Invest in a beautiful friendship.
Guest contributor, Lisa Jacobson, Club 31 Women
His eyes reached for me from across the room.
I could tell he wanted something. Needed something. Without even looking up, I asked while gathering up a small handful of Legos, “What? What is it?”
All the while my mind rapidly reviewed my checklist for the evening: dinner dishes – check. Laundry load going – check. Boys in the bathtub – check. Living room tidy-up – in process.
Would you just sit down? He pretended to ask nicely, but his frustration came through all too clearly. He was bugged with me.
At which point, I felt a snap. A small snap, but definitely snappish.
“Ummm…I’m sorry, but I’m just trying to do the Good Wifey thing here?” Then proceeded to list for him everything I’d accomplished in the last 60 minutes. It was impressive. Ending my short, but rather sweeping speech with, “And what more could you want?”
What do I want? I want you to sit with me. To want you to be with me. I didn’t marry you because I was looking for a maidservant or a laundromat. I married you because I loved you and we were friends.
I’ll tell you what I want: I want my friend.
Funny how you can think you’re well on your way to getting everything right, only to learn that you got a little lost somewhere along the way? Not that I was wrong to order my house or care for our kids, but somehow when those goals got bumped up, he’d been inadvertently bumped out.
Somehow being a “good wife” had trumped being his good friend.
Do you know how that goes? You can be so busy checking off the right boxes that you leave off with why you made the list in the first place. So here’s Step #6 in our Uncommon Love series: A beautiful marriage means investing in a beautiful friendship.
Sync up schedules As much as possible, seek to line up your schedule with his. It’s too easy to start leading separate lives as you’re both going in opposite directions. He gets up early; you’re a night owl. He works this shift; you’re committed to that class or club. Before you know it, you’re living parallel lives and it’s not what either of you ever intended.
But true friends determine to do as much together as they can. Try to go to bed at the same time as each other and/or share as many meals together that you can pull off. Make it a priority to hang out together.
Which takes it right into the next one…
Make the most of the little moments. You’ve heard the expression, “Seize the day”? Well, my current motto is, “Grab the moment”. I used to wait until the time was right, or until he asked me for a date night. But those kinds of times didn’t come nearly as fast or frequent enough for me. By the time we went out, I was so tangled up that we spent much of the time “working things through” instead of enjoying the more fun topics.
Finally, I had an “ah-ha” flash and realized that I was missing out on lots of little opportunities. Not as satisfying as a Real Date, mind you, but they do count for something. Some examples: He’s going to run some errands, I’ll ask if I can come along. He’s working on his computer, so I’ll sit next to him and play on Pinterest. It’s not ideal, but hey! we’re together and I’ll take it.
But speaking of Date Night…
Slip Away Somewhere Not to contradict what was just said above, but seek to step away from the house on a fairly regular basis. It’s so easy to get caught up in all our many important roles – parent, provider, manager – that we can forget that we’re also FRIENDS. That we like each other. We’re not merely co-workers together in this thing called married life.
It’s easier now that our kids are older, but when our children were small we had to arrange for childcare and put it on the calendar. For many years, we went out for coffee together every Friday morning. It helped once my husband realized that it didn’t require anything fancy or expensive, but all it really took was time away as “Matt and Lisa” (not “daddy and mommy”) and to talk as friends.
Share interests together. And while the children can be considered a “mutual interest”, they shouldn’t be the only connecting point. For instance, my husband is very interested in current politics. While I’m less keen on the subject, I try to ask what is happening in that world. And then I make myself be interested in his answer. I also share with him regularly what is happening in, say, the blogging world. It helps him to share in my interests as well. It doesn’t always work, but we try to do the same with books, movies, and events. As many ways as we can tie our lives together, we do.
That conversation I shared in the beginning? I wish I could say it took place many years ago, but it didn’t – was relatively recent, in fact. A bit of a wake-up call really. My husband needs my ongoing friendship and to know that he’s at the top of my list. Undoubtedly, yours does too.
Today’s Challenge: Consider the kind of friendship you have with your husband. Is he at the top of your list? Are there ways you can grow closer together?
So enjoy that wonderful friend you married!
In His grace,
Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matt Jacobson, literary agent and writer, and together they enjoy raising 8 children. Please join her over at Club31Women, a blog for any wife, mother, or sister who is looking for Biblical encouragement and inspiration.
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