It’s been a whole month since my last post about my reading through “What it Like to be Married to Me?” by Linda Dillow. But I’m still reading it. Still loving it. Still working through a transformation that I so desperately need.
Last time I ended with talking about needing to remember that Skyler is my number one priority after my relationship with Christ. Not my kids, not my crafting or blogging, not my housekeeping or anything else – my husband, Skyler, is number one. But was I showing him this through my actions? No. Am I showing him now that he’s number one? Well… I’m doing better. 🙂
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m here to be transparent. To be honest with you. I can’t really be honest with myself if I’m not willing to be publicly honest as well. It holds me more accountable to change. It helps me to really think about what needs to be changed in me in order to really love and serve my husband better and to remember his importance in my life. (I know, this post is a lot of words and no pictures… bear with me. Here’s one for you:)
As Linda said (pg 24), when a husband is dying, a divorce is in the works, an affair surfaces or another similar pain happens to a woman who is in our close circles, we tend to go home and give our husband just a little bit of extra love that night, remembering that he is important to us. But how do we make sure we do this in the everyday chaos of life, not just the days where we remember how easily he can be taken from us?
I’m a mental picture girl. Give me a striking mental picture about a statement and it’s with me. I can’t erase the image and the statement from my mind. So, when Linda said this simple word picture, I couldn’t stop thinking of it:
Hmm. Yeah, that makes sense.
In my women’s Bible study, about a month ago now, we were talking about how we would want to be remembered once we pass. I told them all that I would love it if even one person likened me to my father; how he seems like a busy man (in that he always seems to be working on something) but always always has time for people. If someone asks for help and he can feasibly do it (he IS the jack of all trades, after all) or if someone asks for some of his time to just sit and talk, he says yes. Very very seldom have I heard him turn someone away who asks for help (and only because he had another commitment). He is never selfish with his time but gives it willingly. He always tells me, “Kayla, you can’t take things to heaven. You can only take people.” So he pours his time into relationships. Into helping people and loving on people.
THAT is how I would love to be known and remembered. That I always had time for people. That I always made time for people.
And then I started thinking about who I wanted to be able to say that about me. Easy. Number one is Skyler. If I die first, he will be the one to be speaking at my memorial service anyway, right? The way I see it, if my closest neighbor, my HUSBAND, the one who sees me every day through thick and thin, can’t say those words about me, they must not be true.
In the second chapter of this book (What’s Really Important to Me?), Linda gives us readers a challenge. She asks us to live with the end in view.
In such a time and society as we live in, we are taught to do whatever pleases us. To look out for ourselves and do what we want to do. To make ourselves happy and not depend on another persons happiness to do it. I know you’ve heard it before.
I know this is a lot of repeating what Linda says here, but I felt this was really important and hit the nail on the head:
Linda quotes the drama Our Town and the character Emily who was a young wife, killed at 26, but gets to come back to an ordinary day in her life. She was warned “At least, choose an unimportant day in your life. It will be important enough.” She chooses her 12th birthday but cries that she can’t relive it because they don’t have time to look at one another; life was going on and they all never noticed.
Another character says, “Yes, that’s what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those … about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another.”
Emily asks this: “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?” The answer given to her is no.
Linda pinpoints a few scripture references that are to encourage us to not waste time as if we had a million years to live:
- What would you like your husband to say about you after many years of marriage?
- What character qualities would you like him to have seen in you?
- What kind of love relationship would you want him to describe?
- What kind of love would you have wanted him to have received from you during all those years? (pg. 29)
I sat down with these questions written in my journal and just stared at them on the page for a long time. I didn’t want to have to think about what I would want him to say verses what he honestly would and could say about me. But I needed to – it was important that I did. If I couldn’t hold up the mirror and take a good look, then I wasn’t going to actually do any of the necessary changing.
Finally, I came up with this:
- That I was kind-hearted. Joyful and a servant without complaint. That I loved my Lord and loved him fiercely. That I loved my husband well, because I loved my God. That I was a joyful and compassionate mother, full of patience and slow to anger.
- Joyful. Loving. Truly loving. Selfless. Honoring of God and my husband. Patient. Kind. Gentle-spirited. Speaking affirming and encouraging words.
- That I made Skyler a priority. That I loved him well. That I made time for us.
- I would want him to receive a caring love from a woman that he earnestly called gentle spirited. A kind, respectful love, but the love of a lover too. A romantic love, a friendship love, a nurturing love, an encouraging love.
Did you make a list too? You should. It’s good. It hurts to write down things that you don’t believe to be true (yet!) but that you want to be true. But it’s good. If you don’t take time to think and decide what you want to be true of yourself and you don’t make them a goal for your life, it’s not going to ‘just happen’.
The last thing in this section that Linda challenges us to do is to spend time thinking of and coming up with a Marriage Purpose Statement, which is “your conscious creation of who you want to become. It outlines your goals as a wife – the things you can do to become the wife you want to be… Your personal Marriage Purpose Statement can be a letter you write to yourself, a prayer, a poem, a verse, or a passage of scripture. It can be anything that declares your goals for your marriage. It is a statement about what is really important to you as a wife.” (pg 34)
She shares some examples of a Marriage Purpose Statement from a few women, as well as sharing her own which she wrote as an acrostic of the word Faithful. I loved her Marriage Purpose Statement so much that I wrote it down in my journal as well… 🙂 Here’s Linda’s: