Nothing Special

There’s nothing special about today. We both went to work and had normal days. You know, the kind of days where you struggle to have interesting to say to the question, “how was your day?”

I improvised a pork loin roast, which I might post the recipe to when I get time. We had a glass of wine, ate dinner, watched How I Met Your Mother. It was nice to relax with Lindsey.

Then we went our separate ways. We each had work to do, and Lindsey tried to get to bed early. I did not try to do that, and I succeeded in my non-efforts.

There are just some days like this, days when I wonder what to blog. Then, when I sit down to write I realize something simple: even an everyday, so-so, run of the mill day is great with my wife.

Too tired, too late

I wrote this post at 12:15pm on Saturday afternoon, not just before midnight as the post will be marked. It is because this is the Friday post, written on Saturday. We had a long week, so long in fact my wife pointed out to me that I couldn’t stay awake after dinner at least two nights this week. But Friday night was good for us because we were looking forward to having a good friend over for dinner.

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Pork loin, stuffed with apples, wrapped in prosciutto, rolled into a puff pastry. Yeah, it’s good.

We invited our friend Jared over for dinner and a few drinks, and we were looking forward to it. We love to host people in our home, but we have not been able to do so often. In fact, I took the opportunity to make something that I have not had any excuse to make, Alton Brown’s Pork Wellington. I love trying new things, but that is not a regular weeknight dinner for two.

The dinner was great. we served out favorite brussel sprouts dish and garlic cheese mashed potatoes. Then we had Lindsey’s killer Guinness brownies. It was an amazing dinner, and we had an even better time talking to and catching up with Jared.

When the evening was over Lindsey and I got into bed, I pulled out the laptop to blog. She was asleep in 30 seconds, and I was only about a minute behind.

We’re still learning how to balance the early mornings, jobs, and time together in the evening. Honestly, I’ve been getting less sleep because I am trying to do too much in a day. Lindsey has to get her sleep and she has been forgoing some things she needs to get done because she needs the sleep. It’s been a great and crazy year, but just so full.

We’re getting better at it. This school year is better than last, and next year will be even better. I think it just takes time.

Empty

I’m running on empty today. I’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to decide what to write about, and ultimately I decided anything else would be a lie.

I’m exhausted, I’ve been up since 5am, and Lindsey is in the same shape. Well, maybe better because she is asleep right now. I had a full, but not fully productive day at work. I was so tired after work I could not stay awake. The nap didn’t help either.

It’s not just physical exhaustion. There has been so much going on, and so many things that we’ve been doing that I just feel wiped out. And it’s only Tuesday.

The good news is that we are not snapping at each other or picking little meaningless fights like we sometimes do when we are so tired. We’re not perfect, but I think we are learning to lean on each other well. It seems like that is a very important lesson for us to learn.

So I leave it here, so I can crawl off to bed.

Oh, and honestly, prayers for strength and perseverance are appreciated. We can use them.

The danger of guilt

Guilt is dangerous. It is dangerous for the guilty, but it is even more dangerous for the forgiven.

Guilt is dangerous for the guilty because justice demands punishment. But when mercy and forbearance reign, and injustice is forgiven guilt is an unnecessary and dangerous burden. Where guilt is present there is no peace, there is no rest. Ultimately, there is no hope.

This evening a very small thing turned into a big thing because of my own feelings of guilt.

The example of Jesus calls me to be a servant to my wife1. I believe this, and take it very seriously, but like any person I am not perfect. I fail. I fail a lot, and I know it. Which is where the guilt comes in.

Lindsey loves to keep a clean house. She’s not obsessive about it, she’s not overbearing and she is nowhere close to a nag. She likes the house to be clean, and clearly shares what that entails. But, as documented elsewhere on this blog, I do not have the same natural desire. It’s not that I like or tolerate dirt, I just don’t have the same level of thoroughness and attention to detail  My level of tolerance for disorganization and clutter is higher than hers. That’s not a bad thing, in and of itself. We’re simply wired different.

But here’s the problem, the disorganization that I do not mind causes Lindsey stress. The last thing she needs is added stress. The best thing I can do to serve my wife is to help her out, to clean up and keep the clutter down. I do this, sometimes. But not enough. She does not tell me that often, like I said my wife is certainly not a nag. But I still know that I fail her.

So tonight when I was emptying the overly full recycling bin I made a selfish comment to her about how full it was, and how hard it is to take out like that. “Don’t fill it too full,” I said in a not-too-nice tone of voice. “It’s too hard to take it out, and it’s not like I care about recycling anyway.”

I said it as I passed her in the kitchen, and I immediately knew how hurtful it was. But when she replied back I just dug my heels in and we argued for the next five minutes.

After Lindsey went upstairs (justifiably) upset, I started to think about my comment. I realized where it came from. It was rooted in the guilt I felt for letting her down, for not doing all of the things around the house that I wanted and committed to do. I knew I had failed, and I think that subconsciously I wanted to knock her down a peg.

How sick is that? Instead of dealing with the guilt that I legitimately felt, I tried to drag my wife down with me. I tried to accuse her of doing something wrong to assuage my guilt. Here when I should be confessing my own failings to her I turn it around on her instead.

In this and other ways I do not live up to my own expectations for being a husband, and I fear that I do not live up to Lindsey’s. ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself,’ you might offer, ‘after all you’ve been at this for less than a year.’ That’s true, but that does not change the standard, it only rationalizes the failure. The standard of Jesus, the perfect man, as my standard for leadership is a tall order. In fact, it is an impossible one for any of us to achieve.

In response to this, one might comment that the weight of that standard is crushing, that no man can live up to it. I agree with that point of view, it is a crushing weight to bear.

That is, it is crushing if we have to bear it.

But we do not have to bear it. If we trust God’s promises to us through Jesus, we will be forgiven. The burden will be lifted. If only trusting that was easy all the time. But it is not. Instead of trusting ourselves we must then rely only on God to help us see our sin, and to change our hearts. He is the only source of real change.

After a few minutes of collecting my thoughts, I walked up the stairs and sat down on the bed next to Lindsey. I told her exactly what was going on, almost exactly what I just told you. Then I confessed and apologized. She forgave me, as deep down I knew she would. We had a serious conversation then spent some time in prayer about some things going on these days. It was a sweet time together.

It was a small argument, but it made something clear to me. I cannot let the guilt I feel from my inevitable failings to rule my mind and emotions. To do so is a demonstration of a failing faith in Jesus’s promises. He died to remove my guilt, and he defeated death to bring me life. The only path for me is rest in that truth and trust in his forgiveness. And Lindsey’s.


  1. There are a lot of misconceptions about the Christian view of marriage that I won’t get into here, but let me set this one straight: the role of the husband is to love and lead his wife, and Jesus shows us that this is done through selfless service. Anything else is a perversion of the gospel. 

Valentine’s Day

IMG_3569Today Lindsey and I celebrated our second Valentine’s Day together, our first one as a married couple. I woke up to old school valentines cards scattered throughout the house from my wife, and one very sweet card. I sent Lindsey a bouquet of roses and lilies, because she’s just not a big fan of all roses. And this evening, just like we did last year,we had a Valentine’s date that was a bit off the beaten path. We like it that way.

Last year we went to Alamo Drafthouse’s The Princess Bride Quote-a-long and Feast. We’d hoped to make this an annual tradition, but that particular event was not scheduled for this year. After we got over our disappointment, we found the Master Pancake event for Casablanca.

casablanca_posterIf you don’t live in Austin, you may not know what this is, but you should. The idea is based on the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 show where a man and his two robot sidekicks watch an old, bad science fiction movie in full and provide their mocking commentary over the film. You should check it out, I loved that cheesy show.

The Master Pancake guys do the same thing live. They get on stage and do a bit of a pre-show, then sit on the front row with mics and mock the movie and play around with the audience. It’s really funny, and a good time.

So, tonight we laughed at Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, Claud Rains and of course Sidney Greenstreet. We laughed at many, many jokes comparing the German officers to the A&M Corps, and had Alamo’s really good pizza and a couple of great beers. It was, for us and for now, the perfect Valentine’s Day.

Lindsey is exhausted, she’s had a terribly long, busy and stressful week. Right no she is sleeping peacefully while I try to finish up this post and then get a little bit of work done. We’re looking forward to the weekend, and hope we get more time to reconnect.

The biggest conflict?

I had a few drinks with guys from church this evening and an interesting question was asked of me. My friend Doug asked me: “in being married almost a year, what’s been the biggest conflict?”

Honestly, I had to think about it. There were a couple that jumped to mind, our differences in how we want keep the house, the differences between a morning person and a night person, etc. But then it hit me clear as a bell.

“The fact that I deeply want to solve her problems for her, when she just wants a sympathetic husband to listen to her.”

Doug, the only other married guy at the table, responded immediately with a, “Oh, I get that.” The other guys were a bit surprised at the answer.

“Really? That’s the biggest conflict?” Joseph asked me.

I replied that it really was and Doug backed me up that it made a lot of sense. We went on to have a good discussion about men and women and how we are designed very, very, differently. But that’s not the point I want to make.

I guess what I have to say is this: if after eleven months the biggest conflict I could identify was one that seems to be almost ubiquitous, then we must be in okay shape. Right?

What do you think, married readers? Is that one of the most common sources of conflict?

 

The Kitchen and Curry

IMG_0861Lindsey found a great recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. I say great in hindsight because I was very skeptical for two reasons. First, it promised to be quick, and second it promised to be healthy. Anyone who knows anything about Indian food (at least the curry we find in the U.S.) knows why I was skeptical. But I was wrong, it scored on both accounts.

Even though it was a relatively easy recipe, it was not without its challenges. First, it depends on a curry spice mix that was not easy for us to find. So, my adventurous wife decided to make it herself. It was a brave call, but for the second time today my beautiful wife was right.

IMG_0862She pulled together what had to be 7 to 10 spices into a base Indian spice mix called garam masala. It served as the base for the curry (which is really just a type of gravy) with some to spare for next time. It turned out quite good.

We spent about an hour in the kitchen together, working through the recipes. It can be a little tough when we are both in the kitchen. I tend to be very direct and not take directions in recipes too seriously unless we’re baking. Lindsey is meticulous with directions and very careful with everything she does. These two styles don’t always mesh and can cause conflict, but tonight that was not the case. We had a disagreement over directions, but other than that it was a great time cooking together.

Spiced rice that we made and naan bread from HEB finished off the meal. We sat down to watch Downton Abbey and enjoy a great meal together. Sure, the weekend seemed to short as it always does, but this was a fantastic way to close it out.

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Lazy Saturday

IMG_0856This is not a complicated or long post because, well, it was just wasn’t that kind of day.

We slept in until 10:30. Brilliant.

We had a much later night last night than we normally do, so a bit of sleeping in was called for. After we got up we dragged ourselves through getting ready and left for the afternoon.

We started out with Torchy’s tacos for lunch, it was perfect. It was so perfect in fact that my tacos each had a different kind of fired meat in them. That’s right, I had the Trashy Trailer Park (fried chicken, queso, pico, green peepers, cheese) and the Double Wide (chicken fired steak, queso, bacon, cheese). Yep, not good for me. But oh, so good!

IMG_3527After that we headed downtown for the OSU vs. UT basketball game. It was a win for us, but not a very good game overall. It’s always nice to see OSU play since I don’t get the chance to often. I do sometimes wish that Lindsey was a littler more invested in her alma mater to make the competition fun, but then I think about how that would actually go and I am fine with her apathy. 😛

We came home, spent a little time together, had Asian takeout and then Lindsey left to go hang out with some of her girlfriends, leaving me to an empty house and a little project I wanted to get underway.

All in all, not a bad lazy Saturday.

Downtown

After a long week of work, tiredness and a legendary migraine for me yesterday we needed a night to have fun. So we went downtown tonight.

We went to a great Vietnamese bistro with our friend Laura, and then to see our friend Steven’s band play at Antone’s. There were a lot of our friends there tonight and it was just a good time hanging out. Then we ended the evening with the best late night snack ever, Kimchi fries from Chi’lantro BBQ. It was a perfect end to a long week.

Rest

Lindsey and I have been talking a lot about rest over the last few weeks. Why, you ask? Because we don’t do it well.

Let me explain. We have been talking about what it means to rest well, and how neither of us feel like we can do so. Lindsey tends to not stop moving. There is always something else that needs to be done, and pausing to rest before the list is finished is not an option. On the other hand, I don’t want to do anything. When I finally get a day or weekend with no work and no commitments I want to be lazy– and I mean LAZY. Down deep all I want to do is eat, nap, watch TV, and read a book. Preferably for a whole day.

Hopefully you see the error in both of our ways. Given our choices, Lindsey simply won’t rest until she drives herself into the ground, and I wouldn’t lift a finger– or even get out of bed.

That is not what rest is designed for, it’s not what our bodies and minds were designed for. Both of us are rebelling against what we were made for when we behave this way. We are slowly realizing this, because living with someone with the opposite disposition helps open your eyes quite a bit.

So over the next few weeks we hope to approach our weekends differently. We hope to meet in the middle a bit more. We hope that we can learn to rest well.