Category Archives: Marriage

Marriage Bloopers. Part 5

This is the last of our Marriage Bloopers Series.

Jenni & Brian Clayville“Blooper” is such a cute word. It’s an “oops”. And it can seem like no big deal. But when we continue to blooper without changing for healthy and the better, the oops/blooper can become a moral failure.

I did that.

We all love to be acknowledged. We want to matter. We want to be worthy and count for something. And let’s be honest… there is NO WAY to be 100% prepared for what marriage is going to be. We grow up reading about the princess meeting the prince, love at first sight and happily ever after. Instead, we are greeted with conflict that naturally arises between two people who lose all their personal space and have been raised in two fairly different families.

A shift happens once we say “I do!”

Bills.
Crisis.
Debt.
Conflict without proper resources to work it out.
Focusing on unmet expectations.
Forgetting to say “I love you.”
Becoming glorified roommates.

The “blooper” I’m gonna talk about is much more than a “blooper”. It was a moral failure. In July of 2006, I chose to step into an affair that changed the course of my life forever.

I don’t want to focus on the affair today though. We can… another day… or you can ask me questions. I’m quite open about it and will talk about whatever you’d like to talk about… but let’s talk about the root of the issue. The affair was the result of a plethora of bloopers that went unchecked… and my affair was simply one possible manifestation of the many that could have happened in the course of malfunction I chose.

In the wake of our three year battle with infertility, my heart needed attention and love. Instead of communicating with Brian in a deep and honest way that I was broken and empty, I made myself believe I would be fine and it would get better… tomorrow. Instead of confiding in a friend that I felt alone, I continued to act as if I had it all together.

It’s amazing how lonely one can feel in a full room of people.

In my failure to partake in true community and communication, I had no other option than to choose darkness and secrecy. In my quest to find my place of belonging, I chose the most heartbreaking rejection instead. My biggest blooper ever… choosing to hide.

Don’t let your fears lead you to isolation. Don’t allow your bloopers to define who you are. Saying “That’s just who I am” and “I’m fine” is no longer a good enough. Be who God has called you to be: Blooper-free!

And for those of us who have bloopered beyond what we think is repairable… I can tell you this: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8). You matter. You were bought with a price. Grace resides in what seems to be the most graceless situations. There IS a tomorrow. We are in this together… so don’t give up.

What have you learned from YOUR bloopers?

You can catch the previous Blooper posts here:
Part 1 – By Cindy Beall
Part 2 – By Jenni Clayville
Part 3 – By Trisha Davis
Part 4 – By Cindy Beall

Marriage Bloopers. Part 4.

shushI like to laugh. I like to make jokes. I like to be funny. But sometimes, that desire for humor and a good ole laugh can be taken too far and wound others. I know this well because I used to do this on a regular basis. But it wasn’t with everyone.

Just my husband.

For some reason, I enjoyed picking on him in front of people and making him look bad or embarrassed. It apparently started so early on in our marriage that he asked us within the first year to make a commitment to each other in this area: We would never dishonor one another in public. 

While my husband stuck to this almost superbly, I did not. I found pleasure in cutting him down at a party or making him look stupid while hanging out with some friends. Upon my sly comment or stabbing joke (at his expense), I would get a look from him. The look that asked, “why are you treating me this way again?”

I’m not 100% certain why I did that to him. I’ve analyzed myself to death asking why and have come up with some ideas. The probability is that I was/am insecure in certain areas and well, my husband, on the other hand, pretty much can do anything. So, in order to feel better about myself, I would try to bring him down. Thankfully, I hardly ever do that to him anymore. I am very aware that I used to do this so I make sure that I pray up and stay on my guard.

I’ve also learned that not only should I not dishonor him, I should most certainly build him up. Because if I don’t build him up, someone else eventually will. And I don’t want my man hearing from other women about how awesome he is.

Because Chris Beall, he is awesome.

Ladies, do you find yourself dishonoring your man in public? Making fun of him? Picking on him? Joining in on a friendly round of some “husband bashing”? 

I challenge you to make a new commitment today. After apologizing to your husband for your past actions that brought him dishonor, commit to start each day with kind words – whether in his presence or not. 

Marriage Bloopers. Part 2

Posted by Jenni Clayville.

Brian & Jenni ClayvilleThis year marks Brian and my 13th year as man and wife. Lucky number 13.

It’s funny… Brian and I rarely fight anymore. We have conversations. We have disagreements. We have dialogue… but we don’t really fight.

In the first few years of our marriage, we fought. Like Cindy & Chris… we fought. And when I say “we fought”, what I really mean is Brian would avoid conflict, and I would push for it. We didn’t know it at the time, but what I wanted was to encourage dialogue to work through an issue and what Brian was avoiding was anything that resembled a disagreement. Not a good combination.

One day, I was trying to talk through a situation (God knows what now…) and Brian barely even looked at me. He didn’t want to start a fight so he kept his eyes glued on the tv. All I could see was how disengaged he was. I mistook his desire for peace as a sign of him not caring. So instead of putting him at ease, I pushed the issue more. I nagged. I sighed. I gave him the silent treatment while I cleaned the kitchen… loudly. However… I only grew more and more furious in his silence.

I noticed our brand new beautiful toaster oven had crumbs sitting on the bottom. I had asked him “a MILLION” times to use the tray included in the oven when toasting to help alleviate a mess. As I tried to clean it in my fury, I realized how little control I had. I wanted to talk. I wanted his attention. I wanted a clean toaster… but I was obviously not approachable at the time.

Next thing you know, I’m hurling my beautiful brand new toaster oven with all my might down to the ground. I hated this toaster oven and all it’s fake beauty. I picked it up just to hurl it down again.

My husband, who was previously trying to avoid any drama, could no longer ignore me.

I was in tears. Hysterical. Literally over bread crumbs.

Before I could pick up the oven again to smash it some more, Brian grabbed me and pulled me into his chest. I’m 5’2″ and he’s 6′ tall. When he chooses to hold me, he HOLDS me.

He didn’t yell at me or call me crazy (though I’m pretty sure I was certifiable at that moment), but he held me tight and said nothing. There was nothing that could be said. He just held me. And loved me.

I wish I figured it out then (of course it took me till after a much BIGGER blooper)… but if I had simply said “Babe… I need you to turn that off so we can talk” that day, I would probably still have a toaster oven. Imagine… actually trying to communicate instead of trying to manipulate a situation.

Because I couldn’t control the situation and because I didn’t know how to TRULY communicate, I threw an adult sized tantrum. I assumed a lot that day. I assumed my husband didn’t care. I assumed I was alone. I didn’t have his best interest in mind either. I was out to win. Win what? I don’t know. Obviously nothing that mattered.

Instead of throwing my obvious lack of sanity in my face, my husband held me. He showed me he wasn’t going anywhere. He didn’t engage in my crazy and he didn’t elevate the dramatics of the situation. He calmed them. He was the one who acted like a grown-up and communicated without words.

Isn’t it interesting how we try to avoid the hard work of communication? Why can’t they just read our minds? A marriage takes work… and the first part is learning to understand and hear each other.

How do you communicate effectively? Tell us!

In other news… I’ve never gotten another toaster oven.

Marriage Bloopers. Part 1.

3094771818_02a7befbef_oFor the next several weeks, our L&LI Marriage Team is going to share with you some of our marriage mistakes. Things that happened in our marriages that we are certainly not proud of and wish we could take back. But, we can’t, so why not share some of our “dirty laundry” with you and allow you to see that, although it may appear that we know a whole lot about marriage, we haven’t always. Here we go…

Tomorrow, I will celebrate 21 years of marriage with my main squeeze, Chris Beall. He is my best friend, the one I enjoy taking road trips with, the person I love sharing a BJ’s Pizookie with, the one I snuggle up in bed with to watch Downton Abbey with. (Did he just lose his man card?)

Although people tell me often that they wish they had a marriage like Chris and I do, we haven’t always been this healthy. Case in point.

Chris and I both knew Jesus when we met and were seeking Him daily. We were involved in our churches and had a close-knit group of godly people around us who influenced us positively. We pretty much seemed to have it all together. So you can imagine my surprise during our first year of marriage when things started going sour. And not just during our first year, but on our honeymoon.

I. Am. Not. Kidding.

We fought like cats and dogs that year. Oh, sweet mercy, we tried to get along and that only lasted a few hours until our next fight. I am not exaggerating when I say that we fought every other day for the first 10 months of our marriage.

I remember one particular fight that ended rather poorly. I can’t even tell you what the fight was about but I’m sure I was right and that he was being totally unreasonable. (Isn’t that almost always the case?) I was mad. Steamin’ mad. My German blood was boiling, and I was ready for a fight. After throwing out some blankety-blank-blank words (Hello, my name is Cindy, and I used to cuss like a sailor when I got mad) at my beloved, godly husband, he yelled some back. I am not sure what they were but I guessing I was referred to as a female dog at some point. And rightly so. I’d earned it. Within an instant, my car keys were in my hand and before I realized what was happening, they were flying in the air at the man I had just pledged my forever love to a few months earlier. Thankfully, he had a good dodging ability and they hit the wall just next to where he was standing. (That, or I had terrible aim.) That could have taken the whole fight to another level, but my husband stared at me, chose not to retaliate and just left the room.

We just have no idea what we’re doing when we first get married, do we? No amount of pre-marital counseling, albeit incredibly helpful, can prevent some things from happening. We just sometimes have to go on the field trip instead of learning in the classroom. Unfortunately, many couples never move from this place of immaturity and instead, live there beating up one another with their words and possibly even actions.

If you have ever found yourself in this place or maybe you are there right now, take heart. You are not alone. Many of us have said things and acted in ways in our marriage that we never imagined we’d do.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we want perfection and friend, it’s just not possible. We want our needs met, but we don’t want to have to share what they are. We want a strong, healthy marriage but aren’t willing to put the needed effort in to reach such a standard. We want to have healthy conflict but continue to bring up past fights and wounds that just drive the nail deeper.

That’s where grace and forgiveness enter the picture. We must choose to extend the same grace and forgiveness to our husbands that we so easily want given to us in our times of failure.

At the same time, some of you are in places where you aren’t expecting perfection, you just want to feel safe and secure with the man you married. If you are in a place of hopelessness, or even despair, in your marriage, please don’t stay there alone. Seek help. Tell a trusted friend. Find a godly counselor in your area who can help.

Our marriages are that important. For without healthy marriages, our ministries will fail.

Feel free to share one of your marriage bloopers below – even if, especially if it’s just plain silly.

She Said What?

photo-7Last week was AMAZING! OUTSTANDING! FABULOUS! OUTRAGEOUS! INSPIRING! From Dr. Tara Jenkins to Women of Faith’s Lisa Harper to sweet Holly Furtick to our adorable Tiffany Cooper to our darling hostesses Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson…just wow. WOW!

I can’t speak for our entire Leading & Loving It Team, but the thought that kept running through my head was, “Is this really happening? Is this re:treat really this wonderful?” 

Yes, yes it was.

I’ve been to all three of our re:treats and quite honestly, won’t ever miss another one. It was worth every hour I spent away from my stinky young men and incredibly wonderful husband. It was worth waiting for airplanes at the airport while the maintenance crew tried to figure out some unknown issue. It was worth sleeping in a hotel bed for a couple of nights and not on my TempurPedic. (Wait, that really was worth it. Have you slept in the Union Station Hotel in Nashville? Heavenly.)

One of the highlights for me is being able to spend time with the lovely Jenni Clayville and Trisha Davis. As you know, we make up the Equipping Marriages Team here at L&LI. Not only did we had boatloads of laughs, we also got to come together in a breakout session and share with you some marriage advice that we apply in our own marriages. It was also so wonderful to meet many of you for the first time as you came up to us after our session to chat. 

Before I bring this quick blog post to a close, I want to just reiterate that Jenni, Trisha and I love you and want your marriages to be healthy and strong. We especially love encouraging pastor’s wives and women in ministry because that’s what we are. If there is anything we can do to assist you in this, please don’t hesitate to email us:

Jenni – jenni@leadingandlovingit.com
Trisha – trisha@leadingandlovingit.com
Cindy – cindy@leadingandlovingit.com

Lastly, let’s have some fun with the photo above. Write a caption for it in the comments below.
(Photo credit to Lee (@lovedbygod2) on Instagram.)