Susan and I are heading out for a couple of days. Our remaining children are gone for a couple of days (band trip) and we are going to visit some family.
So, we have several hours of driving ahead of us. Just us. No children at all.
What do you talk about with your husband? Do you ever have times just for one another? We have lots of time when we first marry, less time with the first child, and much less time with extra children. We begin just to talk in order to communicate about things. Eventually, communication seems to end.
So, let's not do that. Of course, you can "make up your mind" not to separate, but that won't make a lot of difference, unless you do something about it.
So, sit down some time today to talk with your husband. Decide that your goal is to be available at some point just to talk. Sit near him, not across from him, and just visit. Talk about children (if you must), but about other things as well.
And if today doesn't work, try tomorrow.
Don't let time get away from you.
It's another rainy day here in Augusta. It reminds me of years in the Pacific Northwest, except that the rain is much harder. It's dark and gloomy and rainy and cold.
So, let's sit and think a minute about trust. We talked about trusting a person's character (what they say) and their ability (what they can do). I might trust someone entirely as to their character (their willingness to do what they say) but not trust their ability (whether they can actually get it done). When a person fails to keep a promise, there is a big difference between the person who "cannot" and the person who "will not." A person who tries to keep their trust, but fails, is far better than a person who does not try at all.
Unfortunately, this also leads to another problem -- what about the person who kind of tries, who "makes an effort," but always an effort that is not enough. How do you know whether they were being honest? We all care about the things under our trust. Every messy home, every messy car, every failed marriage, was "cared about." Someone "wanted it to work," but failed to do what was necessary to make it work. Somehow, all that caring resulted in failure.
Why? Because it was just caring. Caring is not enough. As James tells us, wishing someone had food is meaningless unless you give them food. Faith without works is dead and so is "caring about" without "caring for."
Part of the test for all of us is whether we are willing to back our "caring about" with "caring for." Are we willing to do what needs to be done to get the job accomplished, or do we just sit and bemoan the state of our home or our family.
The excellent wife combined the character and the ability to accomplish her tasks in Proverbs 31. Character always shows itself in what we try to do. If you need to be a better cook, then be a better cook. If you need to be a better wife, then be a better wife. Work on being better at your tasks, at accomplishing more things. Don't let your character be that of someone who wishes things were better, but of someone who makes things better.
In considering trust on this Tuesday, look around.
If you are a homemaker, then you are probably at home. Of all the "things" with which your husband trusts you, the home in which you live is the biggest and most valuable. How is that trust thing working out?
When he leaves for work, leaving you at home, what happens to his home? There are several options. Some women work to make the home a better place. They clean, they decorate, they see the home as a place of work and of love. They love their husbands by taking care of the home with which they are entrusted. Other women do not take this approach, and see the home as something to be "maintained," that is, to be kept clean when necessary. There are yet others who do nothing from day to day, sometimes spending more time in bed or on their computers. These two groups see the home not as a place of work and of love, but as a "place to live." They are wrong.
Every day, when he comes home, he can see immediately what you have done with the "trust" of the home. He knows by its cleanliness, by its welcome (or lack thereof), by its condition whether you are trustworthy. But many men, most younger men, will say nothing. Why? Because they have been taught not to say anything.
When he is gone, and you are home, what happens to the trust of the home? What will your husband see when he comes in today?
Another Monday, this time with rain and cold returning. Another day to get things moving. So, let's think about trust.
We talked, yesterday, about the nature and importance of trust and about the importance of being trustworthy. So, on this rainy day, how about an assessment?
At some point, sit down and think about this question -- How many things are already within your trust? Sounds odd, right? But think about it. How many different aspects of your husband's life are already in your hands?
If you are a homemaker, then "his home" is in your hands. When he comes home, what he comes home to depends upon you. If he comes home to a mess, that is because you let it be that way. If he comes home to order and cleanliness, it is because you made it that way (the Second Law of Thermodynamics is tough to avoid). When he walks in the door, he knows how you handled his trust.
If you are a worker, who goes away from the home to work, then this is much more complex (because the home is not your duty in the same way at all), but there are other things in your trust, just as in the homemaker's trust. You have duties with regard to the children, with regard to his reputation, and, most of all, with regard to you. In every aspect of your life, you deal with things in which you can either make his life better or make it worse. It is a question of trust.
So, as you sit on this rainy Monday, make a list of the ways in which what you do today impacts your husband. Before we ask "does he trust you" in these things, we must ask "can he trust you".
So, here we are at Sunday again. A week gone and we get together for a class again. What will we find?
Some people will be gone from the class for family events or some such reason. Some may have decided this is just not for them and have found somewhere else to go. We may have some new folks. Some will be regulars who missed last week and some may be new people entirely, who want to be a part of the class.
There will be lots of little changes around us. There always are from week to week in a church class.
But what has changed within us? If you have read Proverbs 31, you know what an amazing woman is described there. How does that effect you? Does it make you more motivated (to be like her) or less motivated (to give up)?
That's what it comes down to, isn't it? It's not about the teacher or even about the material. It's about you.
It's Saturday morning, everyone sleeps late. Week's over.
Now is the time to ask -- Did you do it? Did you do the test and read Proverbs 31 and think about the excellent wife? If not, today would be the day.
After all, the class is about what you do (or should do), and the first thing is to participate, to prepare, to care about what kind of wife you are going to be. Otherwise, it's just noise.
Today is the last day to get it done. But you can still get it done.
I am listening to a great song as performed by Louis Armstrong. The song is "A Kiss to Build a Dream On." (Some of you will remember it from the "Sleepless in Seattle" soundtrack.) It's a nice song of the old style, with a man seeking a kiss on which he can dream while away from his love. It is filled with the love and longing of a true relationship.
It makes me wonder, though, what your husbands "dream on" during their days of work and worry and absence from home. When he left today, with what did he leave? When he arrives home, with what is he greeted?
Remember when a kiss was a big thing for both of you. Maybe it still is, maybe things have changed. Either way, ask yourself whether your husband has "a kiss to build a dream on," or whether he is "just coming home." When he thinks of you during the day, is there a kiss to remember, or just things to do and problems to solve? As he drives home, and thinks of you, what does he expect as he walks in the door?
When he walks in today, will he receive a kiss of welcome and of love, a moment of tenderness before the news of the day?
Does he dream upon a kiss?
Like many of you, perhaps, one of my habits is to start every morning by checking out the Weather Channel for the local weather. What is amazing is how far they will go to find something sad to tell me. Perhaps its a small oil spill in Louisiana or a flood in Bangladesh or a tornado somewhere. What ties these together is that they have nothing to do with me.
As I age, I find myself much less concerned with such things, even on the Weather Channel. I have a family to care for and a job to do and neighbors to love, all of which are much more important in my life than these things that are so far away from me.
So, for today, let's think about focusing on what we can control. On the laundry and the dishes and our jobs and our husbands.
Instead of the news channel, how about watching our lives for a day?
One of the hardest issues in dealing with marriage is how different our situations may be. Some of you are "homemakers" and some of you are "workers outside the home." Some of you have heavy days filled with schedules and burdens, while some have a lot of free time to do with as you choose. Some of you spend all day with demanding bosses and are exhausted when you get home. Some of you spend days with an ill relative who requires constant attention.
Yet, each of you has a calling to be an "excellent wife" and each of you has to determine how to do that within your situation. We can talk (and will talk) about all kinds of situations, but the decision is ultimately yours.
The excellent wife faces a world of options and a household of burdens, but has embraced her situation and uses it to be the woman she needs to be, not as a reason to keep her from success. The answer for an excellent wife is never "if I could only change my situation."
The answer is changing yourself and how you deal with the situation.
Well, Andrew left yesterday for the Army (basic training in Missouri). We still have two children at home, but they are growing fast and we will be down to one this summer. The "empty nest" awaits us.
This is an important reminder for each of us. There was a time when we were just a couple. Think back to before the children came, when your husband was the center of your social life. You came home just to see him. You spoke and shared and spent time with each other in the early joys of marriage.
Then, the children came. They were so small and so precious and they demanded attention. They slept in your bed (sometimes) and dominated everything in your life for years. They became the force that drove you and your husband apart.
But, when they are gone, with whom will you live? Your husband.
So many of our divorces arise because of children, not because the children want or cause them, but because the husband and wife stop being the center of each other's daily life. They become "parents," not a loving couple who spend time with each other by choice.
So, look at your husband and think of these things:
Is your presence still a daily joy to him?
Is he still the most important person to you in all the world?
If so, could anyone watching you know that?