Sweetest Day is tomorrow, so don't forget to do something thoughtful
for your sweetie! Sometimes marriage can seem like an unconquerable
mountain filled with rocky paths and prickly brush, at times too
difficult to keep climbing. This story so perfectly describes what
many of us can relate to in marriage, and yet it also shows that the
view from the top is spectacular and worth the climb!
I just had my 25th wedding anniversary. What an accomplishment. I've
only contemplated divorce about 1 million times over the last 25
years, so you can imagine my surprise over reaching this milestone.
I have been complaining about this man for about 9,125 days....give
or take a few days. My life is not how I envisioned it. Every major
fight we've ever had has been over money. How you fight about
something you don't have is beyond me. There was also the big fight
over the candle light dinner I fixed.......it seems he wants to see
what he eats! He has seldom paid me a compliment. He rarely buys
me presents. He won't learn how to massage my back. He won't wear
shorts or swim trunks. We have only been on one family vacation in
25 years. He has never disciplined our girls, thus leaving me as the
repeated bad guy! He refuses to go grocery shopping and continues to
sneak and smoke after a bilateral carotid endartectomy. AND he spends
way too much time in his recliner!
This same man wouldn't miss a day of work unless he was half dead and
he hands over his check every payday. He would drive day and night
to pick up either of our girls if they needed him. He loves my mom
and Granny almost as much as I do. If you called him and said, "I'm
Sue's friend, we've never met and my car won't start".........he
would be out of the door in a flash to help you out. What an
incredible father he has been. I know he loves our girls as much as
I do! He has never complained about how much I've spent on either
child....no matter how out of budget I went. Since he knows how I
hate to cook....he hasn't complained (much) about the 20,000 fast
food meals we've consumed. He almost drowned as a child....which is
why he doesn't swim.......and maybe if we didn't make fun of his
ultra white legs.....he'd wear shorts. He doesn't drink alcohol and
is forbidden to use the words that are unacceptable to children's
ears (and mine). He hates to leave our sleepy little town.....but,
encourages me to go where I want to and he always seems happy to see
me as I make it back up the driveway.
I cannot begin to tell you the number of conversations I've had with
God about him.
"Lord, I'm so UNhappy. Life is too short and I know you don't want me
to be UNhappy!" He'd whisper....."Make yourself happy with him, Sue"
"I can't live with him another minute, Lord. You're up there watching
the whole vast universe and I don't think you see me down here,
"Oh, I see you. I'm here, always and forever. Speak to me."
"I am speaking to you! I want to have some peace in my life, you
know, Lord....but I don't want you mad at me! He's driving me crazy!"
"And he's doing what?"
"First of all....he's breathing my air!"
"THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH, SUE!"
I spent so many years praying for God to change him. God doesn't
play fair sometimes. It seems that all along God was changing me. I
had to come face to face with the fact that 'submissiveness' just
isn't my best quality. (Not even close!) But, I spend a small part of
each day working on it. I was so busy with my girls and my life that
I didn't realize how little of myself I gave to him. I concentrated
on the fact that we were polar opposites and he would never be able
to fill that part of me that needed filled. I didn't realize I
wasn't playing fair either because I hadn't reached into myself to
give him the part of me that needed nurturing. The poor man was
walking in the dark. He didn't have a clue. I think we both
wondered if love was enough.
We were at a family reunion and someone asked where he was. I
gleefully told them he was working overtime! Someone said, "Poor
Leonard." It's become a family joke to say "Poor Leonard" because it
grates on my last nerve! My own mother looked at me and said, "Do
you notice no one ever says, "Poor Sue"? It felt like ice water had
been dumped on my head. It was SO very true! That day my eyes
started to open.
So, at the ripe old age of 47, I've learned that happiness is a state
of mind. You can be hopelessly in love and decide you don't want to
be happy. He still does things that drive me totally over the edge.
But, I am receiving the nurturing that I have so long desired. I made
up my mind that's he's not responsible for my happiness with
him.....I am. I can hold grudges over what he's not done or done
badly....or I embrace all the fine things he does so well. So this
morning, and hopefully every morning for the next 50 years, I choose
to keep my family whole, to love with all my heart and please God and
I hope it comes through that I really love that man! I always have....I just
appreciate him more now!