Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What to Do After You Say "I Do"

[A letter to my son and his love, who will marry each other this coming weekend. My heart is full. The following is my love letter to them.]

 Dear Connor and Ashley,

I love y’all and I am so happy you’re happy.  As you embark on this exciting time of your lives, my gift to you is to share some of the wisdom that life and the Lord have taught me.  Grab a seat and have fun reading!

  • Sleep on it.  Especially big decisions.
  • Keep God in the center of both the good and the bad days.
  • Don’t work your life away. 
  • Rest on Sundays.
  • Hold her hair back when she has a throw-up virus.
  • Expect that his viruses will always be worse than yours. [Or so I’m told.]
  • Go fishing often, even if it’s from the bank.
  • Sit close to the front at church and at meetings.
  • Pray WITH each other. Even when it’s awkward, say prayers out loud each morning with each other. It will get easier and you will start to crave that time together.
  • Pray FOR each other, even when you’re not together.
  • Remember that some days you will have to go through the MOTIONS until the EMOTIONS follow. 
  • It’s okay to be upset but don’t stop being respectful.
  • You don’t have to fix each other’s problems.  Just listen. Hug. Be there.
  • Make sure it’s the two of you against the world. Protect your marriage as a sacred entity, because it is.
  • Find someone to help each day.
  • Be submissive to your husband. Treat your wife as a treasure.
  • Put your phone down for important conversations. Make eye contact.
  • Be the first to say ‘I’m sorry.’ Make eye contact when you do it.
  • Invest in a heated mattress pad with separate controls. Trust me.
  • Spend time alone, separately, doing something you want to do. Even Jesus went to the woods for a while.
  • Don’t go to bed with a dirty kitchen.
  • Sleep on it. Especially big fights.
  • Be the first to forgive.
  • Treat each other better than you treat your friends.
  • Don’t use the past against each other.
  • Make a 10-year plan and have fun figuring out how to reach that goal.
  • Put back $10 a week. You’ll have $520 by the end of the year.
  • Don’t make major decisions when either of you is tired.
  • Don’t spend more than $30 without asking each other for input.
  • Discover each other’s love language and use it to speak to each other.
  • Be each other’s biggest fan and biggest cheerleader.
  • Build each other up in front of others.
  • Always say goodbye with a kiss.
  • Don’t keep a mental (or written) record of wrongs. The world will take care of that for you.
  • Always make sure there’s ice cream in the freezer and Pringles in the pantry.
  • Set an eating-out budget and stick to it. (And order water and spend that money on a dessert instead.)
  • It’s okay to eat hotdogs and boxed mac and cheese on the slim money weeks.
  • Put the cap back on the toothpaste.
  • Empty a full trashcan.
  • Celebrate the special days in special ways. Every time.
  • Slow dance in the middle of the den at random times.
  • Don’t use credit cards. If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it. If you need it and can’t afford it, ask for help.
  • Learn to listen without thinking about what you’re going to say next.
  • Pray daily for wisdom and courage, not for things.
  • Always wear your seatbelts.
  • Make cookies for your neighbors.
  • Be kinder than necessary.
  • Always check the health/food inspector grade right when you walk in a restaurant. 
  • Buy the name-brand toilet paper.
  • If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.  Trust your gut. Trust each other.
  • Meet deadlines. Keep promises.
  • Never grab at a falling knife. And be sure to quickly move your feet.
  • Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before, even it’s just a few miles away. Have fun exploring where God has placed you.
  • Never miss an opportunity to thank a member of the Armed Forces for their service. 
  • Once a month, pay for the person in line behind you at the drive-thru. Unless it’s a minivan full of youngin’s. Just kidding.
  • Always be proud to be an American.
  • Be extra respectful to older people.
  • Watch funny Facebook videos together.
  • Be happy with what you have while working for what you want.
  • Don’t take medicine in the dark.
  • If you hear an ambulance siren, say a prayer for those involved.
  • Never comment about someone’s weight, especially each other’s.
  • Avoid blue dye in foods.
  • Always check the expiration date on the milk before you buy it.
  • Buy the name-brand paper towels.
  • Buy the lotion-filled Kleenex when you’ve got a cold.
  • Ask the locals for the best hidden-gem place to eat.
  • Keep your smoke alarm batteries changed twice a year. It can save your lives.
  • Laugh, laugh, and laugh some more. Life is too stinkin’ hard to not find ways to laugh each day.
  • Write love notes to each other.
  • Don’t try to change each other. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.
  • Be grateful that God doesn’t answer all your prayers.
  • Never order barbeque or shrimp in a restaurant where all the chairs match.
  • Share the TV remote.
  • Make sure the stove is off before you go to bed.
  • Make sure the A/C is off before you leave for the day.
  • Make sure the hair straightener is unplugged.
  • Don’t go to ATMs at night.
  • Be faithful.
  • Successful marriage means you have to start over every morning. No, really. You do. But it’s worth it.
  • Include your parents in your prayers.
  • Read carefully anything that requires your signature.
  • Watch a Christmas movie together.
  • Honor your parents. Text them often. Call them even more.
  • Remember that overnight success can sometimes take fifteen years.
  • Keep an extra house key in a safe place.
  • Reach out to Godly friends for help when you feel discouraged.
  • Read God’s word as often as you possibly can. Download an app. Find a devotional book. Whatever it takes. Hide the verses in your heart.
  • Keep an extra car key in a safe place.
  • Tithe at least ten percent each paycheck. And tithe on your gross, not your net.
  • Develop a family motto. Write it down. Treasure it.
  • Be aware that the small stuff is really the big stuff.
  • Life may hand you a crapload of hard stuff. Love God anyway.
  • Fight hard to see the grace of God in each situation.
  • Enjoy this precious season of your lives. 
  • Love each other well. The rest will take care of itself.

I love you both so much and I will be praying for God to bless you in ways you never dreamed possible. 

Love, Love, Love,


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