Encouraged. Discouraged. Married.
Let me tell you a little bit about me, even though you may have picked up on some it along the way. Most of you know some things about me, but not a lot about me. And ultimately, this post isn’t really about me, but in order to appreciate it, you’ve got to have more background on me. Make sense? Of course not.
I’m a creative type that’s always messing with something. I love to invent and create and rehabilitate all sorts of things. Lately, there have been a lot of house projects (as I’ve detailed here). As I’ve done the siding project on our house, I’ve been heavily involved in doing outside projects. So, while I’m walking around on the roof or hitting the chase on the side of my house with a sledgehammer or pounding nails into siding, Angie’s been watching the kids. And, if you know of TD and Red, you know a few things — they’re bright, imaginative kids who have a very strong play instinct. They also have their dad’s volume issues and zest for getting into mischief. Combine their natural craziness with me making all sorts of noises on the house, and you’ve got some stimulated children. And she’s dealt with them one-on-one for the better part of about 10 days! Last night, I finally got to have a long overdue meeting with a friend for a couple of beers and a burger after work. When I got home, Angie got to take a much deserved run while I dealt with Ding and Dong. What ensued was not stop, full volume, chaotic wrestling. Clearly, they’d been missing this element. It went on for about 20 minutes straight until I heard my darling Red yell from the kitchen. She was standing on one of the chairs (she’s become Bear Grylls-like over the past month with these chairs), arms extended above her head, holding an empty plate, yelling. At her feet was a pile of spaghetti. So…my littlest crazy got scrubbed down (her mom had given her a bath immediately after spaghetti, that’s why it was still on the table), tossed into jammies and thrown into bed. When Angie came in from her run she admitted that she’d been sitting outside for about 10 minutes…
While all this is going on, I’m also trying to do some stuff at work — like open doors to a hallway that hasn’t been built yet inside a building that hasn’t been imagined yet. In short, I’m trying to reshape the way we do some things. Being a trailblazer has moments of joy, but it also has frustrations and certainly requires much thought capital. As a part of this work, I’m becoming involved in things that I’ve never done before — like business dinners at Fleming’s. You know, the really hard stuff in life. But it means she’s got one more night without me getting to serve her.
Oh yeah, I’m loud, silly, and don’t put away my clothes…
Add in Alpha for 4 hours every Sunday, Angie’s “No Bull Wives Club” once a month and the individual relationships we work to grow, it’s been a crazy season in our lives. A few days ago, TD said, “mommy, sometimes you need your alone time, right?” and Angie said, “yes.” Then he said “that’s when I go to grandpa and grandma’s house, right?” And Angie couldn’t help but laugh. We haven’t had a real live date night in like 3 weeks or so. And for a couple that likes weekly date nights, it’s been rough! We do our best with cheese and a glass of wine on Sunday nights after Alpha, but that’s not the same. We continue to make the time to work at our relationship and connect with each other, but we’ve not had the time to REST in the love of each other.
What I’m getting at is that my wife is amazing. In the midst of all this chaos, she’s managed to continue to encourage me to pursue the opportunities that have been put in front of me. And when I say encourage, I don’t mean that she tolerates it then runs to the door for “Angie Time” as soon as she can. No, she encourages me with her words, challenges me to keep pushing and speaks my love language when my energy gets weak. Her ability to discern where I’m weak on any given day fascinates me. We’ve agreed that there are certain areas I’m exposed to that are truly great opportunities for me and for our family. That I have someone who is 100% in my corner, cheering me on and pushing me to go with boldness into unchartered territories — I can’t express how much pressure that takes off of me and how much easier it makes it for me to focus on getting done what needs to be done. She sees my opportunities as her opportunities. And I feel the same about hers.
So now, in honor of my wife, I’m going to encourage you. For those of you with spouses, encourage them. Renew your place in their life. Become a part of their world. Take interest in what they’re doing. Figure out how you can help. Her sacrifices that allow me to thrive in this season of my life only serve to increase her gravitational effect on my heart, drawing me in emotionally. Last night, seeing my exhaustion, she just laid down on the couch next to me and watched the Blackhawks. Amazing to have a wife like her — even encouraging me to write this blog.
For those of you who are thriving because you have a spouse that has sacrificed so that you can pursue, have you adequately expressed your gratitude? Have you taken time to look at your life and see if the seasons have changed? If it’s become your time to sacrifice so that your spouse can pursue? Do you even know what your spouse’s dreams are any more so that you’d recognize the opportunities that present themselves in your spouse’s life? Are you roommates that had a wedding so you wouldn’t be alone or are you a single entity living as one?
A spouse provides the greatest source of inspiration, strength, joy and freedom that you can find in any human relationship. If that’s not happening, then it’s time to get to work. It’s not about finding someone new; you’ll only take your old problems to a new relationship. It’s about working to grow what’s been dormant. The work you put into revitalizing a relationship builds into you knowledge and understanding that is necessary to connect with your spouse in ways that invigorate you. If you have to build a new foundation and rebuild from scratch, then so be it. I’ve been there. If you just need to do some updating on some fixtures and appliances, get to it.
Thank you, Angie, for putting in the work so that I can reach my potential.