Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rethinking My Priorities

I finished my first knitted hat last night. It really turned out well! I’m still following along with a free podcast called Knitting Step By Step. It’s really easy, and I’m just amazed at my success! The hat turned out looking very professional, and it fits great as well! I might not keep it for myself, though, because it’s more sporty than feminine. It would probably make a great gift for one of the guys in our family.

In fact, right away I thought that my husband might enjoy wearing it. He did say he likes it, but generally wears baseball caps, even in the winter time. And he’s a very practical man in terms of clothes. He doesn’t see any point in having more than he needs.

Anyway, I finished the hat last night while we were reading. And while my husband praised my work, he did say something later that made me think again about my priorities. He told me that while he understands my need for a creative outlet, he would rather have my hugs than my hats…I was hugging him at the time, and I held him closer when he said that. You see, we both had to wait a long time before God brought a spouse to us. I was nearly 35 and he was nearly 53. We believe that we appreciate marriage more because we had to wait so long. But even so, we are already finding that it’s far too easy to slip into a comfortable mode of relative independence. I could easily lose myself in my craft projects, and my husband could lose himself in music or sports. And after some bad news from his side of the family yesterday, we were both thinking about the priceless value of our relationship.

One of my husband’s relatives served divorce papers on his wife yesterday. They had been married for 20 years, and this man is ready to throw it all away. We both responded with anger, sadness, and disappointment. We had heard that this couple was arguing a lot, but they have never sought counseling. Each claims that the other is the problem.

They’re not believers. So they don’t have the support of the Lord or a church family, and we’ve been praying for them for several weeks now. We’ve been asking God to do whatever it would take to bring them to Himself.

We’re also looking at this situation in terms of what went wrong. One thing we can see is that this couple has grown comfortable living lives that a fairly detached. He works early morning to mid-afternoon, so he goes to bed really early at night, while she’s a night owl, staying up late to watching TV. Then he’s up early again and she doesn’t wake until the middle of the day…With that schedule, it’s probably a wonder they’ve been married for so long.

My husband would probably more naturally be a night owl, too. But we put a priority on spending time in the evening. We both go to bed early so that we have time to read and pray together. But for the past year or so, I’ve often brought a craft project with me to bed when it’s his turn to read. I didn’t know that he was bothered at all by that. He really tries to understand my needs, and he knows that I don’t have a lot of time during an average week for my crafts. But last night, he told me that when I sit with my crochet or knitting or quilting while he reads, he feels like I’m detached from him.

So this morning, before I left for work, I took all of my knitting things out of the bedroom. I waited so long to have someone like him, who really wants me to be close and to connect emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I know that because of our age difference, it’s very likely that I’ll be alone again someday…unless the Lord takes me first or returns for us before death. And if it happens that I’m alone, I know that I will regret taking doing my crafts during our special time of the day. In fact, at that point, I would be willing to trade all of my crafts and pastimes and hobbies for even just one more hug from him.

As an aside, there is a bit of a solution in sight for my desire to have time for creative pursuits. As much as I love to cook, my husband encouraged me last night to consider spending less time on the weekends in the kitchen so that I can enjoy my sewing room more often. He said that as much as he enjoys everything I make for him to eat, he is willing to have soup and sandwich meals more often if it gives me more time for my crafty pursuits on the weekends…I have such an amazing husband. It’s an incredible gift from the Lord.

So next weekend, after all of the cooking for Thanksgiving is over, I’m going to try to set aside an hour or two to work in my sewing room. I can still do my crafts over lunch at work, and I can still bring them along with us when we go places (because he’s always willing to drive so that I can knit or crochet). But then, at night time, when we have our special time together, I’m going to leave my crafts in the sewing room so that I can enjoy his warm embrace…It seems there’s a lesson for me in this for my relationship with God as well. How many times do I choose to spend my quiet hours with God? His arms are always open for me, too.


USAincognito said...

Heh, I am back.
That is wonderful you and your husband are able to communicate with eachother and come to compromises without dampening eachother's spirits. I completely understand why you married a man a bit older. I dated someone who was 25 yrs older than me for almost 2 years. He never could quite get over the age issue otherwise we would still be together. But we still keep in close contact - it is weird, he is the only man that has ever truly understood me and respected me for who I am.
I hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

Karen said...

Thank you, Shorty! And I hope that you're feeling God's presence in a big way this week. I'm sure that it was a challenging holiday for you and your whole family...Regarding the age difference issue, I don't think about it most of the time. He's the oldest in his family, and I'm in the youngest in mine. So his brother and my sister are about the same age. And then his mother is one year older than my father. So even though we're 18 years apart, we both grew up with similar value, traditions, music, food, etc. And I also think your comment about older men having understanding and respect is often true, too. My husband is very wise and understanding.