So, I cut his roast chicken. Into little square edibles. When I looked up, he wore a puzzled expression, a little worried but seriously amused.
I drew my eyes back down to where mangled bits of poultry lay in a pile on my husband’s plate.
“Hmmm,” he commented. “Maybe you need a day off.”
It’s crazy the things you don’t anticipate when you begin a family.
All the forewarned preparation in the world can’t compensate for being a 24/7 life support system nor turn a body into an angel after three tortuous days without sleep. New baby transition isn’t always a stroller in the park.
Husband and wife relationships stretch like rubber bands, thin and far apart then snap together again.
In the foggy mist of baby-lag, the next thing you know, you’ve cut your husband’s chicken for him.
Even worse, you kind of forgot there was a husband.
You remind yourself, with your hands in dishwater, while the dryer end-cycle plays a steady beep in the background, and your youngest sways on your leg, I have a marriage.
As babies grow, so does their understanding. Mom and Dad’s conversation becomes coded.
“He needs a n-a-p,” you hiss.
“Do you want me to put him to b-e-d?” he answers.
“O.K. Give him a b-o-t-t-l-e, make sure he has his b-l-a-n-k-i-e and b-i-n-k-i-e.”
Then a day arrives when spelling no longer works. Its traded in for sneaky trysts and sign language. Communication is shared in quick kid hand-offs.
Until one day, tired and cranky, you realize, “I haven’t had an uninterrupted adult conversation with my husband in three days.”
In the Apostle Paul’s epistle of Titus, he laid out some instructions for older women teaching younger. In Titus 2:4 he tells them to “encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.”
The word love, from the original philos, means attached to, friendly or fond of.
Isn’t it strange we need such a reminder about those dearest to us? Perhaps, though culture and society have changed from when Paul wrote Titus, our tendency is still the same. I’m guessing babies took every bit as much physical energy and emotional energy back then as they do today.
Life gets hectic. Work does not end. We feel worn by the cycle of responsibilities, and husbands and children become the brunt of our irritation. We forget to smile. Sometimes sweetest blessings seem like overwhelming demands. Privilege can turn to drudgery, and responsibilities consume our days. Demeanor loses all semblance of the fond friendship our family relationships desperately desire.
If you are needing connection with the people most important to you, bring back a little intentional friendliness.
- Say thank-you.
- Show appreciation.
- Smile again.
- Reach out and touch.
- Greet your family at the door.
- Stop and give a hug.
Put down what’s in your hand, turn and give complete attention, the kind of eye to eye that shows you care.
Sometimes we make it much harder than it needs to be. Tomorrow put the kids to bed early. Set the table in china and eat steak by candlelight.
He can cut his own.
(This article was first published on Just18Summers.com)
Cover photo courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.com.