Y’all, nothing shows the health of a marriage like sickness in the home. I don’t have scientific studies to back this up; no data or statistics. Just intuition and experience.
Flu & Strep, Flu, Flu, Flu…
It’s almost like a charming childhood ditty when you write it out like that, but the truth is that my house (and sometimes my office) has been like a Petri dish since Thanksgiving. Seriously. And it hasn’t been charming.
Little Miss with flu and strep. Superman with flu. Little Miss with the other kind of flu. Little Miss with strep and flu. Little Miss with a sinus infection. Then strep. And then flu. Me with anemia. Little Miss back strong with strep. Me with flu-like symptoms.
Add to this a juxtaposed battle of insomnia and exhaustion, anxiety and frequent dizzy spells from the anemia, and now a slightly elevated blood pressure in this preggo lady.
And that’s not counting schedules.
Scheduling & Sickness
School projects, tutoring, moms group, clubs, Bible study, church, extracurricular activities, Faith Formation, trainings, work, blogging, unpacking, cooking, cleaning.
The world doesn’t stop because we’re sick. Dang it. My house doesn’t stop creating dust and needing to be unpacked because we’re sick. Crap.
The onslaught of illness combined with the weight of our schedules has created a stressed-out, exhausted, pretty impatient (and slightly grumpy) Kristi, with only five weeks to go until Belle’s expected arrival.
On top of the normal household tasks in marriage, sickness adds layers of being homebound (which is suuuuuper frustrating), using all of your patience on the needy, sick child, and opting to cuddle instead of moving the load of laundry from the washer to the dryer.
This results in a tired husband coming home to take over, but the laundry still doesn’t get done, so you end up washing it two more times before remembering to move it to the dryer. By now, you’re extra stressed and exhausted, so you cry. A lot. And you somehow want to blame your husband for it.
Your Knight in Shining Pajama Pants
He goes grocery shopping and picks up ice cream for you, even after you protest saying, “No, honey, I don’t really need ice cream.”
He buys roast and makes it for you in the pressure cooker to up your iron intake to help you fight anemia. And then brings you said roast in bed. And he only eats one serving, despite the fact that it’s his favorite food after pizza, because you need iron.
He kisses your forehead, smoothes back your hair, makes the coffee, and lets you sleep longer.
When you ask for the umpteenth massage in one day, he does so (ignoring his cramping hands) without a word.
But the best? He does the laundry. Completely through, from gathering to putting away. And you melt, just a little.
Sickness Reveals Health
This, my friends, is marriage. This is dying of self to serve your sick kiddo; your anemic wife.
I’ve said it before and here it is again: in stress, it’s easy to listen to the world and play the comparison game.
Don’t go there, girlfriend. I know it can be easy to be sucked down the rabbit hole. Don’t.
My husband and I are doing just fine in this vocation and, actually, I’m super grateful that sickness revealed that to me.
Today we chat about married life with advice from some past posts.
If you’re looking for widely guidance as we approach Lent, this book review offers a pretty great look at this book which we highly recommend.
This post is meant to offer you assurance that you are not doing it wrong.
Here’s a brief look at marriage from a newlywed perspective. We’re sharing it again to remember what that looked like.
Another post about focusing on your marriage when life is busy.
Marriage takes effort. We all know that. But the line gets blurred when your schedules aren’t synced and you have limited time. We’ve been working on this in our home lately, as our color-coded calendar is our sole organizer these days. As a blog, we also host a #WinningWifeWednesday in the Hangout. From that wisdom, here are a few tips on showering your husband with love when you just aren’t seeing that much of each other (we’ve organized them by Gary Chapman’s five love languages and spiritually).
Showering with Words of Affirmation
1. Write him a love note…in a random place.
This is one of my favorites because it’s got room for creativity. I’ve written love notes in the shower with shaving cream, on a piece of paper taped to his steering wheel, and even on a create-your-own-puzzle one time. It takes him by surprise and also affirms him and his actions as my husband.
2. Thank him.
Proably one of the easiest, tell your husband you’re grateful for him. Cite an example for him, too.
3. Support him.
Be his cheerleader. Ask about his day at work and support his efforts with verbal reinforcement.
Showering with Acts of Service
1. Make his favorite dinner/dessert.
Didn’t Momma say the way to a man’s heart is his stomach? Whether that’s true or not, I know Superman sure does like to come home to a surprise favorite meal. Text him something along the lines of this: “Hey, babe. What do you say we throw out tonight’s meal plan? What do you really want for dinner?”
2. Take over one of his chores.
Take out the trash before he can, wash the dishes/do the laundry…whatever is on your husband’s “Honey Do” list, pick one and cross it off for him.
3. Pack his lunch.
Little Miss likes when I send a banana in her lunch because if you etch something into the peel, a note appears. Doing the same thing, pack lunch for your hubby. Your note could be tame, silly, cute, flirty, or…a bit more. It’s up to you!
Showering by Giving Gifts
1. Put some chocolate on his pillow.
Act like you’re in a hotel and leave a chocolate on his pillow in the shape of a heart.
2. Give him the gift of effort.
This seems very 1950s housewife, I know, but sprucing up your appearance with a quick reswipe of mascara and a reapplication of lipstick (and maybe a quick spritz of dry shampoo) in your driveway before walking in the door to look fresh for your husband is sure to be noticed.
3. Give him a pizza your heart. 🍕❤
Sorry, with all the cheesy Valentine’s Day things I’ve seen recently, it just popped out! Pizza is Superman’s favorite food. I’m pretty sure he could eat it every day. So when he’s stressed at work and we’re not seeing a whole lot of each other, I might order pizza for him for lunch and have it delivered to his school.
Showering Him with Quality Time
1. Make a date to volunteer together.
We’re both catechists, but in separate classrooms. During Lent, he and I volunteer to run the children’s program during Stations of the Cross for the adults. This could also be volunteering at a soup kitchen together or any other charity that speaks to you. This one is probably the most difficult one on this whole list, because it does require advanced planning.
2. Put the phone away and listen.
When you are together, go dark on tech. No emails, no texts, no social media. Focus on the man in front of you and ask him to share about his day. Here’s an article with some deeper questions for deeper communication.
3. Pretend you’re an at-home celebrity chef duo.
Dinner has to be cooked anyway, so on the days you’re both home to prep it, cook together. Be silly and talk through your steps or pretend that he’s the camera man and vice-versa.
Showering Him with Physical Touch
This one may get a little…racy. The fact is, we want to talk about sex in marriage, but we’re uncomfortable doing it. Not all physical touch is sexual, but…it does bear mentioning in this section. Massage is another go-to that’s off mentioned in these lists, so we’re going to skip it (but it’s still a good idea!).
1. Initiate the action.
You’re in bed. The lights are either dimmed or off. Begin by telling your husband something you love about him and one of the things that attracts you to him. Follow that with a kiss, and then another kiss, and then…well, you know. 😉
2. Hold his hand.
While driving, sharing the couch to watch TV, or walking around, grab your husband’s hand and don’t let go. Every once in awhile, kiss it. This is a throwback to the early days of dating, and it can still get the heart fluttering.
3. Sneak in Extra Kisses
This is one of my favorite things. We kiss one another in the morning, when we leave for work, at night…but I also steal kisses while he’s reading on his phone, doing a kitchen task, or even just sitting there. Aim to steal 3-5 kisses in a day.
Showering Him Spiritually
1. Pray for him.
It may sound like it’s a little thing, but this one thing can make a huge difference. Pray he travels safely to and from work, that he has a productive day, that his work efforts will be noticed by supervisors, and that he will remember he is a child of God. It’s so easy for our “Mr. Fixer” husbands to become overwhelmed and stressed. This silent offering of us, the wife, makes more of an impact that we realize.
2. Pray with him.
This one is a tough one. It’s one thing to pray alone and get one-on-one with God and it’s one thing to pray in Mass as a congregation. Quite awkward and uncomfortable, however, can it be to pray with your husband. It’s a very real, very unique brand of intimacy. Our advice is to start small. “Hey, honey? I’m having a rough time with (insert something here). Could you pray with me?” It won’t be long before he offers his own intentions, it lessens in awkwardness, and it becomes routine. Bonus? It also ups the communication and non-physical intimacy in your marriage.
3. Try Sara’s Prayer
Y’all. This post from our friend Sara last week about the prayer that changed her sex life isn’t click-baity. It’s one small thing they’ve added to their marital embrace and it’s upped their connection. We recently tried this. You should, too.
Have no idea what your (or your spouse’s) love language is? You can take the quiz online and…it’s definitely a great place to start. Click here for the quiz.
Date night on the fly? We were gifted a childless night this past weekend when Little Miss was asked to sleep over at her bestie’s house. But there were lessons to plan and blog posts to write and last-minute touches as we gear up to release Hail Marry Blog’s Guide to a No-Spend Lent on Thursday (yay!). Still, knowing how rare these nights tend to be and how much rarer they’ll become once Belle is here, we decided to do something…except, we didn’t know what.
Rachel, too, has experienced this. Three p.m. All the chores are finished and the puppy is over at Grandma’s (thanks!). These unexpected couple of hours of free time with my husband are what I like to call the “golden hours.” But, since my planner was consumed by chores, now there’s nothing planned…
A few weeks ago, we asked on Instagram and in the Hail Marry Hangout for suggestions on how you’d spend an unexpected child-free night with a gifted $50 and most people responded with “dinner” or “Star Wars!” or “dinner and a movie.” This weekend, we struggled for what to do, so…we turned it into a blog post to share our ideas with you in case you stumble into your own child-free date night!
Luckily, there are a ton of things available to do with little-to-no planning. Cities have parks and, often, free events (especially on the weekend). There are new restaurants to try, new movies to see, and areas of town to explore. You can also do a date night in with dinner and a movie (which is ultimately how Superman and I spend our evening). Still…those can feel old pretty quickly, if they’re your go-to dates anyway.
Prepare for spontaneity (even though that’s a tad oxymoronic) by creating a date night bucket or jar. Write down date night ideas that are newer to you and place them in the bucket or jar. Then, when the opportunity does present itself, you’ve got choices that don’t feel stale. Rachel likes to keep 24 date activity ideas and 24 date place ideas, usually for free, inexpensive, or places where they already have gift cards in-hand.
We’re always fans of this, in both our homes. We pick an outdoor shopping area or a mall and pretend. We imagine we’re decorating a new house or going on a shopping spree. This is also an excellent communication-builder, since it’s just the two of you, holding hands and making believe together.
When we were throwing around ideas this weekend, we talked about having food delivered and not leaving the house. The problem is that I have food allergies and that doesn’t really work for me. We also talked about having a picnic. We ended up combining the two. We went on a quick jaunt to Kroger, bought frozen pizza for him and picnic-y foods for me, brought them home, and ate in bed while watching Evolution on Hulu.
This is totally okay. So what if you decide to stay in and watch a movie? Time together with your spouse is never wasted.
Date nights don’t have to be about the experience of going or doing; we’d much rather enrich our friendship and deepen our understanding of one another. Fall deeper in love with your best friend. Regardless of how you do it, isn’t that what it’s all about? What would you do for a date night on the fly?
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The Hail Marry Team