Letters from Grandma #1

“On Loving Happily Ever After”

Kelsey is engaged! I invite you to read over my shoulders as I post letters to our granddaughter and her fiancé in the upcoming weeks. Each will have a tidbit of wisdom to chew on gleaned from living 55 happily incompatible years with Grandpa.

Dear Kelsey and Austin,

We are so thrilled with your engagement. That bling on your finger, Kelsey, sure puts a new sparkle in your big brown eyes.

To you, Austin, Grandpa Don & I send a warm welcome to our family. Your creativity and vibrant love for life should help you fit right in.  

Marriage is inviting someone to move into your closest space. That’s what makes it both so difficult and so marvelous. As a self-centered humans, learning how to love each other well is work ’til death do us part, but it is SO WORTH IT. What a gift to get to spend a lifetime with your best friend.

Grandpa and I were madly in love as 18 & 19 year old newlyweds, but had no idea how we would cherish each other like we do now after walking through a heap of hills and valleys. Along the way we’ve reached out for lots of help, and that has made all the difference.

Austin, we enjoyed how you sent a request to friends and family for bits of “happily ever after” tips to surprise Kelsey on your first fiancé date night. You gave a great illustration of how to implement my tip for this week: 

To learn to love well, get help from others.

  • Choose carefully the tribe(s) you hang out with because they will have great impact as they invisibly guide you into what is “normal”, subtly yet powerfully affecting how you live every day life. You tend to live like those you keep close by.
  • Stay connected with people whose lives and values you admire, for even if they aren’t in your closest circle right at the moment, there will days are coming when you will be glad you kept them on your team.
    Seek help from friends you’ve never met, those authors of good books as you share videos, articles, and special events together.
  • Keep learning. Make a habit to ask people, “So what do you feel makes a good relationship?”
  • And don’t be reluctant to reach out for special counsel through the rough places. We all need help at different times.
  • Most importantly, talk to God who dreamed up this idea of male and female. Although He doesn’t promise He’ll keep bad things from happening as we roam this earth, He does promise He will be ever-present which comes wrapped in love, peace, and joy even in the messy middle of life.

We look forward to your beginning this next generation of marriages in our family. May your legacy be a strong one and your commitments become a most marvelous messy merging of two lives devoted to keeping your love on for a lifetime together. Hugs, Grandma V

Readers:  If you’ve enjoyed “listening in”, check future posts on my upcoming book NEVERENDING GODSTORIES: Adventures of a Lifetime with Him”.

Honor Your Spouse (#4 of 7)

photoWe often bump into each other in that tight space called family. It’s a great space to learn how to be less self-centered and how to honor others.  I’ve been working on honoring my hubby for almost 50 years and this is still a daily challenge: Her husband can trust her and she will greatly enrich his life.”   Proverbs 31

Here are two things I try to do daily to honor my hubby.

1) COMMUNICATE

Communicating with each other is hard work but essential if you want to enjoy doing life together.  I encourage couples to practice, read good books and articles, get help from a friend, counselor or pastor if you need it (and we all do at times) but whatever it takes, get this skill down and just do it.

Here’s a little exercise I challenge you to test drive for a week to improve your communicating. Each day take turns sharing the daily four together:                The Daily Four

  1. What are you feeling?
  2. What do you appreciate about your partner?
  3. What are you thankful for?
  4. Pray together.

2) SERVE

I love to do special things for Don to enrich his life.  I’m going to toss out a few sample from my week.  Warning: you must be YOU. You need to express honor in your own creative ways.

  • Don loves to eat.  Even when inconvenient for me, a good meal on the table every day says “I love you” to my man.  I love to cook. Could it be due to all those 1000+ meals when he said, “Thanks, that was really good?”  Hmmm. Be right back — better check on those pork chops on the stove.
  • About halfway through lunch I’ve started putting down my fork (a good thing) and picking up a book (right now it is Heidi Baker’s “Compelled by Love.”) I read an excerpt for us to enjoy together.
  • Don also loves football. After years of trying, I still don’t love football, but I do sit by him for Monday Night Football. (He listens to the game on headsets and I read a book on my Kindle.) Just sitting near scores points.
  • At the grocery store I picked up three cartons of Breyers Light Vanilla which I rarely eat. Ice cream is a staple for Don on the list above bread and milk, so I make sure the freezer is well stocked.
  • I also picked up some mirror chalk (thanks for the idea, Tim & Talor.) This week Don and I started leaving each other encouraging notes on our mirrors. You can see in the picture above his note to me this morning. Honoring.

These are just a few things that came to mind. You can think of a lot more.  The main thing is …  Just do it!

          Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.  Romans 12:10