The other day my husband admitted something to me that I've known for a while. The words that came out of his mouth hurt more than I expected. I understand that things like this happen. We have five kids, busy lives, I have multiple disabling chronic illnesses, and I am not the same person as the one he married nearly twenty years ago. For that matter, he's not the same as the man I married, either.
I could have yelled, screamed, and felt defeated. Instead, I saw the conversation as an opportunity for growth for both of us...as a chance for us to come closer together, rather than something that would break us apart. In what he said, I heard more than the words - I heard the hurt, the sadness, the longing for more from our marriage.
Besides, I can see his point.
He doesn't know me as well anymore -not as well as he did before we had children. We're not the kind of best friends we were when we got married. We don't share as many common interests, mostly because I'm physically incapable of doing many of the things we enjoyed years ago. In some ways, we have grown apart. He gets things done around the house, works, comes home, and gets more things done around the house. I homeschool children, manage a household, manage my own medical stuff as well as my kids' medical, spiritual, and emotional needs. Like many other parents, we find our lives revolving mainly around our children.
Before he goes to work, we talk about what needs to be done around the house, appointments, errands, etc. When he gets home from work, we talk about what happened with the kids during the day, how work went, and the next day's plans. On days off, we talk about how to spend our time together as a family. Somehow, we rarely get the time or have the energy to spend time together, just the two of us, or at the very least discuss something other than children, schedules, and to-do lists.
We love each other, we just don't know each other as well as we could or spend enough time concentrating on our relationship. Parenthood and chronic illness and life have changed us from who we used to be, and now we have the opportunity to get to know each other again. I'm sure this opportunity will present itself time and time again during our lifetime - when the kids start moving out on their own, when the last child moves out, when the grandchildren start arriving. What an exciting time for us! Now to find the time for more togetherness!
Sometimes, when life hits us with things we don't want to be true, we need to take a step back and pay attention. More than words, we need to see the truth in the love that shines through and act upon that love.
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 1 John 3:18