I’ve said this before, but I’ve had a very fortunate life growing up as a child. It didn’t seem that way at the time, I felt I had a unfortunate in many ways. One memory that sticks out in my mind is from the first grade. St. Nick had just been to our house to pick up our letters, it was a fun morning seeing the paper list had vanished sometime during the night. It was fun to get the mixed nuts and oranges he had left for us. Cracking those nuts was, indeed, the best part. That day was also a school day and I quickly learned not everyone received the same nuts and oranges our family did. In fact, some of my friends had gotten gifts. I had no idea what I had done year after year that warranted no gift from St. Nick. Why no gift for my sisters and me?
Today, I completely understand, and am thankful for no gift having been given. I myself am tempted to go over the top with buying things for my kids to show them I like to give to them, even when I know it is the wrong way of expressing that type of love. My parents didn’t start out with a whole lot to give us “things” but even when they did have the money later on in life, it just wasn’t their style. We did things together, lots of things. We built these relationships that I literally can’t forget.
A friend of mine once told me, “I used to have this favorite uncle…” That favorite uncle was always bringing something cool to their home, some sort of gift to keep. As time went on, my friend realized there wasn’t much there, when it came to his uncle. He had no other memory, no other relationship. He was actually just trying to be the favorite all along, and it absolutely did work, but not permanently.
Where am I going with this, you ask.
Well, we’re hopping on the marriage express for a bit.
Are you doing your part to build the relationship with your spouse? You know buying flowers, or thoughtful gifts won’t win them over, but what else is getting in your way? I love acts of services, gifts, kind words, but what does my husband really know me anymore? I’ve changed since our wedding day all those years ago. Have I taken the time to get to know him? How has he changed?
If you think you’re not trying to buy his/her love, then think about these statements.
I work hard everyday to put food on the table when he comes home from work, isn’t that enough?
I go to work and put in long hours to make money for her to spend however she wishes, isn’t that enough?
I let him sleep in every Saturday morning and tend to the children alone, even though I don’t get a day to sleep in, isn’t that enough?
I gave the kids a bath tonight so she could get some “me” time, isn’t that enough?
I could come up with a half million or more examples, but do you catch my drift? All of these things are nice or even thoughtful, but that doesn’t mean you’re putting in the work to help your relationship. Those are great acts of selfless love, but what is it doing for you keeping your marriage going? We do this all the time, he and I. We power through the day and try to be pleasant during it all but forgetting to take an interest in the way each of us is growing.
On my end, I want to share my interests with my husband, and have him really hear what’s in my heart. I feel like if he would get to know me, the newer version of me, he could see my intentions clearly.
As for him, I’ll have to do better at finding that out. I’ll have to do more to ask questions I don’t know the answers to and inquire about what I’m missing out on. I’ll have to listen when he tells me things spontaneously and pay attention to what he’s saying when he gets really excited. I’ll need to watch him from a far to see if I notice when he’s in his element or even just enjoying himself and the life he’s leading. I’ll need to hold on to him more to show him I want to know who he is and I want to support what he’s doing. He needs me to be perceptive. Nope, scratch that. Our marriage needs me to be perceptive.
One last note before I ask you to take these small steps with me: Like me, you may want to be heard and seen for who you truly are. You can’t control that right now. Ugh, that’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true and knowing the truth can save you some hard heartache. You have to put in the time and effort to be a remarkable wife and do this for him. Most likely he will see you and reciprocate. That reciprocation could take a week, or a month, or perhaps five years or more. If you need to know this, then I’ll tell you willingly… I am the world’s worst at modeling and not expecting something in return. Yes I wrote During Hard Times, It is Okay to Choose You… I Did. . Yes that’s all true, but every time a new situation arises when I have to put my full trust in God to get what I need, it is excruciatingly difficult. I’m human, and I disappoint myself sometimes, but I’m working on it. One day at a time.