The Highlight of the Lowlights.

By Steph Fink

I love me some hair highlunchlights.

My fab hairstylist, Vince, honors my two spoken and one unspoken long-standing requests:

1. Obliterate the gray.

2. Don’t make me look like a soccer mom that drives a minivan (whatever, just roll with me on this one).

3. Even out the uneven bangs that I clearly self-trimmed.

Last appointment I added an additional request of, “conservative funky”. Listen, I’m a military veteran, where oxymorons are a way of life.

Vince, who donned very cute blue highlighted locks, looked confused by my “conservative funky” request. And, with one simultaneous eye-squint-pointer-finger to-the-nose-and-deep-exhale he decided the way to honor his lunatic client…copper highlights added to my chunky blonde highlights.

It’s fun to talk about my highlights. Not just with my hair but with my life too.  Social media is a great propagator of life’s highlights.

Last week I posted this pic to my personal Facebook wall. My hubby (AKA: The Finkster) and I went on our last lunch date before our boy’s school year ended. I posted this ONE highlight but didn’t include the MANY lowlights.

Hours before that cherished highlight lunch date was a dog that decided he wanted to poop inside my house, right before the bus stop, on a morning it didn’t fit my schedule. Not that it ever fits my schedule. I had to leave exactly after the boys were on the bus because I had a foot MRI. I needed the extra time to sit in traffic because that’s what people that live in metropolitan areas do. We sit in traffic.

As I sat in traffic, I talked with my Pop whose good days have been less than his bad days. It’s difficult to watch another parent slowly f-a-d-e. It sucks. Bad.

I then faced some difficult and emotionally charged emails. Listen, when you ask God to use you, buckle in, because He will. It’s an honor, privilege and sometimes it sucks. Bad.

After the MRI (where I had a nice 15 minute nap…) I arrived to marriage counseling two minutes late, because of said traffic. The difference in this counseling appointment from months ago is that we sat next to each other, held hands and laughed. I only cried once. And finally it was really good tears as I shared a big way the Finkster emotionally showed up for me. It made my eyes leak, a lot.

We aren’t the same couple that entered months ago.

Marriage is hard work. If you’re unmarried, I want you to know this. If you’re married, I want you to know this. Some days it’s just damn. hard. work.

The Finkster and I have had our own ups and our downs. We almost divorced 12 years ago. I’m telling you straight up…God saved our marriage, I know it was God because we were both done and lived at different residences. I quit. I had my lawyer draft a divorce decree. We divided our stuff. We were done.

And, when I make up my mind, my mind is made up.

I’m now grateful for our dark time, wasn’t then, but am now. Marriage is awesome, really, really awesome sometimes but it’s also really hard work sometimes. That’s something that people leave out of the marriage conversation. Marriage is awesome but also hard work!

Both the Finkster and I say that being happily married is harder work than parenting. And for the record, parenting is not a walk in the park.

Getting married is easy. Anyone that’s of legal age can get married.

But having a great (I did not write perfect) marriage is hard work. Great marriages don’t happen on accident. Like a garden, great marriages need attention, watering, nurturing, the weeds picked out and permitted to have its seasons.

I’m not a fan, but also not afraid of hard work cause my man and my legacy are worth work. I’ve been gifted a best friend, lover and husband that is the kind of man that isn’t afraid of hard work…and crazy Jersey girls that require hard work.

So when you see a highlight pic, please don’t think that’s the whole picture cause it’s not. Not for me or anyone else. When we see a highlight pic, let’s not jump to any conclusions.

My inner circle friends (God help them!) know about both the highlights and lowlights and from time to time I’ll share both publicly.

My whole heart of this post isn’t to create some pathetic pity party. I have a great (not perfect) life, marriage, family, friends, church and job.  But when you see a highlight pic on my Facebook wall, Instgram or tweet don’t assume that’s the entire picture. Cause it isn’t.

I promise to do the same.

The Finkster and I have an awesome marriage today because 1. God healed our marriage 2. We’re not afraid of hard work. 3. We’ve prioritized our marriage over everything but God. Our marriage is more important than: our kids, their activities, our jobs, volunteerism, ministry and our families of origin.

So much of our kids’ security is derived from a stable home. The Finkster and I have both said, “No!” to very great opportunities because we didn’t believe it was in the best interest of US. When the Finkster and I aren’t jiving, our home isn’t a safe haven. The loud or silent stress is evident in ALL family members…even the periodic poop before the bus stop member.

At dinner when we do our “high” and “low” of the day, I intentionally share with the kids that my “high” was a great counseling session with Dad. I say it because this Momma isn’t ashamed of counseling. I care about my legacy. The strong get help. The weak stay stuck. I want my kids to know it’s important to get help and trust God to bring others to help.

If looking at one person’s highlights gives you a serious case of what I like to call the MBN’s (must be nice!), check in with God and ask Him, “Why?”

Who is a couple from your past or present that you admire? What do you admire about their marriage?  And, just cause I’m nosy, do you have any special requests for your hair stylist?

Steph Fink is an inspirational speaker, writer and blogger with a passion to encourage women with practical principles for purposeful and powerful lives. Steph blogs at encouragedinheart.org and gives daily encouragement on her Encouraged in Heart Facebook Page.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Encouraged-in-Heart-Stephanie-Fink/109784452427205

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