I’ve had one terrible week. Let me take you on this journey that I’ve recently, but not willingly, embarked on. First, I got laid off from my high paying job right after I bought my first house. Next day, I get the flu. Next day, (and this is in real chronological order) my dog gets parvovirus. Obviously I have no money for the vet, but I take him anyway because my wife loves this dog. There’s about 90$ out the window. So as I stayed up every night due to the stress, sickness, and nursing my puppy back to health, I looked over at my wife who is fast asleep. I’m 21 and she is 19. I wondered how she falls asleep so soundly. Then it hits me: she trusts in me. She is counting on me to take care of her and her dog. In this life, there is no do over. There are rarely any true second chances. So fast forward ten days to now. I’m sitting here, unemployed, cleaning our house. Today I have come to a realization: you have to be able to enjoy nothing before you can appreciate anything. I don’t know why all this happened to me in the course of a week. Maybe it was time to give me a reality check. Maybe I was about to cross the point where a cheap McDonalds meal with my wife at 2 AM would no longer be that fun anymore. But know I realize that the cheap or free things in life are sometimes the things that make life worth living. Sometimes you have to go to the park late at night and enjoy the vacant swingset before you can really enjoy a weekend at the amusement park. Don’t try to rush life. If you’re young, don’t focus on building a career more than you focus on living your life. The future is important, the past is gone, but the present is now. And now is when you need to remember who you are and what makes you tick. If you have to stay up all night watching Ricky Bobby and Terminator, then do it. If you have to stay in all day with your significant other and watch scary movies or play videogames in order to get your composure back, then that’s OK. Just remember that life is still going on outside, and you have to return to it. But for now, go get some Taco Bell, sit on the couch, watch your guilty pleasure movie or TV show, and get back to your life tomorrow.
Some of my favorite times are when I’m in a deep discussion with someone who shares my passion for whatever it is we’re talking about. Alot of times it’s with my wife when we go on long car rides. We might randomly give each other some scenario and then discuss what we would do in a situation. It may sound kinda dumb, but I think it really excersises the brain. Conversation is one of the most important aspects to being human, yet so many people don’t know how to do it anymore.
We all see it everywhere we go. People sitting next to each other glued to their phones as if nobody else existed. We are under the impression that social media brings us closer together, but come on how does a minion meme allow you to get to know someone better? It doesn’t. I recently deleted my Facebook account after I came to a startling realization: I really don’t care about most of the people I’m “friends” with. I don’t hate them, but I don’t care about what they post. Ever. And the ones I do care about, I keep in touch with their lives by actually talking to them from time to time. Now, I’m not anti-facebook. It just wasn’t for me. I know alot of people use it because they have actual friends who post actual things that are actually happening with them. And I get that. But Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; these are things we should use when there isn’t anybody around. Not when you’re sitting at the dinner table with family and friends. Put the phone down, and ask questions. Give answers. Tell jokes. Do whatever you have to do to converse with each other. Learn about each other.
When I was at basic training for the Army, we didn’t have our phones. There were people from all over the United States and even a couple people from other countries. When we had down time on Sundays, or when we were cleaning our weapons or up at night for guard duty, we had to find something to talk about. Trust me, what you have to say isn’t stupid. We talked about everything you can imagine. Movies, food, our families, religious debates, we talked about it all. If we had our phones, none of us would have gotten to know each other near as much. Not even close. I had to find things in common with someone from a completely different culture than me. I also had to learn about them and I got insights on how different people think and how different people grow up in other parts of the country.
It seems like every other person I meet has some sort of social anxiety or they just flat out don’t like talking to people. I understand some people can’t help real social anxiety, but alot of people who claim to have it just aren’t used to talking to people. It’s ok to say hello to a stranger on the sidewalk or to ask someone about their clothes or their phone. Get over yourself. They’re not judging you or making fun of you in their head. And even if they did, who cares?! They’re the ones missing out on getting to know you. Put away your phone and enjoy life a little bit. Learn something new about someone, whether it be a stranger or someone you’ve known your whole life. Everybody has a story, and everybody has something to say. Just remember that everybody you meet knows somethong that you don’t. Don’t waste your opportunity to learn about people by staring at your phone.
Anyway, I just had my one year anniversary. I know that’s not a long time, but i can already tell what the hardest part is. For me, the hardest part of being married is always having someone there to see you at your best, as well as at your worst. Even my parents never knew half the things I struggled with. My best friends knew only a little. But my wife knows everything that I struggle with. She is there when we are all “spiritual” and reading the Bible and praying together, but she is also there when I fall. When life gets me down and I turn my back on God. When the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I curse and scream and forsake the very God that saved my soul. I know she doesn’t judge me. I know she would never think poorly of me because of my constant hypocrisy. But knowing that another person has seen me at my lowest, that makes it so much harder to pick myself up and turn back to God. You see for me, its easy to hurt and lose myself and fall when it’s just me and God. Becasue I know that He will forgive me. I know I can turn back to Him. If I want to. If I feel like it. I dont have to make any commitments right away because there isn’t anybody else there. I know God is there, but we all know its easier to turn away from Him when no one else knows about it.
With my wife there, I have constant accountability. And not just with spiritual matters. We’ve all started a diet then fell off the wagon in like two days. That’s just sad. But when there’s someone else there to see you fall off the wagon, it feels pathetic. Or when you need to fix the leaky faucet but you put it off way longer than you should and it worsens, you’re not the only one that has to suffer the consequences of a flooded kitchen. The same goes with the constant battle that Christians face every day. In a Christian marriage, it’s best if there is a rotation of spiritual decline. For example, sometimes I will get very discouraged and want to give up on God and quit church. But fortunately, my wife is there to lift me up and encourage me to keep going. She gets me back on my feet. And sometimes she can get discouraged and want to forget about church and God, and I will have to lift her back up. (For the record, I’m usually the one that has to be encouraged by her). That’s what I mean by a rotation. Sometimes, though, a couple can overlap their rotation with each other. Sometimes you can both be down and discouraged. And that is a very dangerous place to be in. Instead of lifting each other up, you’ll pull each other down. And the farther down in the valley you go, the more difficult it is to climb back up to the mountain top. Those are the times you need to dig in deep. Those are the times when you need to completely step out on faith. Those are the times that you are tested to see how tough your relationship truly is. When you both get down in the valley, the only one that can bring you up is God. And yes sometimes your spouse can try to drag you back down because they are still discouraged. I’ve often been that spouse. But if you truly love them, you will fight on and keep trudging up that mountainside until you get to the inevitable blessings that God has waiting for you on the other side. God’s not going to forget about you down there. In fact, He’s just waiting for you to have enough faith to look up to Him instead of yourself or even your spouse.
EditI think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been on the phone with someone we hardly know and accidentally say “bye, I love you” followed by awkward silence and a hasty explanation. Most of the time the other person understands and laughs it off. Of course, the reason we accidentally do this is because saying “I love you” has become such a trite expression in our society that, unfortunately, it’s lost alot of its meaning.
I don’t want you to think that I’m trying to tell you how to talk, but I do want you to think about the words “I love you”. First of all, think about the last time you said it to someone. Chances are, it was when you were either hanging up the phone or saying goodbye to someone. Why do we always say I love you when we say goodbye? Well whether we realize it or not it’s because when we part ways, there’s always a chance (even a small one) that we may never see that person again. As sad as that may be, we always throw out those three words as a type of insurance. That way, the last words we ever said to that person were good ones. Why? Because there is no greater thing a person can say to another person than “I love you”. Whether it’s to your spouse, kids, parents, friends, or whoever you love, it’s always good to remind them of that. But here’s a little secret: you don’t have to say only when you say goodbye. If you’re married, for example, you can remind your spouse during dinner, during a commercial, before you go to bed, etc. If it’s to your parents, it’s ok to randomly tell them you love and appreciate them. They may become suspicious, but hey at least they know. For guys, it’s almost taboo to tell your buddy you love them. And you don’t have to make it wierd or even flat out say the words. Telling them to drive safe or just taking time to ask how their life is going is enough to show you care. And guys, it’s ok to show “feelings” every now and then. A true friend can laugh at you when you hurt yourself then a week later come give you a ride at 1 AM because your car broke down. If you can’t be real with your buddy every now and then, you might want to rethink your friendship.
For married people, saying I love you can become so routine and so overused that you don’t even think about it anymore. I hear people all the time talking to their spouse on the phone, saying “I love you, bye”, and then turn around and talk about how much they can’t stand them. That always astounds me, yet I see it constantly. It’s because saying I love you has lost its meaning to them, and it’s not entirely their fault. That word is thrown around so often that people will use it for anything. The definition of love is “an intense feeling of deep affection”. Do you have an intense feeling of deep affection for… Pizza? Your favorite sports team? Your favorite pastime? Or do you just really like those things? Like I said, I don’t think you should change the way you talk (because I definetly won’t), but just think about how you use it.
This goes especially for Christians. How can we use the same word that Jesus felt for us on the cross to describe some movie star or famous singer? I’m not getting on to you because I’ve said I love those things too, but next time think about it before you say it. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all need to take the time to evaluate what is really important to us and why we love the people that we do. Don’t let that word lose its meaning because it’s the greatest thing you could ever say to somebody.
“Not my child!” “I trust my kid!” These are some not-so-great quotes from far too many parents. The ramifications from having these mindsets are pretty obvious. Those being the usual problems that come from being a naive parent. This can lead to your children running around and doing anything they want. These consequences are fairly obvious and are addressed in a number of blogs, forums, books, and magazines. However, there are other problems that arise from these delusions.
From the viewpoint of a son, I can say that there are other issues with having these thoughts as a parent. First of all, let me just say that the higher of a pedestal you put your kid, the more painful it will be for them when he or she inevitably falls. I say inevitably because nobody is perfect, especially children and teenagers. Your teenager is going to fail. They are going to let you down. So don’t make them feel like the world is ending because they disobeyed you. I am all for discipline, but there is a difference between an act of discipline and constantly reminding them that you expect perfection and nothing less. I’ve seen the toll it takes on kids and teenagers when they try to do right, not because of their particular moral standings, but because they are afraid of letting down their parents. Never ever ever assume that there is an act or sin they will not commit. You may think “well my son isn’t perfect, but he would never try drugs” or maybe “my daughter is smart and mature enough to decide not to have sex before she’s ready”. But guess what? No matter how well you have raised them up and no matter how great of a kid they are, they are going to mess up and it might be in the area you absolutley least expect. Now what? Your kid has done the unthinkable (whatever that may be) and one of two things are going to happen.
The first and most common scenario: they do something against your wishes and they are terrified of telling you because for the past thirteen years or so you have drilled it into their head that you would be horrified if you ever found out they did something wrong. I’ve noticed this alot, and almost exclusivley in Christian households. What happens then? Well, they will most likely turn to someone else because the do have guilt but can’t express it because they are afraid of letting you down. This person will most likely be a friend, and this friend will be just as inexperienced and immature as your child. They won’t turn to the one person (you) that can help them because they are afraid of being hated.
Ok, second scenario. You have to have very open communication with your child for this to happen. Your kid does something bad, and he or she feels guilty because they know that they have let you down. They decide to come clean because they know that you could never hate them and you realize that people make mistakes. This requires for you to actively and repeatedly enforce the fact that you expect their best, not perfection. This, of course, doens’t mean you need to slack up on whatever discipline method you use. It only means to reinstate that you will always love and forgive them no matter what.
Now I don’t have any kids, so take what I say and apply it to whatever situation you’re in because I also know that every kid and every parent and every family is different. Before you think I’m trying to teach you how to raise kids, I’m not. I’m only trying to show people how it feels when your parents expect you to be perfect. I know parents mean well, but sometimes it feels like they pick certain things like cussing, sex, whatever, and say that you can never do these things or else they will hate and shun you. Don’t do that! Let them know that you would be extremely disappointed and there will be consequences, but also let them know that you will forgive them and that you understand they’re not perfect.
So don’t ever say your child is “too smart” or “too good” to fall into these mistakes. Don’t constantly brag to other parents about how great and perfect your kid is, because that just magnifies the pressure they’re under. I’ve seen good Christian parents raise children who go out and have sex or do drugs, but because they think their parents won’t be able to handle it if they found out, they turn to the very influences that led them astray in the first place. This, of coures, causes them to continue doing it and, before you know it, they’re addicted to whatever it was that seemed so outlandish in the first place; all because they were afraid to talk to you about it.
Well last night me and my wife went camping! OK we set up the tent in the living room and watched scary movies but it’s about as close to camping as she’ll ever go. Anyway we set up the tent, lit some candles (aka a campfire), and since we didn’t have any hotdogs or marshmallows, I cooked some quesadillas on the griddle. I threw all our blankets and pillows in the tent and even invited our dogs to sleep with us. We each chose a scary movie to watch and stayed up until like 3 in the morning. Oh and did I mention we don’t have children? That’s right we did this all for ourselves. We all have an inner child, and there’s nothing wrong with expressing it once in a while. Honestly I express mine daily. For some reason, people think that society (mainstream media, Hollywood, etc.) has to dictate how we act, even when we’re alone. I believe there aren’t enough people willing to show their imaginative side because they’re afraid of what others might think. Hey guess what? It’s OK to watch Looney Tunes or Pixar movies once in a while (or every day for all I care). It’s OK to build a fort or have an airsoft war. Go outside at night with some friends and play hide and seek. Oh it’s not “adult” enough? Well what is being an “adult”? Being boring and dull? Being miserable because your childhood dreams and likes and interests are just distant memories? Nay! Being an adult is whatever you want to make of it. Just make money and pay bills. Everything else is only limited by your imagination. So no matter if you’re 5, 15, 25, or 85, never be afraid to express your inner child. Not everything has to be planned out and boring.
OK so I just found out that there is another, more famous (or infamous) Kyle Payne on the internet. Apparently this guy is some sexually confused neo-feminist/sexual predator. Just wanted to let everybody know that I am not in any way related to or affiliated with this guy. I’m just a normal, married (to a woman) guy just writing about stuff. I believe that sexual predators, rapists, paedophiles, and all those sorts should be rounded up and executed. Yeah I know some people think that’s pretty harsh but not to me. I have no tolerance for any kind of deviant sexual crime. And I don’t think anybody should have tolerance for that either. WARNING: RELIGIOUS/BIBLICAL CONTENT AHEAD The Bible says in Leviticus, that anyone who commits any kind of immoral, sexual act (including rape and incest) should be put to death, and I agree. In Matthew 18:6, Jesus says that if anyone should hurt a little child, it would be better for a millstone (big rock) to be hung around his neck and him be thrown into the sea and drown. So now you know how I stand on this issue. Very strongly.
OK time for a little rant. You know what perturbs me? When you see these young married couples out and about, but the husband is always a major jerk to his wife! I know I’m not the only person who notices this. For some reason, the guy feels the need to act all dominant and superior by being mean and degrading her. And I think I know why. You see, for some reason men throughout time have needed to feel better about themselves, so they try to accentuate how manly they are by putting down women. Now I’m not some feminist advocate by no means, but seriously guys we need to step it up with the way we treat our women. And if you’re a feminist, you might be upset by the way I just alluded to the idea of ownership of women. Well guess what, our wives are just that: ours. And not in the way of “I own you so do what I say”, I mean that in the way of “your mine and I will care for you and protect you by all means necessary.” Yes our wives belong to us and we belong to our wives. If you think you’re too manly to hold her hand or hold her purse in public, maybe you’re not ready to be married. If you’re too manly to go to the park and push her on the swings, you need to be alone for a while and reflect on why you feel so insecure. Let me open my own life and reveal what I mean. I love action movies. I love comedies like Step Brothers and Dumb and Dumber. I love shooting guns, collecting knives, and practicing with my recurve bow. I train in MMA and I’m in the army. But I found something out last night. I absolutey love the show Gilmore Girls. Yikes. Pretty girly I know. But I am now addicted to that show. More addicted than I am to Walking Dead or Daredevil (two shows I love). I’ll also eat ice cream right off the cone. In public. We own two dogs. Her dog is a German Shepherd/Doberman mix. Mine, brace yourself, is a Chihuahua/Weenie dog mix. But he’s feisty, so it’s ok. I say all these things to make a point, and that point is this: it’s OK to embrace your, uh, non-masculinity. To me, being truly masculine is being able to say “hey, I have likes and interests that society (especially here in the South) does not deem manly enough.” But I say forget society and forget their rules. A real man will forget about his need to be superior, and treat his wife like the princess she is. Does she nag you alot and complain? Try bending over backwards to make her happy. Every day. Every time you can. Sounds like alot of effort, right? Well isn’t she worth that effort? If not, then you shouldn’t have married her in the first place. Try surprising her sometimes. After work, stop by the store and buy her favorite cupcakes. Try watching a movie she likes even though she got to pick the last one. You’ll live! You’re the man here. You need to let things slide. If you get into an argument, and she is clearly wrong about it, don’t drive it into the ground. Let it slide. Forget about it. You won. It’s over. Be the bigger man. Literally. If you’re in public, don’t degrade her. Praise her and show her off. Be on her side. Every time. Always be in her corner. Come on guys, (especially young guys like me) we need to show the world that we can be the good old fashioned gentlemen who treat their women like queens without any hesitation.