I think we all know things in our gut.  I used to dismiss my “gut” feelings, but more and more I realize these gut feelings are promptings from God.  We might not know all the answers.  We might not even know the answers we are desperately seeking to find, but there are some things, that live inside us.  We know they are there but for some reason we ignore them.   Then, one day we wake up and we realize that we know it.  We recognize that it has been with us for a long time but on this day, we are finally able to grasp its magnitude.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied:  “Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 

A few months ago, I awoke to do my morning devotion.  I finished reading and began to pray over the day.  I prayed specifically to be able to love my neighbor as myself and asked God to show me what that really looks like.  As I was praying, I realized that I don’t even love my own husband that way.

In that moment, I realized that I have not been a great wife to my husband.   I also realized that in my gut, I have known this for a long time.

Stop.  What?

My husband, the guy I profess to love more than anyone?

Yes.  That one.

If there is anything besides worshipping God that I want to be good at on the face of this earth, it is being a good wife and mother.  I do not want to get to the age of 70 and think, “I should have and could have done that better.”

Now, he will defend me, some of my friends will defend me, my mother and father will probably defend me, and some of you might say “oh, you are being too hard on yourself.”  But the fact of the matter is that I KNOW this. I don’t need or want anyone to defend me because I am the one who lives with me and with him and I know it.

I am embarrassed to admit this, but often times Mark gets less love than what I give out to others in the day.  How will I be able to love others as myself if I can’t even do it for my own husband?   He is the love of my life, the one I picked to spend the rest of my life with.  Maybe if I am going to try to love others as myself, I should start with the ones in my home?

If you read some of my early posts about marriage, you know our marriage is better now than it has been in the past.  It is way, way better.  That hasn’t changed.  So, I am not writing this because our marriage is going down the toilet.  It is more that there is this quiet under churning telling me that I can do better.   

In our society, it is very easy to justify being a mediocre wife.

“It’s not like he is a perfect husband.” 

“Seriously, you have too much on your plate.  You just can’t be all things to all people.” 

“You’ve got young kids.  It’s just a hard time.  They need you more.” 

“He is a big boy, he can fend for himself.” 

“You have to take care of yourself first.  It’s not like you are his servant.”

Many marriages are struggling, so there is no shortage of women who can relate to me and even suggest that my marriage is “normal” or “average.”  For years, I have listened to these lies in my head and from others.  I have justified being “average.” I have justified being mediocre.   But do I really want that?  More importantly, does God want our marriage to look like the average marriage?  What does he think about mediocre?

And so, I started to pray and read more about God’s will for me as a woman, wife, and mother.  What am I missing here God?  Why is being a great wife so hard?

There are obviously many answers to those questions, but here is one.   My time is locked up between work, kids, taking care of the house and having a little time for myself.  At the end of the day, I don’t have the time or the energy to give to my husband.

Oh, wait.  That’s not true.  I do have time, and I am a very energetic person.   I am just giving it to someone or something else.

That is not acceptable.

Since 2006, I have worked 50-60 hours a week.   Before that I worked less, but we trained for Ironman triathlons which might as well be a full-time job.  Our pace has been frantic, always frantic.  And now that we have added two small children to the mix, it is even more hectic at times.  It seems there is always someone or something that comes before Mark.

I am guessing many families can to relate to this.  Oftentimes we both go to work all week, some Saturdays included, and then when we pick the kids up, I can’t bear the thought of getting an additional sitter for them.  They are at a sitter most of their waking life, more than I see them.  So, instead of doing date night, a class at church, or taking any time whatsoever for our marriage, we spend time with the kids instead.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my kids.  They bless us each and every day in more ways than I ever imagined.  But, more than anything in this world, they need a mommy and daddy that have a good marriage, a marriage that is not “normal” by societal standards, and a mommy and daddy that have time to grow and nurture their own spiritual walk so that we can then raise children that love God and don’t spend the first 40 years of their life missing the point, like we did.

I thought about titling this “Making Time” but the truth is that I am not making more time.  I’ve discussed this in previous blogs.  There isn’t more time to make.  We all know this.  Instead I am taking back some of my time.

I read my bible often, but I also read other Christian books.  Recently I read a book called “When Work and Family Collide” by Andy Stanley.  In it, he makes the point that we will never have enough hours in our day to do everything that everyone wants from us.  We are going to fall short somewhere.  Someone or something in our lives is going to feel cheated.  It is up to us to prayerfully determine where God wants us to spend our time and then trust that he will fill in the gaps where we fall short.  We have enough time to get done what God has put us here to do.  We just have to trust him.

This hit me like a ton of bricks.  Someone or something is going to get cheated.

Do I really want that someone to be my husband or my family?

No.  He deserves to not only know through my words but to feel through my actions that he is loved immeasurably by me.

If I get to the end of my life, which could be in 40 years or could be tomorrow, and I have not accomplished the task above, I will have failed.

So how am I going to fix this?  At the beginning of March I went from working Monday-Saturday to working M/W/F and some Saturdays.  This might not sound like much, but for me it was a big step.  We run our own company so I have helped build it up and nurture it like a little baby.  Before my kids, it was my baby.  Plus, it is not a “good” time in the business to make this change.   There is a lot to be done.  But, realistically, when will be a good time?  There is always so much to do.

This wasn’t a natural for me.  I’ve worked a lot for so long that it is ingrained in me.  I prayed a lot.   Every time I was unsure, God said do it.  Do it now.  I kept hesitating over the course of a couple months and God kept saying it again and again.

Trust me.

Do it.

So, I did.

There are challenges I did not expect.  It is not as easy as I thought it would be.  I am not magically a different wife.  I‘m still human and I know I will still fail at times.  But God is changing me, and changing my heart.  This will be a journey……. And a series of posts.  This topic is important, challenging and complicated.  More to come……Thank you God for leading me.

 

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