Tag Archives: love

Marriage Madness: The Beginning

j0309372Can you be truly happily married in the twenty-first century? I’m talking “till death do us part” long-term, forever happiness.

I decided to start a new column on Mondays – Marriage Madness – to explore the good, the bad, and the downright hysterical things that make up a good marriage. I write about Happily Ever Afters in my books, and I’ve been wanting to write about the real life Happily Ever After that I’ve been living. 🙂

In answer to my question, I say – Yes, you can be happily married! And I don’t say that lightly just because I’m a romance writer. I may write fantasy (the people I write about are imaginary, after all), but there is real Truth in my stories, too.

John and Kitty at HF2 wrap party

Me and John at the Happy Feet 2 wrap party in 2011

Yesterday, John and I celebrated our twenty-third wedding anniversary! We’ve been married longer than we were single! That’s incredible. I mean, when we met and I decided I was going to get this guy to fall in love with me and marry me, I thought that to be 45 was to be middle-aged. (At 19, 45 was over twice my age!) I figured people didn’t really have sex anymore at 45. I figured there would be no more date nights, no more surprises.

Surprise! I was so wrong! (Thank God!)

I believe that, like with so many things in life, being happily married is a choice. You have to choose every day that you’re happy with your decision to spend your life with this person. (Yes, sometimes it’s a difficult choice! For both of you! LOL!)

You also have to choose to nurture your romance like a plant. Remember that there is a certain amount of water and sunshine the plant needs – and not all plants need the same things. (Last week, when I got help repotting a tiny bamboo plant, I found out bamboo plants don’t need soil. Who knew?!)

For John and me, we need fun and laughter. We also need to be on the same path spiritually, both believing that God has an amazing plan for our lives and that we need to focus on that hope when times get tough. (Experience has proven us right on this point!)

I’m no marriage counselor, but I believe you can probably have a Happily Ever After marriage, too. 🙂

Our 20th anniversary party in Sydney, Australia, in 2010

Our 20th anniversary party in Sydney, Australia, in 2010

When was the last time you did something fun together? (John and I spent the whole weekend celebrating our anniversary – movies, ice cream, nice dinners, great wine, and that other thing I didn’t think “old” people did when I was 19!)

When was the last time you were honest with each other? (Um, try something positive first like, I love your gourmet hamburgers, they’re better than any restaurant. Let’s save the I-hate-that-you-leave-the-toilet-seat-up for another time. Positive first, then constructive suggestions later. 😉 )

If you want to catch up with my stories on marriage, I wrote a post a few weeks ago about How I Became a Romance Writer with pictures of my wedding dress. I also wrote a guest post at a friend’s blog called How Hotel Sex Turned Me Into a Romantic Comedy Writer. If you haven’t read that one, you’ll never believe the prank John pulled on our honeymoon!

What do you think? I heard a pastor say last month that marriage has moved into the top five things people are afraid of. Do you think that’s true? Do you think people can still have a Happily Ever After?

What Does Love Mean?

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I won’t be with my husband, I’ll be on a writing trip with friends. I’m not too worried about it though. I mostly think of Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday.

That being said, I don’t think you can say “I love you” too much. You never know when it will be the last time, but more than that, expressing to someone that you love them forms and shapes and repairs the foundation of your relationship.

But what does it mean?

This year, the day before Valentine’s Day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian faith. Lent is a time of repentance, turning from the wrongs of the past, and pressing closer to God. It’s a reminder that God loves us so much that he’d be willing to take a bullet to keep us safe.

That’s the kind of love many romance writers weave into their stories every day. It’s most obvious in romantic suspense where one person can literally take a bullet for the other. But it’s in all the other stories where someone says, I’m sorry, I made a mistake, and the other person says, I forgive you because I love you. And then they grow closer than ever.

I love those stories!

Some people theorize that the reason people respond to stories of love and sacrifice and forgiveness and happily ever after is because we are wired that way. Our enjoyment of such stories opens our hearts to the possibility that those tales represent the Truth of why we are here. We are loved, we made mistakes, a sacrifice was made on our behalf so that we wouldn’t be lost forever, forgiveness was offered, and happily ever after is ours for eternity.

That’s a pretty amazing love story. Loved forever. I want that.

Much as I can’t wait for my writing trip, I’m going to miss my husband. I’ll miss waking up beside him every morning, trying to be the first one to say “I love you.” I’ll miss how much he makes me laugh. And as much as I’ll try to deny it, I’ll miss how much he teases me to the point of losing my mind.

Because somewhere in the layers of all of those things, I’ve found a taste of what love is all about – someone who sacrifices to make my life better, who always forgives me, who wants to be with me forever, no matter what.

Love is the answer to why I am here. It’s the answer to why I write about love.

Family Ties – Ribbons and Ropes

It’s been quite a week. My birthday, then apartment hunting (and finding!) in our new town, and a phone call that my Mom had been admitted to the hospital.

Yikes.

The older you get, the more you wonder what call you’re going to get, when it will happen, how it will play out, how you’ll react. In the strangest kind of irony, our family did what many families do – the kids all got along better than ever during those first painful days.

In a twist that messes with your head, Monday was a horrible day not knowing how my mom was doing and being unable to get across the country to her – and the best day because John and I found a wonderful apartment that we can’t wait to move into. It’s right next to a park, walking distance to a grocery store and a chinese take out and a church we’re going to try out.

Families are so strange. Some of the ties that bind are like ribbons on an Easter dress. They’re pretty and colorful and they make you happy. Some are more like ropes. They’re tough and they chafe, but they never let you go. For better or for worse.

Over time, though, you begin to see that the ribbon is tougher than the kind on a dress. The rope gets softer as time goes by. And outside of the most dysfunctional families (and aren’t we all at least a little dysfunctional?), you wouldn’t give up that chafing ribbon-rope for anything.

I’ve made and received so many calls this past week that I had to change my calling plan to include more minutes. My brother and sisters and I have talked more in the last seven days than we have in the last seven months. That’s how love is a ribbon.

But as Mom gets better and wants to fight some necessary changes in her life (like kidney dialysis), we’re bound to disagree about how to handle things. My mom made a point to raise her children to be individual, not trying to fit in or be like “everyone else.” But that means that her kids are all very different. Hence, a lot of chafing even when we’re trying to get along and find the common good. That’s how love is a rope.

I have no idea how the next few weeks and months will play out. But I bet the ribbon-rope of love will make me crazy-happy to be a part of my family. Perhaps mostly crazy.

Somehow, I bet you understand.