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Leftovers

November 21, 2008

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

1 Corinthians 13, NIV

I called Hugh as I was leaving the school parking lot yesterday. He didn’t sound good.

“How are you, Sweetie?” I asked, holding my cell phone with one hand while driving down the narrow road.

He groaned.  “My day at work has been really rough. Can we talk about it tonight?”

“Oh, absolutely,” I said, my mind quickly filling with all the things I needed to pick up at Target. A few minutes later, I ran into the store and started loading up on Thanksgiving supplies; tablecloths, nice Chinet for the children, candy for our Pilgrim Hat Cookies.

By 4:50 I put everything away and I was ready to see Hugh.  I knew he would come down from his home office by 5:00 (we had discussed that time specifically the night before) and I wanted to hear about his day.  To be honest, I was also really wanting to tell him about my day, too.  What did he think about our Thanksgiving plates?  Should I try to make the cranberry sauce this weekend?

At 5:45 Hugh was still not downstairs.  I could feel the anger rising up in my gut – where was he?  He promised me that he would stop working by 5:00.  A few minutes later when he stopped working, I let him know exactly how I was feeling.

“I am angry…Disappointed…I don’t understand…Why did you…?” The words flew off my tongue faster than I could keep them in.  I could see from his weary face that my timing wasn’t the best; but I kept going.

We talked for a few more minutes before my brother came over for the evening to do laundry and eat dinner.  Finally, by 10:30pm, I was ready to hear about Hugh’s day at work.

I lay down in bed and started to listen.  For about three minutes.  Exhaustion from the day took over and I started falling asleep as Hugh began to tell me everything that happened at work…why he was so stressed…why he didn’t feel like he could sleep tonight…and could I pray for him?

I am grieved this morning as I reflect on my day. “Jess,” said the Holy Spirit minutes ago as I sat in my prayer chair, “Making your marriage a priority means choosing daily to make hard choices. Like canceling your brother…or waiting to tell Hugh your feelings until he was feeling better…This is crucial, Daughter.”

The full weight of my actions didn’t hit me until I sat before God and prayed.  I have been giving Hugh my scraps lately.  He gets one percent of me – instead of my best.  I am making choices everyday to put other people and priorities before my husband.

It needs to stop.

Tonight, Hugh’s best friend offered to come and watch our children so we could go on a date night.  I think I’m going to start getting ready early today (instead of the usual “ten minutes to throw on a cute shirt and lip gloss” date night preparation) and take a bath and pick out something really nice to wear.  Then, at dinner, I am going to push every distraction from my brain, look across the table and say:

“Hugh, tell me about your day yesterday.  I want to listen.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2008 11:34 am

    Jess – I hope your date night is fantastic!

    Thanks for sharing this. God used your story as another way to teach me. Just yesterday I was meeting with my therapist, and I was sharing how I have been less than patient with my husband. We talked about how I did not need to share every feeling right away, but I needed to capture those thoughts and see if they are going to be constructive before I spew them out like daggers.

    God – I hear you. The choices I need to make will be hard. I know they are CRUCIAL to the health of my marriage. I also know you are there with me through every step.

  2. tonyyork permalink
    November 21, 2008 1:51 pm

    We could all learn this lesson… over and over again.

    I wrote on a very similar topic back in August…in fact, the title of it was ‘Leftovers’.

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