Christ. Children. Constructivism.

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Victoria’s True Secret

It was the first time I had been into Victoria’s Secret.  I crossed the threshold with my mom, yes, prim and proper Mrs. Lee, the summer before my wedding.  She was bringing me to this special lingerie store to pick out my negligee for my wedding night and other fancy items for my honeymoon in Hawaii.  Standing at the counter with all the sweet smelling perfumes, she reminded me there, as she had done many times before,

Our wedding day with our parents

 <3 Always say no before you are married, and always say yes afterwards.

This must be Victoria’s Secret? It certainly was Mrs. Lee’s and others who shared some common truth about being happily married.
It seems fitting on Valentine’s Day to share some more “not-so-secret-but-often-hidden” thoughts with you about creating a real life fairy tale romance.  Besides the secret shared in the first paragraph (perhaps the most helpful one of all) here’s some other ideas. These are shared in no particular order, are in no way exhaustive, and may or may not speak to you in your relationship.  They are simply observations that I have witnessed with one truly happy wife….
My parent’s wedding day
<3 Put on your lipstick.  Funny, but my mom literally did this. Her perfume, too.  My dad would call before he left the office, which gave my mom about 15 minutes.  She would hurry down to her bathroom and primp herself. She wanted to look her best for her husband everyday. Not just dressing up on a special occasion, but day in and day out. She would also tidy the house and make sure my brother and I were ready to greet my dad with smiles. 
<3 Get out of dad’s chair.  My dad has always had his favorite chair in all the houses they have lived.  Mom made sure that if we sat in it during the day, it was open and ready for dad when he was at home. She treated it like the throne of the house and dad was the king of the castle.  My mom, in turn, was the queen, no doubt about it.
<3 Kiss a looooooooong time.  You know if your kids are embarrassed, you are probably kissing long enough.  This was my parents for sure.  My mom, with her lipstick and perfume, would wait somewhere in the kitchen. When my dad came home from work they played some kind of hide and seek game, which ended in some serious kissing. My brother and I would always moan in disgust, but inside, we were smiling. The best gift a dad can give his kids is to love their mother. And do you know that there is statistical evidence that kissing longer makes you happier?
<3 Set up and stick to your household jobs.  It takes a lot to manage a family. So many details. It is good to have a basic spoken understanding of who takes out the trash, does the dishes, cooks the food, carpools the children, pays the bills, picks up the mail and a thousand of other tiny tasks.  It seems that my parents flowed through their days with firm understanding, and they were both every responsible to complete the tasks with joy and excellence. There simply was no bickering about these little things. If necessary, hire a housekeeper.  It helps, especially if the wife works outside the home. 
<3 Pick up his socks. My mom really modeled this and preached it often.  She would tell me, “when you are tempted to complain about picking up your husband’s socks, be thankful you have husband who has socks to pick up.”  It was her way of demonstrating grateful servitude.  I think of it often.  Appreciate what you have and serve one another with joy.
<3 Work out together.  My parents took a daily walk together. All seasons.  It was not only a time of worthwhile wellness but also a chance to talk and catch up on the day or start the day out with priorities.
<3 Read the Bible and pray. I can still see my father’s brown leather Bible with the yellow satin page marker open at his place at the breakfast table.  It was here he would read a verse or two and then wrap us, my mother, brother and me, in his loving arms and pray over us before beginning the day. It only took about 2-3 minutes, but it became monumental. This loving blessing was a foundational feature in my home and in my heart.
<3 Say thank you.  My mom did not take my dad for granted in anyway, but she was especially grateful for his financial support of the family.  She often encouraged us to thank our daddy for dinner (even though she made it, he bought it), driving us, getting cars, taking trips, our clothes – she was constantly prompting us to thank him.  She also opening showed her gratitude to him verbally.
hand in hand, best friends for life
<3 Trust his heart. One of the deep, unspoken messages is that my dad’s heart was good and he was trying to do the right thing. Everyone makes mistakes.  Things are said. Things are left undone. Forgive quickly and don’t doubt that they are trying to do the right thing.  This is paramount in a loving, trusting relationship.
<3 Respect his decisions. Right or wrong, it is important to honor his position. I witnessed my mother give full esteem to my father. It seems this is where the whole “submit to your husband” gets muddled into 21st century lingo and litigation.  But in the most pure form, honoring your mate is really honoring the Lord.
You might read this and think that it is all going “one way.”  What about the husband’s “to do” list???
Celebrating 25 years with our parents
who were both celebrating 50 years
There are a few reasons for this. First, you can only control yourself.  You can’t make your husband respond in a certain way but you can certainly give 100% of your efforts. Second, these actions, repeated over and over with sincerity, sow a certain kind of seed.  You do reap what you sow. And when you sow these kinds of seeds, you reap an incredible harvest of love and devotion. Third, my mom would often joke, that “men are all the same. God only gave them different faces so we could tell them apart.” This wasn’t meant to be insulting, just true 🙂
Well, it looks like the little things are the big things after all.  Married for 25 years to my best friend for life, I am a very happy wife. I often remark “I am living the dream in the life we are creating.” So, happy Valentine’s Day from me and my mom (my wise and wonderful mentor).  A fairy tale, romantic life and marriage is truly possible with God’s help and grace.   Now the secret is out.
P.S. Just a word to any reader who is in a troubled marriage… I understand in a fallen world there are circumstances where abuse and adultery and other unforeseen tragedies can damage the marriage bed and relationship. May my message fall gently on you and may God grant you grace if this is your story. May there be no guilt, but only mercy for missteps. God has a bright hope and a future for you, beloved. Click here to listen one of my favorite love songs by Steven Curtis Chapman.  Brent and I listened to this during our engagement and sang it loudly in his black Ford Bronco.  We had it played during a memory-video at our Wedding Reception.  It still makes smile and cry all at the same time.

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