Happy Friday!!!!  One of my strongest love languages is words of affirmation so buckle up because you’re about to be affirmed.  You did it!  Another week in the books!  It may not have been perfect but you’re here.  You loved and lived and had a few bumps in the road but take a moment to breathe it in.  THIS is destiny.  This moment….not two years from now.  Not twenty years from now.  You are playing in the big game NOW and this week counted.  Another bit of your story was written this week and regardless of what you see or feel – it was an important week and a good week.  It’s a beautiful moment!

Ah the countdown to Valentine’s Day.  It commeth!  I can’t wait to celebrate this year.  The past few years we have gone to see a movie and eaten popcorn for our romantic dinner out – so fun!  I LOVE seeing movies when the theater is full and there’s so much energy in the room.  It reminds me of the first time I got to experience that.  I was in college and went to a late night showing of Ocean’s 11.  It was a theater full to the brim of students and everyone laughed together and experienced it loudly and expressively (is that a word?!).  We clapped at the end.  I mean, so fun.  I’m sitting here smiling at the memory like a goof.

Did you catch the word in the air that I get to do a GIVEAWAY this week?!?!  I’m just so excited to be able to share with one of you something that I’m so passionate about!  Ha!  Check out the end of the post to enter because it’s a POT OF LIBBY’S VALENTINE’S DAY COOKIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But first we get to delve into another piece of marriage advice that was given to me by one of my wise-woman-friends.  This one challenges me to grow every single day.  Let’s go!

The Wise Woman: Dannelle Newnam

The Wise Woman’s piece of advice: Be on the same team.

Huh?  I mean, isn’t that an obvious one?  Well, for you I’m sure it is!  Ha!  For me, well, I’m choosing to focus on this as much as I can.  Because the truth is that as obvious as it may seem – I find it’s something I have to consciously choose and press towards to make it a reality.

There’s a story on how this advice was handed to me.  Quite a few years ago, we found ourselves on opposite sides of an argument that resurfaced again and again.  It was a big one for both of us and we too easily allowed ourselves to become entrenched in our individual positions.  Finally, we had to call in help. We asked our friends Michael and Dannelle to come over and hear us out and HELP.  They are particularly gifted in marriage guidance and there is just nothing more meaningful than having trusted people whom you can cry in front of and be transparent with in order to work through something together as a couple.

They listened so patiently.  And when we were done putting it all out on the table, Dannelle looked at us and said, “Guys, I think one of the biggest issues here is that you’re not playing on the same team.  You’re on different teams: opponents.”

Those words hit me because I knew the moment she said them, that they were so very true.

It could be assumed that because two people are married – they are a team.

In some ways, that’s true.  But it doesn’t mean that two married people are always acting like a team. Feeling like a team..What if it were really that simple?  Guys, be on the same team. Truthfully, making that shift can put you in a vulnerable place.  It’s a big step of faith!  If you decide in your heart that you are going to move forward as a team, you are deciding to prefer and prioritize what is best for the team – which at times requires you to lay down what you think is best for you. And that’s where we need help, isn’t it?

Making the shift to a team mentality also means that you start seeing your spouse as your teammate instead of your opponent.  Which means that you’re not on defense against him.  You trust him.  You work with him. You cover for him and he covers for you.

In our marriage, we had mostly great teamwork.  We saw ourselves as a team almost all of the time.  It was just when those dang little issues would pop up.  You know the ones.  The ones that circle back around repeatedly because no resolve has come and neither side is willing to give up ground.

And it’s at this moment that I must say, I have no earthly idea how people do marriage without the ability to lean into God’s strength when they feel weak.  I’m at a loss for words when I think about it.  How does one shift from being an opponent against her spouse to a teammate with him unless she digs in to Truth?  Unless she allows the Lord to come and breathe new life into her hope and give her faith that she can do it.

I think there are moments when we have to choose being a team when everything inside of our flesh wants to categorize an argument as one of those and prepare to take our ground.

A few practical things have helped me in moments like that.  One, I try to pull out of the hamster wheel of thoughts and break into the craziness with truth: Zion is for me.  It doesn’t matter what the feelings are telling me…I have to shift to simply believing that.  Because it is true!  It IS truth.  And it’s a game changer when I make that shift.  And two, I simply try to start identifying within myself that I’m feeling like we are on different teams.  Send up the alert!  It never goes well when we are on different teams so simply identifying that we are heading in that direction helps us both take a deep breath and try again.

My dad always says that yes, two people do instantaneously become one when they are married.  But, they also become one over a long period of time.  My personal theory is that we will forever be on that road of becoming more one…and it’s beautiful.  It is so very worth it my friend.  Take it from one who’s still in the process and has to remind herself to play on her husband’s team….becoming more one has big payoffs.

And now it’s time for the giveaway that brings SO MUCH happiness to me!  LOL.  Of course it’s cookies! Can I tell you about Libby’s cookies?  They are yum.  Libby makes one thing and she makes them with excellence: sugar cookies.  She took her grandmother’s famous recipe and turned it into a business.  These cookies are everything a sugar cookie should be.  They are fat.  They are not dry.  They are the perfect combo of soft/chewy/dense.  And there is the best hint of almond throughout it.  You taste it and you say to yourself – yep, this is what a sugar cookie is supposed to taste like.  So let me give you a pot of her adorable Valentine’s Day cookies!  All you have to do is go back to my facebook post and comment to be entered. (Blogger is the worst for letting people make comments here….planning to switch to WordPress this year)  This is a local Tulsa prize, so if you’re not from Tulsa still enter and you can either choose someone here to have the cookies delivered to or I can choose someone who needs an extra special pick-me-up and give them on your behalf.  I can’t wait to see who wins!  I will put the number of comments in a bag, one number on each piece of paper, and if I draw 6 and you’re the sixth comment – YOU WIN!!!!  I’ll do it on Sunday afternoon and deliver cookies on Tuesday!  And please go follow Libby on Facebook….you won’t be sorry.

Lots of love and happy weekending to you!  See you next week for the last blog on marriage advice from wise women….it’s going to be a good one!

Abi