Becoming a Wife of Gratitude

If you saw this post from Friday, you probably expected another one coming soon.  I told you I was going to be sharing with you my experiences and I want to be true to my word.  Especially since this has become very important and dear to my heart, the more that I’m diving into Linda Dillow’s book, “What’s it Like to Be Married to Me?”

I said in my last post that I’ve been in this complaining, ungrateful wife mode for the last 3-4 months.  Not that I’ve never complained in my marriage before that (HA!), but so increasingly much in the last few months that I have been utterly annoyed at myself and my own behavior.  I told you I wanted to be accountable in my journey to becoming a wife a gratitude.  To be open and vulnerable with you, for my sake, but also for your sake… for any readers’ sake.  For if my vulnerability can offer even an ounce of hope or at least comfort knowing you’re not the only one, then my openness is worth it.  Sharing my brokenness is worth it.

So here goes.

On February 28th, on a particularly rough night, I sat and wrote this in my marriage journal (as a written conversation with God):

Today I was looking through our box marked “Wedding Stuff” that I pulled out of the garage.  I was originally looking for our wedding cards to make a book of them.  I did not find them, but did find another notebook of random notes that had been collected from our time of dating, love letters from Skyler, wedding planning notes and our marriage vows.  One thing I read was goals for our marriage and I had written that I wanted to edify my relationship with you so that I could be a blessing in my relationship with Skyler because of it.
It’s been almost two months since Asher’s been born.  It hasn’t been easy.  Colicky nights (and days) and little to no break for myself.  Skyler is finishing up winter term of nursing school and not available much.  My cup feels dry and empty.  I love my boys and am so blessed by them but they certainly are work.  They are time consuming, needing and demanding and at least one of them is ALWAYS awake!  It’s like they take shifts or something.  I haven’t spent much time with you as a result and when I do get “me” time, I am selfish with it and just get online or watch tv to just “veg”. 
Today though, I am coming to you.
I’m broken and needy.  I need my earthly partner that you’ve given to me.  My whining and complaining and nagging and guilting has not gotten me anywhere – except for a few steps backwards.
As a “last resort” (HA!) I’m coming to YOU, God.  (Why do I always do that?!)  I don’t feel like I have anything to offer anyone, because my cup feels so drained and empty.  Especially Skyler.  I feel boring, uninteresting and un-intimate with him.  I feel bitter and frustrated, abandoned and left to figure out parenting two babies on my own.  God, we need restoration.  I need restoration.  Guide me and show me how to love and serve and cherish and respect my husband.  How to appreciate the time and help I do get.  Help me to not feel and develop a bitterness.  Help me to help myself and my relationship with YOU so that it helps my relationship with Skyler.  
Thank you, Lord, for your loving kindness.  
For your love that never fails, never gives up, and never runs out on me. 
I love you,
K
That was one of my cries to God for help.  When I got to the point recently where I just.couldn’t.do.it.anymore.  Where I was grumpy and felt worn out all the time and it wasn’t helping any of my relationships.  Where I knew I needed to change and need God’s help to do it.
I still struggled the next couple months, not really sure what to do to “fix” anything.  I still was Negative Nancy, still complained and grumbled. 
This was my journal entry on May 13th:
God,
I’m still complaining.  Shocker, isn’t it?
I’m not sure why I thought that it would get better without me actually purposely doing anything to change.  I’m so sick and tired of my complaining attitude.  I’m tired of the crankies.  Of being “grouch mom, grouch wife”.  I so badly want to change and be a joyful, TRUE servant-hearted wife that Skyler deserves.  One that builds him up with my words, not tears him down.  That gives him a happy home, not a home he’s weary to come home to because he knows he’s going to walk into a door to be greeted with a pity-party wife, looking for sympathy after a long day with the boys.  That is not a home a rest.
Whitney posted exactly on this the other day on her blog.  She is starting a book called “What’s it Like to Be Married to Me?”  I’m fearful even of the title, Lord!  Yikes.  I know I don’t want to know…but I need an honest look at it.
God, please use this book to get through to me.  Give me quiet times to be able to read it and dwell on it and help me to make good use of those quiet times that you DO grant me.
Thanks for always having a Kayla-sized hole on your lap with arms open wide so that I can “recharge”.
I love you,
K
There’s some of my recent background.  Some of the motivation for reading through this book and wanting to change ME and stop trying to change HIM.  

Like I said in my last post, I prayed that God would give me some quiet morning times and like clockwork, he has woken me up at 6 am nearly every morning for the last 3 weeks.  It’s been an awesome time of reflection on my life and what I’m doing to serve and respect (or NOT doing) my husband.
Linda starts out the book by talking about how we are to live by design, not be default.  She asks why we got married.  Well, you can read our love story.  You can see that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Skyler was the one that was created for me.  It’s been this absolute knowing that God made us for each other that has been the glue during our rough times in our nearly 4 year marriage.  So, my answer?  
I married him because I loved him and knew he was the one God designed for me.  Look at us; we were completely in love and pleased with one another, joyful to be partners:
So what’s changed?

Well, “kids” is the easy answer.  But really it’s not the truth.  My attitude and my shift in priorities is more accurate.

Linda wrote this blurb that I changed her husband’s name and put in Skyler’s because this literally could have come out of my mouth:
“I started asking myself what message my choices said to [Skyler] about how important he was to me.  Did I walk away from him and say, “Don’t even think about sex or a good meal.  Can’t you see I’m wiped out?” Or did I walk to him with arms around him and whisper, “I can’t wait until life is easier and I can spend a day loving you.”  What attitude did I project?  What atmosphere did I create?  What did my choices say was really most important to me?  Sometimes what is most important to us is not obvious and can be seen only by how we respond to our husbands in our everyday life.” (pg. 19, Kindle Edition)

How true is the former part of that excerpt for exactly where I’m at in life.  With two children begging of my attention so much so, that I’m starving my dear husband for the time, attention and serving that he not only needs, but deserves. 
But what were my wedding vows?  Were they to put my children first above all else?  No.  They were to put God first and my husband second.  Two things that I have been failing miserably at.  My priorities were wrong.  And when your priorities are wrong, everything else in life gets all scrunched up funny and doesn’t lay flat and smooth like it is designed to do.  
Linda is exactly right:
 “My choices must say [Skyler] is my first priority of all the people on earth.” (pg. 19, Kindle Edition)
Sadly, my choices have not always reflected what I vowed to him on our wedding day.  Thankfully, change can come at any moment.  When I take an honest look at the questions Linda poses, “If you woke up tomorrow and discovered you were married to you, would you be delighted?  Or would you be devastated?” I get all kinds of sad for Skyler.  Not in a self-loathing, I’m-depressed, kind of way.  But it definitely puts a different spin on things and as my friend Enez says, “it’s great to be able to hold a mirror up to ourselves”.  It’s certainly enough to really make me want to change.  For my sake, for Skyler’s sake, for our relationship’s sake, and even for our children’s sake. 
Thankfully, as Linda says:
God’s Word brings transformation.
It isn’t fun to ask ourselves Dangerous Questions like these.  It can be difficult and even threatening.  But I believe that by honestly reflecting on these questions and by seeking God’s help and wisdom, a wife can move to a place where she can say, “Being married to me is really pretty good.” (pg. 15, Kindle Edition)
I’m ready for transformation!!  Lord knows I need it.
By the emails and messages I’ve received from some of you, it seems I’m not the only one.  I’m so glad that some of you have bought the book and are choosing to be accountable and work through this thing together!  Let us be an encouragement to each other in our workings of transformation in our lives and our relationships.  πŸ™‚
Love to you,
K


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