45 ways to BE a better spouse

Early on in marriage, so much of what makes marriage good comes easily.  During the long stretch between I do and ’empty nest’ we can get weary and lose focus…many times even becoming bitter and keeping a long list of wrongs.  Marriage is hard and requires hard work.  That is just a fact.  It never means you chose wrong or should give up.  And, even if you did choose wrong…you still chose.  Just keep choosing.  In my ‘book’, and in black and white in God’s, marriage is forever. It’s easy to forget you’re on the same team.  To forget the early days of your love.  How easily we forget the good stuff in life.  The things that really matter.  I need reminding often.  We need things to help us remember to choose to feed our marriages and not let them wither.  Without proper care and feeding, we will not survive this long road.  I don’t regularly do all the things on this list.  Neither does my husband.  We both mess up everyday.  My pride and hurt feelings get in the way.  And, I can only control my own words, thoughts, actions and decisions.  This is not a list about changing your spouse.

I made this Marriage 101 list for my brother and his wife when they got married.  I hope it is a good reminder for you, too.  Our loving, encouraging words and actions are so powerful.  Just as our un-loving and discouraging words and actions are powerful.  I’d love to hear your additions to the list!  Just as each person is unique, so is each marriage.  Be creative.  Make this list your own.

 

  1. Spend the first of your day with God. (Without this I can’t do #2-45)
  2. Love her
  3. Respect him
  4. Tell her she’s beautiful
  5. Tell him he’s ‘the man’
  6. Be honest
  7. Spouse before self, in word and deed
  8. Learn their favorite things
  9. Make eye contact
  10. Kiss for 10 seconds (at least!) every day
  11. If you must compete, be the first to say ‘I’m sorry’
  12. Make traditions
  13. Make memories
  14. LAUGH
  15. Learn your Love Languages
  16. Listen.  For real.
  17. Tell each other jokes
  18. LOVE (I Corinthians 13:4-13)
  19. Count to 30–instead of 10
  20. Be kind
  21. Plan surprises
  22. Sweep her off her feet
  23. If you need to keep a record, be it of blessings
  24. Be humble
  25. Don’t let the honeymoon end
  26. Plan dates
  27. PLAY
  28. Ask for help
  29. Accept help
  30. Learn together
  31. Pray together
  32. Forgive
  33. Expect the best
  34. Be his #1 fan
  35. Cheer her on
  36. Care for him
  37. SHARE
  38. Pack his lunch
  39. Empty the dishwasher
  40. Never say, “No.  I have a headache.”
  41. Revisit places you went before you were married
  42. Reminisce about pre-kid days
  43. Look forward to post-kid days
  44. Rub his feet
  45. Compliment each other to your friends

Noodles!

IMG_20160807_182403523

Homemade noodles are one of those foods that make me think of my childhood.  In my memory we ate them often…and always with chicken.  My mom would buy the whole chicken and cook it until it was fall-off-the-bone tender and yummy.  Add to that some gravy and pour over homemade noodles or dumplings.  Comfort food, for sure.

Also in my memory is that we had chicken often.  A lot.  Or at least my child brain and taste buds thought so.  How could I ever get tired of chicken and noodles?   Pretty sure I bought my mom a chicken cook book for Christmas one year.  Guess I was looking for some variety.  Now I’m a mom.  Head chef and menu planner.  I’m a bit sensitive to constructive criticism when it comes to the meals I’ve prepared.  Sorry, Mama.

Back to present day.  I like winging it when I cook.  I don’t always follow recipes exactly.  And I often like to change ingredients to see if I can improve the finished product.  So, par for the course, I changed this recipe.  I browsed some noodle recipes on Pinterest and got the main idea of noodle-making.  I decided to sub some of the regular flour with some potato flour and cornstarch.  Just aiming for a little more fluff.

IMG_20160807_163458008

IMG_20160807_161435012IMG_20160807_162132978

(Milk didn’t make it into the group picture.)

IMG_20160807_161811472

Mix together dry ingredients. I used a KitchenAid stand mixer.

This recipe can also be mixed by hand.

IMG_20160807_161552344

Make a well in the middle.  Ready to receive the eggs and liquid gold.  Uh, butter.

IMG_20160807_161738349IMG_20160807_161645776

Lightly beat eggs.  Whisk in melted butter.

IMG_20160807_161902629

Pour egg and butter mixture into waiting well.

IMG_20160807_162044467

Using paddle attachment, mix dry mixture with eggs and butter, until combined.

IMG_20160807_162052232

Add milk slowly.  Again, mix only until combined.  Don’t overmix.

IMG_20160807_163057377

Here’s is my finished dough.  It was pretty soft and a bit sticky.  Be prepared to flour often as you roll.

IMG_20160807_164102710

Flour counter and dough and get rolling.

IMG_20160807_164431005

I was aiming for about 1/8″ thickness.  See the holes?  Somewhere between 1/8-1/4″ is great.

IMG_20160807_164513570

I decided to cut the rolled dough in half to make it easier to transfer it to parchment paper before cutting in strips.  This move will come in handy later.

IMG_20160807_164727901

Once transferred to parchment paper I cut each half into 4 sections…for shorter, more manageable noodle sizes.

IMG_20160807_165320749

Slice away.  Perfection is not the goal here.  I was aiming for 1/4″ wide.  As you can see, no two noodles are alike. Just get your pizza cutter going and cut lots of noodles.

IMG_20160807_165441109IMG_20160807_165457885

This is where the parchment paper goes to work.  Slide a baking sheet under the paper and lay a cooling rack on top.  The tricky part is to flip over the whole thing: baking sheet, parchment paper, noodles and rack.  The aim is to end up with the noodles on the rack alone so they can rest and dry.

IMG_20160807_165612861

There are goals and there are results.  They don’t always match up.  But if you never set a goal, where will that get ya? So I lost a few during the flip.  No fear.  Just gather them up and put them on the rack with the others.  Unfortunately, some fell on the floor.  Very sad.  One less mouth full.

IMG_20160807_170047477

Moving on!  Once all (well, most) of the noodle strips are on the racks, let them dry for a bit.  Some recipes say to let them dry for hours.  Hours?  Really?  I’m just not that good.  Most days.  I have my moments.  Today was not one of them.  So, let them dry as long as you can.  Mine sat out to dry for about 30 minutes.  Now…you could make them a day ahead, let them dry on the counter for a couple hours, then store in the fridge overnight.

If you like to do that kind of thing.

Back to business.  Gently loosen the noodles from each other.  They’re a tight knit bunch.  At this point in the post I could have added a picture of a pot of boiling water and noodles.  Use your imagination, people.  It was past dinnertime.  Kids were asking when we would eat.  There is no picture.

Fill a large pot with water and crank up the heat…medium high is about right.  Once it starts to boil, add the noodles.  I cooked them in two batches because I was worried they would come out as one big glob.  Unless you’re using a small saucepan for cooking the noodles, it should be just fine to cook in one batch.  One big, happy noodle family.

They should boil for about 5 minutes.  Go ahead and test a noodle at that point.  Once they are cooked to your liking, drain the water.  I added butter, salt and parsley to our hot, drained noodles.

IMG_20160807_182403523

Oh, and we didn’t eat them with chicken.  Nothing against chicken.  We love chicken, but this night the meat on the menu was Swedish meatballs.  Let me just say that the Swedish meatballs I make should have a post of their own.  The recipe is from my mother-in-law.  They are one of my husband’s favorites and his most-requested meal.  So delicious!  Paired with homemade noodles…yum!

IMG_20160807_182348611

Just so you know, I was about ready to bite in to my meal when I remembered to snap a picture.  You’re welcome.

2014-04-12 16.35.03

These two ladies are my favorites.  My mama and mom-in-law.  This meal made me happy because it made me think of both of them.  Thank you, lovely ladies.

Noodles!

IMG_20160807_182403523

Homemade noodles are one of those foods that make me think of my childhood.  In my memory we ate them often…and always with chicken.  My mom would buy the whole chicken and cook it until it was fall-off-the-bone tender and yummy.  Add to that some gravy and pour over homemade noodles or dumplings.  Comfort food, for sure.

Also in my memory is that we had chicken often.  A lot.  Or at least my child brain and taste buds thought so.  How could I ever get tired of chicken and noodles?   Pretty sure I bought my mom a chicken cook book for Christmas one year.  Guess I was looking for some variety.  Now I’m a mom.  Head chef and menu planner.  I’m a bit sensitive to constructive criticism when it comes to the meals I’ve prepared.  Sorry, Mama.

Back to present day.  I like winging it when I cook.  I don’t always follow recipes exactly.  And I often like to change ingredients to see if I can improve the finished product.  So, par for the course, I changed this recipe.  I browsed some noodle recipes on Pinterest and got the main idea of noodle-making.  I decided to sub some of the regular flour with some potato flour and cornstarch.  Just aiming for a little more fluff.

IMG_20160807_163458008

IMG_20160807_161435012IMG_20160807_162132978

(Milk didn’t make it into the group picture.)

IMG_20160807_161811472

Mix together dry ingredients. I used a KitchenAid stand mixer.

This recipe can also be mixed by hand.

IMG_20160807_161552344

Make a well in the middle.  Ready to receive the eggs and liquid gold.  Uh, butter.

IMG_20160807_161738349IMG_20160807_161645776

Lightly beat eggs.  Whisk in melted butter.

IMG_20160807_161902629

Pour egg and butter mixture into waiting well.

IMG_20160807_162044467

Using paddle attachment, mix dry mixture with eggs and butter, until combined.

IMG_20160807_162052232

Add milk slowly.  Again, mix only until combined.  Don’t overmix.

IMG_20160807_163057377

Here’s is my finished dough.  It was pretty soft and a bit sticky.  Be prepared to flour often as you roll.

IMG_20160807_164102710

Flour counter and dough and get rolling.

IMG_20160807_164431005

I was aiming for about 1/8″ thickness.  See the holes?  Somewhere between 1/8-1/4″ is great.

IMG_20160807_164513570

I decided to cut the rolled dough in half to make it easier to transfer it to parchment paper before cutting in strips.  This move will come in handy later.

IMG_20160807_164727901

Once transferred to parchment paper I cut each half into 4 sections…for shorter, more manageable noodle sizes.

IMG_20160807_165320749

Slice away.  Perfection is not the goal here.  I was aiming for 1/4″ wide.  As you can see, no two noodles are alike. Just get your pizza cutter going and cut lots of noodles.

IMG_20160807_165441109IMG_20160807_165457885

This is where the parchment paper goes to work.  Slide a baking sheet under the paper and lay a cooling rack on top.  The tricky part is to flip over the whole thing: baking sheet, parchment paper, noodles and rack.  The aim is to end up with the noodles on the rack alone so they can rest and dry.

IMG_20160807_165612861

There are goals and there are results.  They don’t always match up.  But if you never set a goal, where will that get ya? So I lost a few during the flip.  No fear.  Just gather them up and put them on the rack with the others.  Unfortunately, some fell on the floor.  Very sad.  One less mouth full.

IMG_20160807_170047477

Moving on!  Once all (well, most) of the noodle strips are on the racks, let them dry for a bit.  Some recipes say to let them dry for hours.  Hours?  Really?  I’m just not that good.  Most days.  I have my moments.  Today was not one of them.  So, let them dry as long as you can.  Mine sat out to dry for about 30 minutes.  Now…you could make them a day ahead, let them dry on the counter for a couple hours, then store in the fridge overnight.

If you like to do that kind of thing.

Back to business.  Gently loosen the noodles from each other.  They’re a tight knit bunch.  At this point in the post I could have added a picture of a pot of boiling water and noodles.  Use your imagination, people.  It was past dinnertime.  Kids were asking when we would eat.  There is no picture.

Fill a large pot with water and crank up the heat…medium high is about right.  Once it starts to boil, add the noodles.  I cooked them in two batches because I was worried they would come out as one big glob.  Unless you’re using a small saucepan for cooking the noodles, it should be just fine to cook in one batch.  One big, happy noodle family.

They should boil for about 5 minutes.  Go ahead and test a noodle at that point.  Once they are cooked to your liking, drain the water.  I added butter, salt and parsley to our hot, drained noodles.

IMG_20160807_182403523

Oh, and we didn’t eat them with chicken.  Nothing against chicken.  We love chicken, but this night the meat on the menu was Swedish meatballs.  Let me just say that the Swedish meatballs I make should have a post of their own.  The recipe is from my mother-in-law.  They are one of my husband’s favorites and his most-requested meal.  So delicious!  Paired with homemade noodles…yum!

IMG_20160807_182348611

Just so you know, I was about ready to bite in to my meal when I remembered to snap a picture.  You’re welcome.

2014-04-12 16.35.03

These two ladies are my favorites.  My mama and mom-in-law.  This meal made me happy because it made me think of both of them.  Thank you, lovely ladies.

Starting Over

Recently, I said goodbye to two old pals.  These friends were always so reliable.

Well, there have been a couple times over the last 14 years–since we first met–that I couldn’t count on them.  More on that later.

Every time we met I was filled with a gamut of emotions.  But mostly gratitude.  More than anything, my friends lightened my load.  We were comfortable around each other.  I could cry.  Pray boldly.  And talk to myself.  All without embarrassments.  No judgements.  I was always met with a simple acceptance.

We usually got together once a week and spent the whole day together.  There were times on other days when we would meet.  Times when I just needed a quick meet-up.  That’s real life.

Lately, my two friends have not really been there for me when I was in need.  No reliability.  Forget consistency.  Friends come and go, right?  It was time to go.

It’s never easy to start over after so many years.  And, well, this may sound callous, but I just wasn’t having my needs met anymore.  The relationship became a drain.  I know.  I was expecting a lot.  It’s just that recently each day we’ve spent together has ended with me being frustrated.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I had to get a new…

 

 

 

Washer and Dryer