Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Through the Roof: 4 Tips to Reduce Pre-Wedding Anxiety



My veins were filled with fire.

I just knew it. Fire or stinging ants, but at this point, did it really matter? I was panicked. And I was running.out.of.time.

Because my wedding was in only two days. And those two days were just... just terrible.


We've already talked about the fact that getting married scores super high in terms of stress. Marriage is a big change! But what about the wedding itself?


I'm a bit... controlling. And a little bit of a perfectionist, and I like things just so. But seriously? By the end of planning my wedding, I just didn't care. About any of it. And yet, I cared so very much. I just wanted the wedding to be over.

And you know what? With my stress level through the roof, my nerves completely ragged, after having slept all of thirty minutes the night before, and with a nervous stomach that just wouldn't go away... I got married. As soon as I held by beloved's hands in front of the altar, everything was okay.

But about ten minutes beforehand, nothing was okay. I was too much a bundle of nerves to even really enjoy my last few moments before my wedding.

Don't do that. Don't let yourself get so worked up and anxious that the days leading up to your wedding are just awful. This should be a time of happiness and joy, of celebration. Not of feeling like you're going to be sick every single minute.

(TMI warning: the morning of my wedding, I couldn't stop pooping. Seriously. I had the nervous poops.)

Delegate and Trust
You cannot physically do everything. There's no possible way to pick up grandma from the airport, get your hair done, and make sure the guestbook arrives at the church all in a span of fifteen minutes. You just can't.

Delegate things to other people. I'm sure you're rolling your eyes at me here because, duh, of course you know all about delegating. But for a control freak like myself, it was hard.

I wanted to do it all myself. But you know what? I alienated some people by holding on so tightly! My family and friends wanted to help, and here I was trying to keep the entire wedding under my thumb. When I finally gave up (it took me far too long- don't make the same mistake!) I was delighted to see that other people were actually excited to help, were actually interested in the wedding.

You can do it. Ask for help, and then trust that they'll do a great job. My sister-in-law set up the guestbook table, and you know what? It wasn't at all the way I wanted it. But it was beautiful and just fine. Because really, who cares that the angle of the book wasn't the way I saw in a magazine? No one noticed, anyway! It wasn't anything to be upset about.

Let it go. Everything will work out just fine, even if you're not the one doing it.

Love your Almost-Husband
The trouble with controlling my entire wedding, in my case, was that I sort of forgot about Zeke. He needed to get things ready for the wedding (mostly just making sure that the groomsmen were there on time), but micromanaging his responsibilities was really all the attention I gave him.

And it was his wedding, too.

I was so focused on the wedding and on what I needed to do that I acted rather selfishly. Not a great way to start out a marriage.

A hint: When your future hubby says, "Please, let's just talk about anything but the wedding. Please," it's a good sign that he feels neglected. 

Do something nice for him.

And no, I'm not saying this to add to the ever-growing list of things that absolutely must get done before the wedding. I know it may feel that way.

It doesn't have to be a big thing- maybe a back rub, stop by with a box of sundae cones, ask him how his day was and actually listen to the answer (I wasn't so great at that one). And turning your mind toward serving him will help you get your mind off of everything else- off the wedding nerves, and off of yourself.

Pray
Yes, you heard me. Pray. Pray about the wedding, pray for the things you're nervous about, pray for that man you're marrying, pray for your friends and people who hear about  on the news... just pray. 

Prayer will put your attitude in the right place. I thought I could control everything about my wedding, but really, are we in control of anything at all? I had to let go. Trust God. 

And just like ^ that one, praying about other people and other concerns will take your mind of off yourself (because let's be honest, planning a wedding is often about what I want, I need, I want this to look like...me, me, me.)

Take Time to Relax
You're saying, "Adrie! I'm getting married in four days! There is NO TIME TO RELAX!" Or maybe you're not saying that at all because you're calm and peaceful and not nearly as neurotic as I. 

But honestly, I really wish I'd done more of this. Take the time to relax. You need it. Think of it as wedding planning task- you're planning and preparing to be a pleasant person on your wedding day instead of a complete mess. 

Some suggestions:

-Take a bath, preferably with some kind of lavender going on. Breathe, read a light book about something other than weddings, or hey, even bring your laptop into the bathroom and watch a funny movie.

-Listen to soothing music. You can search "relaxing music" on YouTube and just listen to bunches. No words, just soothing tunes. (Don't listen at work, though. I made that mistake once and almost fell asleep at my desk at 1:30. But very relaxing).

-Let yourself feel things. Overwhelmed? Angry things aren't going the way you wanted? Emotional because you're getting married and things are changing? Give yourself time to feel it. Blocking out your feelings will only lead to more stress and anxiety. 
-Do something fun. Something non-wedding related. Something that you enjoy or that thrills you or that makes you feel worthwhile. Create something. Find art in your world. Do something you've never done before. Try to do something active- ice skating or bowling or even just taking a walk down your favorite path and taking photos. The exercise will help to ease stress, too.


When you think of a bride before her wedding, the ideal "perfect bride," is she frenzied and stressed? She shouldn't be! Crunch time before a wedding can really crush your spirit and make you anxious and unpleasant. Don't be a bundle of stress and nerves on your wedding day.

Any other suggestions or tips, ladies? How do you reduce stress in your life?


This post is part of a series- make your engagement a time of intentional growth to prepare you for marriage, not just a time of planning for a wedding!

"Like" A Little Wife's Happy Life on Facebook to catch more Intentional Engagement posts!

Other Posts in the Intentional Engagement Series:







Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Potter


We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in us." - Romans 6:7-10 

I like to be in control.

I think my sisters have called me "bossy" more often than I'd like to admit- of course, looking back on my childhood, "bossy" seems more than kind given some of the things I forced upon them!

And unfortunately, I didn't really grow out of it... I'm just bossy in more socially acceptable ways (let's hope).

It steals my peace and pulls me further from Him. I struggle against trusting God, shouting "No! I can do it!" like a two-year-old trying to put on her own shoes. And, like that two-year-old, I eventually learn that giving up and letting my heavenly Father take care of me is what I should have done all along.

Well, I learn it until next time, anyway.

I'm breakable and fragile and yet I hold this amazing gift- the life and salvation of Jesus. I can't understand why Jesus would want to make a home in me. I'm limited and weak. My body doesn't always do what I would like it to do. My mind doesn't hold on to things for very long. I can only handle so much.

But glory, glory- He's with me always! Patiently waiting for me to get frustrated, broken down, and disappointed because doing it my way doesn't work. And when I'm ready to finally surrender to Him, to trust Him to know what's best for me, He's there to shape me and guide me.

I find such peace when I stop fighting, and simply enjoy the safety and love in the Potter's hands.

  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bloom: Stop Waiting, Start Growing



Going from single to married is life changing; so much so that the Bible describes it as two people becoming one. It's an irreversible change of identity.

I think it's easy for the "un-marrieds" and the "marrieds" to keep to themselves. Of course, I don't think that's really the best thing, but we'll cover that another time.

See, attached or unattached, we have a lot that we can learn. We have so very much growing to do. The thing is, I've found that there are so many more wonderful resources for women with a gold band on their finger. What about the ones whose ring finger is bare?

Well, we've talked about that glorious transition time (which can be frenzied and disjointed, or intentional and purposeful) in a long, drawn out bunch of posts.


But what about you?

You, who aren't married? You, who aren't engaged? You, who aren't even doing that "dating" thing just now?

Where's the advice for you?

That's the trouble, really. There isn't much. And here's the thing. To be healthy in relationships, to someday be healthy in a marriage, you first need to be spiritually healthy in you. And if you're not called to marriage, then you of course still need to be growing and healthy spiritually.

I know so many young ladies out there who are focused on getting married, on dating, on finding the perfect man. They've been praying for him for years. I'm not saying that's a bad thing- but I've noticed that when we focus on our Mr. Right, we forget ourselves. We're so focused on the external that we don't grow internally.


Or, (as in my case, but you'll hear about that later) you find yourself in a series of negative dating relationships that warp your sense of self. You miss the warning signs, or you make decisions that harm yourself or others. We kill relationships because we've cut ourselves off from truth, and as a result, we're wounded and scarred, or we think we need that other person to push us towards growth. And that's simply not true. 

Start growing now. Find your way now. Become the woman God intended you to be now.

-  -  -  -  -  

In August, we'll be switching focus from intentional engagement to a purposeful time of growing while single, as well as some advice for those ladies doing that thing called "dating." I've got some great posts lined up, and some awesome guest bloggers sharing their perspectives.

Stay tuned for those posts in August, okay?

And of course, you can follow me on Facebook or subscribe via e-mail to make sure that you don't miss this exciting new series! I'm really looking forward to it.




PS- No longer in that "dating" phase? Want to share your hard-earned, time tested wisdom with those who are? I'm still accepting a few more guest bloggers. If you'd like to be considered or you have a great idea of what to include, please shoot me an e-mail!



Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Little Garden PHFR

{Pretty}

 

My marigolds are blooming! I planted them from seeds (which I've never done before) and ended up with so many weeds that I wasn't sure that I'd actually get any marigolds... but a couple weeding sessions and some time, and ta da! Pretty. 

{Happy}

Okay, so not technically garden related...


Due to some unseasonably cool weather this week, we've had our windows open quite a bit. If it were up to me, we'd go without air conditioning more frequently and just strategically open and close windows, but alas, the head of the household gets too warm rather easily. But having our windows open for the past few days has really been lovely. I'll take it.

{Funny}



Patience is not one of my strongest virtues. 

{Real}

My peas are not doing so hot.


The past two weeks, I've sort of forgotten that plants need water, and so... they're suffering from my neglect. Hopefully the good rain shower early this week and some extra love and care (and water) the rest of this week will help make up for it. The few peas that we've gotten have been so yummy- I'd like a lot more! 


------  ------  ------

Links this week: 

FIGHT FAIR: PERSPECTIVE, TATER TOTS, AND TRUTH - Because learning how to fight is so essential to a marriage (and to a friendship, too.)

YOUNG MARRIAGE AND ROLE MODELS- We all need a little something to inspire us. Or a little someone.

THE HOPE TO WHICH HE HAS CALLED YOU- What Biblical hope really means, and what it means for us.


Head on over to see more Pretty, Happy, Funny, and Real stuff over at Like Mother Like Daughter!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fight Fair: Perspective, Tater Tots, and Truth


Our engagement was a trying time our relationship. I was caught up in the planning, for one, and we also happened to spend quite a bit of our engagement apart- he was finishing school while I worked and lived with my folks. We've had a strong relationship for a long time, thanks in part to dating long-distance, but I know we could have gone into the first months of our marriage without nearly as many of the issues we faced if we had started making better choices during our engagement.

The first thing we had to learn as a married couple was how to fight fair.


Dating long distance helped with our communication, to be sure, but it also gave us plenty of time to cool off during an argument or disagreement. And frankly, there wasn't usually a lot to disagree about! We were far apart- and proximity lends itself to more conflicts.

The sooner you learn (and actually start to put into practice!) the guidelines to fighting fair, the better off your marriage will be. Start now. It will help- trust me.

(Oh, and also- it is normal to find yourself arguing more frequently with your beloved during engagement- especially as your wedding date approaches. Weddings are often really stressful- and when you are stressed, it's easier to be more impatient and nit-picky than is in your normally peaceful and gracious nature. All the more reason to start practicing now!)

First, I'd suggest that you begin by approaching all conflicts (even those with your overbearing mother-  notthatI'vebeenthereoranything!) in a way that would be pleasing to Christ.

I'd humbly suggest these posts as a place to start:





I'll wait.

... and welcome back.

Okay.

Here are a few more pointers to "fighting fair" with that hunky fella who's soon to be your forever partner.



Come At It from the Right Perspective

Too many times, when couples disagree, it somehow becomes less about the disagreement and more about winning. I know, because I do it!

It's all about attitude and perspective. You and your husband are in this "life" thing together. You're on the same team. It's up to the two of you to make one another better, to lead one another closer to Christ. And sometimes, that is going to hurt, and sometimes, you won't agree on things.

In a conflict (at least in most conflicts), you really believe that you're in the right. And sometimes, you definitely will be, and sometimes you definitely won't be... and sometimes, there's not really a right answer. Just remember- it's not about winning the fight. It's about coming through it together.



Determine the Deeper Issue

Several years ago (okay, maybe it was more like a decade ago), my friends and I started recognizing that there is a hidden level in many conflicts. We used the phrase "Tater Tot Issues."

Here's the situation.

Joe and Jimmy are sitting at lunch. Jimmy takes a tater tot off of Joe's plate and eats it. Joe says, "Hey! That was my tater tot!" What does he mean by that?

"Hey! That was my tater tot!"

Susie and Sarah are sitting at lunch. Sarah takes a tater tot off of Susie's plate and eats it. Susie says, "Hey! That was my tater tot!" What does she mean?

"You always seem to take from me and never give back. I feel unappreciated and unloved in this relationship." 

It's not always about the tater tots. Sometimes it's deeper.

See, you need to know what you're actually upset about before you can really deal with the problem! Is it really about the socks on the floor, or is it the way the socks make you feel?

This sometimes means that you have to just back off for a while until you figure it out. You may need some time to understand why you're feeling what you're feeling, and how he can make it better for next time. Of course, this also goes the other way. He may need time to understand why he's upset... and you need to be willing to give him the time and space to do so. Don't push it, or you'll just stay at the tater tot level, and the problem will resurface again and again.



Speak the Truth in Love

I know. I told you all about the importance of truth in conflict in that post I linked up there! But I'm saying it again. Because it's really, really important. When you're in an argument, truthfulness is so vital. Your spouse needs to trust you- and trust you always, even when you are angry or disappointed with him. And you can't work things out if you aren't giving him the whole truth.

The truth also means that you're not stretching, not exaggerating, and that you're saying what needs to be said. Skirting issues does no one any good.

But the "in love" part. That's important, as well.

A man has a deep need to be respected. (You have some of that need as well, but your future husband? It's like breathing to him.) If you approach conflicts without love, you're not respecting him. It's impossible to do both.

So how do you do this exactly?

  • Mingle compliments with conflict. Find something that he's doing well, and let him know how much you value him before you bring up the problem.
  • Use constructive language. Avoid using "always" and "never." No name calling. No flinging insults. Don't just vent how angry you are with him without offering some solutions- you want to fix it, not just tell him that he's upset you.  
  • Act, don't react. Stay in control of your emotions and don't get carried away. Having an outburst rarely solves anything. You don't want to say something that you'll regret.



A perfect marriage is not one in which the couple never disagrees. I don't think those marriages exist! Marriage is, after all, the joining of two human beings- and human beings mess up. No, a strong marriage is one that deals with conflicts in the right way, and depends on grace and forgiveness to cover all faults.




This post is part of a series- make your engagement a time of intentional growth to prepare you for marriage, not just a time of planning for a wedding!

"Like" A Little Wife's Happy Life on Facebook to catch more Intentional Engagement posts!

Other Posts in the Intentional Engagement Series:









Monday, July 14, 2014

Impact


I was sitting with my mom in a coffee shop in my hometown when a song came on the radio. Most of the time, our conversation would continue over the music, but the

Here, you can listen to it, too.

The lyrics are the kind that stick with ya. "I want to leave a legacy." I think a legacy is something that most of us would like to leave. We want to make an impact. We want to be remembered.

So how do we do that?

Well, we need to be intentional. We're supposed to look carefully at our lives, at the way we're living. We need to be pliable and teachable and open to the word of God. We need to be wise.

Wisdom is the ability to apply God's truth to our everyday lives.


Make the Best Use of Time
The first step is to make the most of the time we've been given. It's easy to let time pass us by without making any progress if we don't know what we're progressing towards! We have to know where we're going.

Take some time to think about your legacy. Think big. What is it that you're trying to do with your life? For example, some of my goals in life are to be a loving and godly wife. Someday, I want to be a mother who leads her children close to God. I want to make a difference in the life of other women by encouraging them and helping them to walk with God.

What if you're not even close to your goals? It feels a lot further off when you're just graduated from high school, and while you have goals in mind, it doesn't seem like there's much you can do to work towards them.

Don't be discouraged! Let's say a goal of yours is to be a godly wife. Well, start becoming a godly woman.

Don't spend your life waiting. Use your time wisely, and use it wisely now.

Discern God's Will
This is a tricky one, because really, we're human. And how can a human being even try to understand the will of all-knowing, incredible God?

Now, I'm not saying that we'll ever be able to understand His will completely. But He's given us a manual in His word.  Try to find the big picture by learning the truth in the Bible, applying it to your life, and living in obedience to Him. Spend time in prayer.

You should also be talking to people. We've been given a community for a reason! Ask for advice from those you respect spiritually, people who have evidence of truth and faith in their lives. Listen to God first, and go to others for confirmation.

Be Influenced by the Spirit
We're easily influenced. By music, movies, billboards, the thing your high school boyfriend said to you fifteen years ago...

We need to be careful. It's important to protect our minds and hearts from the things that the culture deems "true," and focus instead on the things the Bible tells us are true.

Think about it. How much of your day is spent consuming culture? In my household, we watch about an hour and a half of TV every evening. My officemate listens to the radio at work, so I'm usually hearing about five hours of secular music. So really, I'm inundated with our culture for at least seven hours a day.

How many hours do I spend in God's word? How many hours do I spend reading blogs from Christians, how many hours of devotionals? Maybe three hours, tops.

So what has a greater influence on my way of thinking?

Focus on Thankfulness
Take a couple of seconds to think about someone who made a huge positive influence on your life. Someone who you admire, or a role model. Someone you'd like to emulate.

Thinking of 'em?

I always think of grandma when I think about godly women.

And one of her greatest qualities was her thankful spirit. Focusing on the blessings we do have, rather than complaining or dwelling on issues... it makes a big difference in our attitudes and in the atmosphere around us.



Live a legacy-building lifestyle. Make a spiritual impact.





Friday, July 11, 2014

Coffee, B.O., and Bunnies


-1-
This week marks the official half-way point of summer camp season. I'm torn between "how did that happen!?" and "Oh, thank goodness. We're almost done."

Mmm. A permanent fixture on my desk lately.

-2-
This post made my heart sing a little.


-3-
Went to the dentist this week. Is there anything worse than being poked in the gums with that stupid mini-metal harpoon? Ugh. My shoulders are still sore from being tensed up for an hour.

-4-
Zeke has officially moved into the part of the summer when he changes outfits three times a day. Although I doubt he considers them "outfits." But seriously, doing a load of laundry a day is barely cutting it. Seven loads a week. For two people. <Sigh> It's a maintenance man kind of life.



-5-
After a busy week with 107 middle school students running all over the place, I've come to the conclusion that Camp will smell like B.O. for the next six years. Peeeee ewww! We need some lessons on deodorant along with Bible Study time, methinks.


They're a stinky bunch.

-6-
Even though I'm pretty sure that this bunny rabbit is the flower-eating culprit, it was still pretty darn cool to be able to get right next to him. Fearless little garden eater, this one.




-7-
I may have told Zeke that we could go on a camping/dirt bike trip this weekend. Because we bought a new camper and all, and his birthday is coming up, and the last time he took the dirtbike out of the garage was this time...
See the snow? Yeah.
... but it's Friday, and I've done none of the following: clean the camper, pack, figure out food for the weekend, finish folding laundry (see #4). So this could be an interesting weekend. Or maybe a disappointing one for that hubby of mine. Or maybe we'll just do a recreation of the last time we went camping...




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MOST POPULAR POST THIS WEEK THAT WAS POSTED THIS WEEK: (still following me?) In which I spill my guts and tell you about all the feels.



And honestly? I'm just so glad it's Friday. 

Have a good one, all! 


Linked to Conversion Diary for Seven Quick Takes!!