It really sort of hit me yesterday...2017 was kind of a hard year. There wasn't a one big thing that went on and on that made it tough, and I'm really thankful for that. We were all healthy, and aside from the my husband losing his job, there were no major catastrophies. We had some air-conditioning issues that were inconvenient and pretty unpleasant, but really, compared to so many, we were blessed.
So why, looking back, do I feel like it was one of the hardest years we've gone through? As the idea for this post began to form, I almost dumped it before I wrote a word. Writing this down, sharing it like this, might just prove to be harder than all of 2017.
Maybe I should start by saying that, as a devout Christian woman, I consider marriage a covenant that should only be broken by death. My husband and I made that commitment to each other just over 14 years ago, and it's something I take very seriously. So, at least for me, when things aren't smooth, all roses and chocolates, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out. My husband is a good man and I still love him. A lot. But, like me, he's far from perfect. He lives inside his own head a lot and is not great at communication, unless it's something he really wants to talk about. He rarely asks me about my interests, projects or endeavors. In a word, he is inherently selfish.
Before I go any further, I want to say, with complete confidence, that we will be married until death parts us, so this post isn't about me contemplating anything different than that. But, I woke up this morning having made a pretty big decision. And that decision is that things are going to change. I decided that my desire to feel valued, to have my husband be attentive and compassionate towards me and to show me empathy should be, and is, just as important as anything he wants, including a good job as soon as possible. I made the choice that I will not back down from what I want. And I know my husband wants to be the best husband he can be, but unfortunately, he needs a LOT of guidance and handholding. So I also decided that I am just simply not going to enable that anymore. He will have to stand on his own on this and figure out what God expects of him in the role of husband. I will point him in the right direction with bible verses, devotions, books and our pastors, but the rest is up to him. And while he's doing that, I'm going to spend more time taking care of myself and pursuing things that give me joy and fulfillment. My deepest hope and prayer is that my husband and I will meet on common ground and begin developing the marriage God intends for us. If that doesn't happen, then I may have to seek counsel on our future. Right now, I feel like it's just a matter of him becoming "plugged in" and looking outward more than inward, and me giving him a lot more grace!
But for now, I have chosen the theme for this year to be PEACE. The peace I speak of is that which can only come from complete surrender to God and trust in His plan. For my family, I want us all to walk the path that He lights for us and to do it willingly and joyfully, celebrating and giving thanks and praise for the good times, and standing steadfast in our faith when things are tough.
I don't like the word "resolution" when starting a new year. To me, that indicates a chore or something unavoidable and unpleasant, so I am using the term "theme" for this year and setting some goals or aspirations, that go along with the theme of PEACE. I've even created a sort a pneumonic device out of the word to help us all focus on what we need to do and be as a family, and I believe it will help to open our hearts and minds to the peace of the Lord.
P--Patience. In everything we say, think or do, to exercise patience with ourselves, each other, others, and mostly, God.
E--Empathy. Consider where others are at and meet them there, appreciating what they are going through.
A--Acceptance. God made each of us in differently, but all in His image, which is love, and learning to accept, faults and all, will make our hearts purer.
C--Communication. Ask, listen, use kind, respectful words but don't be afraid to speak up and let others know what you feel, think and need.
E--Encouragement. We should always strive to lift each other and others up, helping everyone to reach their goals and providing encouragement to keep trying and have courage in the face of difficulty.
I do want to say, that as I woke this morning and began forming these thoughts, I wasn't feeling down or sad. On the contrary, I felt excited, hopeful and empowered! I know that God knows all the things on my heart. I know He wants all marriages to be strong, to be "FireProof," that he wants families to be whole and solid, that He expects all of us to stand firm on our faith and know that He is there for us in every moment, good and bad.
I am ready for 2018, ready to make it the best we've had yet, and I am so excited to share the journey with all my readers. Watch for later posts about my personal goas for this year as well as updates on how our PEACE plan is working!
Happy New Year to all!