Figuring out what it means to be ‘wife enough’

Figuring out what it means to be ‘wife enough’

BrightLightsWedding 031It’s amazing how the words of one person at one time in our lives can make such an impact for our future, both good and/or bad.

Oddly enough, I tend to be impacted more by words that had good intentions but were still hurtful or ultimately, abusive. If you’re trying to be mean and I know you’re trying to be mean, I don’t take much stock in what you say.

When I was 14, I had a teacher say something that rocked my world and fed into a web of growing insecurities. I don’t remember how it came up, but in front of a room full of fellow eighth-grade students, that teacher said the words “it will take a very special person to be willing to marry Jamie.” I think he was trying to say something nice considering this teacher was normally very kind. But it had no business being said in a classroom full of teenagers!

Without realizing it, I carried that thought into my teens and 20s. I didn’t start dating until my late 20s and it even was in the back of my mind then. Subconsciously, I kept seeking out people who had faults that I would have to “overlook” to “make up for” the fact that they had to “be special”and “put up with” me being a woman with a disability. (Yes, that’s a lot of quotation marks.)

Finding healing

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When the stones are fake but the commitment is real

My old ring with the ring guard around it. Most people had no idea it was two rings that I never got around to having soddered together. It was the big stone in the middle and one of the tiny stones on the side that fell out.
My old ring with the ring guard around it. Most people had no idea it was two rings that I never got around to having soddered together. It was the big stone in the middle and one of the tiny stones on the side that fell out.

When a couple gets married, they exchange rings that signify their commitment and love. It seems to be the cultural norm to get a huge, fancy and expensive ring but I’ve never considered that necessary.

When it came time for me to get engaged and we were looking at rings, my realization as just how ridiculous that cultural idea is really came to life. We looked and looked and finally found a ring that was perfect for me.

It had white sapphires as accents and a platinum fire topaz as the main stone. We were told by many that the ring wouldn’t last long and one jeweler even told us to just get rid of it and start over instead of trying to figure out a wedding ring to go with it. I always thought that was both absurd and rude.

We did find a ring guard to go with it and I wore the ring lovingly and proudly for five years with no problems except for a few scratches on the stone. Then a couple of weeks ago, I realized that the big stone was gone and I had no idea where it went. Another smaller stone had fallen out a couple months ago, too.

It drove me a little crazy to not have anything on my hand at all so I wore the ring guard and we decided to replace the damaged ring. We don’t have a ton of extra spending money right now because we’re busy paying for another kind of expensive stones and metal…as in the stones from his kidneys and the metal in my new wheelchair!

My old rig guard now apparently looks like a "mod" ring and I wear it on my right hand (this picture shows it still on the left).
My old ring guard now apparently looks like a “mod” ring and I wear it on my right hand (this picture shows it still on the left).

I found a ring that fit our needs perfectly at the same store where we bought the original ring. I’m now wearing that ring on my “wedding ring finger” but didn’t want to get rid of the original wedding ring guard entirely (it doesn’t fit the new ring). I wear it on my other hand and get compliments on my new “mod” ring. No one realizes it’s the same ring I’ve been wearing for nearly five years.

Some might think it’s a little strange that I prefer a ring with synthetic stones. To me, the value of a wedding ring isn’t in the jewels. It’s about finding a ring that I enjoy wearing, but more importantly it’s about the man who gave me that ring.

When I glance down, even now, and see the ring, I’m not thinking about the worldly treasure. I’m reminded that I’m married to a man who loves me with all his being and who puts my needs ahead of his own. I’m married to a man who has already stood by me in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer.

When I see the rings, both old and new, I remember that I am loved and cherished. What could be more valuable than that?

I love my new ring! It's sparkly and fits my personality as it's grown and changed in the last few years.
I love my new ring!



Review: Moments Together For Couples: Devotions for Drawing Near to God and One Another

A few months ago my husband and I wanted to renew our focus on not only growing closer to God, but to each other. From the outset of our relationship, we wanted to make God the focus. We firmly believed that whole triangle diagram thing they show you in (Christian) premarital counseling where the closer each of you get to God, the closer you naturally come together. I think that in a solid Christian marriage, that the vice versa must also naturally be true to some extent. In other words, if you work on building a Christian marriage, the only way to successfully do that is to draw closer to the creator of your faith.

Anyways (I say that a lot when I’ve started to rabbit trail don’t I?) …

We scoured online and two local Christian bookstores for just the right devotional to do together. We didn’t want marriage counseling and we wanted a devotional that was not just geared towards a single reader.

We were getting pretty frustrated until we were shown the book by Dennis and Barbara Rainey Moments Together for Couples: Devotions for Drawing Near to God and One Another.

We don’t really “do” the book in the way that it’s intended-as a daily, short devotional where the couple spends maybe 15-30 minutes tops reading and discussing that day’s entry.

Instead, we do it “Smith style” (in other words, our own way that fits our needs). We set aside time every Sunday to read an entry indepth and we each write our own response to the discussion question(s) silently then share our answers. We get into pretty deep relationship and spiritual discussions that have allowed us to explore issues in our faith and in our marriage.

I strongly recommend this book for couples. Don’t let the dated entries daunt you if you can’t do it daily or if you’re starting in the middle of the year. Just go in order! Really, not a tough concept…even for mildly OCD folks like me who must have things a certain way sometimes. Use a notebook, even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer.” That way you can not only keep track of where you are in the book, but can look back at the lessons you’ve learned.

So what’s to like? We like that the book truly is about growing closer to God and each other. As trite as that sounds, it’s literally what were seeking. I also like that each devotional entry is based on Scripture but also has realistic life application. I see a lot of churches get so heavily into the idea of applying Scripture that they forget to go into much study or detail about the book they are supposedly applying! On the other hand, other messages are so entrenched in Scripture that they don’t help listeners understand what to do with that information.

This book is a good mix of the two.

I also appreciate that most of the time, the discussion questions are solid enough to be meaningful but usually aren’t exhausting to discuss. They foster good discussion and give chances to go deeper into the subject or related ideas.

Finally, I like the fact that it has a suggested prayer topic at the end. Usually this kind of thing bugs me because I can’t help but feel like the book is telling me what to say to God. But either my spirit is at peace when we read this book or the wording is such that I don’t feel ordered, I feel guided. Big difference for headstrong chickadees like me!

I’m not good at giving ratings so I won’t do stars or cookies or whatever seems appropriate for a Jamie blog. I will say this: If you’re looking for a guide to growing closer to God as a couple, this book is most definitely worth your time.