The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

Tag: marriage

Eleven.

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It didn’t start out easy. It’s still not easy all the time.

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In the beginning, we were young. I was selfish and immature. SO selfish. Our arguments were emotional, at least on my end. And when he didn’t react with emotion (Mr. Steady over there), it made me even more mad. There were tears.

When we found out we were pregnant the first time, 2 months after the wedding, we were terrified. And thrilled. A tiny miracle, so quickly after we said our vows.

“Grace Elizabeth” means “undeserved gift from God.” And while that is certainly true of any sweet baby, I realize that God gave us a sweet gift that November a decade ago when he gifted us – practically kids ourselves – with our 9lb 12oz baby girl.

I was newly 22, not even married 11 months. And I was now a mama.

It was NOT the plan.

We were to get married; I was going to finish college. I was going to teach for a couple of years. AND THEN we were going to start our family, and I would be a stay-at-home mom.

Instead, God knew that if I continued in my immature, selfish ways, I would most likely destroy myself and our marriage. Having a baby and learning how to parent with Luke was one huge factor in teaching me the meaning of selflessness and sacrifice. It grew me up.

What a gift from the all-knowing God, rescuing me from my sin!

It is not always easy, this marriage thing.

When we argued, we had to swallow our pride and face each other. We didn’t (and still don’t) go to sleep with unresolved issues in our relationship. We forced ourselves to have physical contact when we were arguing, even when the last thing I wanted to do was have contact with that man. There’s just something about touch that dissolves anger.

We prayed together. Every day.

We committed to read God’s Word regularly.

We had to slowly, patiently learn a rhythm of life together.

We both had to grow in maturity and (more importantly) Christlikeness.

It takes work.

I had to learn to be a submissive wife, as God’s Word calls me to be. I had to learn to hold my tongue sometimes, and use it to encourage and build up my husband more. I realized that my job is to help Luke to become the man that God means for him to be, and I’ve had to grow into that role.

A good, strong marriage takes work.

And it’s undeniably worth it.

Because here we are, 11 years later, and I feel like we just haven’t had enough time together. Like we’re just beginning this crazy life together.

Sure, there are days that I want to smack him. (That’s my sin nature, of course.)

But over all, it just keeps getting better and better with time.

Because we work at it. Because we’re committed. Because we know that it is ultimately worth it.

Those vows we took on December 20, 2003? They hang above our bed, giving us a reminder of what we promised each other, and even more importantly, what we promised God.

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I’m praising that awesome God today for His goodness in giving me the gift of marriage – a sanctifying, electrifying, life-changing blessing.

I’m praising God today for giving me Luke – a man after His own heart, hardworking, intelligent, hilarious, sweet, and who loves God, the church, and his family well. I am a blessed woman.

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This marriage thing is so worth it.

Book Review: Lost & Found by Sarah Jakes

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Bishop TD Jakes is the pastor of a mega-church in Texas, comprised of 30,000 people in multiple campuses. I’ll be honest; I’ve heard his name before but am really not familiar with his ministry.

So when I chose to review this book, it was because I love to hear testimony of God’s redeeming grace in others’ lives. It was NOT because I’m a superfan of the Jakes family. I really didn’t know anything about them before I read this book.

Sarah Jakes is the daughter of this well-known pastor. Once the church boomed during her childhood, she grew up in the “fishbowl” known as a pastor’s family. She was under the spotlight.

I have to say that it was brave of her to write this book, chronicling her many, many poor decisions. It would be hard to admit (let alone let the entire world read) your stupid mistakes.

But can I just stop right there and say it was one of the most depressing Christian books I’ve ever read?

Here’s a very quick synopsis:
She was pregnant at age 13, gave birth to a little boy at 14, finished high school early at age 16, went on to college. Met a boy at college who was not good for her, but she wouldn’t let that relationship go even though it was obviously unhealthy (he was unfaithful from the beginning)…Ended up living with him. He became a pro football player after college. They married. They had kids. He was unfaithful. A lot. She apparently cussed him out, a lot (though no cussing was present in the book). They got divorced. The end.

See what I mean? The subtitle of the book is “Finding HOPE in the Detours of Life.” But the only “hope” she seems to present is divorce.

At the very end of the book, she divorces him, and is now living for the Lord, working at her parents’ church. Because she couldn’t make godly decisions while married to her husband?

I’m not going to pretend that I know what it’s like to live with an unfaithful spouse. Thankfully, Luke is a loyal, faithful man. And for that I am SO THANKFUL.

But I want to put this out there…God IS BIG ENOUGH to redeem even the greatest of disasters. I’m not saying it would be easy, or that separation wouldn’t be necessary, but I believe God IS POWERFUL ENOUGH to work through even the toughest of marital problems.

Our God is a God of reconciliation and redemption. Those things are beautiful. And they are not present in this memoir.

I’m a HUGE advocate of the sanctity of marriage, in a culture where the “vows” people take are just words they say until they decide not to believe them anymore.

On the contrary, I took vows before God, family, and friends…and I intend to keep those promises until death separates Luke and me.

And I think that’s why, after I turned the last page on this book, I was so very sad for Sarah Jakes. Because while she did challenge the world to be transparent about their struggles, she never did challenge the world to be HOLY in the midst of their struggles. And that, dear friends, is a waste of a book.

Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review. All opinions are mine, and I was not compensated monetarily for the review.

How We Do: Date Night

Once again, I’m participating in Lora Lynn’s “How We Do” series.

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Our subtitle will be “Babywise and Budgeting.”

I’ve mentioned before that Luke and I are pretty passionate about maintaining a healthy marriage. So how do you maintain a healthy relationship without spending quality time together? (Hint: you don’t.)

I know that On Becoming Baby Wise is a controversial book, but let me tell you, friends…I read it, used my own brain in interpreting how it could help our family, and implemented a plan. And our kids are still (at ages 9, 7, 6, and 4) AWESOME about going to bed, staying in bed, and sleeping all night. (And just for you naysayers: They are completely well-adjusted, happy, loved individuals. So there.)

What does that have to do with Date Night, you ask?

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Well, quality time in the Rumley marriage often happens between the hours of 8pm and midnight (ish). Because we trained our children to go to bed and stay in bed, we don’t have to worry about our at-home date nights (if you want to call them that) being interrupted by the pitter patter of little feet.

Bedtime is the 1st pillar of Date Nights in our marriage.

This quality time is very laid back. We often choose a movie to watch together or sit next to each other while we’re doing other activities (reading a book [me], web designing [Luke], etc). Sometimes we’ll snuggle up in bed and watch an episode or two of the Cosby Show on YouTube.

We like to be together. A lot. He’s my BFF. So whatever we choose to do together is fine, as long as we’re together.

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The 2nd pillar of Date Nights is budgeting.

Hello, Dave Ramsey! Welcome to our marriage!

When we laid out our first budget years ago, we didn’t have room in it for Date Nights. But I was a young stay-at-home mom, with many small children always begging for my attention, and – let’s face it – I NEEDED some time away from them in order to maintain my sanity. Sometimes at-home date nights don’t cut it.

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So we made a commitment to do once-a-month date nights outside of the home. It might not be necessary for Luke’s sanity, but it’s been a lifesaver for me many times.

Down to the nitty-gritty: We budget $50/month for date nights, and a majority of that goes to the babysitter. If we can swap babysitting with a friend, that obviously helps our budget. But if we are paying a babysitter, we don’t have a whole lot left over for activities…

Sometimes we go out to eat (and split a meal, which we would normally do anyway). OR we watch a movie at the cheap seats. OR occasionally we go to a home improvement store or furniture store to window shop for needs/wants. We often use a coupon for whatever we do.

Sometimes we like to check out this site to see what’s happening around GR.

Every so often, we are also able to travel together (for business trips and/or missions trips), which is like the ultimate in Date Nights. A whole bunch of date nights in a row, in a nice place! Woo-hoo!

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For all you married couples out there, I highly recommend making Date Nights a priority. Figure out your own schedule, and your own budget…but definitely prioritize building into your marriage by spending quality time together!

Now it’s your turn to tell me – how do YOU do Date Nights?

Book Review: 10 Great Dates

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It’s always a good thing to ask your spouse specific questions in a posture of humility and love. It’s a good thing to work on building up your relationship. It’s a good thing to spend time together, building into one another and learning how to make the other person feel loved.

Luke and I have always been passionate about striving to have a healthy marriage, and encouraging others to work toward that end as well. Ten years ago, we vowed to love and serve one another, with God as the head of our household, and sometimes it’s a lot of work. But let me tell you, a decade down the road, every ounce of effort has been worth it. We will never look back and regret time spent to strengthen the bonds between us.

And that’s why I chose to review this book. Because I’m always on the lookout for fun, creative ways to build up our relationship. So, let me tell you what I found…

When I began reading 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love, and Marriage by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp, I had a hard time connecting to the authors. Honestly? I have read other marriage books, and none of this stuff was really new to me.

It also made a big difference that Luke and I are extremely compatible in the spiritual category of life. In fact, in our pre-marriage counseling, that’s the one category where we were 100% compatible. And that makes a HUGE (let me repeat….HUUUUUUUUGE) difference in our marriage.

I would definitely tell someone who is hoping to get married that it’s important to enjoy the other person, to have fun together, to laugh together…But the BIGGEST advice I’d give is to be sure that their spiritual views are very similar to, or the same as, yours. Our spiritual views shape our entire worldview, and that determines how we make decisions (big and small) in life. I’m telling you, this is HUGE.

So, back on track…The authors didn’t have quite the same experience and spent the beginning of the book talking about how they had trouble connecting spiritually as couples. Honestly? As much as I enjoy reading other couples’ relationship anecdotes, I felt like maybe this book was a waste of time. Not because we’re even close to perfect, but for once, this is an area where we’re doing okay. We haven’t always done things the right way, but over the years we have made it a habit to pray together daily, to read the Bible together daily, and to be very involved with our local church body. Those things have made a huge impact on our spiritual intimacy.

I think that if I had gotten this book out of the library, I might have just stopped reading at the introduction and taken it back. After all, if the section where the authors are trying to sell the book to me isn’t working, why bother? But really, the book did end up having some good, quality relationship advice / probing questions to help a developing relationship. So, whether you’ve been married 1 month, a year, or a decade, it might be worth a looksee.

The book has 10 chapters, and each chapter is formatted the same way:
-It begins with the bulk of the lesson, including relationship stories and the main point of the chapter. This is the part where you’ll really take away what you want to learn. I liked this section, but it was a little confusing having two couples narrate, since they went back and forth with their experiences.
-Then comes a section about preparing for your date, including a chapter summary (which Luke thought was helpful, since [let’s be honest here] he wouldn’t be inclined to read the whole chapter himself).
-Last in the chapter is a Post-Date Spiritual Discovery section, where you can spend about 15 minutes doing a couple’s devotional with your spouse, related to what you read in the chapter and discussed on your date.
-One of the most important parts of each chapter is actually located in the back of the book: two copies of a tear-out page with questions for each spouse to answer individually, then bring to your date and discuss.

Some sample questions:
-Describe the religious atmosphere in your home growing up.
-What has been your experience reading the Bible?
-What major storms have you faced in your life and marriage?

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So, in leiu of going on 10 dates with Luke before posting this review, I took the book to Mexico for our 10-year anniversary celebration. We spent some time looking through it and answering questions together. Not exactly the way the authors intended, but it gave us an idea of the book’s effect.

A vast majority of the questions were things we have already discussed, for instance, “Was a belief in God important in your family?” Because Christ is so much the center of our relationship, of course we had already discussed these basics.

However, I will say that it was quality time spent together with this book, lying on the beach in Mexico. Even if we knew most of each other’s answers, it was good to hear each other out and talk about our relationship.

My take-away from the experience was not a huge revelation. Rather, we will keep plugging away, serving Christ together and building up our relationship in every way we can.

Because it is so worth it.

{A note – another reviewer on Amazon said that this should be called “10 Great Discussions,” and I would second that. I was expecting actual date ideas (places to go, things to do), but this book solely focused on the discussion portion of the date. Be forewarned.}

{Disclaimer: Bethany House publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. No positive comments were required. All opinions are my own.}

The One I Love


In the throes of excitement and romance, as a teenager and young-twenty, I didn’t really grasp what people meant when their love for their spouse grew stronger with each passing year.

I couldn’t fathom loving him more than I did at that moment.

Now I understand.

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