wedded bluhs or wedded bliss?

My friend Liz (the college buddy who invited me to speak at her church’s marriage seminar a couple weekends ago) is here with her two boys, Cole and Aiden. They’re on Spring Break this week, so we’re doing an overnighter and then Nina and I are going with them to COSI for a day o’ fun. The older two are NONE too happy about those arrangements, but they have 6 (scheduled) days off school coming up and then they get 5 more for some Big Zoo Trip their mother is all gung ho about. That’s a grand total of SEVENTEEN days in a row with no school. That’s like Christmas in April. So I can’t justify taking them out of school for COSI. They’ll love me again in a few days.

Anyway, so with all the sweeping and vacuuming and scrubbing I’m doing to get ready for guests (oh, who am I kidding? i spent about 30 minutes total, and I hadn’t done any of it in over a month), I don’t have time for a wordy blog. So I’m going to steal some words from someone else, and I’m not even going to give her (him?) credit, because I don’t know who wrote it.

Stop me if you’ve heard this. Oh, wait. You can’t.

A man and a woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe-box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about. For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe-box and took it to his wife’s bedside.

She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000. He asked her about the contents.

“When we were to be married,” she said, “my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.”

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

“Honey,” he said, “that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?”

“Oh,” she said, “That’s the money I made from selling the dolls.”

Okay, so there wasn’t some big point to that. Just thought it was funny. And wished I knew how to crochet… (not really).

I’m honored and humbled to be able to play a small part in encouraging people in their marriages through writing and speaking and personal relationships/correspondence. I love, love, love getting e-mails from gals who have read Blushing or Is That All? and in some way, the book improved/helped/saved their marriage. I’m going to share some anonymous snippets of some of those e-mails tomorrow. And hopefully, I’ll be able to convey that this isn’t about “look what my cool book did!” but “look what my awesome God did through a few thousand words I had a blast putting together.”

Just about every day I have to pinch myself when I think that God saw fit to bless me with this kind of ministry. I’m so, so, so grateful.

Question for you–is there a book (besides the Bible) you’ve read that really made a huge impact on your life? It doesn’t have to be about marriage. Maybe a book on parenting, money, cooking, organizing, simplifying, discipleship, knowing God. Maybe a biography or memoir. Maybe a novel. Pick just one (if you can). I’d love to hear what it did for you!

20 thoughts on “wedded bluhs or wedded bliss?

  1. Kelli

    Honestly Is That All really changed that aspect of our marriage so much! It was such a blessing to us.

    And Same Kind of Different As Me, shook me to the core!

  2. Carissa

    Is That All He Thinks About? changed my life. I shared it with a newly married friend, so I could pass along the blessing. Do you think it would be rude of me to ask for it back? Yeah, I know. I’ll just buy another one.

    Also, when my first son was born I read How To Behave So Your Children Will Too. It was full of fantastic stuff, providing insight into the challenges I would face raising two boys.

  3. sarah gillard

    redeeming love by francine rivers has changed every person that i know that has read it. period. never in all of my life have i read such an empowering book that truly shows such selfless love. it is the story of hosea from the Bible. amazing read…

  4. Kelly, Zoo Girl

    I’m reading Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver for about the 10th time. It’s such a great book about how God wants time with us, not everything else. I tend to overcrowd my life with lots of things that are God-pleasing (bible study, head of this group, blah blah), but then my time with Him gets pushed aside. It’s so good- especially chapter 4.

    And just in case Jon reads this, I have to also say his book of course. . .America’s Best Zoos!!

  5. Jennifer Griffin

    Love the story you shared! That is so awesome!

    I love to read!
    Fresh Faith by Cymbala.
    The Excellent Wife(author has slipped my mind.)
    Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot (great for single ladies)
    Believing God by Beth Moore
    Love to Eat,Hate to Eat by Elise Fitzpatric (changed my life!)

    I love reading what others loved to read! I will have to write some of these down!

  6. Kaye

    Experiencing The Depths Of Jesus Christ, by Jeanne Guyon, Carol Kent’s, When I Lay My Isaac Down, Same Kind of Different as Me (and now reading “It all goes back in the box” by John Ortberg…All wonderfully great reads helping me in various areas of life. I’m sure when I read yours, they’ll be added to this list:)
    Thanks for sharing the great ‘story’…:)
    Have fun today, blessings always,
    Kaye
    Matthew 21:22

  7. Megan

    After I had my first little guy, I really struggled with depression–post-partum. My dear husband brought home an extra copy of Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp. The truths that he shared in that book changed my life! I love Sacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting as well. Right now, I’m reading Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney—wonderful!

  8. Jennifer

    I was going to mention Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, but it’s been mentioned a few other times already. 😀 So, I’ll add The Peacemaker by Ken Sande to the list. Great book on conflict resolution of all kinds, from church conflicts to family conflicts.

  9. Amy

    Soul Healing…had a HUGE HUGE impact on my life! Found true freedom in Christ and learned that my soul, indeed, needed healing!

  10. faithchick

    3 of them (besdes yours–thats not just empty flattery–thats true :))

    1. Created to Be His Helpmeet
    2. Confessions of an organized Homemaker
    3. Taking Charge of your fertility.

    the 1st 2 have changed & shaped me in countless ways, the 3rd empowered me in really knowing how my body ticks.
    😉

  11. Denise

    I just read a book called “Motherhood, the Guilt that Keeps on Giving.” Let me tell ya, I learned so much from it. I feel guilty about EVERYTHING in relation to Parker (my current guilt is that he doesn’t babble yet and I am scared he’ll never learn to talk!) and I really learned that most of the time – it’s not even true guilt. I’d say 95% of the time, my guilt is something false and me just being overly worried. I am learning to work through my guilty periods, which, are daily and often! But thankfully, I get through the struggle pretty well!

    Enjoy Cosi – wish I could come!

  12. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    Well, YES. Definitely there are quite a few books that have made a HUGE impact on my life. But since we are talking about marriage and you want us to try to narrow it down to one, I have to say Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. Changed-my-life-good.

  13. Laurie

    Sacred Marriage, Sacred Influence by Gary Chapman
    Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
    Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
    and currently reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan has been very thought provoking

    Hoping soon to read your “Is that All He” book!

  14. Stephanie

    I was going to say the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, but Deborah (above) beat me to it. That series is amazing – the only thing I’ve ever read/ seen/ heard that truly brings to life the Roman empire and suffering of Christians during the time right after Jesus died. I’d also have to say Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On by Stormie Omartian. Mom gave me a copy when Daniel and I broke up in college, and it was like God was pouring Himself out of those pages and straight into me in the way I needed it the most.

  15. Lisa

    I LOVE that joke! I forwarded it to my husband at work. He emailed back, “So… crochet much?”

    Beth Moore’s Believing God made such an impact on me that I took the Bible study through my church. I don’t think words on the page could ever say how timely and profound that study was.

    I read a marriage book last year, and I wish I could remember the name of it now. It was written by a man who’s been in ministry for eons, and I was surprised at how current he made it.

    Blessings, Marla… gotta get a girlie out of bed and on the bus, or I’d hang out here all morning!

  16. Deborah

    The ‘Mark of the Lion’ (A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in Darkness, As Sure as the Dawn) series by Francine Rivers…the ancient history that was written yesterday…of course her writing draws me in like crazy…but I always walk away from them with my butt kicked for my own life or in tears, amazed at God’s work throughout lives across the ages…and I’m working my way through the *very* little Piper book ‘The Dangerous Duty of Delight’. Excellent! 🙂 Happy Wednesday!

  17. Holly B.

    Loved that story! Hilarious! I think that Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas is definitely one of the books that influenced Jean and me in a major way. It challenged us to see marriage as more than “what I can get it of it.” Have fun at COSI–love it there!

  18. Elizabeth

    Hi there Marla,
    I LOOOOVE books and devour them so it is hard to pick just one, but seeing as that is all that time permits as well as per your instructions!….I pick Married but not Engaged by Paul & Sandy Coughlin. This is a book I read very recently….it’s written for wives who have passive husbands! I totally related as I am one of those! 😀 The great thing is I learned heaps from it! I’d say that reading this book (as well as all the other things the Lord was showing me at the same time, including reading about a girl who lost her wonderful husband in an accident after 10 weeks of marriage) has changed the way I see my husband. I have gone from a wife who was dissatisfied with the way her hubby was to loving him for who he is. Unconditionally. I have been affirming him, telling him how grateful I am to have him, valuing him and letting him know daily how much I appreciate all he does….and guess what?! I’m only noticing the good things now! Things don’t bug me like they used to. He is drawn to me as I’ve wished for for years (It’s not been all bad! It’s just heaps better! Oh, and we’ve been married just 6 1/2 years.). I’m praising the Lord!
    I am grateful to the Lord for all you wonderful authors who obey the Lord’s call to write what you have learned! 😀

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