Monday, September 3, 2012

Marriage Advice: Own Your Words

Lillian Joyce Childress
& William Boaz Beer
My parents were married on September 3, 1949. They'd been married nearly 52 years when my mother passed away.

Thinking about their marriage reminds me of my effort to come up with advice for newlyweds. I've decided to occasionally share the ideas I've come up with, and this anniversary seems a good time to start.

Several years ago, our area church leaders discussed, among other things, the idea of Owning your Words. I believe our congregation was the first to see this presentation, and it was a bit rough. Even so, although I can't remember anything else about their presentation, I remember clearly the need to Own our Words.

Our recent trip to Wisconsin provided the perfect illustration of this principle.

Whenever we travel, Jim and I make it a point to look for yarn stores and coin stores. This trip, we couldn't find the latter, but we did locate a yarn store in Fish Creek. One morning, when it was pouring rain and Joyce was at rehearsal and Dave was doing laundry, Jim & I tracked down Red Sock Yarns and checked it out. It was not a large store, and it didn't take long to scope it out. We chatted a bit with other customers, and then I approached the girl at the counter with my standard question: "We're visiting from out of town. What can I find here that I wouldn't find at my local yarn store?"

She promptly showed me two yarns. One was a sock yarn, from Sunshine Yarns. This is a small company, based in Boulder Colorado, that creates hand-dyed yarns. As with most indie (independent) dyers, you seldom see their work in retail stores (they generally reach their market through the Internet, and through fiber shows), so seeing the colors in the store was a unique opportunity. It was a plus that I'd actually heard of this particular dyer, on podcasts and blogs. The store offered several luscious colorways.

Option 1: Sunshine Yarns

The second yarn was also a fingering weight yarn, by Swans Island. This company was founded on Swans Island, Maine, in the early 1990's, making their own dyestuffs, weaving on hand looms, and crafting beautiful wool blankets. This yarn, an organic merino, was created using the same standards, and it was lovely, just begging to be held and stroked. The store employee then showed me a shawl knit with this yarn, the Panoramic Stole, by Hannah Fettig.

Option 2: Swans Island

Well, I will tell you, nothing captures my heart faster than holding a soft, squishy yarn, reading of the mindful way it was created, and then seeing a lovely garment knit from it. I knew where this was going.

Then Jim showed me, "Look, here are two skeins of that Sunshine Yarn, in this beautiful Wedgewood colorway." (You've got to love a husband who understands colorways and dye lots, and the benefits of multiple skeins.)

"Yes," I agreed, "that is a beautiful color." And then I turned my attention back to the Swans Island dream yarn.

But it was not to be. As often as I returned to the Swans Island yarn, Jim pulled my attention back to Sunshine Yarn's Wedgewood, with its tonal shades (and Jim is right, I do love tonals). And in the end, that is what I bought to take home.

As we drove back to the lodge to meet Dave, I was Not Happy. I didn't say anything, but I was lamenting the loss of the other yarn, wishing I'd bought it, mad that I'd given in and bought the yarn Jim had promoted. I was annoyed with Jim, for being so involved and not letting me get the yarn I really wanted. I was quickly extrapolating this to all the other times I'd given in and bought something because he liked it, even though it wasn't my own first choice.

Suddenly, I listened to my own thoughts, and observed that I was behaving rather like a child (and an unpleasant one at that). And I remembered Ned's lesson from that presentation several years ago, and realized, "I'm not Owning my Words."

I had told Jim I liked the yarn. I had taken it to the counter and paid for it. Those were My Words and My Actions. And now I was not Owning them, and was about to behave like a first class jerk.

I made the decision then and there to Own my Words, and behave as though I liked the yarn I'd purchased. (And I did like it, for Pete's sake!). We got back to our room, and while waiting for Dave, hopped onto Ravelry to see what other people had knitted with this yarn, and to think about what I could use it for. When Dave joined us, I untwisted the yarn to show him the different shades, and he pretended to be interested, and then together we went out and bought glorious Wisconsin cheese.

Disaster averted! Remember: Own your Words.

P.S. I think the yarn is going to become these socks.


  1. Outstanding advice. (and I own those words...)

  2. Good advice!! We also visit yarn stores while traveling to other counts as a souvenir and not stash! :)

    Thank you so much for dropping by the blog! Sounds like you'll be getting some socks on the needles in no time!!PSL is a pumpkin spice latte...they are a harbinger of autumn (my fave season) and rumor has it that Starbucks will start carrying them again today!! woo hoo!! :)

  3. Ooh, good advice...something I need to take to heart. :)