Tag Archives: God

Love and Marriage…Love and Marriage…

I figured I should write about marriage this week for two reasons.

  1. It’s my wedding anniversary this weekend. 
  2. In Bible study this week, we talked about when God created man and woman and how they were meant to fit together like a puzzle.  (Those are my words but it’s what I felt when I read the passage.)  

Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

 – Genesis 2:22-24

 Sounds great.  Eden.  No shame (yet). United. One flesh.

No talk of kids and housework and bills to pay and jobs and disagreements and doubts and sin and annoyances and differences and tempers  and sickness and needs and desires and pain and histories and betrayals and forgiveness and tears and fears and the unknown.

God didn’t say “Marriage is hard work”. 

But my mom did.  She told me that early on and she was right. It’s like parenting- you don’t always know what you are getting into.  You may (who are we kidding, you absolutely will) need to get advice, pray, read some books and learn. 

Speaking of books…A friend asked me recently if I’ve heard of The Five Love Languages.  Are you kidding?  I love that book!

Some of my good friends will attest to the fact that when I first read it, I could not stop talking about it.  I needed to explain it to everyone and then we all had to tell which “love language” we spoke. 

This is a great book for married couples.  The premise is that we all speak different love languages.  In order to have a “more perfect union”, we need to know which language our partner speaks. 

There are five love languages.  They are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

First, you take a test to find out what your primary love language is.  You can find the test and all the other information at www.5lovelanguages.com

Here’s what I propose…take the test.  Have your husband, wife or significant other take the test.  Discuss.  You may get a lot of eye rolling and complaining at first but it can be fun.  Really, I swear.  It’s not only good for marriage but can help you better understand friendship and parenting as well.

I realized my love language is Words of Affirmation.  This means if my husband buys me a fancy gift, I will not be as excited as if he tells me what a great wife (person, mother) I am.  This is good news for my husband!  Save your money and tell me how great I am!  Everyone is happy!

Some people would rather have their husbands do the dishes (acts of service) or go on a walk with them (quality time).  Knowing this information can prevent a lot of marital strife.  You know when your spouse gets you something or does something for you and they are all excited about it and you are irritated for some reason?  You know you should be happy with their effort but you feel they don’t understand you. They give you a gift and you are mad.  You go storming off and they’re thinking, “Whatever…I just bought you something…I guess I can’t do anything right!”

This is because you are speaking different love languages. 

Read the book, take the test.  No more excuses. 

Wedded bliss all over the place.    

And to Jeff…Happy Anniversary.  Thank you for 17 years of the good stuff…  love, laughter, support, encouragement, generosity, friendship, understanding, respect, growth, honesty, authenticity, dependability, adventure and fun.  I’m so glad we are on this journey together.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!

“He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.”

— Goethe
©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
drawing by Mary Engelbreit

Your life…a movie?

I read somewhere to think of your life as a movie and to think of God as the audience.

Uh oh.


Well, I can see that.  I do know He is watching and I do hope He is pleased.  I guess it’s a reminder.

I wonder what genre my life would fall under.  Is it a drama…a comedy…a tragedy?

Is He falling asleep with boredom?  Is He laughing? Is He confused, wondering “Why would she say that?” Is He angry, thinking “Seriously, she’s doing that again?  When will she learn?”

Is He frantically trying to rewrite the script?  Does He need an intermission? Is He embarrassed? Shocked? Annoyed? Does He get annoyed?

This really has me thinking. 

If this is my movie and I’m the main character, then is God the director?  Is He the director and the audience? 

Who is in charge here?

The more I think about it, I like this idea.  In a movie, there is usually a small core group of people that are integral to the story.  These are the lifelong friends, the family-people who the main character knows intimately. 

Sometimes we get so focused on other people and what they are doing and their opinions, it’s not productive.  If it’s my movie, I get to decide who the core people will be.  If I remember I’m the main character who is hopefully by the end of the movie, going to evolve and grow and be happy, then I can stay focused on my journey. 

I went on a retreat once and I had to write a witness talk.  This is where you write down the details of your faith journey and then share it with the group.  I loved writing the witness but when it came time to say it out loud, I could barely get the words out.  I was reading it to my husband and he said, “Sue, I can’t hear a word you are saying through the tears.” 

I practiced and read it to a group of about 20 women.  The other women in my group did the same.  It was a defining moment for me.  The writing, the telling, and the listening were so powerful, if I wrote my witness story now that experience would be in there for sure.   

It’s a moving exercise to look back on your life and pick out the defining moments.  It’s fascinating and very reassuring to recognize God’s presence all along your journey. 

Try it.  What’s your story?  What’s the general theme?  Who are the main characters? What role does your faith play in it?  What are the conflicts?  When have you changed?  What are the defining moments? Where’s this headed? What about the ending? 

C’mon, it’s your story…what do you want it to be?

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Have you heard of this?

                You know when someone comes into your life and opens it up?

You know what I mean? They help steer you down a new path. They teach you a new way of understanding. Every single encounter has value. Whether the encounter is positive or negative, whether your relationship with this person is 5 minutes or 5 years, they are on your path for a reason.

I love it when I’m especially aware of this as the encounter is happening. When someone introduces me to an idea or a resource and it feels like I was supposed to hear about that thing right then. The timing is perfect. It’s like an explosion of ideas and thoughts and feelings and energy! Sometimes when this happens to me, I talk so much and get so energized, I want to read everything and write everything and meet everyone and well, there’s not enough time in the day.

It’s as if I have been hurled in a new direction…propelled forward. It’s exciting! I picture God saying, “Sue needs a nudge in this direction, I’m going to introduce her to so and so. I think they’ll have fun together.”

Because I do believe in divine intervention and I do believe that God is intimately involved with the details of my life (and yours), I try to remain open to all encounters. I try to say “yes” as much as I can. I try not to fear a new idea or a fresh perspective because I believe God wants me to hear it…and because fear is so limiting.

This happened to last year when I was invited to be part of a group. I don’t know what to call it exactly so I’ll call it a “Faith Journeying” group. They are an amazing group of women! They introduced me to Krista Tippett and her “On Being” website and radio show. Here’s the link: http://being.publicradio.org/. This has been such a gift to me! She interviews different people from all walks of life. To me, she has the dream job. If you have time and haven’t listened to her before, I highly recommend a visit to the website.

Okay, so Krista Tippett is my cerebral, intellectual example. I have many of these examples: books that teach me and feed me and lead me to new ideas, seminars, speakers, blogs, etc. I love the intellectual study of faith and all of the conversations surrounding that.

I have an emotional, experiential example too. It happened the other day when I was in a group where people were praying. The woman that was praying was so full of grace, it took my breath away. She was literally laying hands on people and praying over them. The air in the room was filled with the spirit of God…kindness, peace, understanding, support, and love. I was moved to tears. She asked me to say the closing prayer and I cried all the way through it. I couldn’t help it. I was experiencing the presence of God and I was in awe. He was there. I know it.

Here’s the thing…we can know about God in many ways. We can know of God by reading about Him. We can know of God by talking about Him and reading His word. We can learn about God at church or in books or on the web. We can dive into all of that stuff and know it all well and yet, we may remain just acquaintances with God all our lives.

Sometimes, we need to actually meet Him, to feel Him. We need to experience Him.  Those are the moments that take our breath away. In these moments, we have goose bumps and our hearts are beating faster. Those are the moments that help us hang on to our faith. Those are the moments when we KNOW He’s real. He’s no longer just an acquaintance, He is present in our life, and He is a friend. And that’s when everything starts to change.

There is no way to predict what those moments will be. I can’t predict them for me or for you or for my kids. I can’t plan them or schedule them or mark them off of a to-do list. All I can do is say “YES”!

Say YES to all new spiritual experiences. Listen to people when they tell their stories of God. Really listen without an agenda or judgment. God is everywhere and in everyone. I just need to let go of fear and open my heart. It’s a choice every day. Actually, it’s a choice every minute. I’m planning on going with it.

What about you, are you going to say YES!?

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
pictures from http://blog.rescue-mission.org/bid/42876/Say-YES-the-Unpracticed-Secret-to-Effective-Living