Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Speak LIFE About Your Mate, Part Two

There was so much left to be said after last week’s post, that we decided to continue on the “SPEAK LIFE” topic this week!! Going back to the verse from Ephesians 4:29: "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift."
It’s pretty unreal the ‘power’ we have to either jab our mate with our words OR make them feel so special. We still remember in some of our pre-marital counseling when our pastor spoke of the power of our words - and our nonverbal communication as well! For instance, when Brandon walks into a room...I can make him feel loved and respected by welcoming him in with a smile on my face OR cutting him to the ground immediately by rolling my eyes. 
Have you ever heard a friend say something about another person before you even met them? Then when you met them, you already had a negative image in your mind about them? THINK ABOUT how much MORE that applies to your spouse?? On another note, it’s EQUALLY important for you to uplift your spouse around other people (when the two of you are together around others) as it is when you’re uplifting about your spouse when you two are not in the same place (when you’re talking to someone else about your spouse)...
We’d like to challenge YOU this week to see what YOUR default way of describing your mate is. Do you use words that are sarcastic? Do you use the stereotypical descriptions of modern day guy/girl? (ie, is your husband the jock that only wants to drink beer, play video games, watch tv, couch potato that’s lazy and doesn’t care) and (ie, is your wife the woman that is a shopaholic, has to spend money all the time, likes to talk on the phone and gossip all the day long)
After you have pegged what your default way of describing your spouse is...our greatest ENCOURAGEMENT is for you to find 3 THINGS that exemplify who your mate is. Zero in on those and make a BIG deal of those to other people. To name a few about Brandon...he is a lover of God’s Word, disciplined with the budget, helps me get more sleep now than ever because he knows how important it is for our health, loves pouring into younger guys, and is an amazing provider. A few that Brandon wanted to name about me... “Whit is a great homemaker and very hospitable, fabulous cook, really takes care of me, good grocery shopper, hard worker, and wise with our money.” Do you see what a blessing it is (to both of you!) when you PLAY OFF EACH OTHERS’ STRENGTHS...instead of focusing so much on each others’ weaknesses?!! May we all humble ourselves this week and let the Lord show us where we can be more encouraging and truly SPEAK LIFE!!
Closing statement from the man of the house: “One more challenge for YOU: The next time you’re in a public gathering with your spouse, find a way to compliment him/her in front of someone else - see what happens! I guarantee it’s going to bring you two closer! There’s enough negative out there - and as believers - we are called to be LIGHT. Ask the Lord to help you shine bright!!”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Speak LIFE About Your Mate

This has been a topic on our hearts for a few weeks now - but today is the time for us to share this. From the very beginning of our relationship, we have had mentors and people we look up to share with us the importance of speaking life about each other. This may seem like a simple fact - but it sure goes a long way! As we all know, experience is the best teacher. Through different experiences of being around people (whether married, engaged, or dating) who are NOT speaking life about their significant other - we have seen all the more how important this simple but HUGE point really is for a healthy marriage. 

The English Standard Version of Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." And The Message version of this verse puts it like this, "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." I love that word picture...look at each of your words as a GIFT. I know how much I love receiving gifts and giving them. In a day and time where we're looking to save money, put your gift giving dollars away for a minute and use your words as a gift...that's something that's free, but really priceless!!

The reality of all this is that there will be times where you need to resolve conflict with your mate (or significant other) but the thing that Brandon and I continue to see is that the time is not in front of a group. If there is something I need to talk through with Brandon (or vice versa), then we can handle that in private. Also, the time for me to "speak life" to and about Brandon is not always when he is right there in the midst of the crowd with me, but most important -- behind his back!! As we have mentioned time and time again, we are a TEAM...Team Nall to be exact! We are FOR each other. Therefore, we need to choose words that reflect that. Let's all practice this more often and see how it really does change our relationships for the better!

Closing statement from the man of the house: "It's true that the Lord keeps bringing this truth to mind a lot lately. We have seen firsthand how our marriage has been blessed by this - and how much hurt is caused when people don't choose life giving words about their mate...especially when that person is not around to hear all of the negative things. Not only does it hurt that couple, but it leaves a bad taste behind for all who heard the negative remarks."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Celebrating Three Years!!

Three years ago yesterday, I married the love of my life. It's true that "time flies when you're having fun"...because it seriously seems like yesterday that we were walking out of the Seaside Chapel being announced for the first time as "Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Nall"!! It's amazing how much we have learned about each other and about our need for the Lord in these first three years of marriage. We have realized how selfish we are and how we need the Savior more than ever! 

A snapshot into the marriage moment of this week was talking through expectations of what our actual anniversary day will look like. We agreed that we do not need anything from each other as far as gifts go - and that the nice dinner we go to will be our anniversary gift to one another. I voiced that I love cards - and I also acknowledged that I know cards aren't necessarily something that Brandon has a "need" for but that I would like to make him one - 'cause that's a way I like to express my love for him. (I agreed for it to be homemade!!)

It was so nice to have talked through expectations before the actual day so that yesterday when we woke up, the day rolled with ease. I got the sweetest text from Brandon on my way to work (and we often joke that text messages and emails...from B...are my 'love language'!!) and then B was surprising me with dinner plans. All I knew was that we were dressing up and that we had reservations at 7pm. (And that's all I needed to know!!)

We drove downtown to one of Birmingham's finest spots - a place that I had yet to eat - Bottega! One of Brandon's childhood friends works there and we were treated like royalty. From the flowers and the note on the table, to the amazing food ... it was truly a night like no other! It is amazing how expressing your expectations and any certain "desires of your heart" on the front end - lend itself towards making such sweet memories. I praise the Lord for Brandon, my dear suitable helper to walk side-by-side with through this life. Daily he reminds me that we must continue to walk in a state of forgiveness towards each other as we grow in our relationship with the Lord and with each other. Last night I was reminded, in a tangible way, of the blessing it is when we walk the narrow road towards growing in grace. It's not always easy...but it certainly is worth it!! Thank you for all your texts, messages, and words of encouragement yesterday. So many of you are living examples of the marriages that we look up to and pray to be like as we grow older together. 

Closing statement from the man of the house: Taken from my Facebook status on our anniversary yesterday..."Today is to celebrate the best 3 years of my life! God is good to me all the time. And I praise God specifically this day for giving me suitable helper, best friend, buddy, companion, and wife."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Not Living For The World

Lately I feel like a theme that keeps coming up is that we are NOT living for the world...we are living for the LORD. It does not matter what people think of us or what the world’s messages tell us...that is not the voice we are listening to in the first place.
I was reminded of this a lot when choosing what job I would do for this next season. My goal was not to build the best resume ever and become the next President of the United States. Instead, my dear husband and many others kept reminding me to go where the Lord is leading and do what I WANT to do. Hmmm...that’s a novel thought... “what DO I want to do?” NOT ‘what do I think others want me to do, etc' but what do I really want to do?? Amazing to sit back and see how oftentimes we make decisions based on what we think other people want us to do - and that is simply not the way we want to live. 
For anyone that has spent time around the two of us, you know that we have our differences...especially in social settings. I love to talk, catch up, connect, and so forth. B loves to talk with people he knows - but is not always the first to strike up a lengthy conversation with a new person. He loves connecting over sports - but is not into asking people where they grew up, what their major was, and what their current job is! For sometime, I would wish that Brandon would say more - especially if we were around friends we had not seen in awhile. I was worried that they would think he was being rude, while he was being quiet. Eventually I saw that this is the way he was created. Getting onto him for being quiet would be like him getting onto me for talking. God created him this way. Love him for who he is. Who cares what people think? I know that he is my amazing, wonderful, suitable helper that God designed perfectly for me. I am around him when he’s out of his box and silly. I see the gifted communicator sides of him and it is the perfect compliment for my design. Again, I am not living for the world. It’s been such a blessing for me to love Brandon for the way he was made and not try to make him be someone he’s not. And I must say, social gatherings are that much more fun now because I am not analyzing all the “ifs, ands, and buts” about the night in my own head during the get-together. 
Just this weekend when we were at an Engagement Party, I was out on the deck with the ladies and Brandon was inside watching the LSU Football Game with the husbands. One of the ladies, who so happens to be one of my aunts, mentioned that she loves the way I am so comfortable with Brandon being inside with the men watching football and not making him be out on the deck with us - and she went on to say that that’s something she’s trying to work on with herself and her own husband. SHOCKING! How funny that she’d bring that up right after I feel like this is a huge hurdle I’ve gotten over. It was so freeing to see her perspective of it and it reminded me of the simple truth: There is fellowship when we walk in the light. I don’t know how many others of you have been dealing with the same thing in your head - endless thoughts that go round and round and have no purpose...all over what the world may think of you, your husband, your job, or whatever other situation. Join me in drawing the line in the sand and saying, ENOUGH. 
Closing statement from the man of the house: “There’s not much to say after those words except for ‘Amen!!’ A verse that comes to mind is 1 John 1:7, “...if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another...” This reminds me of why we are writing this blog in the first place. We want to be real with what the Lord is teaching us in our ‘marriage moments’ and really do pray that you are encouraged in your own walk with Him through reading our journey. I, too, have been blessed to see how Whit has put into practice what she has written about letting go of her cares about what the world thinks.”