Cross posted on Reflections of a Christian Daddy
Today is my wife’s birthday (I won’t say which one – birthday, that is, not wife…), so Happy Birthday, sweetie!
This past weekend Melissa and I were able to get away for a few nights by ourselves for the first time since Celeste has been born. Thursday evening we headed out to a house in Bath, NC (about an hour due east of Greenville) while the girls stayed here with my parents. We came back on Saturday afternoon after a couple of days of relaxing, playing games, time to talk, and just having fun. One highlight was going out on the kayak on Saturday morning on Back Creek (the house was located on the creek).
While out on the creek we began the first part of a two-part exercise we decided to try. Back in July I wrote a post about a book we were reading entitled Love and War by John & Stasi Eldredge. In chapter three they write the following:
Now, it would be very, very helpful for you both to know the story of each other’s lives. Ladies, do you know the story of your husband’s life? Gents, do you know the story of your wife’s life?
Over the past several years, safe in the trusted confidantes of our small group, six of us too turns “sharing our story.” We took an evening each, and told the story of our lives. Starting with our childhood, we spoke of memorable events – the painful ones as well as the happy ones. We unfolded the pages of our lives. And even though each couple had been married for more than two decades, husbands and wives heard new stories that profoundly impacted them. Countless “ah ha” moments. Many tears. Much mercy.
It was a beautiful beginning to come to know one another in a deeper, more substantive way. Pieces of the puzzle of each other’s pesonalities began to fit into place. “Oh, that’s why you hate to talk on the phone” or “So, is that why you feel so defensive to me?” Now I get it. Understanding your spouse by understanding the unfolding story of their life is priceless…
Making the time to really hear your husband’s story or your wife’s story will be time well spent. We want to encourage you to do this. Give each other a few hours. Ask questions. Listen. Invite God to guide and fill the time. It will bear so much fruit.
So we did that. For the two+ hours we were out on the kayak I talked (something I rarely do for that amount of time – especially about me and my life). I began by telling my earliest memories of childhood and working my way through to the death of my sister in 1999; we didn’t go past there because, well, we ran out of time and arrived back at the dock. But it was a time for me to share, Melissa to listen, and also for her to ask questions and, hopefully understand me better. It is something I can honestly say I would encourage every couple to try – I’m looking forward to hearing Melissa’s story on our next date with just the two of us 🙂
And today is her birthday. On days like this I get to spend time reflecting on how much it is that I love and care for her, even though I probably don’t tell and show her enough – not to mention how blessed I am to have her. This weekend, though, was a perfect illustration of all that I hold dear about our relationship – we had fun together, we shared conversation, we hung out as friends, and we just enjoyed being with each other. To this day I still find my wife the most beautiful woman on earth – she makes me smile and laugh, she challenges me to be better than I sometimes think I can be, she isn’t afraid to tell me “no” when I want to do something that I need not do, and she encourages me to be the best I can be and believes in me to be that better man whom she deserves. She is a wonderful mother to our little girls, she works hard at her job of raising them while I’m at work as well as taking care of our home and running a music business all at the same time. And she supports me in my jobs (both of them!), is willing to listen when I need someone to talk to, and, occasionally, will even watch a guy show like James Bond or (on very rare instances) even Star Trek 🙂
So, Happy Birthday, sweetie! May your next year be your (and ours) best yet. I love you.