On Sunday I went to watch my son’s first football game of the season. I didn’t see much of it because I was distracted by this handsome football official. He’s not wearing stripes yet but he will in the next game. He’s new at officiating. It was a very fun day, but maybe last year I would have been annoyed because he wasn’t right next to me watching the game and holding my hand and stuff……….doesn’t he want to spend time with me, I whined to myself?
“It seems such a difficult task for so many to realize that happiness and love are not gotten by force of will, nor are they automatically granted simply because you show up. The greatest amount of getting is through giving. If you take care of the ones you love, even when you’re hurting or not in the mood or they’ve done something to annoy you, it not only shows love, it primes them to be more giving…..selfishness not only cuts out your partner, it cuts out God, and without God, there is only ‘me’. And ‘me’ is ultimately alone.” L. Schlessinger
Marriage is an ongoing work of learning and staying even when, once in a while, the relationship seems impossible to keep peaceable. The most recent and personal lesson I have learned lately is that my own well meaning opinions can really be “righteous indignation” in disguise. “I just know I’m right about these things so I’m going to dwell on the ways our marriage could be better if only I could get my points made.” I got myself so frustrated with this futile thinking that I finally decided to give up “caring” about things like “he’s never home at any particular time so we miss family dinners, everyone knows families that eat dinner together around the table like the Waltons are the best and highest standard we all should achieve”. At the time, I thought maybe if I gave up the fight of “wanting our marriage and family to be better” (using my personal and plenteous ideas that I worked very hard to think up, a whole long list of things which could be greatly improved) than it would allow me to move on to a greater and healthier independence as a female who didn’t need a man after all. The joke was on me because when I did that, stopped nagging, stopped expecting more in our marriage, I actually became free and happy. He was already free, but then I joined him. My expectations were out the window, therefore ANY LITTLE THING that happened between us was a real and honest blessing to me. Nothing changed, we love each other deeply, have always loved each other, he’s the man for me, nothing changed–but my attitude, which is no small wonder. It was really weird. I’m still rather perplexed by it. However, I am grateful that God has saved me once again from becoming the woman who is always studying (thinking) but never gaining knowledge. Amen! 1 Timothy 3:7
And you know what? Our family life is just fine even though we only eat around the table maybe once a week. So there, studies! (Don’t listen to the studies, just live your life! It’s a beautiful thing.)