The Ultimate Gift
We are in full baby prep mode. Baby books are being read. Baby clothes are being washed. Baby mattresses have been researched for hours (it can’t be too squishy or too firm) and (finally) ordered. Hospital tours are being set up. *Birthing plans still aren’t being researched because I prefer to keep my head in the sand in regards to that part of the process. The baby has to come out. That’s as far as I let my thoughts go on that one.*
However, a few weeks ago I stopped in the midst of all the baby talk and thought about what is truly the best thing I could do for this baby…besides investing into a baby monitor that has the capability to connect to NASA via Wifi and only washing his clothes with a special kind of baby detergent (who knew) and only feeding him organic homemade baby food.
I came to the conclusion that the best gift I can give my son is to love his father.
More than anything, I want my boy to grow up watching Dave and I love each other. I want to be that stability for my child and I want to be that example of unconditional love in his life.
So, a few weeks ago I put the baby books on the back burner and decided to read some marriage books.
I read What’s it Like Being Married to Me by Linda Dillow and the above book, For Better or for Best, which my sister recommended.
Let me preface this by saying that I feel truly blessed to be married to Dave. He is attentive to my needs and our family’s needs. He is a terrific husband and an anchor for our family. However, every relationship requires work and as we embark on this parenting journey together I want to make sure that I’m being intentional about deepening my relationship with Dave. For me, part of being a good mother will include being a good wife. I have watched even the happiest of couples drift apart and I want to ensure that my marriage remains a priority during this new season of life. So just to clarify, our marriage isn’t struggling and Dave isn’t hard to love (although apparently he thinks I am) but I’m not naive to the fact that even the best marriages can crumble from within when not given the attention they deserve.
I just loved the principles and concepts gleaned from the above books and thought I would share them here.
Linda Dillow challenged and convicted me with these questions…
- What would your husband say about you at your funeral?
- What kind of character qualities would he have seen in you throughout your years of marriage?
- What would you like your husband to say about you after years of marriage?
I began to think about how pleasant we as women strive to be to our friends, coworkers and even strangers. However, our husbands often get dealt whatever patience we have leftover at the end of the day. The relationship we should value above all else gets the short end of the stick, so to speak.
I also thought this was a powerful quote from Linda’s book. Linda asked a group of women why they want to stay mad at their husbands and one woman responded with this…
“Staying mad is easier than forgiving. Anger justifies and comforts me after an offense. If I remain angry then I have no room in my mind to see fault in myself. If I remain angry, my heart can be so full of blame there’s no room for conviction.”
In marriage, every day you must choose to love and every day you must choose to forgive. It is an ongoing sacrament – love and forgiveness. This book challenged me to examine my own heart, attitude and actions before temporarily refusing forgiveness to Dave.
The author says when you’re wrong, be willing to change and when you’re right, be easy to live with.
Gary’s book does a great job detailing the differences between men and women. He also provides several tips and principles that I hope to incorporate into our marriage for years to come. For example…
- You reap what you sow (period). You will get out of your marriage what YOU put into it. Don’t wait on your husband to put forth effort – You start sowing seeds of love, joy and dedication.
- Eliminate your time limit and preconceived ideas about when and how your expectations will be fulfilled.
- Be positive. People are naturally attracted to happy people. Make an effort to be pleasant and upbeat when spending time with your husband.
- Overreacting to a situation can cause greater problems than the ones to which you are reacting.
- Don’t let a day pass without telling your husband at least one thing he said or did that you appreciated.
- Outer beauty will attract a man’s eye, but inner beauty will keep his heart. Be cute and sexy for your man, but realize your attitude, encouragement, gentle spirit,unselfish love and calmness will be what keeps your marriage alive.
Whether you’re single with hopes of being married one day or you’ve been married for 10 years, I think both of these books provide a fresh perspective on what a gift marriage truly is.
My son may not have the most expensive stroller on the street (okay, he definitely won’t. Some of those suckers are $1000+). He probably won’t attend the fanciest school (I hear in NYC you need to get on the waiting list before your kid is even born) and he might eat a sweet potato that isn’t organic (gasp!). But, my prayer is that what he does have is a good example of love and marriage. I pray that as a child he finds comfort and security in the love Dave & I share and as an adult he applies the lessons learned to his own marriage. I hope that in the decades to come, my grandchildren are still reaping the benefits of the marriage and foundation Dave & I are building.
And on that note, I’m off to google how-to videos on swaddling a baby. Seriously – no clue how to do that.