For our anniversary last year I signed my spouse up for a subscription date box. This is a kit that shows up in the mail once a month and includes a variety of themed items for a date night. My husband was less than impressed with the first box which included instructions on how to give your wife a fantastic massage. This might be one of those times when I gave him something for me.
Subsequent boxes were better. We've even let the kids tag along on a couple boxes as we made cake pops, roasted marshmallows over some homemade candles, planted carrots in our hand-crafted pinch pots and played lots of games.
This month's box was touted as an International Date Box. It included instructions for how to make an origami crane, two Suduko games and a whole kit for making your own sushi. It also included a grocery list. I hauled home sushi grade tuna, shrimp, crab, avocado, and cucumbers. I was excited about this one. My eldest daughter loves Sushi, the littlest is generally willing to try anything her older sister will eat and my husband is a fantastic chef. High hopes.
The kids and I sat at the counter watching the resident chef set up while we happily folded paper cranes and worked on Suduko puzzles. I'm a confident Suduko whiz so I used a pen.
Two hours later and my Suduko puzzle was a big ink blob of errors. The cranes were crumpled messes. The youngest one was sobbing. The oldest was hiding in the corner on her iPod. The resident chef was declaring that he was going to throw out every sushi item in the entire kitchen as soon as we ate the stupid rolls. Turns out that it takes forever to chop and set and roll and cut those gorgeous california rolls. I took pictures of the pretty ones. I did not take pictures of the ones that we called snowballs. We were starving. And tense. We ate our sushi in non date like silence.
The best part of the entire evening was when we opened our fortune cookie.
We all grinned. We threw out the sushi tools and shrugged our shoulders.
I've been married for 17 years. We have a great time together. Most of the time. However, we are both first born strong willed people. Our children are not mild. Therefore, not all our days - or our dates - qualify for Instragram photos and beautiful blog posts. Sometimes we argue and cry and pout. My guess is that's true in your family as well.
Relationships can require a lot of work. They may need counseling and self help books and lots of prayer and heart change. We've certainly had those chapters in the last 17 years. But I've also discovered that frequently there are problems you can solve in simple ways. It doesn't always have to be complicated. Sometimes shrugging your shoulders and throwing out the sushi tools is enough.
Seriously. How to save your marriage from yourself?
Cut each other some slack.
Take a deep breath.
Tell a joke.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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