off the four ounce condolence bottle and fell asleep immediately.

CLP was shocked that he had developed an attachment to the blanket. Given that I had my own blanket and passy (pacifier) til I was five, it didn’t come as a shock to me that he would have grown attached to his own, but still.  I wasn’t expecting this kind of reaction.Thoughts?

Anyway! Onto the second post about people in my life that rock my socks: my mom friends.

E-Wizzle: With your little guy the same age as mini Gwinn, and with having met you when they were both still lying on their backs due to immobility, I feel like we’ve been walking the same lines for a couple years now. You amaze me! I don’t know how you work full time, rock at being a mom full time, and seem so serene always. When I felt most lonely, you walked into that library meeting room with your little guy and -bam!- friendship. You are so graceful and kind, and you do this craziness called motherhood with poise. Thank you for being such a fabulous, wonderful friend.

Lu Lu: If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were my sister from another mister. Your dry, sarcastic humor pairs beautifully with your parenting style, and little Pippi is all the cooler for it. She is going to grow up to be one rad chick thanks to all your awesomeness and sacrifice you’ve made for her. Thank you for being such a fast, trustworthy friend. I love that I can confide in you on my bad days, laugh with you on the good days, and play video games with you once the sun (and son) goes down. You are such a seriously cool woman and I am so happy we are in one another’s lives for this wild season of life.

Tay C: You are so brave. And strong. And beautiful, and funny, and such a wonderful mom to Cball. That first step into friendship, remember the diner? That was awesome. I felt like we both needed someone to reflect back to ourselves: I can do this. You are fearless in your approach to new things and people, infinitely creative, and your mothering instincts are enviable. Your encouragement, your perspective and your friendship are huge blessings in my life. Even if you and I hadn’t been surprised with our little bundles of boys, you and I would have crossed paths and been friends, I just know it. Thank you for your friendship and the love you’ve brought into our lives.

I love you three ladies! You are encouragement on the hard days and light on the best of days. Thank you for your friendship, I am honored!


Would You Marry Yourself?

About a week before Captain Laser Pants popped the question, I was talking to an old acquaintance of mine. After a years- long relationship, his ex had left him because it wasn’t moving forward. He compared all other women to her. At the time of this conversation, he told me he was “casually” dating between three and five women simultaneously and wondered why none of them took him seriously enough to have a real relationship with him. I guffawed and asked him if the situation had been reversed, how he would react. He sighed dramatically and commented on my wisdom (of course) before asking me about my relationship. I told him it was awesome, which was totally true, and he asked me how I was so happy. I told him, “To find the one, you have to be the one. I may not be ‘the one’ yet, but I’m sure working on it.” He told me that I was going to make CLP a very happy man. That was the last time I’ve spoken with him.

Maybe I was too harsh with him, but, let’s be honest- no one wants to settle down with a serial dater. Did he want to date the female version of himself? No way.

It’s a good litmus test, if you’re honest. Would you marry yourself? I sure as heck wouldn’t marry me. Want some reasons why? Here you go!

-I am really forgetful about important stuff (like paying bills or renewing my driver’s license) but have an acute memory for the utterly mundane (“there are four snaps on mini Gwinn’s romper!”)
-I am moody. There, I said it.
-Sometimes my very rational brain goes nuts and shuts down. Much like a robot’s hard drive.
-I’m not really affectionate, but I like to get a hug once in a while.
-I am super critical

I’m working on the critical attitude- being forgiving and emotionally generous will be paramount as my baby grows older. My moodiness is usually as a result of something incredibly petty, like forgetting trash day. Managing my emotions isn’t my partner’s responsibility, it’s my own. There are areas of “me” that I’m working on still (like my thighs). It’s pretty obvious that if I married myself, all the bills would be forgotten, but all clothes would be organized by color and style in each closet. Dinner may be made, but if me and myself are losing the house due to foreclosure, it doesn’t really matter. I need a partner, not a clone.

This is kind of a two- point blog. Not only do we need spouses who complement us, we need to first be the kind of “work in progress” person that “the one” will want to complete. I’m not saying you have to be perfect before you’re going to find your other half. But doing things like hip- checking your own selfishness, for instance, can make or break a good day in a marriage. Sometimes it amazes me with the blatant selfishness I see displayed in marriage, and honestly, it makes me pity the other spouse. It’s always a two way street (believe me I know), but if we laid down the weapons in a relationship and tried empathizing with the other, I can’t help but wonder how much more peacefully resolution can be found as a team, and not two opposing sides.

I asked CLP if he would marry himself, and he responded with, “I’m more likely to marry a Choco Taco”. He wouldn’t marry himself because he and I are two halves to a whole. Would I marry myself? No. But are there traits in my personality that make my marriage great? Absolutely. He and I both have plenty to work on as individuals, but because we empathize with one another and connect on a daily basis, we are so much better together than we are separate.

This is all over the place, really just a stream of consciousness blog. Maybe something more coherent will come up in the future!


Letters to Your Husband, Present and Future

Last week’s blog on baggage and intimacy (as seen here) received more feedback than anything else I’ve written on here to date. Emails, text messages, and Facebook messages came pouring into my inbox. So many of us are walking around with hurt, some with the help of a significant other, and some without. One message in particular spoke volumes. Without revealing too much, she told me she is waiting for the right man to be brought into her life. I don’t know about you all, but waiting is one of many things at which I am dismally horrible. After a marriage, a child and a divorce, I cannot begin to fathom the pain of waiting that she is experiencing. So, in a brief moment of wisdom and/or clarity, I suggested that she write letters to her future husband any time she was feeling lonely or that the wait was too hard.

This morning, as CLP had his arm draped over my waist and was snoring in my ear, I thought about how devastated I would be if we were separated. We truly are two halves to one whole. A light switch turned in my head and I appreciated the snore (really), the weight of his forearm on my stomach as he slept. There are so many tiny moments of our relationships that we take for granted with one another. When he leaves the leashes next to the front door after walking the dogs, I have to check my attitude on occasion- should I be upset about the minor inconvenience of three leashes on the floor, or should I be grateful that I have a husband who takes time from his morning to walk our dogs so they’re better behaved for me later in the day?

For our first anniversary gifts, we wrote letters to one another. As you can imagine, mine was long, detailed, filled with lots of commas. I poured my tired little heart out. His letter to me mentioned the fact that he tells me how much he loves me every day. While at first I was just a teensy bit sad that his letter wasn’t three pages long like mine was to him, it occurred to me that a) yes, he does tell me every day (what a lucky gal I am!) that he loves me, and b) men, no matter how cerebral and verbose, communicate differently than women. The letter is in my jewelry box, where some of my most precious, costly gifts sit.

Where am I going with this?

Write a letter to your spouse, whether or not you are currently married. If you’re writing a letter to your husband, break up the length (for his sake). Date it. Men need to know their wives respect them- tell him you do. They need to be desired- tell him you do. Does he wash your car or mow the lawn? He’s taking care of you, above and beyond the big stuff that matters. Tell him thank you. If you’re a dude, write a letter to your wife. Work to make it long (for her sake). Women need to know they are loved- tell her you do. Remind her that, of all the women in the world, you chose her. Does she make you dinner or go grocery shopping alone so you don’t have to endure the store? Thank her.

Letter writing is a lost art. If you’re stuck or you can’t find the words, copy someone else’s love letter. There are epic, legendary letters of men to women and women to men out there from some of the greatest minds ever to have lived and loved. Seek inspiration. Check our your spouse while they’re getting ready in the morning. Be inspired by the love they have given and have taken from you.

No Shakespeare? No problem.

Letter writing is not something you have to build up to doing. Working through emotional baggage, trust, respect and communication- all very important!- can be done while you’re honing your sonnet skills. A little note card with an “I love you. Let’s make out later.” written on it can be slipped into a work bag or taped to a mirror.

If you’re not married, let your spouse know you are waiting for your relationship with anticipation. When you feel lonely, writing it out to your partner is a good exercise in healing together before you’ve even begun. Let your future spouse know your triumphs, your failures, and your heart. Don’t be a stranger to the pages- someday the person who will know you best will be reading them.

Don’t be intimidated by a pen and paper. Your heart and your mind were some of the reasons the two of you fell in love in the first place.


My Bedroom is Not a Luggage Storage Closet

When Captain Laser Pants returned from his first business trip since our little duderino was born, he left his luggage in front of my closet for over a month. He tripped over it on his way to his bathroom at night, it partially blocked the mini- hallway from my closet to his, it collected dust, the dogs wrestled on it. It was totally and completely in the way. Finally, sometime in May (it had been sitting there since March), I cleaned it out and put it away in the closet where it belongs. Granted, it was only a carry on sized bag, but that one inconveniently placed piece of baggage interfered with our routine every day until I removed it. My bedroom is not for luggage storage!

Ok, this just kind of blew my mind- I in no way had any intention of starting this post about intimacy and baggage like this. Hello, epiphany, it’s nice to see you again.

Unless we lived under rocks until the day we were married, all of us are carrying around some kind of baggage from our past. Some of you have modest, backpack sized histories with neatly tied emotional packages that stow away perfectly in a shoe box in your hall closet. Others, like myself, have a cargo plane full of the baggage/ damage inflicted upon us and by us. Between the idiot ways I treated myself and the ways allowed myself to be treated by others, I am the epitome of the crazy bag lady.

Ahh, snap. That’s all my baggage. Talk about the checked baggage fees.

This stuff is about to get real, ya’ll. I have to confess some things.

Today I went to the doctor (whee) for my annual lady visit (TMI, yeah, yeah). We talked about the prospect of Team Gwinn adding another member, and I am seriously struggling with the idea of it. Pregnancy and postpartum ravaged my body. I am so, so fearful that round two will be worse than the first, and leave everything in even crappier shape than it is now.

Rewinding even further back- I’ve had someone tell me I was fat, then too skinny, crazy, hard to look at (especially without makeup, he said), and pretty much every other horrible thing you can think of to say or do to another human being. I tolerated it for four years and crawled out of the rubble that was my self esteem with little more than threads of sanity to claim for myself. Captain Laser Pants is literally a saint, it isn’t even fair to compare the two. My husband is gentle with his words, sincere, generously loving, witty and intelligent, thoughtful and discerning, immeasurably giving AND he’s freaking hot. This man would jump in front of a train to protect his family, and I can call him my own.

How unfair is it to him that I bring my baggage into our relationship?

My “for real” luggage is quite beautiful. And in no way can contain all my crazy.

I would consider myself an absolute authority on insecurity. Some people have swagger for days, I’ve got insecurity for months. What started out as a routine exam this morning turned into a cryfest on my way home. I felt betrayed by my body. When I stopped by to visit my husband at his office and pick up our son (he took our baby to work this morning so I could go to the doctor in peace- so thoughtful, right?!), I saw that his office has a new intern. She’s like 18, crazy thin, blah blah blah. After picking apart my own body at the doctor’s office, I see this girl (who literally has nothing to do with anything) and it makes me feel worse. In the parking lot my husband made out with me (sweet), got frisky and we said we’d see each other later, but I felt shame and insecurity hanging over me. With my perfect baby in the backseat, I boo- hooed on the way home. How ironic is it that I’m writing a blog on insecurity, baggage and intimacy when I suffer from these issues all the time?

Bringing all this baggage into my bedroom has made it very crowded. It is impossible to feel sexy and confident when my 75 year old boobs and my 14 year old face are mocking me. It’s hard to hear my husband’s sweet voice tell me he loves me and thinks I’m beautiful when words from years past still haunt my ears.

Let me tell you, reader, intimacy is a great (and I mean GREAT) remedy for insecurity, if you just put down your barriers to let it happen. There is nothing so soothing as the comfort of your spouse’s arms. There is nothing so peaceful as your partner telling/ showing you that they love you, warts (and baggage) and all. Your husband (and mine for that matter) doesn’t see the tiny imperfections you magnify. Your wife is significantly more forgiving with you than you think- you just have to let your spouse step up to the plate and prove this to you.

So, what is marriage supposed to look like, even though baggage is present? I heard a really awesome idea, and though it’s not my own, I’m going to share it with you. The act of marriage – what it looks like – is sex. Where you are vulnerable, naked, raw, honest and SAFE – that is marriage. I can remember being in high school and hearing the youth pastor condemn sex before marriage, but not really taking the time to explain why. As an adult (and you may not agree with my religious beliefs, and that’s ok) I understand that every time you give a piece of yourself away to someone that isn’t your husband or wife, you receive more baggage in return. The rejection and the abandonment that one experiences after a sexual relationship is over is deteriorating to the heart. You can’t reconcile that loss. You just end up moving on, bringing along another piece of luggage to the next relationship. In marriage we should be able to shed the past and be made new as one person in our union, but more often than not, we drag along the past rather than cutting the cords we use to tow it.

Don’t bring your baggage to your bedroom. Your spouse already knows it exists and will help you combat what needs to be defeated and will help you put away what belongs in a closet. It is easy to create a chasm between us and our partners when insecurities and baggage are standing between us. You vows included “better” and “worse”.  A friend of mine said that “emotional baggage is like wearing sunglasses” in that your perspective is impaired and colors are viewed in the wrong light. I am going to remember that when I start to skew my perception of my marriage and myself. Your partner doesn’t want to hurt you, and you owe it to your spouse to give them your trust.

Speaking of trust, once that light is on in your head, it’s easy to be intimate with someone you trust. It’s easy to be honest with your best friend when she’s never spilled the beans, right? Your spouse has earned your trust- reward that. Physical intimacy is a beautiful response to the hurt insecurity can leave. Even when I felt deflated after mini- Gwinn was born, and exhausted from the complete lack of sleep, the comfort of my husband was vital to my survival. We reconnected when I felt alone, I felt beautiful even when I could fold a Christmas present with my extra stomach skin (eww!), and I felt safe with him. It can be really difficult to find time and energy to reconnect physically after the birth of a baby (heck, it can be difficult period), especially when the mummy isn’t feeling yummy. I suggest (from personal experience) investing in some nice “in between sizes” lingerie that flows away from the body. A flowing sheer teddy is flattering and forgiving. Bring home chocolate and flowers for your wife- it’s cheesy, it’s easy, and it works. Be nice, give genuine compliments. Hug. Kiss. Kiss again. Intimacy isn’t just about taking things to the bedroom. It’s about displaying the act of marriage- where you are vulnerable, honest, open and safe- to one another regularly.

I’m going to close today by apologizing to my husband for imposing my insecurities on him and thanking him for being the rock in my life. You weather my storms, my ups and downs, you wrap your (big, manly) arms around me, you tell me you love me, and you give me unending grace that I don’t deserve. Thank you for seeing our marriage through the good and the bad and the crazy. I love you endlessly.

Coming soon: the chemical romance, and whatever else you guys tell me you want to see! Let’s see some comments on suggestions for this series. Thank you for reading!!


Respect Yo’ Spouse Befo’ You Wreck Yo’ Spouse

Don’t act like the title of this post doesn’t impress you.

So I’m thinking a lot about respect today, in the midst of this series about marriage. As someone who was raised to respect her elders, disrespected her exes, and adores her husband, I’m not an authority on the issue (duh), but it is something I’ve struggled with since I was old enough to talk.

When I was in kindergarten, I had more than my fair share of bad habits. I scratched people (viciously like Freddy Krueger), rolled my eyes at adults when I couldn’t think of something cleverly snarky to say, and when I wasn’t rolling my eyes, I was smarting off to those in authority. An example: My mother worked at the school I attended in kindergarten. My teacher told me I had to wait for my mom to pick me up from class. So, there I was, logically working out in my brain that school was over and my mom’s classroom was just down the hall. I told her, “You’re not my mom!” and marched my little butt to my mom’s room. In one little act of defiance, I undermined my teacher’s authority, asserted my own, and probably (definitely) got punished for my insubordination. I’ve had issues with authority ever since then. If I don’t feel like they’ve earned my respect, I probably don’t give it to them (unless it’s a police officer and he has a gun).

As an adult I disrespected my relationships. I flirted with other men. I insulted my boyfriends, plenty of times in public. I questioned their decisions. I mocked their misgivings. Obviously, those relationships weren’t going to work. When Captain Laser Pants and I met, the situation was clearly different. For one, I was mature enough (mostly) to recognize the damage that my sharp tongue can cause. He also earned my respect. I don’t believe he was trying to do so at first, but I saw his character, his mind and his intentions as I got to know him personally. This man was worthy of my admiration, just as I was worthy of his pursuit.

On our first trip together (before we were dating) we talked about the importance of edification in a relationship. It was something I had never really experienced before, but understood the benefits of implementing it in future relationships. To “edify” (to build up, strengthen, encourage, improve) your partner is something that does not come naturally for many. But in reality, if you’re not working to build up your spouse, you’re (inadvertently or purposefully) tearing down your spouse. How’s that, you may ask? Just like if you’re not telling the whole truth, you’re lying, if you aren’t working to encourage your spouse, you’re eventually draining him or her.

What do edification and respect have to do with one another?

If I never told my husband “thank you” for all the work he does for our family, he would never know how much I value his efforts. If I never listened to him and communicated with him, he would never know I respect his mind. If I told him, “I don’t need you,” he would believe it, whether the words were true or not. What we do and what we say directly speaks to our spouse and conveys the message of “I respect you” or “I don’t respect you”. Men particularly need to be respected. We all need to be encouraged by our spouse. If we were to never receive encouragement from the person who knows us best, it could give us a complex! Think about it. Your spouse knows you better than anyone on the planet- if your partner never complimented you, or gave you a kind word, you’d feel like a failure. Edification is vital to a marriage, and you can’t edify what you don’t respect.

A lot of my friends, married and unmarried alike, probably think I am absolutely crazy when I call Captain Laser Pants while I’m out shopping (a rare occasion, especially now that mini- Gwinn is so grabby/ fussy/ drooly). When it comes to our finances, I defer to my husband. He works incredibly hard- he is away from home, at work- and I respect the time and effort he puts into taking care of our family financially. I don’t like to spend money frivolously because he doesn’t spend his time away from us frivolously.

We forget, in our ever busy lives, to encourage one another. It’s so easy to let your spouse know you respect him or her, and it’s just as easy to give words of encouragement before you two part ways and go into the world each morning. Give genuine, detailed compliments. If your husband looks hot in his suit, tell him. If your wife cooked a meal after working a long day, tell her your thanks for pulling double duty as money earner and chef. Your marriage is meant to be your fortress- your safe haven. Edification of one another is the act of building up those walls to protect your spouse and yourself from the outside. If you care about the citadel, you care about the walls. To feel safe and to feel comfortable in your marriage you must encourage and respect one another. Without respect for your spouse, you lose one of the most beautiful elements of your marriage- intimacy.

In the next day or two I’m going to write about intimacy (both emotional and physical) and the baggage we bring along in our marriage. Please comment with suggestions and thoughts- I will be mulling over this next topic with serious regard.

Have a beautiful day!