Saturday, February 18, 2012
I'm still working the adjustment to working full-time. It's been a smooth transition overall. It hasn't disrupted our lives like I thought it would. Shawn and the boys do a lot to help around the house and with meals. There are a few things that are new. Making sure Will has a ride home from school every day. Getting to bed at a decent time. No more nights past 11 or I'm in big trouble the next day. This one has been hard. The worst adjustment has been how much time I spend at home now. I work from home so I'm automatically here 8.5 hours a day. Dinner starts when I finish. Caelan runs errands for me before he comes home from baseball practice and then drives home to our house out in the boonies. Unless he had plans that take him back to town after dinner and I can tag along and get dropped off somewhere, I'm still here! I tried to go with him Wednesday night this week but didn't get everything finished before he had to leave. So yesterday, Friday, was the first time I left the house since last Friday. And let me tell you, I couldn't wait to get out of here!
I started out at McDonalds to read for a while and drink a really bad hot chocolate. Everyone should read this book before getting married. And if you didn't, you still should read it. I might change my mind when I finish it but for now, judging just from what I've read so far, I believe that I'll still feel this way. In a nutshell, it's about how we all know, because of countless books and marriage seminars, that women want (need) unconditional love from their husband. What is never addressed is that men want (need) unconditional respect from their wife. The two pieces go together to make a marriage work. If you're like I was, a red flag just went up that maybe that means the author believes we're supposed to tolerate an abusive husband. He doesn't. There is plenty of material covering the husband's responsibility. Everything is backed by supporting scripture which clearly states a husband is to honor his wife and treat her as an equal or as more. That doesn't mesh with abuse of any kind! And there is even a chapter titled She Fears Being a Doormat.
The concept of this book is why our marriage works. As I was learning to live married life this way, I didn't know that there was a concept to be lived out. All I knew is that I loved my husband and when he told me that he needed to feel like I respected him (over and over again) I began trying to give it to him. I haven't been perfect at it, or even close. I've messed up a lot along the way. After almost 25 years together I still do. But I know the more I work at it, the more natural it becomes to just be a wife that gives my husband respect. I don't really even need to think much about it unless I'm mad at him and even then, the more I practice it, the easier marriage becomes. The arguments are fewer. They are shorter. The recovery time after them is nil because there aren't things said that sting unless they should sting (you really do need to work on something). The best part, the more he feels respected, the more I feel his love for me and feel secure in it. And it's not in flowers and cards and gifts. Those aren't always available. I don't have to wait on them. My security is in that he is open with me. He talks to me. He doesn't shut me out and act distant. He's secure coming to me and telling me when he's struggling with something rather than holding it in, fearing that my comments will be harsh, acusatory, unloving. It wasn't always that way. When I was harsh, acusatory, unloving, he sometimes would go for as long as a week without saying anything to me outside of yes or no. He didn't fully trust that I would respond in a way that would make him feel I respected him even if what he was struggling with had nothing to do with me. Over the years, through feeling respected by me, he's grown to know he can tell me honestly what he thinks about anything, even if he knows before he tells me that I won't agree, and it won't evolve into a battle full of dredged up past and lists of shortcomings. Reading this book is making me have even more respect for him because he saw nearly 25 years ago, before we were even married, what it took to make marriage work. He has guided us through some rough times, always leading in a way so that I feel even more loved now than I did back then.
After McDonalds, I ran a few boring errands and then left my car at Caelan's school so he could get home. I had my friend Jen come pick me up. We made a quick run to a thrift store where I easily talked her into 5 pairs of new shoes, including a pair of $3 Borns that looked like they'd never been worn. We ran to Taco Bell to grab lunch and then headed to Will's school because the purpose of our meeting was she wanted to treat him to lunch for his birthday. He was so excited and had given me instructions to get there plenty early so we could sit by him before everyone else crowded around. As we sat at the table in the lunch room (I was amazed at how LOUD an elementry school lunch room is when you aren't 10 years old), we listened with voracious laughter in our heads to 2 little girls telling us about their families and innocently sharing details I'm sure weren't supposed to go past the front door.
When our time together was almost up, I started telling Jen about this book I'm reading. She said, "I have that book! I've had it for a while but I haven't read it." The rest of our conversation was full of my encouragement for her to read it. She texted me today to tell me she's going to start reading it tonight. I already know she's going to love it because she's going to understand that this is exactly why her marriage, which is longer than mine, also works.