Ten ways to celebrate ten years

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October 25, 2013 marked an entire decade of my life as Mrs. Zook.

And that’s just starters.

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1. Wear something new.

After so long together, you can stop seeing.

2. Bake a “wedding cake.”

Ours was too big and pretty to recreate, but I pulled out our original cake topper and made a white layer cake. We fed each other a bite while the kids cheered.

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3. Cook a formal dinner and let your children share it.

We did cloth napkins, two forks apiece, candlelight, the whole nine yards—and I couldn’t believe how much the children loved it. On the menu? BBQ ribs, shrimp, potatoes, spinach salad, crab toasties, sparkling grape juice, wedding cake, hot tea.

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(Make your own sparkling grape juice by adding 7-Up to grape concentrate in place of water!)

4. Wear your wedding dress.

Fitting into mine is quite nippy and tucky these days. But he buttoned up all those tiny buttons again. Awww…

5. Pull out pictures or videos of the big day.

You’ll be surprised at how much has changed—and how little.

6. Get away.

We’re rejuvenated and starry-eyed after two nights at a beautiful bed and breakfast.

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7. Plan the next baby.

I threw this one in just to see if you were listening.

8. Do a photoshoot together.

Bribe a friend, or just shoot some selfies.

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9. Read a romantic comedy aloud.

10. Dream about the next ten.

Time is an illusion. (Lunchtime, doubly so, says Ford Prefect.) If you had told us on our wedding day that in ten years we’d be the parents of three beautiful kids aged 8, 6, and 3; that we’d be the owners of ten acres of property; that Ryan would be a pastor and I’d be a blogger; we would have started giggling. It seems just as silly that in another decade we’ll have 18, 16, and 13 year olds. Where will we be then? Who will we be?

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What are your favorite ways to celebrate an anniversary?

Thirty days of honor

Confession: Sometimes I am not very nice to him.

Who would have guessed it, in the dreamy days when his voice on the phone was just the sound I longed to hear, nourishing a place deep inside me? Who would have guessed it, in the blissful days of leisurely picnics, happy reunions, endless hours of talk, and reams of letters? Who would have guessed that this sweet girl would turn into such a beast some days? That her admiring eyes were capable of rolling in scorn, that her tender words could someday pack a punch?

Marriage goes on, life goes on, and some things that should not be forgotten are.

Lovers really are the wisest of us all.

This spring I set myself a challenge: thirty days of honor.* I wanted to do on purpose the things that once came effortlessly, so I drew up a list of practical actions I thought would spell love and respect to him—and then tried to do one each day.

* Undoubtedly a spin-off of the Love Dare, from the movie “Fireproof.”

I’m going to show you my list. But if, as you read over it, it begins to sound like an unreachable ideal, denoting some kind of superwife going on here, please know that in between the kindnesses I was horrid to him a lot. I’m no superwife. In fact, I don’t deserve love—none of us do—and I’m learning that anytime you get close to another person you have to wade through a whole lot of alternating layers of sugar and slime, all the way down to the very core. And allow them to do the same with you.

I offer my list to you in case you want to try something similar, in case familiarity and routine have rubbed some of the charm off of marital selflessness. I tried to integrate all the facets of Ryan’s life, and all the love languages that he hears. You will need to tailor it to your own man. I learned a lot along the way—about what means a lot to him, and what doesn’t, and what things are hardest for this proud girl.

I didn’t get them all done. And some turned out very differently than I had planned. In short, this whole post is a confession—

Thirty Days of Honor

  1. Cook his favorite food.
  2. Deliver a favorite drink to his office—i.e. iced tea.
  3. Listen attentively to everything he has to say.
  4. Initiate intimacy.
  5. Kidnap him for an inexpensive date—like take-out pizza at a park.
  6. Ask questions about a work project he has going.
  7. Provide a snack for one of his ministers’ meetings.
  8. Meet him at the door with a kiss.
  9. Write a note expressing specific appreciation for something he does or is.
  10. Respond positively to one of his ideas I’m a little leery of.
  11. Allow him the space to correct the children without stepping in to “help.”
  12. Offer to give him some rejuvenate/solitude time while I keep the kids.
  13. Offer my assistance on a project—like mowing grass.
  14. Bake something for his fire hall friends.
  15. Give him a back massage.
  16. Clean his office well.
  17. Praise him in the presence of others.
  18. Wear something special to bed.
  19. Thank him throughout the day for things I notice him doing.
  20. Vacuum his vehicle.
  21. Walk hand in hand.
  22. Help the kids rehearse a skit to honor him on Father’s Day—acting out the things they like most about him.
  23. Host guests he chooses.
  24. Quietly do the project I wish he would get to—taking out the trash or changing those light bulbs.
  25. Brew him fresh coffee.
  26. Enjoy simple touch with him throughout the day.
  27. Clean his work boots.
  28. Send him off to a fire call with a smile; welcome him home with a snack that spells HERO.
  29. Buy his favorite instead of mine.
  30. Add a new shirt to his closet.

What spells love to your man?