Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dancing Through Your Life Together: Filter Before You Get Married

We have just had our two-year anniversary on June 19th, and I thought about how quickly time flies. Out of these two years, we have been together for a little less than a year. The rest of the time my husband has been either on training or deployed. I guess that is our secret to staying newlyweds for a long, long time. This is an inevitable part of military life, and it is by far the hardest thing military families have to go through. 

My good friend Kaitlin McGuire has recently told us that she is getting married soon! So exciting! Her fiance is in the Navy, so they will have to experience military lifestyle together, too. I wish them strength, patience, and wisdom, because military families need those virtues especially. I have never been disappointed in my decision to marry my wonderful husband, and I hope they will never be disappointed with their choices, either. 

Back in school, I took a speech class, which I quite enjoyed. Honestly, I did not start liking public speaking any more than I did before, but our professor was a man of great honor and wisdom. I learned a lot from him, and today I want to share his advice on what to think about before getting married. I consulted this list before marrying David (even though it was after I said yes) and was happy to find out that we were compatible on all levels.

Dr. J. David Turner's Filter Before You Get Married:

1) Match Worldview: Making sure you have the same (or at least similar) outlook on things will definitely save you a lot of time that you could spend fighting. When we went to Houston to meet David's parents over Christmas, David's father gave us a book, "101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged" by H. Norman Wright. Going through the questions was not only fun, but also eye-opening. We saw how similar our worldviews were, and I believe it got us closer to the big decision.

2) Match Goals and Vision: Do you both want to pursue a career? Or is one of you okay with the idea to be a stay-at-home parent? Determining what you want to accomplish in life on early stages of your life together is critical. It is much better when both partners support each other's decisions rather than trying to change each other. 

3) Great Character: If your partner drinks excessively or acts aggressively when angry, beware: chances are high that he or she will not change after you say your vows. Ask yourself if you are ready to spend the rest of your life with the person who behaves this way. 

4) Match Personality Profile: Does one of you enjoy quiet evenings at home, while the other would rather spend a night at a club? When married, both of you will have to compromise, and it is easier to do if both of you have compatible personality traits.

5) Old Enough To Make Decisions: Both of you need to be mature enough to get a job, pay mortgage, and look after your dog. Every family will have some variation of "adult" decisions to make. Would be great if you both are responsible enough to make them. 

6) Able to Make a Living: When you are married, you will most probably have to work in order to support your family. Parents do often help, but living with them would only put a strain on your marriage. Even if you love your parents to death. 

7) Tried and Tested: Both Are Faithful:
- Emotionally
- Physically
- Spiritually
- Sexually
- Financially

All of these tests are important, but I want to comment on three of them. When you are faithful emotionally, you no longer look around in search of someone else. You know that you've got the best man or woman in the whole world, and there is no need to look any further. To me, being faithful spiritually is to have the same faith and to be on the same page. We made a decision to get married only after we both were strong enough in our faith to unite our lives and to put Christ into the center of our marriage. If one of you is a believer and another one is not, the conflict will arise for sure, one way or another. Finally, being faithful financially is to keep your partner and your future family in mind when making serious financial decisions. Buying a luxury coupe right before the wedding is probably not the best decision, unless both of you have more practical four-door vehicles and enough money to provide a place you both will call home.

Getting married is a very important decision that will affect the rest of your life. Giving it a little more thought than just dreaming about a beautiful wedding dress can be a true life saver. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Husband Is Coming Home Soon!

My husband has been gone for a month already, but he is coming back soon! I am very, very excited and not anxious at all, unlike I was when he was coming home from his deployment. Of course, he had been gone for much longer then, but that being the first experience of a long separation made me quite nervous. I had talked to some friends who were also dealing with deployments, and some of them experienced problems when their husbands returned. Therefore, I was expecting that we both would have difficult time re-adjusting to our life together. 

Before we got married, we did not live together. I was afraid that all the stories with dirty mugs and socks around the house would be true in our family, too. However, when we started living in one apartment, the process seemed very natural. I never caught myself thinking that it felt weird to have someone else walking around my home or to cook for two. But, since it worked out just fine, I never tried to dig any further. When he returned from his deployment, there was no re-adjustment whatsoever, at least, for me. My husband said it was pretty natural for him, as well. The Lord did not let his war experience affect him in any bad way, and we feel very blessed. 

Now, I am especially excited about David coming home because I will no longer have to perform his duties of a husband, until he deploys. My car broke again, after being fixed last weekend, so we need to figure out the transportation problem. We will need to find a new apartment in Nashville area and move soon, which will be quite stressful. We will celebrate our two-year anniversary, but this is an exciting one. David will have to make sure he leaves me in a good home, with a dependable car before he deploys. I know figuring it all out will be hard, all while preparing for the deployment, but I will be there to support him in any way I can. Oh Lord, thank you for making me a woman! 

If I were still single, I would have to deal with all these things by myself. Of course, thousands of women make important decisions all the time, but I am so happy that marriages exist. What a great idea it was to unite a man and a woman, to unite two minds and two sets of skills to play our roles! As we say in Russia, one had is good, but two heads are better. It is a great relief to know that my husband will come home soon and will take care of me. Getting married has been one of the greatest blessings I have ever been given. If you are married, I hope you will feel blessed as well. If you are not, go find yourself a partner! And may you not be disappointed. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My View On Bringing Up Kids

Last night, I went to the movies with friends to see The Snow White and The Huntsman. The movie was very beautifully made, and Charlize Theron's acting was breathtaking, but I actually want to write about a family that was sitting behind us.

The movie started at 9:40 pm. The couple behind us brought in their kid, who was about 2.5-3 years old. I did not actually see him, but I figured out his age by the kind of questions he asked. "Mommy, who is that girl?" and "What was that?!" were very cute, but bringing a young kid to the movies at 10 pm? He should have been asleep by 8. Furthermore, the movie had several very graphic scenes of murders, battles, and a ton of blood (I still think the movie was beautiful.) Is it really a good time for a 3-year old to learn about that side of life? I don't think so. 

In my culture, bringing up of the kids is very different from the way they are brought up here in the States. When I first got here, the fact that very young kids go with their parents everywhere, including restaurants and movies, and annoy others with their crying shocked me. In Russia, when you have a kid, you, as a mother, pretty much forget about any kind of social life. You sit at home with the kid and go out only to walk around the block with the stroller. I know, it is not fun, but that is just a part of a mother's life. No one likes crying infants and misbehaving toddlers in public places. 

After seeing how kids are brought up here, I have become more tolerant and have actually found several ideas absolutely great. For example, it is not that awful to bring your child along to the restaurant to meet with your friends, as long as you step out when your kid starts crying. That is, step out with the crying kid. Also, the idea of a little one running around outside barefoot does not terrify me anymore; children need to be exposed to bacteria and cold temperatures to build their immune system. In addition, babysitters are more readily available in the States compared Russia, so it is easier to go out without your child. 

Even though we do not have kids yet, I can already anticipate that bringing up our children can potentially be the subject of our disagreement. I pray that the Lord will open my heart to the ideas that David will propose. He is better with the kids anyway, so I hope my motherly instincts will not fog my mind. But I know one thing for sure: we will not bring our toddler to watch an inappropriate movie that starts so late!