Tag Archive: engagement

so i probly shouldn’t have had that coffee.

altho, in one way i kinda had to, cos i had already had two mugs of tea today and i’m pretty sure that three consecutive teas in a day makes your head implode or something, right

but that meant that after much raucously great conversation and laughter with tbV on a whole range of topics i lay in bed completely awake trying to sleep or at the very least not disturb hers…

but eventually i had to get up and kill some zombies [armed with only the barest amount of highly skilled animated plants] and catch up on the internets [yup, both of them] and hopefully eventually bore myself to sleep.

and i got to thinking that the world, and hollywood in general could really do a much better job of trying to present real to us.

i can’t remember the last time i watched a movie and there was a couple having sex and one of them farted. or actually any husband and wife conversation that was interrupted by a fart.

because that doesn’t happen, right? you get married, you say the vows and then this magical moment happens when you are swept up in this mystical cloud and when you are lightly lowered to the floor again, your ability to fart has been inexplicably taken away.

you don’t burp either. or get zits. or mishear each other. i mean that never happens right? that you have to say “pardon?” or “excuse me?” three times because your spouse was in the other room or the dish washing water was running and you didn’t hear what they said.

nope, marriage is all about bubbles and candyfloss and levitation and cake frosting and rainbows! [did i mention the unicorn sightings?]


okay, i may have exaggerated a little bit about the unicorn sightings.

i was having a brief online chat with a friend of mine just the other day about how marriage is a set of choices [made well or badly] long before it is a set of feelings… and on its best days the feelings accompany the choices that are made…

…but when tempers are high or the context is difficult or times are stressful or one of us is simply just being a jerk, then the choices – and hopefully the right ones – get made despite the feelings not being there, or not the Hollywood alleged ones at any rate.

it sounds so scientifically unromantic when you put it like that – love is a choice – boo! boo!

and maybe that is part of the point – so much of marriage IS unromantic. and that’s okay.

because Hollywood has sold us a big fat piece of crap on a stick when it comes to love, relationships, marriage etc.

they require work and effort. time and sacrifice. hard decisions.

and sometimes there are tears. and angry words. and regrets [because you cannot grab hold of those words and force them back into your mouth once they are out]

and some times – too many times – you will hurt the one you love – the one you have promised to love more than anyone else you know or have ever known.

it’s not always nice or great or fun or easy… but that is a huge part of what marriage is about… the messiness, the unromantic parts – cleaning toilets and emptying compost bins – washing ANOTHER sink full of dishes even though you did it the last ten times [as did your wife, cos those things have babies in the sink – ask Val she’ll provide concurrage! babies i tell you!]

RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY… or maybe just tread knowingly

i feel like the last three to four weeks on the book of faces all i have seen has been engagements

i’m not sure why that is – maybe Christmas and New Year’s is the time when that all happens but it just seems to be all over the place on my Facebook at least – and i’m sure regular service will be resuming soon and we’ll be back to people getting pregnant and sharing silly cat videos and having ridiculous religious arguments again.

having said that, this post on the realness of marriage might feel to some like a Monty Python and the Holy Grailesque ‘Run away! Run away!’ warning when it is not meant to be anything like that in the slightest.

hearing about all the chaos and hardship and work and unromanticness of huge areas of marriage might seem like a statement intended to make you think that marriage is not a good thing – on the contrary! marriage is an most excellent thing and that is despite all the above mentioned areas as well as taking into account the significant lack of excessive bubble wrap pajama parties and unicorn tear cocktail nights.

but it would be helpful for you to know the full picture going in. or a fuller picture at least.

cos you’ve been sold a crock of ship-hitting-the-fan type scenarios when you have been given the picture that it is all about the romance and the butterflies, about the feelings and the heart-pounding-bed-breaking-earth-shattering sex [which is always clean and neat and boydoihaveasurpriseforyou] and about happy faces and positive attitudes and friendly disagreements and easy solutions and must i go on?

cos it is not. 

well, not all the time. there IS romance and butterflies and feelings and idontthinkishouldcommentontheheartpoundingbedbreakingearthshatteringsex and happy faces and positive attitudes and all of that.

but there is the other thing as well.

and it is how you navigate the combination of good vs hard vs chaotic vs confusing painful vs exhilarating vs surprising vs amazing that works towards how well [or badly] you will create a marriage that will last and stand the test of time.

and even more so perhaps, the test of Hollywood.



i think Freddy Mercury said it best when he sang, “Can anybody find meeeeeeeee, some bunny to love.”


at first glance this may not seem to fully encompass the theme of ‘Surprise’

but what if i told you that your name was the beautiful Val [tbV] and it was around 2 in the morning and you had gone to sleep after a bit of a rough evening and been woken up to this friendly bunny [let’s be honest – somewhat more Donnie Darko than Easter Bunny] with a bit of a written script for you to read followed by an on the knee proposal? [did i mention it was the second proposal? the uber romantic, mountain-edge picnic and champagne and strawberries with chocolate one having gone less successfully a month or so previously]

Surprise? Yes.
Scary. A little
Successful? You betcha. Who can say no to a bunny?

tbV and i are going on for three and a half years of marriage and i can definitely declare that marriage to the right person is good…

[For the previous Photo Challenge with the theme ‘Delicate’ click here]

i said to my beautiful wife Valerie the other day something along the lines of ‘what do people write statuses [stati?] about on Facebook if they are not entering into a relationship or having a baby? [or these days in americaland making some kind of staunchly pro this party or anti that one political statement] as it just seemed like the majority of statuses [stati?] i was reading were about one of those…

and two things come out of that, the one for those of you who are not the ones celebrating is this:

it is easy to get caught up in the fact that in the last week you have witnessed thirteen new relationships, seven new engagements, two weddings and heard that four of your friends have announced their pregnancy, an adoption came through and two other friends had a baby just from reading statuses [stati?] on Facebook…

it can begin to feel like a deluge and “aw no, not another one” can quickly become the response and the temptation to write some less than authentic comment on the latest pic can be strong…

but it is important to remember that for each individual involved it is not “another one”, it is their one. it is important and significant and it is beautiful and worth celebrating and it is special and life-changing [at least for today but probably for the rest of their lives] and that as much as it might feel like a deluge for you, the witness, for them it is unique… and has to be treated that way.

[which may be extremely tough if you are the person who has just broken up with your significant other, or been broken upped upon, or not been able to fall pregnant, or lost a child]

and so the call to get your mind into that place of realising that each announcement or declaration or celebration that happens on the social networks you are a part of, means something significant to the people posting/sharing it and to not simply treat it [even in your mind] as “aw, another one” but to try and celebrate with your friends and let them grasp the fullness of the uniquity of their occasion.

i think a great way of doing that is by stepping beyond the social network – making a phone call or taking them out for some caffeine-enriched beverage or inviting them round for a meal or something live where you can face to face [or mouth to ear] let them know that their thing is a big deal… and you choose to celebrate with them.


to make sure you are aware of the deluge in your unique, read this

this great marriage-enhancing advice is from a friend of mine, Clint Botha, whose friendship has grown a lot since we both ended up in different countries and went virtual…

By no means do I consider myself and Karin some kind of pro married couple (although that would be an awesome competition and/or reality tv show). We have only been at this thing for 6 years and a bit, but these are the things we have found have worked for us.

– It’s a given for us, but Jesus is the centre of our marriage. He is our shared mission, goal, lord, saviour, love! That has made a huge difference in our marriage… I can not state that enough.

-We laugh. A LOT! We laugh at each other (not in a mean way… in other words… only if your partner also sees the funny side). We laugh at ourselves. I can not remember a day in our marriage (even the really difficult days) that we have not laughed about something.

-We save our energy for big stresses. We don’t sweat the little things. We are both of the attitude that life happens. On this journey there are things big and small completely out of our control and those things are not worth stressing over.

-We have a united front with money. Firstly we chose to have a shared bank account. There is no money allocated to Karin or me each month. For us marriage was all or nothing and this included earnings. We are also in agreement with what we do with that money (and Who it ultimately belongs to). We both try to not be reckless or bad stewards (sometimes better than others) and we also try not to hold onto money too tightly. What we found worked for us is that we set an agreed on amount that neither of us would spend more than without the others consent. That way you avoid being tied to never being able to spend… but you also never end up spending more than what was agreed on without the other persons knowledge.

-We give grace and forgiveness very freely and quickly. It’s a huge cliche’, but so important. We do not go to bed angry. Or to put it biblically: Ephesians 4:26 “26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[a] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry”.

-We accept that we are both broken people. Karin needs me to love her in spite of her brokeness as much as I need her to love me in spite of mine.

-We let go of passed stuff. It’s tempting to bring up previous mistakes. We’ve made it a priority to never do that.

– During our engagement when we were discussing married life and how to deal with stuff we decided to ban certain language. We banned the “d-word”. We don’t mention divorce. Not in anger… not as a joke. It is a no go word. We never have used that word in a conflict situation.

– We fight clean. We try as far as humanly possible (don’t always get this as right as we’d like to)…. but we try to never go for the jugular or take dirty shots at each other. We don’t do name calling, character assassination and that sort of thing. Stick to the issue.

-We talk. A LOT.

-And finally: “Quality not quantity” is an outright lie of the enemy. We signed up to live this life together and that means making an intentional effort to spend time together. Whether that’s going for a walk or just watching a movie together. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time with one other person for the rest of your life don’t get married.

[married for 6 years]

to continue on to the next post click here…

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