I saw a video circulating around Facebook earlier today. The purpose was to demean and devalue the Presidents relationship with his wife. The funniest part is the friend who shared the video has never been in a marriage. It’s easy to look at bits and pieces of someone’s relationship and think we know all about it. The truth though is relationships are difficult. They go through ups and downs that come along with moments we feel ashamed at our own behavior and other times we feel strong, resilient and proud. Imagine if we all turned our time and attention inward. What difference would be made if we stopped watching and judging other people and worked on our own relationships. In a world where we mind everyone else’s business, maybe it’s time to pause and focus our mind on working on ourselves. And that is my Monday minute. Let me know what you think.
I do. Those are the words I spoke when I stood on the alter 18 years ago on this very day. I was 27 years old then and I had no idea what I was agreeing to. As time went by, the silly notion I had of marriage was replaced by the reality of what that kind of commitment really means.
I do meant saying less and doing more. It meant holding my tongue in moments of anger and learning patience in the midst of frustration. It meant learning to overlook the piles left on the sink, the counter and around every corner. It meant losing myself as I raised small children and getting up early on days when what I really needed to do was sleep. It was learning to clean up throw up and everything else that was left on the floor. It was watching my babies go off to school and lying awake crying at night because of the struggles they were going through. It meant watching the smile on my daughters face as she passed her drivers test and feeling my heart sink the first time she drove away. It meant long hours of school work helping Chase at the kitchen table and years of fight with schools to get him the help he really needs. It meant waking up on Christmas morning and thanking God for the family that was gathered around me. It meant recommitting to our relationship and fighting hard to get it back after we let it go astray. It meant traveling to wonderful places and making memories that still put a smile on my face. It meant fighting through depression on the days I didn’t want to get out of bed. It meant loving people on days I felt I didn’t have an ounce of love to give and finding the right words on days I didn’t want to speak. It meant being faithful and trusting the man I chose on this journey of life was the right man for me. It meant respecting him and loving him and building a friendship with him that was like no other. It meant allowing him to know my heart, my fears, my dreams and trusting he would still love me at the end of the day.
I had no idea then but I know more now. Life is hard. It is amazing but there are times that will test and rip you apart and those are the days you have to softly repeat, I do, I can, I will. It’s reminding myself on a daily basis that we are in the same boat and it is up to us to row or watch it sink. It is choosing to be on the same team even when it feels like we are playing different games.
Happy anniversary to my husband who I love and appreciate more every year. I pray we will celebrate many more.
I remember going to the meat market when I was a little girl. We would walk up to the counter, take a number and make our way to the back of the line. One by one, numbers would flash across the board in red and customers would purchase their meat and move on. We’d stand and wait until it was our turn.
When I took Kayleigh to get her license, we grabbed another number and sat down on a chair to wait. The anticipation was building and as her number got closer, I could see the excitement on her face.
There is also a number in life. You don’t physically walk up to a counter and take one in your hand but you wait just the same. You wait for your husband to finish up his work so maybe you can have a conversation before its time to go to bed. You wait for your daughter to get home from practice so you can feed her dinner and clean up the plates. You wait for your son to finish his homework so you can finally sit down and take time for yourself. You wait and wait and then it’s time to go to bed. Maybe tomorrow you say to yourself as you lay awake hoping to fall asleep. Then you wake up and do it again and again. Everywhere you go, it’s the same thing. Take a number please, I will be with you as soon as I can. Days turn into weeks and weeks into years and one day you run out of numbers to take.
Time is so precious. Why is life filled with the wrong things? Endless hours of work, homework, chores, bills but when is it time for the living part? When will there be time to sit down and have a conversation without being mentally pulled to finish those “important” things on your list? When did family stop being a priority? When did couples stop spending time together? When did families and relationships start to fall apart so easily?
Take a number. You are right after folding clothes and starting the dishwasher. Almost time, you are up after helping with homework and checking email. Just a few more minutes after doing bills and watching tv. After many hours the sign goes up, sorry we’re closed. Come back tomorrow. Maybe one day you won’t come back. There will be no more waiting. You are not a number.
How do you keep problems outside of your relationship from leaking in? Relationships are hard. They require commitment, patience, forgiveness and unconditional acceptance. If every couple lived on their own little island and in their own little world, you can bet those relationships would be very different than the ones in the real world. You have two people bringing all kinds of baggage to the table and slowly over the years, they feel safe enough to unpack. Add bills and kids and work, depression, frustration, you name it and the relationship gets buried underneath it all. Two wonderful people get trapped there suffocating in those little things that overnight seem to have gotten overwhelmingly big. It’s easy to stop seeing each other as human beings, man and woman and lose sight of the reasons you married each other all those years ago. When you were dating, your conversations were not consumed by problems and frustrations but rather focused on getting to know each other better. I know there is so much I don’t know about my own husband and plenty he doesn’t know about me. Somewhere along this journey we stopped talking about our dreams and became panicked about our reality. There are so many stressors constantly pulling both in so many directions and it’s hard to not lose each other along the way. It’s easier to act aggressively than it is to ask for love. It’s easier to stay angry then it is to let go of what is bothering you most. It’s easy to take your frustrations out on the closest person around and unfortunately, it is usually your spouse. So how do you push it all away and lock it outside?How do you prevent all those worries and all the stress from coming in between a bond that took you many, long years to build? There is no pill for that. No quick fix to magically melt the burdens of living away. It comes down to being accountable for your part in the relationship and making choices that will enhance the relationship and not tear it down.
I challenge you and myself to build a wall around your marriage for one week and not let the problems of the world seep in. Do you think it’s possible? Are you willing to try?
Somedays it’s easy to list things to be grateful for. Today is one of those days. The weather is absolutely beautiful. There is a cool breeze and nothing makes me happier than sporting my most comfortable sweatshirt. I do not have a single ounce of anxiety today and I am loving this amazing wave of calm that has luckily embraced me. I even snuck a few minutes of quality time in when I met my husband for lunch earlier. I love days like this when my heart is full. How is your day going today? What are you grateful for?
If you do your share, you won’t have to keep score. Often times, we look at our partner and carry a mental list of what we think they are not doing. After all, we are all human and it’s pretty aggravating when someone is not pulling their share of the load. The more we complain, the less they do. The voices in our head will carry on dialogue that sounds something like this.
“He didn’t pick the clothes up off the floor so I won’t wash his clothes anymore. Why should I pick up his clothes when he is a grown adult?”
In the meantime, he is sitting on the couch thinking something like this.
“She leaves her glass on the table every night so why should I bother to pick up mine? Maybe if I leave mine on the table, she wil realize how annoying it is and finally pick up hers. If not, we will let them sit on the table until there’s no more room.”
Can you see how counterproductive this kind of thinking is? You cannot change your partner but not doing your share to prove a point will not lead to anywhere good. Neither will nagging or pointing fingers.
Everyone should do their share. Marriage is a partnership where two people are meant to work together as a team. If you’re not, then shame on you. And what’s worse, if you are not doing your share while pointing a finger at your partner for not doing his or her share, than that makes you a real jerk. Knock it off, pick up your clothes and put your dishes in the sink. Then go out on a nice date and remember why you fell in love in the first place or talk about why you don’t feel loving anymore.
We speak often about when it’s time to let go. We fail to remember, sometimes we are meant to build bridges stronger rather than striking a match to burn them down.
When it comes to relationships, often times our pride and ego get in the way. We tell ourselves people don’t deserve our love or kindness and we make the choice to cut them out of our life or worse, we stay and go through the motions imprisoning the other person we never really intend to have a real relationship with again. The truth is, sometimes when someone is pushing us away, it’s necessary to hold on a little bit tighter. People are stubborn today. They also lack a healthy amount of self control. They say and do things that hurt us in the most horrible ways just because they can’t stop themselves. Do we ever ask ourselves if maybe we do the same? Often it takes one person to continue to act from a place of love to assure the relationship will eventually be restored. What I know for certain is someone has to be the bigger person. Someone has to choose to act better to salvage the part of the relationship that might be worth saving. We have to learn to forgive and move on and stop ourselves from saying hateful things out of anger. We need to choose to come from a place of love with our words and actions if we are truly serious about saving our relationships. Sure we can decide we’ve had enough but we cannot ignore the way we damaged the relationship and pass the blame onto somebody else. Relationships are between two people and there is always room for improvement regardless of what side of that relationship you are on. We cannot give up on every relationship when the reality of our humanness shows itself or when we discover our partner isn’t the perfect image we created them to be. No one is perfect so it’s no surprise relationships aren’t perfect either. If you want a good one and you want a good partner, then maybe this is the time you need to choose to be one. Start there. You can’t change your partner but you do have the opportunity to change yourself.
Remember, anyone can throw a match but it takes a strong, patient, dedicated person to build a solid bridge.
There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this~Terry Pratchett