Tuesday, May 17, 2011

dear 22 year-old self

Dear 22 year-old Self,

SCAN0030 Remember that guy that your roommate suggested you should date and you responded that he was a little nerdy for your taste?  Well, that guy man will be your husband soon.

After knowing him for 15 years and being married to him for 14 of those years, I'd like to give you some advice and wisdom I've gathered.

First of all, NERDY IS GOOD!!!  Remember the "cool" guys that flattered you with a glance or a short conversation during your high school and college years?  Yeah, those guys, you know which ones.  They flattered you because clearly they thought more of themselves than of others - namely you. 

Those guys are not the ones who will ask permission for a first kiss or bring you a rose as a public declaration of his pursuit of you.

SCAN0033You thought getting along with your parents was tough?  You, my sweet young lady, are about to enter into the toughest relationship of your life.  But being difficult does not mean it is without rewards.

It is also the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship you'll have with another human being.

First of all, when he proposes, just say YES!  Don't stumble over your words and tell him to shut up.  Sure, it makes a good story later, but give the guy a break.

cakeYou'll do great with the wedding plans, but get a better photographer.  The dress will (quickly) go out of fashion, the flowers wither, but the photos will be looked at by your children's children.

Yup, there will be children.  I'll get to that part, be patient.

Read this and this before the wedding.  Then read the first one again because it is just that important.

The first couple of years of marriage are going to be a roller coaster.  The poor guy did not have any sisters and thank God he never lived with any women but his mother.  (No, falling asleep on your couch in college does not count.  Even if he did wake up the next day.)

Take all the ups and downs less personally.  Don't get upset during the first year when he wants his own space in your bed so that he can actually sleep.  He was used to sleeping by himself, it's not personal.

Define some limits about what neither of you will ever say during arguments or within your marriage at all.  It will cause less pain to decide that at the front end of the relationship rather than learning it the hard way.  Learning the hard way sucked.

SCAN0015 Prepare yourself to move around the country a bit.  The man you're about to marry is wired for success.  He gets bored when he masters one thing, so get ready to change and adapt.  He might even decide to move your family across the country without discussing it with you first.  He'll only do that once though, so go with it. 

Those qualities make him a wonderful provider though and when it is your time to quit your paying job and raise those little ones, you can trust that he will take care of you all financially.

Never lose sight of taking care of him first and foremost.

I will let you in on a little secret.  Your husband's love languages are "quality time" and "words of affirmation."  Prioritize those and love him well.

You are NOT his Holy Spirit.  Talk less.  Pray more.  Seek God.  Wait on God.  God will work on your husband.

SCAN0032When those promised children come along, you can study all the books and parenting programs that you want, but it is still a learn-as-you-go-with-each-individual-child process.  Be flexible because kids are not a "one size fits all" rule.  Even though they are all boys.

Yup, boys.  All of them.  When you least expect it, there might be a little estrogen in the mix.  Just wait.

Regardless of the curve balls parenting will throw at you, you must keep your marriage as the top priority.   When other women stand in disbelief at the number of days he spends hunting, you just kiss him good bye, tell him to bring home a lot of meat for the freezer, and remind him that there will be good reasons to come home.  IMG_2229Wink wink.

Speaking of staying home, SERVE.  Serve your family with a thankful heart.  I'm sure I will be writing a letter to the 36 year-old Self in another 14 years that talks about cherishing the time you have before they all grow up and move out.  So when you're 29 and in the thick of little ones needing you all.the.time. and a husband who (thank God) wants quality time with you, die to that selfish desire to get in your car and drive to TJMaxx away for that coveted "me time."

During particularly stressful times, your man will convert his stress to conflict.  Again, this isn't anything personal.  He carries the weight of a large family and drive for success on his shoulders.  Job change or financial stress can cause him to act like a jerk.  I am writing to remind you that you are no gem when you're PMS-ing, sleep deprived, or in labor (to mention just a few of many examples), so give grace as you would like to receive grace.

When he acts like a jerk, don't EVER complain to or confide in anyone who doesn't already love him and think the best of him.  It will be so important to have women in your life who will tell you that, "Yes, he is acting like a jerk.  He is a wonderful man (and here is why), now go home and treat him well."

dublinstation You will be shocked as marriages around you dissolve into divorce.  You will be wise to have a very real conversation with that man of yours about protecting your relationship, because clearly, no one is safe from that danger.

And after 14 years of marriage, he will still:

  • kiss you first (then the kids) when he walks in the door from work.
  • kiss you randomly and with passion when he walks through a room you're in (to the point that your older kids will tell you to get a room).
  • want to spend time with you and will weigh his attendance of social activities with missing out on hanging out with you.
  • laugh at your jokes and sarcasm.
  • be interested in your writing pursuits and read each one several times.
  • compliment your outfits, even when you're feeling pretty ordinary.
  • care about and invest in what you want out of life.
  • periodically ask for feedback as to how he can be a better husband to you.

datingCherish that my dear.  Work like mad to be the best wife you can be and then take each day and enjoy it!

Because 14 years goes quickly.  Your parents are right on that one and so am I.

Love, Your 36 year-old Self


  1. You never cease to amaze me! You are such an amazing writer! Thank you for sharing something so personal, yet relatable. We love you guys and I hope you will have a great anniversary!

  2. So cool!! Love it! You are a wonderful writer. Love seeing into your heart! Happy Anniversary. May I also take your words to heart.

  3. Laurie, I love to read your posts. Happy Anniversary to the two of you. You guys are awesome. I think you should start a book if you haven't already. You have such a talent in writting!!!

  4. I dig it, sisterfriend. Happy Anniversry!

  5. That was beautiful, friend. You got a good man, and he certainly has a great woman! I'm learning from you, and your words are good reminders for me too even though I'm way past the 36 year mark. Love to you... and happy anniversary!

  6. Awww! Love it! We do have the blog mojo going on this week. Happy anniversary!

  7. Happy Anniversary sweet friend! I LOVE your sweet words and LOVE how well you guys love each other - even when K acts like a jerk. SO glad you are confident he will never drag you across the country again without asking.

  8. wonderfully written laurie! if only we could go back 14-15 yrs ago and tell ourselves all of this. thanks for the reminders to cherish it ALL..now...
    Happy Anniversary you guys!

  9. Great post. It was fun for me to read the details of your journey since that was lost time with us. I echo everyone else: you rock at writing. :)

  10. Happy Anniversary! I think i will make my future daughter-in-law (s) read this one too. =)

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Seriously. In. tears. Seriously.
    234,211 things I love about this post. You are amazing. Happy Anniversary to, two wonderful people. There are no words for the thanks I have for you both and your family. A million reasons why.

    So jealous about Thursday btw. So. jealous.

    Love to you friend!

    {The above comment was was not Jed. Jed would have to actually use the internet to comment, and we all know that doesn't happen. ;o)}

  13. What a great post! Thank you for all of the encouragement through your own life experiences!

    I love reading your blog, your insight and humor! Keep the raw honesty and encouragement coming : )


    ps. if your wondering who I am, I'm friends with Hally and Mandy, used to live in UT, but moved away : (


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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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