How I Took My Spouse For Granted

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Zach + I have a little bit of a different story than most couples starting out. From the time we started dating we were always together. Within 6 months of our relationship we moved to Arkansas + 2 months after that we moved to London for 3 months. We moved back to Arkansas at the one year mark in our relationship. Then our life turned upside down when Zach had brain surgery + wasn’t able to work. When I say we were together 24/7, I literally mean 24/7.  And while that sounds nice being with the person you love ALL the time, it does have its downfalls. I am forever grateful that we’ve always been together, but these are two ways it hurt us.

 

#1 It gave us a false sense that we knew everything about each other.

Which is so far from the truth. We are constantly changing + evolving as a person + as a couple. If we don’t take the time to study our spouse we will miss so much. We can start to compare them to the old- which in a sense is holding them back in life. It’s okay to like the old person, but we need to embrace, love, + support the new one + grow our relationship in the process. Just some examples of how Zach has changed:

-He drinks black coffee now, when it use to be like “do you want some coffee with that sugar?”

-He eats + loves all fruit + veggies. If you ask his parents they’ll tell you he lived off chicken nuggets, skittles, + sopapillas. Funny story; the very first meal I cooked Zach was a turkey burger stuffed with spinach + feta and our bun was a portabella mushroom. And y’all HE never said a word about not liking the food. He ate EVERY single bite! He didn’t tell me till months later that he only ate that food because he liked me :P And now he actually enjoys vegetables HAHA

-He use to be obsessed with sports. To the point he even had an app that was dedicated to just sports rumors. It talked about who was maybe going to trade who ETC.  Recently he went through a pretty drastic season in life + with the help of God + others he removed idols from his life. Come to find out sports had become an idol to Zach. Not saying sports are bad + an idol for everyone, because they aren’t. But for Zach it was. (An idol is something you put before God, we all can have them + they’re normally all different for everyone.) Don’t get me wrong, Zach still loves LSU and all things baseball, but it has drastically changed. He put God first in his life + sports naturally took the back seat. He even told me the other day he hasn’t checked baseball in two weeks, I had to ask him to repeat himself because that is so not Zach. His passions, wants, + dreams have changed throughout the years as well. Luckily, I love all the changes that have been going on with him, but what if I didn’t? If I hold onto the old Zach I’m also holding onto the baggage + keeping him trapped in the past. I’m holding him back from moving forward with God’s purpose + calling for his life. That’s why it is so important to spend time with your spouse, really connect with them, and listen to their heart with an open mind + heart.

#2 I took our marriage for granted.

Since I shared just how much time together we got you might be able to understand why I took it for granted. Once we got married + had kids we were still always together. So why would we need to take extra time to stop + connect? If we know what we are doing 24/7 what is there to connect on? We know everything going on – WRONG. It is even more vital for us to stop + connect. Because always being together gives us a false sense of knowing everything. Yes we may know the facts, but we don’t know what is going on internally + how we feel about certain situations. Zach is always getting onto me because apparently I’m an “assumer”. When many of our arguments happen, Zach usually points out that I assumed one thing or another. Once we stop the cycle of life + get on the same wavelength we argue less. Connecting looks different for everyone, but for us it is super hard to fully connect while our kids are awake. They are in constant need of our attention + talk non-stop. No matter how tired we are, once we get the crazies to sleep, we sneak out of bed + go to the living room to hang out. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes it gives us a chance to connect. It’s not perfect every night. Sometimes our “to-do” list in our head has a louder voice distracting us, but we try to let our hearts connect to have a healthy marriage. Once you + your spouse truly open up about the thoughts racing through your mind, what God has been laying on your heart, or sins you’ve been trying to conquer; that’s when you’re truly “one” as God designed it. If we miss this opportunity, we miss so much more than just extra hang out time. Don’t miss this precious time connecting with your spouse. Learn from my past mistakes, because it took a good 3 years into our marriage for us to finally “get it”. With two young kids, a business, + trying to figure out this thing called life we were being stretched thin. It would have taken way less energy + way easier to skip this step. But trust me if you make it a habit you will put your spouse + relationship in a box that isn’t growing. That is what God created y’all for. He created your marriage to move mountains together.

So start connecting. It’s not too late.

XO Colleen Cashio

 

Wedding Photographer - http://cassiejonesphotography.net

4 Ways To Encourage Your Husband

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Are you a natural cheerleader? I was a cheerleader in middle + high school… but when it comes to the cheerleading of others, that’s one of my downfalls. Being someone's cheerleader does not come naturally for me. I veer more to the realist side in life, which can be good in some areas. Other times it can be bad, especially in the avenue of cheering on my husband. If he comes to me with a dream, the human part of me easily crushes that dream because I point out negatives. One of my goals for 2018 is working towards being a better motivator in the relationships around me, especially my husband. Let's be honest. We need more positive people in the world. There are already too many ‘Negative Natalie’s’. At least that’s what my husband calls me when I crush his dreams. Here are some practical ways I am trying to plant seeds of encouragement in my husband; I hope they help you too.

1.   Point out all the things he is doing right - I'm guilty of finding the flaws + making them WAY bigger than they are. Which in turn sends Zach into a downward spiral of feeling worthless + unloved.

2.   Help guide him to the things he's good at - instead of looking for his faults. Look for his strengths + build those up. We all have downfalls in some areas, instead of dwelling on those help build each other up

3.   Make him feel wanted – Give eye contact when talking even if you are juggling a million things; laundry, dinner, kids. Getting frustrated when his story is going on to long + you have stuff to do is a sure way to get him to shut down. Men already don’t like to talk + open up as it is, so if he wants to talk… LISTEN + TALK

4.   Verbal reassurance but also physical reassurance- I'm not the best at letting my husband lead, but God designed marriage for the husband to be the leader. I trust God didn't make a mistake in this, so I have to trust my husband to take charge + lead our family. It can be hard taking a step back for someone who is a "fix it" person (see a problem, fix it - that's me) but when I see Zach actively seeking God + reading His word I have ease letting go of the reins. It wasn't always that way. Zach didn't always seek God wholeheartedly. He took his own path, which he will explain in his very first post coming soon. 

What gave me inspiration to write this post is that Zach will be sharing part of his testimony very soon. I am learning how to be positive + help encourage him to share his story. Sharing things close + personal to us can be difficult, but we really believe that stuff happens in our lives so we can help others. It’s hard to help people if you haven’t been in their shoes before. It’s not impossible, but it is easier if you have some past experience. I am so proud of the man Zach is becoming, + I have no doubt God is going to do amazing work through him.

 

XO Colleen Cashio

Hello, World!

"The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

"A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh...Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:31,33

The Power of a Praying® Wife
By Stormie Omartian

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How 15 minutes saved our marriage...

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Marriage isn’t easy. As you may already know. Zach + I went through a rough season of marriage, the kind where it’s broken + dry. Maybe you’ve been there, you are there, or think you’ll never be there. I was 20 when we married + thought those dry seasons were only for “older married people”... Boy was I wrong! By nature, I am a lazy person. If I want something I have to work for it. It normally doesn’t just come naturally. I was so use to Zach + I’s relationship that I became lazy + comfortable. For our six-month wedding anniversary we found out I was pregnant. Before then we were involved in a marriage life group + working on our marriage. But honestly, what is there to work on being 6 months into something that you plan to be in for 60 plus years? Even though we dated 2 years prior to being married + had gone through pre-marriage counseling, we still didn’t have a great foundation for marriage. We were both naïve, immature + brought some past baggage into our relationship. We thought we had it all figured out + even though we learned great things going through marriage ministry life groups, we never diligently applied them to our lives. That’s a huge thing I’ve learned so far in this journey. You can learn everything under the moon, but if you don’t apply the principles it’s just wasted knowledge. Just an example I remember learning about, but thought, “yea, ok whatever”. A women once told us, “always take care of yourself for your spouse, never stop trying to impress your spouse”, “care how you look, don’t always be in super comfy clothes”. Back to my laziness; I was so comfortable with Zach that I was always in “comfy” clothes, no makeup, + buns. And this was before I had the “mom” excuse. LOL. Now don’t get me wrong, you want to feel 110% comfortable in your skin + your spouse should always love you on your ugliest days. But ladies, its nice to dress up for your man + feel good about yourself. Staying home now can be a struggle for me, because it’s always easy to just stay in lounge outfits. Which, if you see me 7 out of 10 times I am in workout clothes (even though I didn’t workout ha). But I am chasing around a toddler + a baby, so I need stretchy clothes. On the days I spend 5 minutes throwing on basic makeup I feel best about myself.

So we got caught in the day-to-day routine + put our marriage on the back burner. We let our to-do lists grow bigger than our marriage. Work, small kids, + lack of sleep will do that to anyone. Until Ezra was 17-18 months he woke every 1-2 hours to nurse. Not kidding at all! Not because the kid was hungry.. Just for comfort. So glad that season is behind me because it was a draining season. By the time Ezra was 2 we had left him maybe 4 different times ranging in 30 min – 3 hours. I’m that mom that doesn’t like to be away from her babies! Once our marriage went through a break it or make it moment, we had to regroup + figure something out. We realized we got so involved with the day-to-day hustle we really never had alone time. Kids wake up early + by the time bedtime came we all passed out at the same time. So we decided to implement a new routine in our day.

No matter how tired we were, after our kids went to sleep we would sneak out of bed + spend at least 15 minutes alone with each other.

Another thing for Zach + I is that both kids are in bed with us. While that is highly controversial for some, it works for us. When some say they don’t know how you have a sexual relationship with your spouse – our answer is; “Somehow Harvey got here unplanned”. We love them being in our bed and wouldn’t trade it for the world. They are only so little so long, but I totally understand it doesn’t work for everyone. Before kids I said I wasn’t going to be ‘one of those weird people who let their kids sleep with them’. Ha! Now look at me, I ate my words. Our downfall wasn’t so much that our kids are in our bed, but it's that Ezra takes 30 minutes in bed tossing + turning before going asleep. Before we knew it we fell asleep from exhaustion. Once we got into habit of making ourselves stay awake until they fell asleep, it came natural. We snuck out of bed + went to the living room. At first we set a 15-minute timer on our phone because we were so tired. We pushed through because we knew how this would play a key part into getting our marriage back on track.

It is vital to connect with your spouse!

Yes, that means husbands totally connect with your wife, engage in what she’s talking to you about. Ask questions! And wives, stop + pay attention to your spouse. Give him all of you not 25%.

Stop thinking about everything that happened today or didn’t happen.

Stop making your to-do list for tomorrow.

Stop thinking about the dirty dishes or piles of laundry.

If all else fails + you’re too tired to function, just cuddle. Touch speaks as loud as words sometimes. I soon realized that not having your kids Velcro-ed to you + spending true alone time was nice. REALLY nice! If you’re having a hard time coming up with stuff to talk about, make it fun… Pull out a board game, Google the newlywed game + pick questions to ask each other. We noticed we went from having a hard time filling those 15 minutes to making ourselves go to bed after 2 hours because we would be zombies the next day. You’ll be amazed at how energized you feel after you connect with your spouse.

--Unmarried readers, stop here –

Another thing you can put on the list is making love. Yes, I said it. That is a great way to connect with your spouse. Who cares if you know its planned + not spontaneous all the time. Most women plan the days they wash their hair, so why can’t we plan on making love? Life gets chaotic and if you get stuck in the motion sex will be on the back burner. As this is true for most women, it isn’t for men. God created this amazing gift for marriage, now go enjoy!

This is what truly has saved our marriage. Stopping the day-to-day cycle + enjoying each other’s company. It’s not rocket science + we aren’t the first to discover this, but its amazing what will happen when you start planting seeds in your marriage. It’s easy to get into a rut. It’s not how long you stay in it, it’s all about how you recover + rebuild afterwards. You need your spouse + your spouse needs you. We look forward to ending our day together now, no matter how tired we may be. And lets face it the grass is never greener on the other side, its greener where you water it.

XO Colleen Cashio

“This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Mark 10:7-9 NLT

"So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33 NLT

 "In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation." 1 Peter 5:10 NLT

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