Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Some Thoughts from a Seventeen Year Old Marriage

Dennis and I took a weekend off and headed up north. We stayed at Boyne Mountain and visited our favorite places on the lake and headed out to discover new favorite places. The transitional spring weather was very transitional, changing every few hours. I didn't want to worry about food, so I made two different pasta salads and a wild rice salad to pack and take up with us. We wanted to relax and do whatever we wanted. Dennis pursued God in all morning long devotional bible reading and prayer. I had extended sleeping in times and general all day moods of relaxation and peacefulness. I forgot to pack books, but I brought my bible and my journal, so my quiet times were substantial and undistracted by phone and computer, although not quite as long as Den's. We just hung out together and talked over coffee, enjoying each other's company.

After 17 years, it is nice that we both like each other. If we disagree these days, it is brief and resolved quickly, and it hardly ruins our day. We learned a long time ago that anger and arguements are a waste of time. Our time together is too short. So, peacemaking is a skill that we finally learned to cultivate, although we still have a lot more to learn. We went back home with a contentedness that only a relaxed time could bring to fruition.

It wasn't a perfect weekend in the sense that we did a lot. In the past, we've biked and ate out a lot more and shopped and went on long walks and had picnics with our books and purpose-filled spiritual agendas and ministry burdens and concerns and important decisions on direction. The most consistent thing last weekend was a lot of coffee and a lot of talking during the day and a lot of wine and talking at night. About ourselves.

Dennis planned the weekend. Although I usually plan and implement these kinds of things, and I plan them differently. When he announced the decision he made that we were going to Boyne Mountain on such and such a weekend, I nearly asked for another decision for another date but I decided not to. I did quietly grumble to God that no one asked me if this was a good time or not. And God told me that I better submit, since this is the first time Dennis initiated as directly as this, so it must be important to follow. So, throughout the weekend, when Dennis said, "Let's drive to Point Betsie." or "Let's go to the work out center and hit the treadmills." I said, "Sure." Sometimes we did what he suggested and sometimes we did what I suggested.

I realized how much more I need to learn to follow my husband. To align myself to his purposes and direction. And I relaxed. At my job, it falls on me to make the direction for the evening, to set the pace and coordinating people and tasks. It helps a lot to work with partners who trust my judgement and decisionmaking. When it isn't there, then it is a very long, exasperating evening. So, I can relate to Dennis' dilemma when he feels he doesn't get my support. And he understands better now that I'm not against him, I just want to make sure we are thinking clearly about we are doing.

On Friday morning, before we left for Boyne Mountain, I was working the opening shift. It was between Nikki and me to assume the role of shift supervisor, and for the first time in months, I wasn't. I just did my job at my position, and I was amazed that I was really good at it. I mean, I saw finally what my manager saw in me when she wanted to promote me to be a supervisor again (I stepped down for a few years).

Being a good follower is important in order to be a good leader. And in marriage, there is one leader and one follower. Messing with this causes a lot of confusion, I think. And power struggles. And headaches. It requires a lot of trust and good communication skills. And most of all, it is impossible without love. I think our weekend solidified our marriage in terms of deepening our listening abilities and reminding us how much we really do care about each other. It was a good time.

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