Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Necessity of Your Own Life

Ages ago, I chatted with a widow (for some years) at church, probably 65-years-old, and sweet. We were speaking of mornings and I told her I usually am up before 6:00 a.m.. I asked if she, too, was an early riser and she nearly gasped, "Oh my, no. That would make my days feel ever so long. I try to stay in bed as long as I can."

Oh wow. I could only suck in my breath then change the subject for I felt surprised and so sad for her. Her words haunted me while I drove home that afternoon and they haunt me still.

Since then I have watched women lose their husbands either by death or divorce and here is what I've seen: The women who had created another life separate from their husbands, those are the women who survive. Thrive, even. After the initial shock, they do well, smile real smiles and discover other worlds and the people who people them.

But then there are the others. You know, those who clung to their husbands for all their support and encouragement and companionship. The ones who had outside acquaintances and activities, yes, but no close friendships or passionate interests. Mostly, their spouse was not just the center of their world, but their whole darn world, period.

No need to draw you pictures of what happened to those women after their losses. You can imagine how they fell down hard, splattered, crumbled and then needed whole truckloads of Christians to help peel them off the floor of despair.

So today? Today I would tell those of you who are married: Get A Life. You know, a life apart from your spouse, separate from him/her. A nice life, certainly--I mean, hey, I'm not hinting at a secret, tip-toeing-down-alleys-behind-his-back kind of life. Uh, of course not.

But I mean please discover something else you are passionate about. If you're still not sure of God's unique calling made especially for you, well, now is a marvelous time to discover what He designed you to do. It amazes me how many women don't know what their special talents are. How can we use those gifts to help other people if we don't know what they are?

Even something simple like learning to love your daily rituals is big. Teach yourself to find the joy and peace in drinking your morning coffee or washing your dishes or folding your laundry. Develop good habits like taking walks, deadheading your flowers, reading inspiring books and learning new hobbies and skills each year. 

And above all, discover who you are in God and who He is in you. With all your heart, seek to love Him best. Better than anyone else.

Discover and learn and do and be you today. Learn what you like (and what you don't) and what you do best. Step away from any fears which have held you back from a brand new life. But don't wait for your spouse to join you. No, this has nothing to do with him/her. This is for you, this is for now and this is for later, too.


Sometimes your daily rituals are the only highlights of your day. But that's ok, even wonderful, if you've learned to love and treasure your rituals.


Judy said...

So true. So very very true.

Kim said...

Of course this depends on if a husband "allows" a wife to have a life outside of him.

In my [jaded] eyes, the Christian community seems to value anti-autonomous types of relationships - especially her generation.

The marriage and all that it entailed, was a 24/7/365 job.
All personal interests were left outside the threshold.
If your husband didn't like _____, you didn't either, even if you did.

Debra said...

Judy--we're always on the same page, aren't we? :)

Kim--I knew someone would bring that up. heh. :) But even when I say an 'outside life', I don't even always mean outside the home. Especially with us having our computers nowadays--a whole life can be made with that, even while staying home. (And again, I'm talking 'nice', not secretive).

And there are tons of hobbies one can do at home, along with the whole gardening thing in ones own yard and correspondence courses one can take without even walking out the door. There have always been local libraries, too, filled with all sorts of worlds. There's always been the telephone and letters and pen pals.

For me, the list is nearly endless of things a woman can do and be and learn at home, even if their husband is the 'you're mine and mine alone' type. I believe it's always been that way for women who are determined to create a world of their very own.

Thanks for your comments, Ladies! Blessings, Debra

Elizabeth said...

I think I needed that post today Debra. Jim has been having health problems recently,first time ever,he has always been so healthy. I have had to face the fact that he may not always be here with me,he is 15 years older than me.I cannot imagine life without him. We have only spent 1 night apart in 28 years and that was when I had to take my Mother and children and evacuate because a catagory 4 hurricane was coming right toward us and he was a police officer and had to stay.

Rodney Olsen said...

I think a big part of marriage is providing a safe place for both partners to become the best that they can be, both together and individually.

I want Pauline to support me in being the best I can be in a variety of areas and my real hope is that I can do the same for her.

Pauline has some amazing talents that I don't and my love for her means that I want her to be able to express and build those talents.

Tracy said...

Brilliant post! Were you writing to me? :D

Donetta said...

I love what Rodney replied. That is so true for a woman and a man to have varied interest and to show interest in what matters to the other. My husband goes so far out of his way to make sure I prosper in anything that I set my heart too. He even pushed me to discover other interests. Early on in womens Bible study I was forced fed that old way so much that he had to push the lie out of me and remind me that WE are inter dependent of each other.
Good Post Girl!

Myrna said...

When we get married we become "one flesh", but it doesn't say 'one mind'. ;-)
I've always appreciated that Steve encouraged my activites that didn't always include him. Early in marriage I was clingy and insecure (weren't we all?) and when I found my freedom in the Lord, one of Steve's comments was how better he felt now that I was more independant. He felt that I could take care of myself should the need arise. I think it's a relief for most husbands that their wives have a life of their own. I'm more aware of it now because Steve's retiring in 18 mos., and it will be a time of re-adjusting our life together, I'm sure. But it's helpful that I have my own interests now as well as common interests with Steve.
Great post, Debra. As always!! :-)

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I am lucky because Paul always supported my independent interests. For years I was totally fascinated with herbs, belonged to herb societies...Even though he teased me when I would leave home for a weekend herb conference by singing, "Fine time to leave me, Lucille," I knew he supported me in this. And I wrote for local newspapers and belonged to garden writers of America, and went back to college to finish my art degree. We had a wonderful marriage that we both thought would last until we were both very old together, but it was not to be. However, since Paul's death I do think that having had interests of my own in addition to our many interests in common, helped a lot in carrying on. A good post, Debra.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

One little postscript: When you still have the gift of life on earth, you can always use it to think about and help other people. I think the poor woman in your first paragraph would not have found her days so long if she had involved herself in helping others. I hope she has discovered this by now.

Debra said...

Thanks, Everyone! (So many comments, so little I so appreciate each of your stories and honesty and I know that all others reading these comments will appreciate them, too.

Kristi--thanks for making that clearer, the thing of helping others. When I was talking about discovering the callings on our life, I meant those things we're meant to do to help others since our gifts and talents are always meant to help other people, not ourselves. But I did not say that clearly in my post--there I went *assuming* again...sigh... Joyce Meyer was just talking about that very thing yesterday, of using 'Christianese' to people who aren't used to certain phrases. So both of you are helping me to shape up and be clearer! :) So thanks.

Blessings, Debra

Pat said...

I so agree. Yes indeed I do!