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.
Today Kirsten Apgar is joining us. Kirsten has been married for about 5 years to Chris Apgar, and they live in a cute little home in Northeastern Ohio. Kirsten shares recipes and life at The Good Homemaker.
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?
I attended a traditionally structured church all through my church going life until FBLC. They don't tend to teach you how to focus on the Lord before entering a serious relationship, and they certainly don't teach it in Youth Group. So, quite honestly, the thought never occurred to me. I only did what was normal- attended church, Bible study, Sunday school, and read the Bible (on occasion). I'm not proud of the fact that I didn't do anything else other then read one book- I Kissed Dating Goodbye. If I knew half of what I know now, I would have most certainly done things differently.
What steps did you take after you met your future spouse (during dating/courtship/engagement) to keep your focus on the LORD first?
Christopher and I met while both attending college, and while I would love to say that we had a model courtship, I cannot. We were both raised on the coast- I on the East Coast, and he on the West Coast. Two of the more liberal (socially) areas. I had honestly never heard of the concept of courtship until attending FBLC. So we had the traditional dating relationship, and other then attending church and occasionally reading the Bible I did nothing to try and focus on the Lord. I was busy with school, work, and wedding planning, and when I wasn't doing any of that, my head was in the clouds. I wish that we had courted, that I had focused on the Lord more, and that I wasn't working in a stressful job that demanded overtime.
How do you think a single woman should pursue/prepare for marriage?
I think that any woman who wishes to marry should work on knowing how to run a household effectively. That should include how to properly clean the house, menu planning, knowing how to cook (from scratch), and know how to sew (even if it is just basic sewing skills). In my opinion, the home is the husband's castle. It should be clean and comfortable for him, so that he can easily relax after a long day at work.
Women should also have a full understanding of their Biblical responsibilities as a woman and wife. They should know their role as a woman, to be the helpmate and nurturer, as well as what they need to do for their husbands, i.e. submit, and most importantly be able to do just that (this does not come easily to some of us).
In what area were you the least [and/or most] prepared to be a wife?
I was most prepared to be a wife in the area of home economics. I had been watching episodes of Martha Stewart Living since I was in my early teens, reading etiquette books, and working on cooking and baking all along. I also started making my own clothes when I was fifteen. I excel in this area.
I was however seriously lacking in the communication department. I come from a family of people that do not say what they feel, and can be very degrading in how they talk to others. I struggle with these very issues, and if I had paid closer attention to what was important to my future husband, I would have begun working on my communication issues before we got married. Unfortunately I was off in la-la land, and have been working on it for the a good portion of our marriage.
What would you have done differently [and/or what you did] as a single woman to prepare for this?
Let me clarify my communication problems- I have an issue telling people when I'm upset, what I want, and I don't like to be wrong, and therefore I won't answer questions directly if I know I'm wrong. I also build walls and don't easily open up.
I don't like to tell people that I'm upset or if I want something because I don't want to upset them. I'm afraid of making people upset, afraid of rejection, and afraid on confrontation. I also want to please everyone and keep everyone happy. These issues stem from watching my mother and stepfather fight. To put it in perspective- in a large majority of their fights my stepfather would threaten to leave my mother or have fits of rage like jumping up and down on roses in a fit of rage.
These are some hurdles in marriage. Had I known that I had these problems (remember, I was in la-la land), I would have read books, sought help, and certainly prayed about it. These issues were present in our engagement but not in the forefront, and so I never really dealt with it.
What does being a helpmate look like in your marriage?
Being a helpmate for my husband means listening to his day at work. This might not seem like a big thing, but when you're husband does complex mathematical analysis it's not only boring but, well, complex. It also means listening to him when he wants to talk about some of his interests (computers, cars, etc.), helping him with projects around the house, and taking care of the little things he doesn't want to deal with.
What was the biggest surprise to you after marriage?
It is NOT a fairytale after you say "I do." There is a lot of work and no glamor in marriage after your wedding. Marriage is work, and you have to work at it even when you don't feel like it. Hollywood never shows that in the movies.
What is one thing about men you learned after marriage?
This is a little stupid thing, but it's a good point nonetheless. Men don't see a messes or notice some things like women do (unless you marry someone that's anal-retentive or has OCD). You can't fault your man for not taking the garbage out when it's right in front of the door because most likely he doesn't see it there in the first place. It would be like getting mad at a deaf person for not hearing the doorbell ring.