Fighting for B

This is the most personal blog I’ve ever written, but I felt strongly about posting it. I’m thankful for my good friend Jess for setting the example.

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“Marriage is a crucible; it forces you to lay down your life for another a little bit at a time, which is good for those of us too cowardly to do it all at once.” ~ Andrew Peterson

Every morning when I drop Rhema off for school, we go through a routine of saying goodbye. I stoop. She squats in a corner. Her teacher stands her up, holds her still. I come close, try to get her to look my way and say with exaggeration, “Bye, Rhema. Bye.” Her teacher puts a hand at the side of Rhema’s eyes, “Rhema say Bye!”

Lately, she will give us a sweet “Iiiii. Iiiii.” And then sometimes we get, “Hhhhi. Hi. Hi.” Wonderful sounds to my ears. But this is not acceptable, because she needs to say Bye and we know she can do it. But for whatever reason, at 8:30 in the morning, Rhema can’t seem to find the “B” sound.

Sometimes we’ll be there for 10 to 15 min. Over and over we model the sound, we direct her gaze, we stand her slouching body, we offer reinforcers and encouragement, “C’mon buddy, you can do it. Say “Bye.”

We fight until finally the sound is there, sometimes whispered so faintly you might miss it. We hear “Buh” in front of “iii”, and we cheer and she bounces down the hall.

Every morning, every day, all her life I fight for the little and big things for Rhema. I pour my time, energy, heart and soul into helping her learn and grow.

Along the way I’ve realized there is an equally urgent, and dare I say, even more important fight: the one for my marriage, my husband. Recently I woke up to the fact that the demands (and joys) of motherhood,  friendships and work and life had crowded out my purpose of loving my husband. Nothing dramatic or drastic – just a slow, chipping away from our foundation. The thing is I was too busy to notice. I had stopped fighting.

(And then my line of thinking: Oh. I need to fight for us. Oh. But I guess I’m off the hook. I don’t have to fight because he’s deployed a billion miles away… he’s not here. Phew. Huh? That means I have to fight for us all the more??? Oh God, how in the world do I do that? Please show me how.)

Some ways I’m making changes:
1. Praying each day for a greater love for him. Praying for him as much or more than I do my children.
2. Being intentional and creative about expressing affection (for e.g., cards, letters). Two dear friends of mine set up a cyber meeting place where only Brandon and I can go to connect, share concerns and triumphs, talk about just us. My friend, Shanda, had one of the most radical ways of re-connecting with her husband.
3. Going to him first – before or instead of going to friends.
4. Date nights (for us, for now, it’s over Skype).

The greatest gift I can give my children is to prioritize, honor and nourish my relationship with my husband. For us, I know, the key will be to put the Lord first.

Honestly, the end goal is to make him my highest priority. Easier said than done, but so worth it. My husband is good good, generous and strong. And by God’s grace he is committed to not just being here. But to watering, feeding, tending to our marriage as it grows. And I am re-dedicated to the same, come hell or high water. After eleven years of marriage, I can assure you that hell and high water have come and will come again. The Lord is faithful. Will Christ sustain us? Yes. But not only that. He’ll make it better than we could ever imagine.

Happy Anniversary, B.

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25 thoughts on “Fighting for B

  1. I’m first? Wow. I think this is a first! It is hard, but I think you are doing the right things. We try to have date night at least once a month and try twice. Lately we’ve only gone once…for the last six months I think.

  2. Happy Anniversary~

    I can say, I know what you mean. My hubs has been away for a short while and I’ve found that I’ve opened my eyes to how important he is to me, not just my kids, and our family. I had forgotten, or overlooked this, while busy in my “own” life. Truth be told, I have no “my own life” without him; and the plan is to spend more time in loving him, so together, we can love our family!

  3. Happy Anniversary!

    This is a wonderful remider. I’ve been feeling for quite some time that I just cannot seem to be a really good Mommy and wife at the same time. I always choose Mommy because I figure he needs me more. He’s 5, husband is 32. I need to remember to put US first though. It’s something we talked about before we had Roc, we just haven’t followed through with it lately (since the Roc was born perhaps!)

    Great post!

  4. Amen and Amen girl! I will be praying for you as you continue the fight – it is so worth it. And I believe you are right about needing to fight all the more while he is away. He needs you to pursue him; needs to know that he hasn’t just faded off into the distance. I pray it will be a beautiful battle waged by both of you for the marriage God has blessed you with.

    I loved the quote at the beginning of this post!

    Thank you for linking to me as well. God used it as a beautiful affirmation that I am walking in His will for me right now. His timing is amazing.

    Much love to you!

  5. “…by God’s grace he is committed to not just being here. But to watering, feeding, tending to our marriage as it grows. And I am re-dedicated to the same”

    This is the best anniversary present you could offer.

    We’ll pray for you both. That the year ahead will be a renewing time for you as individuals and as a couple.

    Happy Anniversary. Do you have a sexy little number to put on for your next Skype? (or is that just cruel?)

  6. Happy Anniversary, It is wonderful that you are able to take a step back and realize these things. Thank you for sharing. The wedding picture above is beautiful 🙂

  7. I have been thinking aabout these very things too in my marriage. Some friends had talked about the book and movie ‘fireproof’ (the book is a diff. title) and I was going to get it for Vday and start secretly doing the tasks. I love my husband so much, but don’t really tell him or show him. He’s low on the priority list, and its not fair. :(. We’d be fine and happy the way we are going now, but as he once told me: we have the ability to be “more than fine.” we have within us the ability to be a couple deeply in love and acting the part! I know he’s right, but its hard when overwhelmed by everyday stuff . I feel like Rhema in your story, struggle over that “B”… i choke on words I need to say to him…

    Another lovely post!

  8. Happy 11th year you gorgeous couple! May you be given many creative ideas for how to love each other in this season of your lives.

  9. Wow….11 years! Praise God. Through the thick and thin.
    I have to say this is such a beautiful and true that is much needed in our society today. I think if every married coupled realized and acted on the fact that second to God, your spouse come first (even before children) the divorce rate wouldn’t be around 50%.
    And I agree it is so much easier said than done. Even having a healthy child and a very easy life (by God’s grace and season right now), it is a fight, an intentional fight that has to be made to make time for your spouse. Especially in ministry, coupled with work and other relationships and demands on your time, it is a fight for every minute together. Praise God for His grace and for the wonderful, amazing men he has put in our lives, Neily.
    Happy Anniversary! I will pray for your marriage specifically this week. Tell Brandon we say hi and miss him and a letter is going to come.

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  11. What a fabulous mom UR ! God bless you and your awesome kids. Love the quotes and encouragement U post. I tend to get a bit cynical and though I’m a Christian, there are days I am furious with God for all the years of insanity we go through dealing with a severly autistic son with brutal self-injurious behaviors. I’ve posted videos of him on you tube under “autism self injurious behaviors” from there it will link you to other videos. Let’s all encourage each other because the years of stress take a toll and hope deferred makes the heart sick, but it will erupt with joy and blessings if we just hang on to the Lord, despite all our inadequacies….Bless U in all you do sister!

  12. I do not know why you decided to stop writing, but I assure you that you are one belssed mother who has inspired a mom with a little faith.

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