Living the Dream

It’s the end of the week and time for a “marriage situation” post.  We’ll post the situation today and its biblical solution tomorrow. As always  my comments will be normal shading and Paul’s will be bolded.


Liz was about to celebrate her first birthday since our wedding. Naturally, I felt the pressure to buy a truly astounding gift. Not astounding as in money (we didn’t have any of that), but something that reflected the fact that I listened to her and understood her after nine months of marital bliss (ha!). Also, the last few months had been particularly stressful on our relationship and I truly did want her to know that I cared about my unique and beautiful wife. This present had to be meaningful. Now, usually I am a shopping nerd. I peruse consumer reports and read reviews even before I buy things like my toothpaste (Colgate Total, glad you asked). But there is a chink in my armor. I can’t seem to disbelieve As-Seen-On-TV product commercials. There’s just something in me that wants to believe. So after much time, sweat and research and a little unfounded faith, I found The Turbo Cooker™. You see, Liz had been saying how much she enjoyed to cook and also that she didn’t have time to do it. And she was getting good at it—I mean really good. So, I figured she could just take her new cookbooks and add that knowledge to this fine culinary machine. I mean, it claimed that it could cook meat, veggies and potatoes all at once in one pot and have it done to perfection in just 15 minutes (15 MINUTES!! And that’s not all…It can even do brownies!!!). So I gave it to her .


Needless to say, when The Turbo Cooker™ arrived, I wasn’t sure what type of response to give. This huge pot sat on my counter and a beaming Paul stood beside it happily waiting for me to whip out our first extraordinary meal. And before passing judgment (or at least, before deciding to quietly stow it away) I did use it one or two times. But truthfully, it wasn’t quite the dream gadget that Paul thought it was. I mean, given its glorious steam power, it isn’t surprising that much of the food ended up tasting a little soggy. This wonderful tool wasn’t mentioned in any of my cook books, and I hadn’t seen many Food Network chefs using it. In the end, it was quietly stowed away in the back of my kitchen cabinet. And eventually, I think it found its way to a Goodwill Store.  Where hopefully someone with a love of soggy food found it, bought it and cherishes it even to this day.


But this post is not about the potential “Love Fail” that was The Turbo Cooker™. The post is about Paul’s motivation for buying it. And it was a great motivation! Paul truly did take the time to find out what I loved doing and he made it a point to try and encourage me in that ability. He wanted me to do better, to keep learning.  At the time, I recognized this and I loved him him for taking the time to plan this gift. Amongst the stress of us newlyweds slogging through gradschool, the motivations completely overshadowed the The Turbo Cooker™ (if that’s even possible).


As a spouse, we are faced with the unique and often overlooked challenge of reacting to the abilities, goals and dreams of our husband or wife. Whether this includes a seminary degree, improved cooking skills, teaching abilities, musical talent, academic knowledge or car maintenance, we as spouses must determine how to interact with these things. How do we do this? How do we encourage our spouses in their goals and dreams? Are there some that shouldn’t be encouraged?  What if we see an ability that our spouse doesn’t even realize that they have? What parameters are there for appropriately criticizing a goal? How do we learn to appreciate a goal or activity that we don’t naturally understand?


So, what fun or interesting abilities that you discovered about your spouse? And how did you respond to them?



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