I mentioned in my New Year's resolution post that this was to become the Year of our Marriage.
We were married a full three weeks before we became pregnant. Another eight days before I knew we were pregnant. Y'all know that the minute you find out a baby is coming, that becomes The Focus. All conversations, all thoughts, every breath you inhale and exhale centers around that baby. Every minute. Of every day.
If you are married for only one month to the woman that this happens to, this means one thing: you get screwed.
I have had several older women say things to me along these lines: "You cannot neglect your marriage during these child rearing years. You cannot put your husband on the back burner. You must keep him first. You must keep your marriage first. Otherwise, 18 years from now, your kids leave, and very soon afterwards, so does yout husband. If not physically, then emotionally and mentally, he is already long gone."
And I must say that this has been one of the hardest parts of being married.
Having four small children so close is the most exhausting undertaking. I am overwhelmed. I am understaffed. I feel like a failure at the end of almost every day. Even on the days that some of them are in preschool, the stretch from 2:30-6pm is so emotionally, physically, and mentally draining that all I really want to do is escape to my cave, which happens to be this computer.
And I can do this, because if I ignore Walker, unlike the other four people in this house, he still gets fed and he still gets bathed. His nose still gets wiped, not to mention his bottom. He functions very well without me.
Unfortunately, our marriage does not.
Now that Ike is out of his babyhood stage and my head has been starting to clear a bit, I have begun to realize that I needed to put down one of the 17 parenting books forever next to my bed and blow the dust off one of those books on marriage. And then this weekend, we have had a series of talks - you know those talks - that have confirmed this for me 1000%.
Because my husband is not functioning very well without me. And I need quite desperately for that to be The Focus. For The Focus to be him.
So that's the plan, Stan.
There are a few intentional things that I want to do to achieve this.
1. Read the book A Marriage Without Regrets by Kay Arthur (see my Amazon store up above). This book has an interesting story to it. I was recently at the Big Ole Baptist Church library with the kids. When I walked in, Maggie picked up a book and said, "Here Mommy, for you." I said thank you, glanced at it, and set it down. Later when we were checking out, I noticed it was in the stack of books already checked out. I started to put it back but thought, oh well, this is the second time it has been given to me, maybe I am supposed to read it.
A week later I was at my Moms & Mentors meeting and the women's ministry leader announced the bible studies they were doing for the fall. One of them was Kay Arthur's Marriage Without Regrets. Okay God, I get it! I started reading the book and it is phenominal. Just started the bible study - and I am doing the In and Out version, ie, the Weenie Precepts that I did not know existed - and it is fantastic too.
Walker also promised he would read it. (Why don't men want to read these books? You'd think I was asking him to Epilady his chest hair.)
2. Read Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. Also in the Amazon store. My counselor told me that this was the best book on marriage she had ever read. I am coming to understand that when it comes to respect, a man's definition of this is nothing like ours. I need someone to 'splain it to me.
3. I heard about this Forty Day Prayer Challenge on Life Today (I started watching Life Today for Wednesdays with Beth, and I am hooked now. James and Betty crack me up. My heart does a little dance whenever the theme song comes on, like I am turning on to my grandma's street.) We have been doing this since the new year and it is very powerful. I also find out a lot of things about my husband based on what he prays about. Hmmmm.
4. I didn't think this was part of TYOOM, but Walker said it was. To combat my mommy mush brain, and to deal with the fact that the majority of my history was taught to me by high school coaches whose lesson plans included John Hughes movies and long discussions on fighter jets, we are giving each other "assignments". Each of us gets to pick a topic for the other, who will research via wikipedia, books, movies, whatever, and then do a little presentation about what they learned. Walker chose Berlin for me, because my lack of WWII knowlege is downright shameful. I chose Frida Kahlo for Walker. Why? Because I am utterly intrigued by a woman who voluntarily maintained a unibrow and a mistache, aka, the anti-Missy. Tell me more!!
5. This last one is a biggie. And the way I feel about it can best be conveyed using a visual aid:
We're gonna turn off the computer at (inhale, exhale) 8pm.
And hang out together, yo.
Any blogging, emailing, facebooking, tweeting, et cetera will have to be completed during naptime.
It's gonna give a whole new meaning to the name of this blog.
And I will have to restrain myself from believing every sniffle warrants a teaspoon of Benadryl.
Most of all, I am praying that the sovereign God who saw fit to give us four small children in under four years will equip us to create the home for them that they deserve, one that honors each other and honors the Lord. And I covet your prayers to that end.