Marriage

To Support, Strengthen, and Encourage When It Gets Bad

To have and to hold from this day forward in good times and bad. We know the vow. We swoon over someone saying this to us one day. We dream about loving someone so much that we are able to vow this to them. On August 5th of last year I made this vow. I vowed to support, strengthen, and encourage my husband when it gets bad.

When I said those words, I meant it, but I never thought too hard on the bad and what that might entail. Supporting him during a tough time at work, strengthening him when he’s beating himself up over a small thing, and encouraging him when he wants to give up on his dreams. These were bad things I could imagine in our “now”. In our future, I could see the need to support, strengthen, and encourage during the loss of a parent or job. But I never put too much stalk into bad things that could plague our present.

Then a bad thing I never imagined entered our lives and turned my world upside down.

I was a wreck. Heartbroken. I couldn’t hold myself together. I spent hours curled up in our closet under a heap of blankets. Sometimes crying, sometimes sobbing, sometimes silent. I didn’t know what to do or how to pull myself up and keep going. It was during this time that I began to think about my vows and I realized that I wasn’t the only one hurting. My dear husband was heartbroken too and he needed me. He needed my support, strength, and encouragement… just like I needed his.

Before when I thought of supporting each other in bad times, it was always him or me needing the other one, but I never thought about times when we would both be hurting and needing the other at the same time. These are the hardest times. My husband was so strong for me. He gave me a shoulder to cry on, a closet to hole up in, space to heal, arms to hold me up, and kind words when I needed them.

I didn’t understand at first how I could support him when I couldn’t even pick myself up off the ground. But then I realized that we needed to grieve together, to heal together. A way to support and encourage one another is through honesty and openness. I needed to tell him how I was feeling and while leaning on him, let him lean on me. I needed to discuss my emotions with him instead of hiding them away and dealing with them alone. I realized that by closing myself off because I was hurt and sad, I was forcing my husband to suffer in silence. It was wrong and it was no way to support, strengthen, and encourage the man I love.

May has been a difficult month for us so far, but we have managed to make it through by supporting one another in any way we can. It has been a long road, but I am so grateful to have a husband who will be by my side through it all… good times and bad.

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3 Things I Learned From Limiting TV

As you all know, I challenged myself to limit my television watching for the month of February. My goal was to watch no more than an hour a day. If we go by that, I failed miserably. The first couple weeks I did really well, watching as little as one Friends episode a day, but towards the end I started getting antsy and bored, so the television watching began to reach higher amounts.

Although I didn’t succeed 100% on this challenge, I did learn a bit during this time, so it wasn’t a complete waste. I want to share with you three things I learned from limiting tv.

1. There is a lot of time in the day.

I know this sounds obvious, but think about it. To someone who typically watch 6 episodes of television in the afternoon/evening, that is approximately 4 and a half hours of wasted time. 4.5 hours of time that could have been spent in so many different ways: reading, journaling, reflecting, snoozing, kissing, cuddling, walking, running, eating, shopping…

2. Reading is a better alternative to watching.

During the month of February I read 5 books! 5!

Some people will disagree with me, but there is just something really fantastic about reading books. It’s not just that they can transport you to another world that your mind imagines, but you just feel smarter and more connected after you finish one. That feeling only magnifies when you get in a reading kick and just finish book after book after book. Reading books and watching tv/movies are very close, yet somehow so different. Although when you read a book, it is a story someone else has written, by not seeing it brought to life by someone else, you get to add a little part of yourself, making it not just a “spectator” activity. Give it a shot and see how you feel.

3. Become a “doer” not an observer.

When you watch a lot of television, you see fake people doing all of this stuff. You think that it would be cool to do those kinds of things, yet you continuously press ‘next episode’ instead of making those kinds of things happen for yourself. When you challenge yourself to limit your television consumption, you are essentially challenging yourself to do things. Although I didn’t do anything cool or super exciting, I did find myself doing more. I went thrifting, hung out with friends, read lots of books, and cooked more than usual. You find more joy in the things around you instead of jumping right into another episode.

What have you learned from watching less television?

 

Love Always,
Lauren

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Saying No to Soda

After last month’s challenge of watching less television, I felt more confident to challenge myself. I learned what ‘limitation’ meant to me. It was incredible how much I accomplished and how good I felt to choose to turn the tv off and do another activity. So I’ve decided to continue challenging myself.

This month, I am challenging myself to say no to soda. I am addicted to Dr Pepper. I’ve always enjoyed a good soda when I went out to eat as a kid, but it became more than that during high school when I got my first job as a hostess. We were allowed to get free drinks, so I would pour myself a Dr Pepper as soon as my shift started and would refill as necessary. Weekends were more stressful therefore I drank more Dr Pepper and eventually my brain learned that Dr Pepper calmed me down. During college, I started keeping Dr Pepper in my apartment and would drink it to curve headaches and to focus on assignments. It’s gotten so bad that I drink two to three a day.

Besides noticing weight gain and a cavity, I realized that enough was enough. Drinking multiple cans of soda during the day is unnecessary and unhealthy. I’ve wanted to cut back for awhile, but I just didn’t have the willpower. As someone with a history of migraines and serious headaches, I figured it would be too hard. But after having such a positive response to watching less tv, I decided that I am capable of giving up soda for a month.

It has been four days of no soda and I am already so proud of how far I have come. The headaches come and go; some days are better than others, but I know it will be worth it in the end!!

Here’s To 31 Days Without Soda!

 

Love Always,
Lauren