This week marks my eleventh wedding anniversary. I’m so thankful for these eleven years of marriage to my wonderful husband. He has been a joy to share my life with, and I’m looking forward to seeing where God will lead us in the future.
It’s easy, especially when one’s children are small, to spend the bulk of my thinking around my children. What are their spiritual needs? How can I teach them? What is most important? These are all important and valuable ways to spend my time. In fact, because I’m with my children nearly constantly, it’s what I think about most.
When Lee left for Iraq, I realized that I hadn’t been spending as much energy into my marriage. Things were comfortable, and paying attention to my marriage didn’t seem as critical as paying attention to my children. That was a bad strategy, something I learned when he left for his six month deployment. His absence made the weaknesses in our marriage show up more clearly, and I could tell I needed to rethink some of my priorities. That was one of the blessings of deployment.
On my anniversary week, I’m reminding myself that my children benefit from the gift of my choice to glorify God in my marriage, and that gift requires thinking energy.
Here are some things I’ve been working on and thankful for:
- Date nights. We got out of the habit after Laurel was born, and didn’t realize how much we needed them until after Lee was gone (nearly three years later!). We started praying for a babysitter, and God answered that prayer. Here in San Antonio, we once again started praying for a good way to go on dates regularly, and God gave us the blessing of friends to trade babysitting with. Talking after the kids go to bed isn’t enough for us. We need to take time away from distractions, time that is set apart and thus more valuable and less likely to be squandered.
- Changing my priorities. Basically this is learning what priorities are important to my husband and making them my own priorities. I need to know whether he’s more interested in my being in shape or helping with the yard work, of having dinner made on time, or having a tidy house when he comes home. Some of these priorities I know, and I’ve not been putting the attention to them that I should. That’s selfish.
- Thinking Right about my Marriage. Not worrying about what I cannot change. Choosing to be content. Enjoying where I am and where God has placed me. Paying attention to the things I appreciate about my husband and marriage. I learned that I need to be deliberate in thinking these things, and that cultivating these thoughts takes effort!
- I should pull out the book my mom wrote for me– Happily Married. It’s one of the best books on marriage I’ve seen. Biblical. Helpful. Encouraging. Every wife can glorify God in her marriage, and that’s a precious gift to your children, whether you have a great marriage or not.
Sometimes out of the corner of my eye, I can see my children watch as I enjoy spending time with my husband. Honoring God with the choices I make in my marriage is an important gift that nobody else can give them.