|(Yes, that's really my handwritting... LOL)|
It's fall. I am a wife and mother and so, that small sentence is loaded for bear with expectation of all that is to come. Over the summer (the long, painful, weary, difficult summer) I have let go of some of my regular responsibilities and there are gaping wholes in my calendar for the coming months. I have been asked by many friends and fellow soldiers "What are you going to do this year?". I was asked that question so many times by so many people in fact, that I was taken aback. This is a very revealing question. You see, I realized that for all the years of my life I have dedicated my "year" to something. When I was younger, it was school or extra curricular activities around school. For the 18 years I have been married it has been pregnancy, MOPS, homeschooling, AWANA... the list goes on, and on, and on, but there is one place it has never gone... my husband. For the record, it showed.
In case you don't know me, or just don't know me well, the last couple years have been the hardest in our married life. We have struggled, staggered and stumbled our way through them and we have the emotional bumps and bruises to prove it. Over this summer we found ourselves face to face with a decision. We literally asked each other if we wanted to be together anymore. We knew we wanted to be parents and we knew we didn't want to change anything in the past but... did we want to go forward together any longer? It was a place I never dreamed we would be. It hurt to get there and it was so humbling to not know how the other person would answer. There are not words to describe the freedom and joy that comes, when after 18 years, we both said yes. Not "I would choose you all over again" but "I choose you". We both agreed that we had no desire to get back to where we were. We don't want back the relationship we had, we want something better. We are starting over.
I am blessed to have all kinds of friends in my life. One of my "thinker" friends (we make each other think differently about things pretty much every time we broach a subject) were talking about what I should or could focus on this year and we came up with an answer, that for different reasons, was perfectly timed for both of us. This is the "Year of the Husband" (for the record my husband LOVED this title). For the next year I am dedicating my time and energy to my husband the way I have for so many other people and organizations in the years past. Being a type A planner I, of course, made a list/contract for myself. It is already changing my life. It is changing me. I would never have asked for things to go the way they did the last few years but it has brought something so good... that I can say I am grateful.
I think one of the biggest things that I realized as I began this, is that I have been quietly telling myself "I could do this alone" for years. To be truly honest, "I could do this better alone". I think some of it is our generation and having to have a "back up plan" drilled into us at every turn and some is just plain pride. I have seen enough of my friends get divorced or be single parents, that I can honestly say I could no doubt do it alone. The thing I needed to realize is it would not be better or easier and... I don't want to. I am not going to whisper that to myself any more. Instead I will say in my heart, I am in this with my husband and I am so grateful that I do not have to do this alone.
On the off chance you are interested in my little arrangement with myself, here it is...
1. Pray for my husband everyday
2. Do one purposeful thing each week just for him
3. Plan 2 dates per month where we can be alone
4. Check in with an accountability partner once a week to keep on track
5. Journal my experience for posterity
and I have... and I am... and I am excited to see what a difference a year can make if you use it purposefully.