Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First love? Jesus.

Teachers of Good things is a series of interviews we will be conducting on Tuesdays and Thursdays here at Ruby in the Rough. It is our goal with these interviews to follow the instructions found in Titus 2:3-5 for the "older women" to teach the younger women good things such as: loving their husbands, keeping their home, and conducting themselves with all purity both before and after marriage.  

This week it is a pleasure to have Melody Preuninger, wife of Donald Preuninger, and mama to two little ones--Danielle and Timothy (Timothy due to make a first appearance in early April). Melody is my husband's older sister, and has been married for about three years now. She blogs at Travelers Together. I have always had a great deal of respect for Melody, and it is an honor to have her join us today.

As a single woman, before a serious relationship, what were some practical things you did to focus more on the Lord and less on guys and romance?

Well, when I realized at the age of 18 that I dreamed waaay too much about a future relationship with a man, I banned/threw away every romance novel in my possession, as I realized that I was focused too much on romance and not enough on my relationship with the Lord. That was a BIG help.

I then determined to begin engrafting God's Word into my heart and life, and over the next 2 years memorized the Gospel of John, John's epistles, Philippians, and part of Colossians and Proverbs. This helped me to draw nearer to the Lord, understand more of His Word, become more of the woman I needed to be, and also kept my mind off of guys...for the most part, anyway. :-)

What steps did you take after you met your future spouse (during dating/courtship/engagement) to keep your focus on the LORD first?

Hmm...I will admit, this was a hard one, since when I first began courting Donald, I had already had direct confirmation from the Lord that Donald was to be my husband...therefore, I fell in love fast and hard, and did struggle a lot with daydreaming of the future. But then, I think most girls do the same. :-) However, Donald and I made it a point to have several Bible studies with each other throughout the week--whether in person or over the phone, and nearly every phone conversation ended in both of us praying together.

Also, we decided that in order to keep our focus more on spiritual things rather than on the physical, that we would avoid touching each other, maintaining what we referred to as a "Bible's Distance" from each other. Thus, the first time we held hands, hugged, or kissed was at the wedding altar. This was a tremendous blessing to us, and made our early marriage much sweeter than I think it would have been otherwise. These two things really helped both of us to realize that this relationship was not about us, but was about the Lord and about making Him known.

How do you think single woman should pursue/prepare for marriage?

I would encourage single women to first of all spend MUCH time in God's Word, and in getting to know the Lover of their souls. If you put Jesus first in all that you do, everything else falls into place. Pursue a relationship with Him, learn about Him, and love Him. If you can love Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then He will guide you to the right man in the right time--and you will have a much more peaceful marriage if you have learned to let Jesus meet all your expectations.

After that, I would definitely recommend making sure you know the housewifely arts--cooking, cleaning, thrifty shopping, etc. While these are not a must in a relationship, they sure do help! I am so grateful to my parents for making sure that I had knowledge in all these areas before marriage. It sure made the transition from daughter to housewife much easier!

In what area were you the least [and/or most] prepared to be a wife?

Hmmm...I would have to say that I felt very prepared to be a wife when it came to taking care of a home and cooking for my hubby. Thanks to my parents' training, I had early learned how to cook, sew, clean, and take care of babies. Thus, while I do not feel proficient in much else, I must confess that I do feel knowledgeable in these areas. As to the least prepared area, I would have to say that it would be in my temperament. I still struggle in the area of having a meek and quiet spirit, and wish I had focused more on developing one before I was married, as that would undoubtedly make my poor, sweet husband's life a lot easier. :-)

What would you have done differently [and/or what you did] as a single woman to prepare for this?

I have already mentioned that my parents prepared me for being a housewife. They did this by early (age of 14) putting me in charge of the meal preparations, then I was always cleaning the house (I tend to be a clean freak), early begged my mom to teach me to sew, and ever since I can remember there was a baby sibling for me to take care of. All of that helped me to prepare for being a housewife.

As to the meek and quiet spirit, I'm not sure what I would have done to better prepare in this area, unless it were to surrender more of my will to the Lord, and learn to submit myself more lovingly and meekly to my parents and siblings when conflicts arose, instead of being my usual stubborn self. :-P

What does being a helpmate look like in your marriage?

In my marriage, this means staying at home with my baby, making sure the house stays clean and orderly (which these days, with baby #2 soon to arrive, keeping everything as orderly as I like it is a monumental task that I don't always fulfill...), and meals on the table. It means knowing how to be flexible about meal times, when my husband's uncertain job schedule means that on any given day, he could be home from anywhere from 4:00-9:00 p.m., or even later. It means knowing how to be thrifty on a sometimes tight budget.

 It means knowing how to be a good listener to my hubby when he's had a bad/stressful day. It means not getting frustrated that I have to do so much laundry due his constant need for clean work clothes (which can often be quite dirty). It means just being there for him, both as his best friend and as his loving wife, through thick and thin, no matter our situation. It means praising him for the good he does, and praying for him when he struggles. It means loving him no matter what, and appreciating all things about him.

Ultimately, it means knowing that he cannot fulfill all my expectations, but that God can. For truly, expectations ruin relationships. Therefore, I must place all my expectations in God, while thanking Him for the wonderful man He has given me to walk by my side. :-)

What was the biggest surprise to you after marriage?

Okay...this is going to sound really funny... But I must say that the biggest surprise I encountered after marriage is that Donald will actually eat leftovers! I didn't have to cook something different every single day! After we had been married for about 2 weeks, and I had faithfully been cooking a different meal every single night, my darling husband informed me that that was unnecessary, as we had all these leftovers in the refrigerator that were going to go bad if not eaten, and that we might as well eat them and save time and money. I was shocked. I thought men didn't like leftovers (or at least, my dad hadn't seemed to always care for them), so naturally assumed that Donald didn't either. Meanwhile, he had grown up in a home where his mom would cook one or two big pots of something, and they would then eat off of them for the rest of the week. As long as it was tasty, Donald didn't care. Since then, my life has been so much easier. I cook maybe 2 or 3 times a week, always making a large batch of whatever it is, and then we eat off of it until it's finished. What a life saver!

What is one thing about men you learned after marriage?

That every man is different. Just because you have heard or read that men are a certain way, does not necessarily mean that the man you marry is going to be that way too. I have discovered that Donald is much different from what I had been told men would be like--and you know what? I'm glad! Some of the things prophesied to me about men were not things I was looking forward to dealing with...but to my amazement, Donald is the complete opposite in some of these areas! I have found that a lot of it has to do with personality, love language, personal interests, and family background. So, I guess the long and short of it is, don't stereotype people!

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