5 marriage issues not to discuss with family

Your love is guarded by a sacred trust.
Your love is guarded by a sacred trust.

When we exit our nuclear family and make our way into the culture and traditions of our spouse’s family, there can be a bit of insecurity. Maybe his brother is strange, or his mom doesn’t like how you cook. Perhaps your dad makes your new husband nervous, or your aunt’s candied yams make him ill. All bets are off when you merge two clans, trying to create your own at the same time.

It can be tempting to run to your sister and gab for an hour about all the things your man does wrong. And guess what? She’ll listen, and probably offer her advice. That little tiny step of complaining can set ya’ll up for a lifetime of negative family relationships, and a drained marriage as well.

Here are 5 things you should never talk to your family about when it comes to your marriage:

  • Problems, problems. If you and your spouse are hashing something out, don’t let your family (or his family) in on it. Moms, sisters, brothers and dads can be great sources of comfort and excellent sounding boards. The problem with sharing your marriage problems with them is two-fold: First, they will never, ever be able to be completely objective about it. You’re their daughter; he’s their son. Anyway you slice it, family members will always take sides. Doesn’t really offer great advice then.

Second, you love your spouse with a passion that no one else holds for them (hopefully!), including your families. Long after you’ve forgiven him, or been forgiven by him, they will still know he wronged you (or even if no wrong was actually committed, they will still know he was part of a problem you were having) and will be a whole lot less free with their forgiveness than you were.

  • Unless ya’ll have both agreed to it, don’t share with your family when your mate is having a physical problem (or mental, emotional, spiritual). Some people are especially sensitive to ailments, offering an open and understanding heart. But others aren’t so sweet about it. You never know how open your spouse wants to be about the ailment either. It’s best to make sure you’re both on the same page before sharing this info.
  • Moolah … is often a touchy enough subject to discuss with your husband. It’s definitely something you shouldn’t share with your families. I’m not just talking about money problems. Having wealth can pigeon-hole you as a couple into a bracket that others may be jealous of or take advantage of. It’s just better to keep that topic locked away between you and your man.
  • This one might seem intuitive, but a big issue to steer clear of in talks with your families is sex — especially your sex with your husband. Questions may be fine, but anything that gives away a piece of the intimacy you and your mate share in bed is not OK to discuss.
  • Habits, unless they are mutually funny and on-the-table for discussion. I know, he doesn’t fold your laundry right, and you have that weird hang-up about vacuuming in straight lines. Grooming habits are probably at the top of this off-limits item. You just can’t be too careful about not throwing your spouse under the bus to your families. Don’t embarrass them, you still have to go home with them at night! And it’s likely they’ve kept their mouth shut about a few of your misfires.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you can think of some more please leave a note in the comments. I’d like this post to be a great resource for wives (and husbands too!) to refer to in times of marriage gossip crisis!~


Syncing truth and love

Brent and Sarah I’ve written about truth on this blog before, concerned that the balance of truth and love is struck in my own life. Today, I’m wondering how that balance is going in my marriage to Brent.

We are both very opinionated people (me probably more so than him), and so we often disagree about things. Little things, like when to do the laundry and whether to eat at home or go out for dinner can easily (and quickly) turn into battles. It confounds me how two people, who have each others’ best interests at heart, make such a big deal about nothing.

Three days from now is our 3-month wedding anniversary. Sometimes it feels much shorter than that, but there are days when I can’t believe I haven’t been married to him forever. Mostly though, I still get a flutter in my heart when I think of being “Mrs. Bays,” or Mrs. anything, if I were to be honest. Before I met Brent, I had really come to the conclusion that there was a great possibility I would be single forever. Now that I have Brent in my life, I can’t imagine being anything else than married to this outrageously wonderful man.           

          Check out my video tour of Ponder!   

HERE are some recent posts from my other blogs:

                One ♥ Thousand ♥ Honeymoons  The Unmanned Stagecoach   ~Beauty For Ashes~
♦Heartburn ashes  ♦Missing these kids   ♦Truth

God created two people in their mothers’ wombs in ways that would forever complement and suit the other one. Brent had a twin in the belly with him, but God made sure it was the older, taller, bigger, quieter, cat-loving Conservative one who was prepared for a woman from Western New York. And he made me gabby, outgoing, short, musical, dog-loving and Conservative throughout the 32 years before I met my husband. That astounds me, and it inspires me.

So as Brent and I move forward in our marriage, we want to be sure to live it out as God has created. He wants me to live how He created me, and the same for Brent. Sometimes that means having a few spats over which pet gets to sleep in the bed with us each night. We need to both be true to ourselves, and to the people God made us to be.

And that truth needs to be tempered with love. I love my yellow Lab, more than you know. But I’m not going to cut Brent to shreds if Toby doesn’t get to hop into bed with us tonight. I’ll just spend time with the dog tomorrow, and let Brent know the Lab needs me too. Same goes for Brent. The longer we are married (Can’t believe I’m even writing that with only 11 weeks under our belt), the more I understand that and crave that.

The Bible says that the truth will set us free. Free to love, to laugh, to enjoy each moment, to succeed, to fail and to continue to be free. Sometimes, like this morning, sitting outside on the patio in the morning sun, I close my eyes and breathe in the clean, wild Texas breeze. The morning sun strengthens me and warms me after each dewy morning. Toby is out sunbathing in the yard, and Brent is sitting next to me in another chair. This morning, I took his hand and held it for a while as we both sat and enjoyed the freedom of those moments.

If we let truth become extreme and callous, we lose the love part, and end up trapping ourselves and others in chains of fear, anxiety and depression. They aren’t free to be themselves. What sort of point does that truth make?

Beautiful moments and sorrow

January Lane sunriseThis morning I had a conversation with God on my morning walk. He woke me up at 6:30 a.m. to have a little time on my own before my husband woke up.

As I hit the road for my morning walk, the sun hadn’t even begun to rise. But by the time I’d reached the end of January Lane, a massive, peachy-orange ball was just over the tree tops. As I walked back toward the house, my iPhone shuffled to a song my friend Justin Marshall wrote and recorded, and I had a few precious moments of worship with Jesus before the day began.

I’m not a morning person and anyone who knows me would tell you I don’t even like waking up early on Christmas morning. I’ve missed a few gift un-wrappings (much to my own chagrin, as my niece and nephew so enjoy the tradition) and have definitely been late to work a few times because I just couldn’t get my body going.

Since Brent and I have been living here in Ponder, I’ve been waking up early each morning. The sun slashes through the husky darkness in our bedroom, from the East and and the North. Each morning is like a sweet gift of its own from our God, who seems to let the universe glow in radiant reds, peaches, oranges, yellows, pinks, purples and blues for a few moments each day. I live for these new, and very valuable, moments.

Last night I had a really difficult conversation with someone I cherish with all my heart. I knew I had to make the phone call and do my best to settle the unrest between us. I thought I was prayed up and prepared for anything that could come out of the talk, but I wasn’t.

Another thing people would tell you about me is that I don’t play around with my words. I’m “New York direct” and think through everything I say, probably to an obsessive fault. Sometimes my words don’t come out right, but I don’t use semantics to play games with people. I’m a writer, and that would cheapen the English language. It would also make me less than truthful — something I heartily cannot abide. So I had the choice to be honest or to be flattering and try to posture my way through the chat until I got the result I wanted.

But if I let lies and deception enter my heart or flow from my mouth I would sacrifice those beautiful moments with God. Despite the harsh words and the uncaring way they were delivered to me last night, I couldn’t give in. Believe me, at times I wanted to just put it all to bed and beg for the relationship to be restored. I could have pie-in-the-sky once more, but it would all be fake.

So I spent an hour after I got off the phone sobbing on my husband’s shoulder. I hurt, ached even, deeper than I thought I could ever ache. The rest of the evening was difficult and I even went to bed and cried a bit. When I woke up, I won’t lie to you, I didn’t want to get out of bed. But the light of glory drew me into it, like it was calling me into some sort of celestial concert. So I threw my hands up in the air as I walked down January Lane, and I worshiped the only One truly worthy of my praise, my tears and my esteem.

The healing in holding

Wedding photos in Justin, TexasI have a couple cute stories to share with you. Over the past month, Brent and I have been leaning on each other to get through the throes of major changes, a new marriage and another move. For me, this is my 6th move in 3.5 years. I’ve lived in 3 states and 5 cities during that time. I’m really tired of finding new friends, new jobs and setting up my home all over again.

Brent just retired from the military, and he’s been here in Shreveport for the past 7 years. He’s not used to moving as much as I am, but with his deployments and being stationed at different bases around the U.S., he’s ready to settle down too.

We’re ready to put down roots and let them grow deep into the dusty, cracked Texas earth. I don’t think either one of us could stand another day longer than the 2 weeks we had left. It was time to be home.

This past week was especially draining for me. I’ve had stomach problems, had a major fall, pain from another condition and have been just a total crab. Three times during the past 2 weeks, I stayed in bed, sleeping nearly all day long. Fatigue seemed to swallow me whole.

One night, we had just turned off the lights and were laying in bed. My back was to Brent, and I was holding a couple of pillows under my arms. Out of no where, Brent pulls me back toward his chest, nestles my head gently between his pillows and mine, coils his arms around me and then rests his own head on mine. Could he be any sweeter?

I needed that tenderness. I felt whole there wrapped up in his big ole’ bear paws. It was so healing.

A couple nights ago, somewhere after midnight and before dawn, we were sleeping (at least I was) and Brent was facing me. He pulled me into another magical embrace, tilted my head down toward his chest and softly rested his chin on my hair. He rubbed my head and ran his fingers through my auburn hair, even though I was nearly asleep. I remembered it the next morning, and brushed tears from my eyes when I recounted the moment to Brent.

I had no idea how healing marriage is. I’ve been held and hugged by people in my life before — friends, family, Toby — but never was there an embrace like those from my husband. Knowing that he just wanted to be close to me chased all my fears away and let my heart fly high above the striving we’re facing.

Sometimes I feel like I literally married an angel.