I love listening to her share her thoughts and ideas and concerns and passions with others. Since she doesn't share that often, people are even more interested in what she has to say that what I have to say. People have developed ear fatigue in regards to my speaking, but her voice has weight simply because she isn't spouting off about what she thinks all the time. I've heard so many people say to me already that they are looking forward to "hearing from Heidi". They see her bustling around the church, hauling the kids around, faithfully attending a couple services each weekend, and talking with people, but they want to know "how she does it".
What is it like to be her? What is it like to raise our children? What is it like to be a pastor's spouse? What does she feel about how life is going? What does she feel is the temperature of our relationship? How is it going with the adoption? What led her to want to adopt in the first place and how does that affect our daughters. What takes her to her breaking point? What are her dreams and desires? What does she feel about our church? What is really going on behind closed doors?
So when she talks, people tend to lean forward in anticipation. She is a great thinker and communicator, she just doesn't get to use those gifts as much right now because the lion-share of her life is devoted to raising our children at their various ages and stages of life. She devotes herself to laying down her life for our home and our marriage, so it's awesome when she can share her perspective so others can learn from and draw on her wisdom.
We got together this last week on our date night and wrote down some of the things that have kept our marriage fresh and held it together over the years. We came up with some of the most crucial things we've learned...
1. Having a regular date night...our time.
2. Humbling ourselves and going to counseling.
3. Giving each other breaks without guilt or resentment.
4. Having good Christian friends to share the ups and downs with.
5. Giving each other grace in failures and true forgiveness--no keeping score with pluses and minuses.
6. Writing each other notes/texts/emails of encouragement.
7. Asking each other often, "Are you alright?" and then listening closely.
8. Frequent talks regarding romance and finance.
9. God first--Marriage second--Kids third--Everything else fourth.
We broke it down to key words that make all the difference...
We put it into a makeshift Marriage Covenant...
A Simple Marriage Covenant:
We Communicate. (talk through tension)
We Apologize. (say sorry and change)
We Initiate. (surrender and go first)
We Compromise. (meet in the middle)
We Appreciate. (notice and say thank you)
We Sympathize. (bear each other’s burdens)
All I know is that we haven't been married 19 years with everything happening automatically or accidentally. It has taken work on both of our parts to pursue God's desire for our relationship. I'm so grateful to be able to share pieces of this with our church this weekend. I hope it helps some others who are wanting to glorify God with their marriage relationship.
I love my wife.