It’s fun to look through “blogland” and see that marriage is a pretty common topic of discussion. (especially on Mondays it appears) That is encouraging to me because I (we) have learned through practical experience that marriages don’t just bloom and grow automatically. Mark and I read a devotion on our way home from our weekly road trip that brought up a simple observation. A man who works with marriages alot compared asking an engaged woman and a married woman about their man. He stated that when he asks an engaged gal she can easily go on for 10 minutes telling him all the great traits and abilities of her fiancee’. He said that most often when he asks a married woman she tells him of all the things her husband isn’t or does not do. How sad is that?
I know this is an accurate observation from our experience mentoring. Pre-marital mentoring is full of smiles and giggles, dreams and goals. We are starting a new couple this week. It will be fun. Marriage mentoring is a whole different experience. If there is not complete uncontrolled anger, then there is hurt and fear with much more caution in the words. Sometimes there is just this lost look. They are unsure what to say and where to start. What happens? Well there is no one answer that can answer that however I do have a thought that seems pretty universal. We allow “life” to get in the way. We become distracted. We gradually get sucked into the mentality that what everyone else thinks is really important in our life. We think we need to be working harder to get the next promotion at work. We need to be home room mom for all of our kids at least every other year. We need to be a part of that hobby group and then there is always the church activities. Teaching Sunday school isn’t enough we need to help with the women’s ministry and fix food for every funeral or birth that happens. Men, you aren’t off the hook. You do the same thing with different activities. What happens to your relationships, marriage in particular? The answer? They get very little of your “first” energy, time or attention. I don’t know about you but when I’m tired my patience, enthusiasm, creativity…well about anything good is not at it’s best and my tongue tends to be very short and sharp. Why? Because life becomes all about “me.” I am busy. I need to get this or that done. I need…and you are interrupting my plan or maybe even adding something to my list. Sound familiar?
This past week I was a bit overwhelmed with life, mostly mentally. Mark and I have come a long ways in our nearly 31 years. I didn’t express my feelings through anger or tears. I did think a couple of times, “he can’t know where I’m at if I don’t tell him.” So without making a huge issue I mentioned that I was “swimming mentally”. He got it. He “took care of himself” more than normal last week. He allowed me to be quiet. I worked hard to see what really needed to be done and do that and not worry too much about the rest of my “list.” Our weekend ended with our ministry in another town letting us know there was a community event happening at 2:30 that we “could stay for…” Mark very graciously looked at me and said, while he was sure we would enjoy it we needed to go home. His wife needed a break before starting the week all over again. Perfect! There was a time in our life when we both would have thought we had to stay, totally because of other people’s expectations. No more. We will serve them better when we stay focused and rested. What about you? How do you put your marriage relationship at the top of the priority list? Do you, personally realize that you can’t do everything? This is a lesson we need to be talking about to help each other and ourselves learn because it is counter-cultural right now.