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So, what do money, alcohol, fame, and tragedy all have in common?  Well, lots actually (that’s it Jay, hit ’em hard at the beginning of the post to leaving them regretting stopping by).  Ok, maybe the question should be how are they all misunderstood?  I contend that all of those things don’t change you…they make you more of what you are.

Please please please understand that I am not saying that a drunk person acts like they do when they are sober or that people don’t “change” when they get famous or addicted.  Nor do I want to diminish the horrific impact these things can have in ones life.  I do want to illustrate a point though.  I believe that all of these things make you more of what you are.

If you are good with money, are very charitable, and come into a lot more…you’ll have more and give more.  If you are a fool with your money and are stingy…you’ll screw it up and now become known as “stingy” when you don’t bless others with it.  If you are fun loving and sociable and are over served at  your local bar you probably have a pretty good time, get lots of laughs and hopefully not act a fool.  If you are generally a pretty angry and bitter person you most likely become a pretty angry jerk of a drunk.  If you are humble, credit others with your success, are gracious and kind and then become “famous” (to whatever degree) you will do the same then.  If you are all about you and constantly worry about your image and what people think about you then fame will cause you to be paranoid, self obsessed, and a real bore.  Lastly, if you have been through some wars, fought the good fights and know how to handle it when you’re in a tight spot then tragedy is just another challenge.  If you fear these times, blame everyone for everything, walk through life in fear, then tragedy will straight eat you up.

I bring all of this tremendously controversial (but in my opinion true) observations to explain one thing.  One of the most common observations/compliments Rachel and I have received is that we are doing so well as a couple through these tragic times.  I generally explain an abridged version of the above (after thanking them of course) and expand.  I tell them that Rachel and I have a very solid foundation built on Christ, some really tough times, and some amazing teaching that has shown us what it truly takes to love and serve each other.  We know how to meet each others needs.  We don’t always meet them, but at least we know how and can talk about it.  If we had a couple of fissures in the foundation of our relationship, the pressure would have exposed them and we, like many others, would be in real danger of losing the marriage.

One thing we do that I highly and heavily (what’s the difference…I don’t know) encourage all of you to do is this.  For fifteen minutes each night, with the tv off and the kids in bed we do something really radical and downright crazy.  I’m sure you have heard of it but didn’t really think that any couple really did it.  You may look at us differently now that you know this about us.   We…(I can’t believe I’m putting this on the internet for the world to see) …talk.  Yep, face to face…every night.  It’s part review of the day, part plans for the next day, part checking in on how each of us are long and short term and then we fill in the rest of the time talking about all of you.  It’s when we seek to understand how we may have hurt each other through the day and listen to what went right and wrong in each others lives.  We check in on each others emotional needs and just see where the conversation leads.  It’s an incredible time that we both cherish.

Amazingly, we still get our schedules confused.  We still fail to meet each others needs and very often hurt one another throughout the day.  We really can’t imagine the chaos our life would be in if we didn’t talk each night.  We started it years ago and have kept it up through this most recent chapter of our life.  15 minutes…give it a try.

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