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Archive for January 19th, 2011

I was talking to a friend of mine about my post on breaking free from the sugar addiction, and was reminded that we have to deal with our emotional issues surrounding food before we can make lasting progress on any kind of program. So I feel like I should back up our story to the months preceding our diet change, because I would not have had the courage to take on the sweet tooth if we hadn’t been working to correct issues in our marriage.  Yep, this is a marriage post.

When we were newly married, our Sunday School class did a series on the 5 Love Languages.  During this series, we discovered that my love language is at the bottom of my husband’s list, and his love language is at the bottom of mine. Awesome.  This information is supposed to help you by making you aware of your spouse’s needs so you can make it a priority to meet them.  Well, as anyone with children knows, sometimes the busyness of life gets in the way of good intentions and the result is guilt.  So my way of dealing with guilt was to overcompensate with goodies from the kitchen.

At the risk of sounding like I’m tooting my own horn, I feel I must tell you that I am a pretty darn good cook.  So there it is…toot.  Before we even started dating, we both decided we could see ourselves married to each other at the same moment: when we were at my parents’ house, baking chocolate chip cookies.  Food has been a central part of our home, and cooking is one way I show love by giving to my family.  So the thought of cutting out sweets was simply too dangerous, because I needed to be able to feel like I was pleasing my husband somehow, in order to keep guilt at bay.

Then, a year ago, God began to whisper to me that he wanted us to start focusing on our marriage.  It started with me confessing a few things and asking for forgiveness.  We then decided to make an intentional effort to talk to each other – not just about the kids and work, but about us.  We identified 3 ways we could do this:

  • We dusted off one of the marriage devotional books we’d been given for our wedding, and decided to read it together each night after the kids went to bed, before turning on the TV or doing anything else.  It was kind of a cheesy book, but it did open up some topics for discussion, and forced us to talk about what who we are as a couple, not just as “Mom & Dad.”
  • We decided to start taking the kids to church on Wednesday nights ourselves, instead of carpooling, and used that time to go to the corner coffee shop and just hang out.  These coffee dates were times when we could talk about plans for our family and future dreams, and proved to be invaluable as we hashed out the educational philosophy that would ultimately lead us to decide to homeschool both of our kids.
  • We committed to a monthly date night when the kids would spend the night at my mom’s house so we could go out, have fun, and remember what it is like to just be us.  (Thanks, Mom.)  I committed to keep a light schedule on those days so I wouldn’t be worn out and exhausted before our dates.

About a month into these changes, I decided to cut out sugar in my own diet.  I didn’t expect my husband to join me, and was surprised when he said he wanted to.  As we began to see progress in weight loss, I discovered that I can still show love to my husband through cooking by making delicious, low sugar meals.  Instead of my gifts from the kitchen being motivated by guilt, they were fueled by my desire to help us both be healthier.  But I would not have had the courage to make those changes if we had not been working on our relationship. I never wanted to be the kind of wife who hovers over her husband and snatches food away from him, so I needed him to be the instigator of change in his own life in order for me to not feel like I was depriving him.  Making an intentional effort to communicate and work on our marriage freed me to focus on a new, healthy lifestyle without guilt or fear.  As an added bonus, we drew closer together as we researched information, experimented with new recipes, and marked our progress together.  And it all began with a whisper from God to start making our marriage a priority.

A joyful family begins with a joyful marriage.  No matter how blah or even bad it may seem, God can breathe new life into it if we will humble ourselves by admitting our own weaknesses and inviting God’s power into our marriage to turn those weaknesses into a powerful testimony of God’s strength.  May God whisper to you today, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

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