Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thoughts for the Married Folks

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Google Buzz know that every so often I'll post a nugget of wisdom from my "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" page-a-day calendar. This is the third year that I've had this particular page-a-day on my desk at work, and I find that most days it helps to give me perspective and not lose focus. Anyone who works in manufacturing during this "fabulous" economic climate knows that stress can become the modus operandi, so these daily reminders of what's important can come in handy.

However, the daily reminders aren't always things that will help at work. This calendar is chock full of goodies that can help us to keep perspective in all aspects of our lives. Last week - I got three days of perspective on how I interact with Steve.

Thursday, August 5: Your spouse is your partner. Ideally, you'd treat your partner as you would your best friend.

Of course! This one didn't require much thought for me - Steve is definitely my best friend. There's very little that I think about or encounter that I don't immediately want to call, text, email, or run and tell him when it happens. A great example is the other night; Steve had left and gone to Lowe's while I was packing lunches for the next day. While he was gone, a rough-legged hawk decided to perch on our back deck for a little bit and then flew across our yard into the woods. As soon as I heard the garage open, I ran down to tell Steve about what happened. Shopping - everything I look at or consider buying I think of Steve in some way. I'm lost without him - he is definitely my best friend.

Friday, August 6: Many people say "My partner is my best friend," but most don't actually back up that statement with thoughts, feelings, and actions consistent with it.

Ouch. Talk about taking the wind out of my sails. Sure - Steve is my best friend... but do I always act it? When I have a bad day, do I process it with him like I used to do when I was a kid on the phone with my girlfriends - or do I bottle it up and lash out at him when he least expects it? When he does something that bothers me, do I sit down and talk to him about it like a rational person or with the respect he deserves as my husband - or do I lose my patience and become testy? If I'm honest with myself, I don't always treat Steve as though he's my best friend.

Saturday, August 7: Ask yourself, what could I do to express my gratitude toward my spouse even more than I already do?

If you've ever read "The Five Love Languages", you'll know what I mean when I say that Steve's love languages are Acts of Service and Physical Touch. What can I do as his wife to translate the appreciation I have for how he provides for our little family, for how he gets excited when I do cable weights for the first time, for how he gets angry when people hurt me, for how he gets pumped about great things that happen at work, for how he abandoned his own dreams for adult small group ministry to follow me into my desire for youth ministry, for holding me when I cry... the list goes on. I appreciate so much that Steve does; what can I do to translate that in a way that he will know in his heart how much I do appreciate him.

I photocopied these three days of thoughts and brought them home. I share them with you here because I think that they're pertinent to every married couple out there. Sure, you always hear "My spouse is my best friend" - but I think that it's an important question to ask. What are we doing as spouses to show our other halves that the ARE our best friends? Do we respect their feelings and thoughts and desires? Do we speak their love language to them so they know how much we care? Do we do little things and cherish all of the moments and things we do together?

Steve and I are still young in our marriage (just over 3 years), so things like this are important for us to reflect on. What am I doing to serve my husband, to let him know I care, to let him know I appreciate him? How can I improve on the way I communicate these feelings to him so that he never questions where I stand and if I respect him? I don't ever want to become one of those old married couples who don't know each other and have forgotten what a deep, beautiful relationship and partnership God has designed marriage to be. Some of the best moments are when Steve and I look into each others' eyes for just a brief moment... and see that deep love and bond we have for each other.

What would life be like if that suddenly was missing - if I lost my best friend because I didn't nurture that friendship or treat it the way it deserved to be treated? I'd be lost.

For you married people out there (or even people in a serious relationship who might get married at some point or have been married and therefore have insight): what do you think of all this? What can you do or are you doing to let your partner know that they are your best friend?

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