Feb 12, 2010

Giving marriage a kick in the rear

There's a church here that provides a MAPS (Mothers and Preschoolers) program twice a week. The basic premise is for mothers to get away for a little girl time and spiritual encouragement while their children are in the hands of trustworthy, trained caregivers. The cost is only $25 a semester, and the other obligations are bringing breakfast items twice, and volunteering in childcare once.

Every Friday I anticipate a yummy breakfast, dynamic speaker, and enlightening breakout sessions. It's tough to be out the door by 9am, but is worth the early rise. Wilder's able to have some independent time, and I get to relax!

All this to say that many of the talks are infused with reminders to love and cherish our husbands. Today, especially, we focused on the struggles we have when it comes to prioritizing marriage while in the midst of rearing little ones, or at any time for that matter.

The princess fairy tales are fun to read, and I've had my movie-worthy moments. How could I not with a totally cool hot babe like Shawn? But reality is much different than what we see on
The Bachelor, or in the typical chick-flick. What blazed prominent today was that expectations become off-kilter and instead of looking at what our husbands do so well and beautifully, we try to "be their Holy Spirit" and remind them of what they're lacking. I can tell you right now that I had to be in charge while Shawn was sick (I wonder if it wasn't H1N1?), and it was kinda stressful.

The trash pile has been bothering me lately. There's no reason why I can't take it out myself. It's just so cold and slushy outside. Rather than focus on this task remaining uncompleted, I choose to be thankful that Shawn scraped the ice off my car, bought me a modern bouquet for Valentines Day, and sang nursery rhymes to Wilder (the most precious sound I've ever heard). The trash issue dissolves in light of those sacrificial acts of love.

With young children to raise, it can be difficult to maintain the God, husband, children hierarchy presented in the Bible and by some more seasoned couples. As we are addressing children and chores, the needs are very physical and apparent. The child has a runny nose, so I wipe it. The child needs dinner, so I feed him. The laundry is piling, so I wash it. The trash is piling, so I, uh, take it out.

The needs of a successful marriage seem to lie in a more invisible realm. Needs exist at every corner, but not in a loud, screaming out sort of way. We usually find ourselves cruising along until it's time to have a "big, long talk" in which we discuss what we need to work on. I'd rather have little intermittent talks so it's not overwhelming.

So what's a girl to do? I am compelled to see what will happen when I put Shawn's needs before my own. Would he appreciate a warm towel after his shower (someone suggested running a towel to the dryer so it would be warm)? Have I asked him about his interests lately? Have I encouraged him to have guy time and stayed mum if he decides to play video games?

I'm a firm believer in egalitarian marriage (50/50), even have some feminist tendencies (so the towel thing seems kindof ridiculous but I am willing to try it), and am so thankful when Shawn meets me halfway. It's just that we do the darn nicest things for our friends, or for complete strangers, yet turn a 180 when behind the comfort of home.

Self-challenge: keep Shawn high on the list, which means hugging him more, going on dates, leaving sweet post-its on the mirror, etc. I want to know him once our kiddos have left home.

Indeed, he will still be my boyfriend and roommate. Oh, that makes me happy!

Today's heart pictures--a growing Valentine's shrine:


Weza said...

Interesting... this morning as I put more rubbish into our already overflowing bin i found myself slightly resentful that it was still not emptied, then I thought about taking it out, but still havent done it. This post is a fabulous reminder of the need to move our marriage high up the list. Great post. Your Mums group sounds awesome too.
PS 9am is late here. I am up between 5 - 6 am. :)

katieharris said...

beautiful post, Mindy. I don't know what its like to handle a child also, but remembering to put my husband's needs before mine is something I struggle with frequently (especially keeping my mouth shut when he just wants to relax and play video games---that just doesn't seem relaxing to me!). Thanks for the reminder to keep marriage a partnership and not be a competition to see who puts forth more effort in our daily lives. Its not about that at all. It's about glorifying our Father through our love for each other (and children, if so blessed).
Love your writings. Miss your face :)