A House Divided

August 11, 2008

I live in a divided house right now.  Of course in one way, we’ve been a divided house since my first-born went to college.  She went to UGA and my dear one took some classes at GaTech.  Every fall, they have a standing appointment to watch the annual game together.  And, every year, my dear one suffers the razzing of his daughter when his team goes down in flames.  At times like that the comparison of team IQ’s doesn’t help. 

I wish our division related to football.  Instead, it involves a major family decision.  You know, the ones you don’t make unless you are in agreement?  The funny thing is that I thought we were on the same page.  So did he!  Until it became obvious that we weren’t. 

Families are such an amazing thing.  We’re all different, but we all function best the same way: in unity.  It became apparent in our discussion that we really weren’t that far apart, but even the smallest gap meant that we weren’t in agreement. 

No agreement. No action. 

Now, you should understand that none of this means that the two of us are fighting or in strife.  We just aren’t in the same place.  We have a different thought process, different emotional needs, and different perspectives.   

We are in agreement not to let this divide us.  I know that sounds like a contradiction, but I guess it’s like agreeing to disagree. 

It’s hard not to argue when you don’t agree.  But, what I’ve decided to do is trust that God knows what He is doing and to stay open to hearing from His Spirit.  If either one of us is in error,God will reveal that.  Or if one of us is out of God’s timing, He’ll reveal that too.  I have no doubt of my dear one’s ability to hear from God or his willingness.  In the meantime, we keep the rest of our relationship in harmony.  It’s not important that one of us gets our way.  What is important is the power of unity in a relationship.  Unity keeps us out of trouble, confirms God’s will in our life, and provides a powerful blessing.  Stay in unity, even when it’s hard.  Oh, and “GO TECH, GO DAWGS, or ROLL TIDE, ” whichever is important to you!

Psalm 133: 1-3

Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!  [It is] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, [and as the dew] that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, [even] life for evermore.

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My dear one and I are of an age where we are rapidly approaching the “empty nest” time of life.  Or, so we would like to believe. 🙂  We are on our fourth teenager, and her entry into high school starts in two days.  Our household itself is still large.  Basically, there are seven of us under one roof; ten, if you count the dogs.  I have three in college, one of whom isn’t ours, and now one in high school.  Those three will graduate by or before the youngest hits college, and well, that puts us in countdown mode.  As the mother of four children who range from 14 to 29, this has been a long time coming. 

For two days, we have had an empty nest trial run.  All of our children are out-of-town for various reasons.  It’s so quiet. 

I love it.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I also love it when they all gather here to swim, eat, celebrate, or just hang out.  But, I can handle the quiet.  My dear one and I are happy to just be in each other’s company.  A lot has been written about what couples go through when the last child leaves the nest.  I’m sure that it will be an emotional experience for us too.  But not of mourning or loss.  You see, my goal is to raise independent children.  Anything less is a disservice to them.  With that goal in mind, while my marriage has involved children, it has never been child-centered.  Our relationship with each other as husband and wife has always been the foundation of everything else.  Oh, there are times that we’ve been caught up in the hectic schedule of children, but we have always seen our relationship as paramount. 

Based on my experience I would say that there are three primary things that you need to have to “empty-nest-proof” your marriage:

1. A spouse that you spend exclusive time with on regular dates or other activities.   

2. To see the goal for your children as independence.  Then, when they hit those milestones, it is your victory too.

3. The ability to live your own life, not your children’s. 

So, when my children are out of the nest, I will have done my job.  I look forward to the times I will still spend with them and the additional grandchildren that I am expecting to be blessed with through them.  But, I also look forward to spending more time with just my dear one.  After all, he is my best friend and the love of my life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Turning Down the Fan

June 20, 2008

Okay, I confess.  I have had two late nights reading in bed.  With the lights on and no guilt.  My sweetie was out-of-town, and I took full advantage.  All right, all right, I also slept in the middle of the bed and made use of his pillow.  If I snored, I snored with impunity.  I even adjusted the temperature and turned up the ceiling fan speed.  After all, there was no one there to freeze while I menopaused my way through the night. 

It’s a fun freedom for a day or so.  But after that, I just plain miss him.  He is my best friend, my husband, my lover, my helpmate.  For this, a marriage relationship, you make compromises just to be in each others’ company. 

So tonight, it’s back to being considerate of one another.  Although we both rise early, if I choose to stay up and read in bed, he has consequences from my choices.  If I use the fan on a higher speed, he gets sinus problems.  So, we compromise.  I turn off the light as quickly as I can wrench myself away from the book and he does as soon as the New York Times crossword loses its pull.  He piles on the covers, usually three layers, while I alternately toss the sheet on and off. 

Relationships really are about adaptation and compromise.  Especially the most intimate ones.  I mean, look at what Christ did to have a relationship with me.  Sacrificing himself so that we could have that personal, intimate relationship.  That dance of prayer and praise.  That holy communion together. 

Fortunately for me, Christ is never out-of-town.  The question here is what changes do I have to make to keep the intimacy of God in my life.  I think it’s more than just turning down the fan….

 Matthew 16:24

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

This past Saturday, my oldest daughter got married.  She married a wonderful man who pledged himself to love both her and her five-year-old son.  Their joy, their love, and their exhaustion were evident.  The ceremony was sweet and the vows were unique.  By the next day, they were on their way to the Bahamas.  The start of what I hope will be a long journey together.

We all embark on journeys in life.  Some hard, some not so hard.  Paul, the Apostle, described our Christian life as running a race.   In Hebrews 12 we are urged to run the race with patience.  Patience here means steadfastness, consistency, and endurance.  There is a reason that God likens our relationship with him to marriage.  Both are a like a cross-county style race.  We’re in it for the long haul.  And while we may sprint from time-to-time, we have to see the long course. 

Yesterday for me was like a water break in life.  No focus.  Couldn’t even see the course in front of me.  Today, I’m back on pace.  Tomorrow, I may sprint.  But, whatever I do, I have to stay the course.   

Hebrews 12

1THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,