Can I just take a turn on the soapbox for a moment? This just needs to be said. Or, maybe I just need to get it off my chest.
I love listening to podcasts. I usually listen to them while I am cleaning or folding laundry, and it helps to take my mind off of the monotony of the task at hand. I often listen to conversations about parenting, marriage, religion, organization, or widowhood. I’m all about self-help. 😉
Today, I was reorganizing my closet, and I picked one at random: a podcast that was supposed to be all about improving the relationship within a marriage. As I listened, the couple speaking brought up the fact that marriages are meant to last for our entire lifetime, unless your spouse happens to pass away. They talked half jokingly about the likelihood of a car accident or a scary medical diagnosis, about upping life insurance policies, and about how hard it would be to adjust to sleeping alone. They bickered playfully and I was left feeling less than inspired, and more than a little annoyed.
I know it is silly. The strangers on the other end of my headphones really can’t even comprehend the impact of such a loss, because they haven’t experienced it. But that is my life, and a very painful reality for so many. I wanted to reach into my phone and shake both of them. I wanted to email them, and to get onto their silly podcast, so that I could tell the world (or the few thousand people in their audience) not to take such a topic lightly, and more importantly, to not take each other for granted.
I will be the first to admit that marriage is hard! But it truly frustrates me to see or hear others not fully appreciating their spouse. It makes me even more infuriated to think that I was that person at one point in my life. I was happy, but didn’t fully realize just how blessed I was to have my husband, until I lost him. In a moment that blindsided me in every way, I lost the person that I loved more than life itself, the father of my children, and the future that we had planned together.
My marriage was far from perfect. My husband and I had and still have many flaws and shortcomings–just like anyone else.
But he was wonderful.
He was an amazing husband.
He was a diligent provider.
He was an incredible father.
He was my best friend.
He still is all of those things.
As a widow, I can tell you that the things that I regret today are the things that were left undone. The words I didn’t say when I should have said them. The days that were spent grumpy or not connecting emotionally in the way that we could have been. The arguments that lasted far longer than they should have due to my pride or stubbornness. Guys. I wan’t perfect, but I wasn’t horrible either. RJ told me often just how wonderful he thought I was, whether I deserved it or not. I just see now that I wasted so much time not cherishing our relationship, time that was oh so precious and short–on this side of the veil anyways.
Obsessing over the possibility of disaster striking isn’t helpful. I don’t think that living in fear is the answer, but living intentionally is.
Love your spouse right now.
Don’t let a day go by that they don’t hear the words, “I love you” come out of your mouth.
And then show them with your actions. Be the first to forgive. Choose to look for the good. Give him/her grace. Make your spouse feel appreciated. Let go of pride, of proving a point, or of being right… and just DO what is right. Be understanding and supportive. Make the choice every day to put the needs of your marriage above your own personal needs. Cherish the all of the imperfections, and the quirks. We are all just doing our best after all. You aren’t perfect, so how could you ever expect your spouse to be?
And believe it or not, those little things that used to bug you are the things you will miss the most if you ever have to live without them.
Realize the gift that your marriage is, and treasure it.
I’m grateful that I get to spend the rest of my life doing just that, with my wonderful new husband. I remind myself daily not to take what we have for granted. I know exactly how it feels to lose it all, and then having to live with all of the “what if’s.”
Thankfully, I will have eternity to get it right. ❤