If I Wasn’t My Husband’s Wife

For those of you who don’t know my family, my husband’s name is John.  John is a pretty special guy.

A loyal husband and adoring father, he is determined to provide for our family, both materially and otherwise.  I know this for a fact, because in the time between leaving military service and being handed a lucrative job that took him away from us for 8 months a year, he began interviewing for entry-level jobs that he would then stack in order to continue our homeschooling lifestyle.  My husband is a provider.

I know that he is loyal to me, because there was a time when I had all but given up on him due to our inability to communicate and connect.  He never gave up on me, though, and we have grown stronger through the years by relying on the third person in our marriage – Jesus Christ.  My husband is loyal.

I know he is a great father, because I have seen him grow into that role.  He knew he had always wanted children, and he also knew that he had no idea how to be a good father.  He knew what kind of father he didn’t want to be though, so that is where he began.  He knew nothing of screaming infants and diaper changes, but after his initial anxiety he became a help in some of those times.  He flourished as the father of preschoolers, for his forte at the time was creating magical and hysterical stories off the top of his head, dressing up and playing make-believe, and playing at playgrounds as though he wasn’t a full-grown man.  He is hesitant for the final true years of childhood, because we are realizing more and more that being a young adult these days presents more and different challenges than we were faced with when we were going into middle school and high school.  Also, because we choose to follow Jesus as our Savior and example (don’t get me wrong, we fail every day), our standards for morality tend to be higher, as our culture continues to lower its own standards.  We  keep making an effort to pull together as husband and wife, showing our children that we are a team that often disagrees, yet remains unified.  My husband is a loving and devoted father.

But what if he wasn’t my husband?

What if I wasn’t his wife?

I would be hoping for a man like him.

Knowing what I know about him – the circumstances of his youth, his journey in becoming a man, his failures and successes – I would want to be his wife.  I would know that no matter how many times we failed each other, he would always be there, wanting to try again.

At this point in my considering his qualities, I am feeling humbled.  Am I still making the efforts that would be necessary in winning him over were I not his wife today?  If he and I were to meet today, would I have made enough effort in my conversation and appearance to encourage his getting to know me more deeply?  If I had to win over my husband today, could I?

On a practical level, this is how I am putting these musings to use…

In thought – Speak truth, seasoned with love, patience, and kindness.  Use discretion in speaking about others, and use words of encouragement.  If I am always negative of others, or putting others down, or using harsh/embarrassing speech, I could easily cause harm to his reputation or speak about him in the same way.

In deed – Before marriage, much thought went into outward appearance.  When getting ready each day, some of that effort should still be there, for he is still worth attracting.  Before marriage, much effort went into practicing good manners and learning to anticipate his needs and desires.  While those tasks can be exhausting and all but impossible while going about the day raising children and keeping our home, I can still try whenever possible.  He is worth whatever love-filled attempts I can muster.

For the wives reading this, I hope you will be encouraged to continue making an effort for your husbands, whatever that may mean to the two of you.

For the husbands reading this, consider what it might take to get your wife’s attention today, and what you would be willing to do to make her yours.  Then perhaps take small steps toward some of those things.  Surely she is worth it.

As always, please leave your thoughts below, I love reading them 🙂

How is it possible to be stressed as a stay-at-home mom?

Stretching, now reaching
Not enough time, space, or me
Need to re-focus

How in the world is it possible for someone who spends the majority of their time at home, gets a full night’s sleep most nights of the week, steals moments each day to take care of themselves, and is doing what they deeply love, to become incredibly stressed? How could she possibly develop stress headaches that spread down into her shoulders? What could she be doing so wrong and inefficiently that at the end of the day, her brain seems to cease working and she becomes clumsier than normal? She is exhausted from the inside-out. Why? With such a comfortable situation, how dare she feign a tired mind and body?! I’m not a doctor of any sort, and so will not venture into understanding or explaining things from a technical angle. I will briefly share how she has arrived at this place, and how she imagines pulling out of it.
Homeschooling should be considered a full-time job. If an employed, certified and paid teacher is working “full-time”, then a non-ceritfied, unpaid homeschool mom should consider such her employment. She will spend summer mornings working her garden and caring for her home and having adventures with her family. She will spend summer afternoons carefully scheduling curriculum into a lesson planner, leaving room for life to happen along the way. The school year will begin with great excitement as new supplies are dipped into and new books explored! P.E. and art classes and the occasional field trip will be slipped into those open spaces the homeschool mom saw a need to leave room for as she scribbled away over the summer weeks. There will be appointments and disruptions to the well-laid plans (illnesses, surprise visitors, work schedule changes, etc). With a deep breath and an eraser, homeschooling mom adapts quickly and quietly, trying to roll with the bumps and jostles, keeping things running as smoothly as she can. You may thinking that she is a naturally organized person, but she isn’t. She struggles like a young child just trying to keep her own room orderly. She has joined up as a member of parents and teachers within the local school program, and enjoys the shared purpose of the monthly meetings.
On top of her homeschooling job (which she deeply loves!), she has a greater love – Jesus Christ. Her Savior, the Lover of her soul, her Redeemer, He who she longs to know better and grow to become more like, deserves her very best. She slips scripture into her students’ lessons so they can discuss, apply, and memorize God’ word. She sneaks peeks at her sermon journal and sits quietly with her Bible and coffee most mornings of the week. She longs to become a servant in the church body, and berates herself for not doing more for her Christian brothers and sisters or serving within the various ministries.
Homeschool mom believes that a healthy marriage is the top priority after her relationship with Jesus, and strives to put her husband’s needs and desires ahead of all others. His health and needs weigh heavily on the heart and mind of his wife. While she doesn’t worry – worrying being a lack of faith – she does have him on her mind constantly.
Next on her list of priorities are her children. Three personalities, three groups of strengths and challenges. Three unique individuals who all need a wise and loving mama. If one were to couple the tasks of “home economist” and “caregiver” which generally include all of a mom’s responsibilities, you would have another full-time job. What are we up to now – two full-time jobs? People do that and survive every day, no big deal, right? Well…maybe.
Now for the extra tasks and outside pressure. Here we include the business(es) the homeschooling mama dreams of putting more time into, though these endeavors require a cash infusion of which there is little each month. Money aside, one business requires focused chunks of time on the computer and eventually at shows. The other requires time in development, time in construction, and more of both in the future.
So, at the end of it all, where does she draw the line? At one full-time job? Two? Cut out activities for the children? Give up on her joint dream with her husband on operating a mini-homestead? Give up on her personal businesses? Perhaps forego those stolen moments of personal development and rest she finds in writing, reading, and outdoor adventures? She has tried different ways of juggling all that is asked of her over the years, and only one thing has worked. Prayer coupled with re-focusing priorities. There are only so many hours in a day, in a week, in a year. When using the Bible as her guidebook, she is able to prayerfully decide what will benefit her relationships with Jesus and her family. Perhaps, that is what she needs to do again.

~V

The coffee is still warm, but my brain hasn’t caught up

Pinterest and French press are my companions this morning now that J-Dub has ventured off to work.  Em and Chase are always laying about, so if I don’t mention them, one can safely assume that one is begging for food or attention while the other is flopped somewhere in near-death boredom.  They take turns at these activities.  My blessings, my charges, my God-given character-builders are still slumbering away, and I am half-listening for footsteps as I type.  Now that the scene has been set, I have a question for you.  Why on earth have styled bookshelves become a thing?  The obvious answer would be related to decor and personal style, but still, I wonder, why do we not have enough books in our homes to fill one small case?  Must we fill in those empty spaces with coordinated knickknacks instead?  Frames and empty vases and collections galore?  Here is another question – how in the world have all of these women convinced their husbands that having well-styled rooms is a worthwhile endeavor?  I’m jealous.  Plain and simple.  Pinterest, you are both my friend and foe.

On another note, I picked up a book at the library yesterday (more than one, actually, but that’s beside the point) by an apparent author and somewhat-famous interior designer.  I seem to have caught the annual “spring cleaning and nesting” bug, so here I am in all a rage to clear out our home and make it more livable.  I admit that as things accumulate, even simple housekeeping becomes a grand frustration.  This book, Seven Layers of Organization by Christopher Lowell, caught my eye, as doing things in chunks and in an orderly fashion appeals to me.  The first two “layers” that Mr. Lowell addresses deal with assessing the what/where/why/how of the extra junk and clutter in our homes, then separating our emotions from our stuff so we can purge the extra and create space for living.  Often times, I don’t think we realize how connected we can become to things.  We hold on for dear life to these things that can be burned down in a day, broken in seconds, lost in a moment and never seen again!  The relationships in our lives should be of greatest importance, and having a home conducive to nurturing those relationships is one of the goals I have for my life.  Might I encourage you to make it one of yours as well?

~V

Good Morning

Praise and glory to God alone, I am not only able, but also willing, to wake up with my husband each morning, a good two hours or more before the kidlets rise. This time has become precious to me over the past weeks, as I am able to accomplish things that are important to me, in a way that I am comfortable doing. Today is fast becoming a typical morning: Wake at 0500, shower and dress by 0530, get J-Dub his breakfast while he gets his things together for work, chat for a few before he leaves, Bible study/devotional/prayer, read a section of a book, set up for the day’s activities, and if I’m super lucky I will have finished an entire cup off coffee by this point.

Now about that devotional. I use the YouVersion app on my phone, which is simply loaded with all manner of devotionals, though one must take care that what they are studying through is biblical. I am currently going through the Made to Crave: a 21-Day Challenge devotions, though I haven’t read the book by Lysa TerKeurst (www.madetocrave.org). If you are tempted to overeat, or really over-do anything that is good in moderation, I encourage you to check out the materials. Something that stood out to me this morning was the question of how often I have given into a short-term desire that worked against a long-term goal. This thought goes so much further than eating too much junk. How often do we act on impulse? How often do we cause our own setbacks due to our unwillingness to tell ourselves “no”, and pray for help to focus on that which is superior to instant gratification?! Please leave a note below, I welcome you to share your point of view.