Isaiah 40:28-31: Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (NIV).
Friday, September 14, 2012, changed the course of life for a high school friend, Stephanie, and her family. Her husband, Matthew, was driving home from work and was hit head on by another car. The driver of the other car died instantly leaving her husband with life-threatening injuries as well as recovery that will span the course of months. Through God’s grace, he has made miraculous progress in a short amount of time, but their road is still a long, and sometimes lonely one.
I have been following Matthew’s progress via Facebook and have been so encouraged by Stephanie’s posts and how she is reaching out for help during this difficult time. One in particular really touched me.
She wrote: “Matthew had only a few visitors today. Thank you!!! He needed the rest! I needed him to be able to give me some of his words. He has not been talking to me as he had been giving everyone else his words. We were able to talk today and that made my wife heart happy” (Stephanie Link).
How many of us are so busy with deadlines, schedules, meetings, errands, chores around the house, taking care of our kids, and just plain trying to get through the day that we spend so much time and words on others and have nothing left for our spouse when we get home?
I think it hit me so hard because I had been guilty of that lately. Because of my husband’s busy schedule as well as my own, time to spend together had been “hit and miss” for the past few weeks. I was home when he was gone and then I was gone when he was home. He was out late with classes and I was up early working. I was asleep the minute my head hit the pillow and he was sleeping in the morning when I tiptoed out of bed. When we did have some time together, it was taken over by three children who were also feeling a tad neglected and weren’t as polite as we were about waiting their turn.
Her post spoke to me in two ways: The first was, when addressing issues in your marriage relationship, it’s healthy to acknowledge your needs and set appropriate boundaries so that those needs will be met. She had waited two weeks for him to wake up from his injuries and needed her husband’s words. As a wife, that’s not selfish but self preserving.
As married couples, we need to guard our relationships above all else, second only to our relationship with God. Jobs, children, extra activities and other commitments all need to come second when nurturing our marriage. Practically speaking, you may have to take care of some of the other commitments first (such as making sure your children’s needs are met before focusing on your spouse), but once they are fed and properly supervised (if young) or occupied (if older), hold that time with your spouse sacred.
Second, it’s so important to spend time filling each other up with words, time, and/or shared interests. Sometimes for a short while, we have to give others more words than our spouse, but overall, we should be seeking to give the love of our life and our best friend the majority of our words in the form of time, physical touch, and attention. Once we have filled each other up, then it is easier to go out and fulfill the purpose that God has for us individually because we have an abundance to give. Sometimes it means letting the dirty house go another day (or enlisting the kids to clean it up) or leaving work early so that you can make each other a priority again or keep your marriage a priority.
As a side note, my husband and I soon rectified the shortage of “his words” that I was feeling. We took some time, away from the kids, work, and responsibilities and just caught up with each other. I don’t like when life interferes to that extent, but I’m so grateful that I have a man who recognizes when that happens, drops everything, and makes me a priority.
Let’s not wait until it’s too late and our words are taken away to show our spouses that they are our first priority in life. As I think Stephanie would agree, just as September 14th started out as an ordinary day for their family, the important relationships in our life are too precious to be taken for granted.
I asked permission to request prayer for Matthew, Stephanie, and their two children as they walk this very difficult journey. They are Christ followers who are relying on His strength to carry them through the months and years of his recovery process. They continue to give God all the glory for Matthew’s remarkable progress so far as well as the fact that he is still with them today. If you feel led, I am thanking you ahead of time for joining alongside me in prayer for this wonderful family.