Did you ever wish you had a do over? I don’t have many regrets, but I have a few and all of them relate to something I would have done differently in a relationship had I known then what I know now. Yes, we would all be billionaires and a lot of other things had we known then what we know now. Not possible… and then I realized, I DID get a do over…
Life is lived in the context of relationships. People are the priority and the point. People are God’s priority, so they should be mine. The people who are my top priority are the people God has given me to love. When it comes to marriage there are some things I would like to get a second chance to do right. Thinking about this I realized, I did get that second chance and I am doing some things differently.
… sitting at the kitchen table in the mornings and having coffee or breakfast on days off
… going out for lunch on days off
… working out together
… unloading the dishwasher
… helping clean up in the kitchen
… going to bed at the same time every night
… finding and enjoying good coffee together
… doing most everything together
… never raising my voice, but talking calmly through every challenge
… affirming and speaking my heart often
… keeping the bags unpacked (this one keeps getting harder)
… listening, a lot
… dreaming about the future together
… eating dinner at the table together
… coming home at the end of my scheduled day and leaving unfinished tasks until the next work day, not always easy to do, but I will give priority to the priority
… taking one unbroken 24 hour day off each week, if you can’t do this… I’m sorry, maybe someday you can
… taking two week vacations instead of one week vacations (only two weeks for rest vacations, one week is fine if there is just something particular you want to do that necessitates taking a week off when rest and rebooting is not the point.
These are just some of the things I wrote in my journal that I’m thankful I have been more intentional about than I was before. I get another chance, I’m going to take it seriously.
Several years ago something happened at an event that cast my wife in a bad light. My leader was very upset. I was upset. I made it bigger than it was. I hurt my wife’s feelings, partly because of my pride, I suppose. The worst thing I did in the situation was not stand 100% with her and support her with something that was petty and not a big deal. After my wife died and my mind traced back through the years I felt sorrow for that event because I should have stood with her better. I should have told my leader that he was wrong and he could just get over it, he would not make my wife feel badly even if I needed to quit on the spot. I should have done that, I was wrong, and so was my leader for blowing something out of proportion. He was wrong. I was wrong.
Many years later, and a few months before Joyce died, we were riding in the car and I looked over at her and said, “By the way….” I referenced the event. I apologized again. I told her that I should have told my leader that he was wrong. I should have told him to just back off. She thanked me. I am sooooo glad that I said that to her.
Guys, I’m sticking with my wife. She might make some mistakes but I am her biggest cheer leader, I am going to believe in her. I am going to make a safe place for her. I am going to protect her. I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Here’s the thing. When I lost a wife I would have given absolutely anything to have her back. That was not possible. Now that God has given me Donna, I know what’s important. I understand the priority. I’m not going to accommodate anyone when it means diminishing my wife, and I am thankful that she is worthy of such a commitment. This includes not giving away what belongs to her, time being the most precious of those commodities.
I did get a do over. You get a do over too! Today is a new day. What do you want to do differently? What would bring you joy in your relationship. You are not locked in to your failed foundations, dig up the ground and lay some new foundations. Take a look at the opportunity you have for love and joy from the perspective of a guy who suffered loss and decided to do some things differently. I experiencing the joy of loving and keeping things in proper perspective and priority.