Monday, November 9, 2009

Simply Selfless

Hello Ladies. I hope that everyone had a great weekend. The March of Dimes fundraiser was on Saturday evening. It was a blessing to be a part of it & the event was a great success. We had awesome weather here in Wrightsville Beach & today is looking to be around 78 degrees. We took one of the dogs out on the beach yesterday for the first time & she loved it. There were a ton of families out there & we probably saw 30 other dogs. Georgia is a daschund that could only hurt you if you were allergic to kisses. Of course, this doesn't stop her from barking at every single dog that passed by us, regardless of their size. I often wonder if dogs can talk to each other like they do in all of those animated kid movies. I wonder what that HUGE pit bull or rottweiler would be saying to Georgia as she trots by with her not very vicious bark. LOL

As much as I needed a break from blogging this weekend, I couldn't get all of you off my mind. I have been thinking about my upcoming posts for this week, & I hope that you are all excited to get started. When this 14 day challenge first started, I am sure that many of you felt like the lessons were "tasks". I am hoping that as we go along, you will feel a change in yourself, & in your husband that will allow the lessons to feel fun & rewarding instead of a job. That is what has happened to me.

Meeting Adam at the door has become one of the most exciting things that happens during the day. I have taken this challenge very seriously. I feel that it is not only important to my marriage, but I need to give it my all for all of you as well. I want to show you things that actually work & will make a difference. I make sure that if it is almost time for Adam to come home, that I am listening out for him. If I can help it, I won't be in the middle of something when he gets here. A bathroom trip can wait, that extra few dishes in the dishwasher can wait, & checking Facebook one last time can wait. Adam is the most important person/thing & he needs to come first. I came home the other day after helping to set up for the March of Dimes fundraiser & everyone else was home. Allyson met me at the door, Adam was working on his computer, & Brandon was playing Playstation. The boys didn't get up to greet me. Adam caught himself & has since apologized, which I thought was an awesome improvement. I saw firsthand what a difference it makes to be greeted. I felt as if the boys could have cared less if I were here or not. I didn't feel "missed", & that was upsetting. Doesn't everyone like to feel wanted, needed, & missed? Well, so do our husbands.

With that being said, I want to address an issue that has been emailed to me or posted a few times in the comments section. I want to be very clear about why I am personally doing the 14 day challenge. I am doing this along with all of you because I should have been doing these lessons all along. The Bible commands us to be respectful to our husbands, & I was not. I am doing this to be a better wife, a better friend, a better lover, a better mother, & to obey God. Someone posted & said that they hope I didn't feel so desperate that I am killing myself to do nice things for Adam. They suggested that I might be feeling as though another man wouldn't want me because I have two kids from another man. They suggested that I am only doing these lessons to "keep him". To this I say, you are right! I am doing all of this to keep him. But, not because I am some big loser that should be ashamed of my behavior or because I have low self esteem. I am doing this because I want to keep my husband, the man that God chose for me, the man that I should have been treating this way from the beginning, the man who admitted to the world (not just me) that he made a mistake, a man who treats me with love (which he has also shared with the world), & a man who feels that working to make our marriage the very best that it can be is important. So, while I appreciate your concern for me, & you feel as though you are looking out for me, I think that you are the one that is losing out. The changes that we have made in ourselves & in our marriage have brought us to a level of intimacy that many couples dream of. I feel extremely lucky & blessed to be Mrs. Adam Freeman. I wouldn't want to be anyone else. For that, I WILL kill myself to make this man happy & feel respected. But in turn, he is doing the same for me. Praise God!

My hope is that those of you that have posted about being worried about being submissive to your husbands will give this a chance. If you feel that you are being less of a woman or you feel like this change is unfair, give this a chance. If you feel like you are being a door mat or you feel that acting with love & respect is teaching your husband that the unloving behavior is okay, give this a chance. I would be happy to speak with those of you that feel this way, one on one. Just please email me. I am willing to put my time into your marriage. Your marriage is important to both Adam & I so please, let your marriage be that important to you. If your husband is willing to speak with Adam, Adam will take his time to speak with him. We can't tell you how much helping you means to us. Do this challenge with an open mind, & an open heart. Do it for yourself, do it for your kids, do it for your husband, do it for your extended family, for the kid's cousins, & do it because God commands you to do it. If that doesn't motivate you, do it as practice for your next marriage. Seriously. I am not saying that I will ever agree with you getting divorced but, if you aren't respecting now, you won't respect your next husband either. You will just find yourself in the same place again but with even more baggage for your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th husband. How deep does the pain have to go to make a change? For now, don't worry about what your husband is doing. Worry about what YOU are doing to improve YOUR marriage & YOUR family.

If I asked you what your most important asset was, most of us would say our home or our cars. Right? Because these items are so important to us, we are constantly doing what we need to do to maintain them. We don't want our air conditioner to go out in the middle of summer, or our heat to go out in January. We don't want to get bugs in the house so we clean up, take out the trash, & do the dishes. We mow the lawn in the summer time once a week because it will look terrible & we will get a letter from the homeowners association. We don't want our cars to break down in the middle of the freeway at rush hour with a car full of kids, do we? To prevent this from happening we get the oil changed, & get our cars serviced every so many miles. If anything went wrong with any of the items that I mentioned, who would you call first? Hmm, I think that I just heard all of your say, "my husband". I agree. That is exactly what I would do.

What are you doing to "maintain" your marriage? Is it on auto-pilot? Do you feel that nothing is ever going to break down & you don't have to get a checkup every so many miles? Why is your husband the first person that you call when there is a "problem" but you aren't taking care of him the way that you need to be to prevent a marital breakdown in the first place? Your house & your car are NOT your most important assets. Your husband is. The Bible says that God is to be the most important to you, then your husband, then your children, & then your job. I encourage you to think about this long & hard today. Are you living this way? Are you going to face a break down that is going to total your relationship, creating damage that can never be repaired?

Ladies, I know how this feels. Not so long ago I was one of the most stubborn people you could meet. I could do no wrong, & nothing was my fault. I didn't want to look at myself this way or go to a counselor because they would see how I was destroying my life & my family's life. I could manipulate Adam but I would not be able to get past a "professional". Where did that get me? Where did "my way" or what I thought was right lead me to? Nearly to a second divorce by age 35. I was approaching a Jerry Springer episode, & fast. I am begging you, please, please give up on "your way" of thinking. Try these principles. If I can do it, be happy about it, not feel submissive, or like a door can too. I promise.

Lesson #6

Think of something that your husband would enjoy doing this evening. Say, "I'd like to watch the football game with you, when is it on"? Or, "I know that you have been talking about cleaning out the garage, I'd like to help". Whatever it is that he would like to do that you may not normally be interested in. If he declines, that is fine. You sent a positive message. If he says ok & the game comes on at 8pm, be there & excited. Maybe even go the extra mile. If he loves the Carolina Panthers, put on some black & blue. Get into it & make it fun!

If while you are spending this time together he says, "You have really changed. What has gotten into you"? Just say, "Thank you. Tell me again about the quarterback. Didn't he just have a run in with the law recently"? Then change the subject. Pull him out on some topic related to the activity. Please do not enter into any relationship discussions or talk about any arguments or negative feelings that you are having. We want you to learn that you can energize your husband simply by being with him.

I know that this is a really long post, but I want to give you two examples of this before I go. One I realized a few months ago & one was just the other day since applying these lessons. Adam has always been fantastic about doing what I like but I haven't always done the same for him. I LOVE the 80's! I mean, I really LOVE the 80s. LOL The music, the B rated movies, everything. Well, they didn't have DVDs back then so when one of my favorites come out, I like to rent it. I know that most of them are terrible & the acting is not so great, but hey, I grew up on these movies. Adam always agrees to watch them & he is genuinely excited. He tells me that he liked the movie when it was over & he always comes back for more. (even though I know he can't possibly like all of them) He enjoys watching those movies for one reason only, because I enjoy them. Now me on the other hand, I am extremely guilty of not offering up the same enthusiasm. I realized this during our separation. Adam would email me videos of tornados, shark attacks, etc. I would literally feel "bothered" if he stopped me from what I was doing for something not important. Well, it was important to him. I would kick & scream if he wanted to watch a movie that I didn't want to watch. You know a man's movie. Like Jaws or the most recent one.....The Last Dragon. I witnessed the joy in Adam's eyes (& his brother's) when they came across the DVD. It is also a B rated, 80's movie. I did start to show that I was not interested in watching this movie as well, but fortunately I caught on to my negative behavior & we enjoyed it together last Sunday afternoon. It wasn't as bad as I built it up in my head & I actually got into it. Since then we have made several referrences to the movie. LOL

My second example was one that I just realized last week because of my application to the lessons of Love & Respect. Men are okay with what is referred to as shoulder to shoulder contact. Whereas, we prefer face to face contact. What does this mean? Well, a man is happy just to have us in the house, in the room, or sitting next to him on the couch. For us to feel as though we are getting quality attention, we feel that we need to be "talking". Of course! When Kayleigh was in the hospital, Adam & I would take turns on who's day it was to hold her. I would HATE when it wasn't my day. I loved holding her so much. We would talk, rock, read, or just look at each other. Many times when it was Adam's day, he would close his eyes & fall asleep while she was in his arms. (I would stay awake to be sure that he didn't drop her. LOL) I would get so irritated with him. I felt like he was "wasting" his time with her. He would always tell me that he was fine just having her in his arms. I didn't get it & I never will. I am not wired to have those feelings. He was fine being shoulder to shoulder & just being together. It was when I realized this that I really became bought in to tonight's lesson. Adam completely agreed when I reminded him of his feelings around that time. He has become more aware of what face to face attention means to me as a woman. Just last night I was feeling very unsatisfied. I couldn't lay a finger on what was wrong. He has been really busy this week & so have I with this new blog. We haven't spent much time together, even though we have been in the house at least 5 hours a day, awake. I told him that I think that I am just craving some face to face & he knew exactly how to respond. It is indecribable how communicating this way & understanding each other makes our marriage so much easier!

I bet that your husband could go fishing for 12 hours & hardly speak to their friends at all. Adam could go on his annual guy's trip for an entire weekend without gaining any "new" information. I could say, "How is Mike's job." Or, "How is Julie's pregnancy coming along?" Chances are, Adam couldn't answer. Men don't NEED that kind of relationship. They just enjoy being together, doing what guy's like to do. Could any of us go fishing for 12 hours & stay quiet? I didn't think so. Honestly, I know so. When we go fishing together, my spirit will change if there is too long of a period where Adam doesn't check in with me. I NEED that. Especially if he wants me to keep going fishing with him!

"Lord, thank you so much for giving us some extra time to spend with our families this weekend. I pray that everyone enjoyed themselves. Please give us the courage to complete tonight's lesson. I pray that our efforts are noticed by our husbands & we bring joy into their evening. Lord, please allow us to complete this lesson with an open mind in hopes that we will truly enjoy the very thing that our husband enjoys. Amen."



Jenn said...


First let me say that I am sorry that people are responding towards you in such a negative way, questioning your own motives. I want to say that what you are doing here is awesome! I thought I was for sure to the point of a divorce...wait 2nd divorce, and I'm only 30 (with 4 kids). You have renewed feelings in me that I thought I didn't have anymore.

I have a really good man, and yes, after being together almost 9 years, we have fallen into the "comfort zone" where we really no longer remember what drew us to each other, and we forget what each other likes. Just like anyone else we are very busy. We both work full time, and I am a full time student as well. Add in the 4 kids and what is it to have a marriage anymore? But, just the tiny things you have been suggesting are making me feel better as a person.

He hasn't noticed any of the things that I have done, but again, he may just be soaking it in. I am battling not saying something like "Hey, don't you notice anything different?" (I have an issue with being praised for doing something good.) I NEED that recognition. Hopefully he will see it soon.

I am so thankful you are doing this. I too am leary about going to a counselor, for fear of what a diagnosis would be. But hearing you say what you have, I am double thinking about NOT going, and just making an appointment. It would do me good, the kids good, and my marraige good.

I can't say THANK YOU loud enough or in big enough writing for what you have brought to me. Between Kayleighs website and this one, my life has changed so much over the last year or so. I am more connected with my feelings, and surroundings of the world, rather than just Jennifer's world.

With much love and renewed happiness,


Heather said...

Aimee-I want to thank you and Adam for doing this. My husband and I have a pretty good marriage but have found ourselves getting into a routine where things aren't exciting anymore. I am not talking about intimacy, just the normal everyday things like you are talking about. This weekend, he was gone from 7:30am until 9:00 pm each night. It was hard because the kids missed him and I missed him too. I met him at the door both nights and he was quite surprised. I am also doing a few little things extra like making dinner the night before so we can have a little more time together. That is what we are doing tonight. We are both off work on Wed and are planning on spending the day together-just the two of us.

Aimee Freeman said...

Hey Jennifer. Thank you for the kind words. I started crying at m desk. If this blog can keep one family together, it will be worth it.

I want you to know that I NEED praise too. Recognition has always been something that is important to me. I believe that your husband probably is just soaking it in. Your life is extremely busy & men take a little longer sometimes than women so pay attention to these changes. Keep with it. You are doing awesome!

As far as the counselor, that can be tricky. Our counselor was a Christian counselor but we didn't feel that she pushed Christian principles. Adam will tell you that she told him what he wanted to hear because she didn't want to "scare" him away. She said that to me about him as well. I would NEVER tell you not to go to counseling but I personally learned 1000 times more with this series, my own research, & my relationship with God. If you go to a counselor, just be careful who you choose. Ask them on the first visit what their take on divorce is. You need someone who will challenge you to be better & not just "listen" to you. My counselor felt like a wonderful friend, but she is not why Adam & I are together today.

I hope that this helps. If you need to email me directly, I am here for you.

Great job so far!

Aimee Freeman

Ashley B. said...

Before I read todays blog I went back and read yesterdays comments. Im so grateful that you took the time to clear the air from some earlier post.
Chip and I have been married for close to 10 years and we have not been blessed with children. I use to reply to others when asked about this, "We are open, if it is Gods plan for us they will come". Then one day someone told me don't forget you have to do the foot work Ashley. I replied by saying I am...(was I really?) as time passed I began to become more sensitive about the subject. The truth is that I really wasn't doing a lot of foot work. " We are not preventing" would be another response...
Today I do know with the help of some dear friends I am doing the best I can do....Although, from the outside others may think something must be wrong etc. Why haven't they started a family? Every Day I am learning over and over and over again that God is in charge of my life and my journey and NO one knows this more than Him, my husband and me. I have always been open to my friends and asked them not to worry about me that I am ok!
Thank you again Aimee for your honesty and willingness to put it all out there!
PS. I think Adam is a cool dude with a special sparkle in his eyes:)

Beautiful Intellectual said...

I need to be better at this. I am reminded of the time I only went to the cinema to see Angels & Demons because The Drummer wanted to and ended up PROPER loving it. Its become one of my most watched DVDs since it came out.

I do sometimes draw the line with films - Transformers, for example. Or Watchman, but the fact I cooked dinner for him and the boys before they went to the cinema I feel counts almost as much as actually going with them....right? :)

Studio 7 said...

Aimee, I think your blog is awesome! Keep your chin up and head held high, you are helping alot of people and we know your heart is in the right place!! HUGS!

Suzi Q said...

Aimee, I am a "lurker" who has finally decided to come out of hiding so to speak...LOL! I have been reading your beautiful daughter Kayleigh's blog for quite some time and am truly amazed at the grace and courage you and Adam have shown!

I am starting your 14 day challenge a little late but have no problem "playing catch up" if it means I can improve my 18 year marriage. From the moment I started to read your post it was like you were speaking directly to me! I am very stubborn and definitely have a tendancy to think I am right with many things in our marriage.

Like Adam, there are many things my husband will do for me because he knows it will make me happy but when I really stop and think about it I could do a much better job at doing things that he would like me to do with him. Watching "his" movies is a perfect example! I almost always say no thanks and go in the other room and watch what I want to watch.

I honestly could go on and on but just felt so compelled to tell you thank you for what you are doing! I know I'm behind the rest of the ladies but I will be greeting my husband at the door tonight and I am really excited too! We have a 16 year old and a 13 year old and many days he walks in and we all say hi from wherever in the house we are and he has commented that noone really seems to care that he is I can't wait to surprise him with a hug/kiss and a smile :) Our marriage is in a funk and I can't wait to bring it back to life again!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Aimee! I will try to stay out of "hiding" and continue to update you on how things are going! I truly appreciate what you are doing! I look forward to hearing the garage door open tonight when my husband gets home from work!

Much love and happiness to you and your family! Suzi

Lexie said...

I'm not so great at this but did this just this w/end before you wrote that lesson on your blog. I'm not a big football fan but went to a game anyway with my husband and 4 year old AND 6 month old. It was a long, tiring day, but I didn't complain and truthfully...I kinda liked it! He DID tell me thanks for going though, so he did notice.

Anonymous said...

Aimee, Thank you so much for sharing your life with all of us.
Before starting this challenge I literaly had one foot out the door and didn't know if I was going to be able to continue in my marriage another day well all I can say is this for today I am staying in my marriage and I don't have to worry about tomorrow...

Because of the way our schedules are I am not always able to do each challenge the way you have suggested. I may make a little change up and do something a little different ( kind of like in an excerise class when you can't do 1000 jumping jacks because you will pee your pants) I make adjustments and adapt. Bottom line is that I do something each day to respect my husband and make him feel that he is important and loved. I will say that I had previously not been doing this at ALL and then would wonder why he would not hug me or kiss me or make me feel special. Imagine my surprise that with just a welcome hello at the door and day to day respect that he is once again opening up to me.

When I first started reading your blog here I was so angry, hurt, scared you name it I felt it and I was like you want me to welcome him, and respect him, and tell him he has good muscles are you nuts as quite frankly I can hardly stand to be in the same room hmmmm I said ok I will suck it up and give it whirl what do I have had to loose 14 days of time. WOW who would have thought that after only 7 days into this that I could be a happier more respectful person. Again thank you

joyful02 said...

My husband was getting our lunch made on Saturday and I offered to help him. I asked him "do you need me to help you with anything?" and he said "no thank you" I told him that if he needed any help to let me know and he said okay. He did notice that I tried to make an initiative to help him out. It was good to have him notice it.


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