Modern*Simplicity

Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Clean Your Wedding Ring, Save Your Marriage?

How Cleaning Your Wedding Ring Can Save Your Marriage

This is a guest post from Bethany Thomson.

Are you discontent in your marriage? Now, a few years after your wedding bells rang, the person you once gazed at in admiration doesn’t meet your expectations. You discovered the one person you thought could do no wrong is actually human.

Disenchantment… it happens to the best of us. We forget what made our new spouse so amazing in our eyes. Life together becomes hum-drum. Nothing is really wrong – it’s just not wonderful, either.

What if your love were new again?

I have just the solution for you – it’s found in the aisles of your corner drugstore! (No, it’s not on the reproductive care shelf!)

I remember when a friend of mine showed up at church the first Sunday after she became engaged. Her diamond ring flung a brilliant rainbow over the pew. It was a lovely ring… but I was single and couldn’t help but long for the one day when I would wear a sparkling sign of my lover’s devotion.

Well, that “one day” arrived for me a few years later when my now-husband proposed to me on a Tennessee hilltop. It was a perfect ring, and I couldn’t stop admiring it on my finger! I was eager to show off that sparkling diamond ring and to pair it with another platinum band when we covenanted in marriage 6 months later.

I have worn that ring through the birth of 4 babies, a house remodel, a move, a job loss, a new business start-up, the death of loved ones, and some significant medical crises – not to mention the day-to-day trials of life.

When you go through life in the trenches together, the platinum dulls. When you knead bread for a growing family, dough accumulates in the prongs. When you clean up after four little ones, farm dirt glazes the diamond.

And it can start to lose its brilliance.

Three of my siblings were married this year (and I gained some wonderful new in-laws!) It was such a joy to celebrate with them. I watched those young couples behold their new spouses with love and admiration. Young love is almost to be envied.

Whenever I see new engagement rings and wedding sets, it is easy to wish that mine were still that brilliant… that our love was still that new. It is easy to become dissatisfied with what once was a delight. It is easy to take the familiar for granted.

But, that’s where the toothbrush comes in!

I have a certain tradition that I practice before I leave for a special event, especially a wedding. I add a drop of mild soap to a gentle baby toothbrush and I carefully brush away the “trail dirt” from my diamond ring until it is sparkling again. My husband smiles knowingly as he watches me angle my ring to catch the light.

It’s like having a new ring again!

Except, my ring is better than a new one. I wouldn’t want a new one. This ring has been girded by nine years of my husband’s faithful devotion.

You see, not only do I clean my ring, I also ask the Lord to convict and cleanse my heart and make it right toward my husband. My ring is just a tangible reminder of our marriage.

In these moments, I allow the light of truth to fling a rainbow of thankfulness across my heart.

There is a time to acknowledge the dirt, own it, and get rid of it. You and your spouse are both sinners – bigger sinners than either of you would have ever imagined yourselves or the other to be. Good news – there is lavish grace in Christ for sinners!

Lavish that grace on each other! My husband was extravagant when he first placed the diamond and platinum band on my finger – how much more extravagant I must be in my grace toward him!

6 ways you can make your marriage sparkle with grace again

  1. Ask that the Lord would dissolve any underlying bitterness in your heart toward your spouse (instead of allowing the bitterness to poison your marriage.)
  2. Admire the many wonderful facets of your spouse (instead of dwelling on how you wish they would change.)
  3. Think about all that you have endured together with your spouse (instead of grumbling about what he or she “never” does.)
  4. Ponder good memories you have made together (instead of recalling the ways in which he or she has failed you.)
  5. Confess any wrong thoughts you have toward your spouse (instead of rehearsing the wrong they have done to you.)
  6. Praise your spouse to someone else (instead of complaining about them.)

Try this exercise next time you sigh in discontent, or wonder why you ended up with this person. Just like brushing your teeth, these are habits that are best if practiced at least twice daily.

The sparkle hasn’t left your diamond – it’s been there all along.

Just grab a toothbrush, and go clean your ring!

Help us all out here: How do you keep your marriage sparkling? What advice would you give your best friend if they confessed they just weren’t happy in their marriage? Let us know in the comments!

Bethany Thomson

Bethany Thomson is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Author, Coach, and Speaker. As a Food and Nutrition expert, Bethany’s mission is to help you build a sustainably wholesome lifestyle. She and her Farmer raise their four Little Farmers and a flock of Katahdin Sheep on their family farm in Tennessee. For resources to help you build a wholesome lifestyle, visit Bethany’s website at www.ingrainedliving.com and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ingrainedliving/

5 Ways to Cut Christmas Spending

5 Ways to Cut Holiday SpendingIf money is tight this holiday season, it’s time to consider cutting back on your holiday spending. Take a minute to read through the following suggestions. Saving money at Christmas time is probably easier than you think!

1. Set a Budget

It’s important to set a budget for yourself before buying gifts. It’s easy to spend too much when you’re not keeping track of your purchases. More importantly, it can be financially dangerous for people who find themselves living paycheck to paycheck. Set a monetary limit for yourself and stick to it. This will help to ensure you don’t go overboard while shopping and also ease the financial stress Christmas tends to bring with it.

2. Baked Goods and Do-It-Yourself Gifts

DIY or “do-it-yourself” gifts are a very heartfelt, popular way to express how you feel about the important people in your life. You’ll find a wide variety of customizable ideas for DIY projects, as well as tutorials on how to make them, on popular websites like Pinterest and Facebook.

Baking treats for the people on your gift list is also a greatly appreciated, age-old tradition. You can keep it simple and make a communal plate of treats for your co-workers, or personalize things by whipping up some of each individual’s favorite sweets. In most cases, buying the materials or ingredients needed for DIY gifts and baked goods will cost significantly less because you have to create the product, rather than buy one that’s already made.

3. Have a Potluck Christmas Dinner

Try hosting a potluck dinner this year by simply asking your guests to bring the dish of their choice. Since the host is typically expected to provide the main course, think about requesting side dishes and desserts.

Leave the choice of what to bring to the people attending. Part of the fun of a potluck is the variety of dishes. This not only relieves much of the stress of planning dinner for a group of people, it typically saves you a ton of money without sacrificing the quality or quantity of your holiday meal.

4. Organize a Secret Santa Christmas

Secret Santa is a fun tradition during the holidays. It is most commonly implemented among friends and co-workers, as a means to save a substantial chunk of gift-giving change. Because Secret Santa involves drawing a random name from a collection of participants, you’re limited to buying just one gift for the person whose name you drew, rather than a gift for everyone in your circle.

While it may be difficult to get young children on board with the idea of receiving only one gift for Christmas, it’s often a home run for families with children who have grown up and understand the importance of limiting spending during this time of year.

5. Shop All Year Round

For many people, shopping for Christmas gifts all year round is arguably the best way to cut costs on holiday spending. This reduces much of the frustration of holiday shopping, and also saves you from buying gifts at inflated (pre-holiday) prices. Year-round shopping allows you to take advantage of amazing sales you can generally find throughout the year.

These are just five easy ways to cut your Christmas spending without feeling like Scrooge. Remember, it’s not the amount of money you spend, it’s the thought that counts!

Want lots more ideas about simplifying Christmas? Now in print and Amazon Kindle: Simply Christmas by Sandy Kreps. Simply Christmas by Sandy KrepsGet your copy here.