In this issue:
Secrets to a long marriage based on friendship, four ready-to-print downloads for wedding shower games, plus a fun bonus freebie, and my recommendations for two resources that could help your marriage.
- Inspired Life: Wedding on the Brain
- Life, Repurposed: Wedding Printable Downloads
- Recommended Reading
Inspired Life: Wedding on the Brain
I recorded the podcast for this issue just two days before my son’s wedding. It was crazy and I should have been packing stuff! I had been working on chalkboards all week, but in that moment, thinking about the weekend had me thinking about weddings and I wanted to capture my thoughts.
But more than weddings, our son's wedding had me thinking about marriage, because marriage is more than a wedding.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the romance of the event of a wedding that we miss the point of the whole thing. I’ve loved the process of planning with both of our sons and their wives. I’ve appreciated that they have both focused on the marriage as well as the wedding.
Phil and I have been married for more than 28 years. We met when I was fifteen and we started dating when I was sixteen. We were so young and immature, but we both saw qualities in each other that we knew matched our long-term life values. We exchanged our vows when I was only 20 and he was 23.
What did we know about life then? We had no idea where the road would lead, but we headed out on the journey anyway. There have been many times we’ve been frustrated. Many times we didn’t feel like best friends. Feelings lie. Feelings tell me that he’s doesn't meet my needs. I'm happy to say that we stuck it out and we're more deeply in love now than we were when we said our vows.
The hardest days were when our children were small. I know there might be someone out there who is in the shoes I was in 20-something years ago when our boys were little and every day felt like an uphill climb. Between mothering and othering (taking care of everyone else) and volunteering and friends and family, there was a time when the "us" didn’t feel like the us I was hoping for when we got married.
There were days when paying the bills and wiping noses and potty training dimmed the light and made us wonder if we still knew each other. But there are several things that got us through:
Connected – We’re committed only to each other, no matter what. That means we don’t complain about problems with each other with someone else. We keep our hearts connected, even when the relationship doesn’t feel perfect.
Covenant – We honor the covenant we made. Marriage isn’t just a piece of paper. It’s a promise we made before God that transcends difficulty and the ups and downs. It also means we have a respect for the other person that begins with a commitment to God first.
Communication – We talk about stuff. It isn’t easy, but it’s so important to be able to acknowledge when something is not working in our relationship. It took us a lot of years to figure some of it out. See the resources section where I talk about some of the steps we took to get to this place.
Work it Out
If you’re struggling right now, I want you to know it’s worth it to work it out. I’m not talking about if you’re in a physically or emotionally abusive situation. That’s a different scenario and I encourage you to take the steps that are right for you. But I’m talking about the broken relationship that isn’t broken for any apparent reason but that you aren’t sure you signed up for this.
If you’re feeling distant and apathetic, if you’re thinking your relationship has lost its spice or you think you fell out of love, I encourage you to ask yourself some questions:
- How likely is it that these same feelings would happen in any relationship eventually?
- What am I doing to make this relationship better?
- Have I quit emotionally? Am I trying? Am I ready to do whatever it takes to get back on track?
- What did I love about this person when we got married that I still love now?
- Where are we at with our connectedness, covenant and communication?
Phil and I are still friends. Some days we annoy each other and we admit it. But our love has grown beyond the superficial feelings we had way back when. Now, it is seasoned and more stable. The connection has grown even deeper. We really like being with each other.
I want you to know that there is hope if you’re having a hard time. It will be work, but it will be worth it!
We are so happy to have two wonderful daughters-in-law in our family and it does my momma heart good to know that all those years ago, my work was preparing them to become husbands someday.
For our life, repurposed segment, I decided I would repurpose some of the printables that I created for a wedding shower for our daughter-in-law. I put together a small gathering for friends and family with a charcuterie board for the refreshments. Charcuterie (shahr-cute-uh-ree) is a French word for smoked, dry-cured or cooked meats. It also included some nuts, jams and chutney, cheeses and fruit. Here is a photo of my creation.
I am not a shower game person at all! I would skip it if it could. I know. Call me a scrooge of wedding showers. But, I know, a shower without games just doesn’t feel like a shower. So with the help of my daughter-in-law who was happy to be getting her first sister soon, we put together a few games from both old and new ideas. These are all free for download right here. All I ask is that you not share them on any other websites, outside of linking to this post to share the freebies with your friends. Here is an easy short link: www.michellerayburn.com/4
- What’s in Your Purse? This is a fun game where you get points for the junk in your purse.
- How Good is Your Memory? This is a game with household objects that we played at wedding showers back in the days when I got married. This free download has instructions on the second page. Print page one for your guests and print yourself one copy of page two for the directions.
- Wedding Quiz. A fun game to see how well you know the bride and groom. Print a copy of the page for each person. Have the bride fill one out and her answers will provide the answer key for the game.
- Guessing Game. This printable has slips that you can cut apart for a guessing game. Fill a jar with chocolate kisses or other candy and let guests put in 1-3 guesses of how many are in it. We had a smaller crowd, so we let everyone guess three times [so the basket of slips wouldn't look so empty 🙂 ].
A Bonus Gift
In addition to the free downloads above I also have a set of eighteen 3.5x5 cards that can be printed and used for advice cards on the tables at the wedding or for a shower game. They’re made so they can be put in a scrapbook or photo album and they are set up as a PDF file with individual pages that a commercial printer could do you you. These have enough border that you can have the artwork bleed off the edge for trimming. If you prefer JPG files, you can save them from the PDF into that format.
I hope you enjoy the printables. If you need something similar but in your own custom colors, please contact me for a price quote and I would be happy to create a custom colored version for a reasonable fee.
Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs AND The Marriage Course by Sila and Nicky Lee
First, the Love and Respect book from Emerson Eggerichs. He uses humor and practical wisdom to help husbands and wives understand each other. He also speaks for weekend retreats hosted by Love and Respect and has a DVD series.
We borrowed the videos and did a getaway where we watched them together. We both enjoyed this because of the way Emerson speaks and presents the material. He is real and we perceived his advice as applicable to us. Sometimes advice can seem too canned or perfect and it makes a couple feel like they will never measure up to the perfection of the couples on stage or in the book. We made some progress, but I didn’t apply all that we learned. It opened some doors, and got some of the work started, and I'm grateful for that.
Then a couple of years later [yes, it takes years for us to make progress!] our church hosted The Marriage Course (by the Alpha Course). Sila and Nicky Lee, who are from the UK host this series where couples watch video segments over dinner (table for 2) and discuss the content with the use of a workbook. The Marriage Course is a series of seven sessions, designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Sila and Nicky also have a marriage book available.
This is when we discussed some things that we had pushed under the rug for years and made some great progress. Was it a little bit uncomfortable? Yes. But it was worth it to make our relationship stronger. And Nicky and Sila have fun accents, too.
There are other great resources too, but these were the best received by both of us. If you need prayer for your marriage, feel free to send me an email or message. I would be happy to remember you in prayer!
(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. )
Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here.
All blog content copyright MichelleRayburn.com