I just started a new Bible study. It's called What's It Like Being Married to Me? All I can say is so far, it has stomped all over my toes!
The first chapter was about my priorities - what is important to me? When I look around, I can honestly say my relationship with God is the most important thing to me. If I don't spend time with God daily I am a complete mess. It isn't that I'm "oh so spiritual." It's that I am a feeble human being who desperately NEEDS God's strength and grace to get through each day. Good thing for me, God is gracious and compassionate and abounding in lovingkindness, and His schedule is always open! I suppose that is one of the great things about being omnipresent- you're never booked up. :)
But her question of whether my husband was a top priority brought me up short. Was he? I mean, I wanted him to be. I've always been aware of the trap of being so invested in your kids that you let your marriage go so that when the kids finally go away to college, you and your hubby look at each other with that feeling that you've seen each other somewhere before but....
The truth is the combination of my crazy work hours and my husband being gone from home a lot has made my dear man sometimes drop off my radar for days and even weeks at a time. It's not that I don't see or talk to him, but he's not on my priority list. I'm tired or busy or absent, and so I don't really see him. It's like he's another piece of furniture in the room - furniture that talks, but still.
The other thing that hit me square between the eyes was the author's admonition to have a purpose statement for my marriage - not what I wanted from my husband, but the type of wife I wanted to be. I mean, I have thought about this over the years, but I had never put down anything concrete.
You can use a verse, an acronym, a poem or whatever you want to come up with your own statement. Being an English nerd, I used the acronym STAND. I wanted to take a STAND as a godly wife.
Here's my statement - I'm sure I'll hone it as time goes on:
S - soft and safe
T - true, truthful and tender
A - admiring, adventuresome and attitude (as in a good one!)
N - nice, not-nagging
D - dependable and desirable
I'll explain my words for clarity. For the letter S, I want to have a soft heart toward my husband. It is easy to let little hurts build up a crust on your heart. I have to be intentional in not letting that happen, since I think it is just a natural thing for humans to do. I want to be a safe person for my husband. I want him to feel he can tell me anything, and I won't start screeching at him or hold it against him or tell the whole world.
For the letter T, I want to always be true to my hubby in word, thought and of course, deed! I want to be truthful - always speaking the truth in love and I want to be tender toward him. It is so easy to be tender toward our children, but we can get sort of crotchety toward our husbands.
For the letter A, I want to be admiring. For men, respect and admiration are important things. I want my husband to know I greatly admire him - because I really do! I want to be adventuresome. As the mom, sometimes I am the wet blanket - reminding everyone of safety issues or lapsed bedtimes or the million and one things that could go wrong. Finally, I want to have a good, positive attitude. Have you ever met someone whose attitude goes before them like those cartoon storm clouds? Yeah - not so much fun!
For N, I want to be nice to my husband. Sometimes, the people we are nice to aren't even in our family! I also don't want to be a nag. What is that verse about it being better to be in a drippy corner of an attic than live with a nagging woman? That is just not a very flattering picture and I certainly don't want to drive my husband away from me!
For D, I want to be dependable. I want to be someone he can lean on and count on, no matter what is going on around us. I want him to know I have his back, even if nobody else does - that I am always looking out for HIS best interests. For desirable, I want to take care of myself. Yes, the fact is I am going to get older, saggier and wrinklier, but that doesn't mean I have to dress like a slob and not take care of myself, either. Most men I know, my husband included, are not looking for a model as a wife, but they probably do wish you'd wear a little makeup, brush your hair and wear something besides sweats once in a while. I want my husband to know he's worth the effort and time it takes for me to look nice. (it seems to take longer and longer every year!)
So, there you have it - my marriage statement. I will be praying that God changes me to reflect this statement, and that I will be a blessing to my husband and not driving him to seek out the leaking attic corner!