"Staying The Course"
(If you have not read the last two entries on my blog, it would help your understanding of this portion to read them.)
Earlier, I wrote about two lessons learned early in my search for information on being a better husband. The first was the importance of my wife knowing she had first place in my life. The second lesson showed me the many ways I had injured her spirit. This is the starting point for this final segment.
In Smalley’s book, If He Only Knew, there is a chapter that deals with the ways men injure their wives emotionally. He listed 122 things men do to injure their wives’ spirits. While I could truthfully say I had never intentionally done anything to hurt my wife physically or emotionally, I had done most of the things on the list. I had done them because I was clueless to the needs she had. I was clueless no more. It was time for me to do my part to rectify the mistakes I had made.
My attempts to rectify my mistakes were sometimes clumsy. She did not always welcome my efforts. Years of insensitivity had made her suspicious of my motives. With each two steps forward, I took a step backward. The good news is, if you follow each backward step with two forward ones, you reach your destination. This has been the mark of our marriage. While we have not arrived, we feel ourselves getting closer each day.
During our journey we have come to appreciate the term “help meet” in the Bible. It is a term that means to complete. It can be illustrated with a lock and a key. A lock or a key without each other can’t fulfill their purpose. Together, they can do all that they were intended to do.
This simple truth taught us to appreciate our many differences. I am an extremely choleric personality. My wife is a melancholy personality. I am a cognitive thinker. She is intuitive person who often thinks with her feelings. For years, we thought God must have a warped sense of humor to have placed us together. Today, we understand we need each other. Our differences make us stronger by giving us balance.
Last March, we celebrated the forty second year of our journey. For my part, the journey can be divided into three phases, ten clueless years, ten years of repairing the damage caused by the first ten years, and twenty years of moving forward as one. Each day I praise God for giving my wife and me the strength to honor the commitment we made forty-two years ago. That commitment held us together during the early years. It left us with only two options. One, we could stay together and make each other miserable for the remainder of our lives. Two, we could discover what was needed to fix our relationship and work at it. We are still working at it today. We have learned that our relationship can never be taken for granted. It is an ongoing project that we must develop each day.
It has not been easy but our blessings have been greater than our heartaches. At special times when our two sons, their wives, and our eight grandchildren join us, we count our blessings. When our boys call us a “Beaver Cleaver” family, we smile and know it has been worth all the work.
Today, we stand hand and hand facing our twilight years. My love for my wife is greater than it was the day we said our vows. I thank God each day we did not give up but stayed the course.