In the car, we drive and sit and the seats are filled with a million thoughts jammed into two bodies.
Two entirely distinct sets of thoughts.
I'm thinking of our daughter and her eating habits and what I'm going to scrap together for dinner because I didn't plan correctly. I'm thinking of writing and whether my friends like me and that one scene from The Newsroom and how I really want to buy Evie a new pair of shoes. He's thinking of our daughter and her goofy little faces she makes and wondering what's the plan for dinner. He's thinking of how we can serve God better and that arrest he made last night and whether his coworkers like him and the workout he's going to do later.
Maybe our thoughts aren't so different. But there are so many of them filling us both, and they don't overflow into words.
He walks up behind me as I scrape peanut butter or dried beans or whatever off of Evie's plate. He hugs my waist and tells me he loves me, and I kind of hear him, but the plate is clean and I need to go give Evie a bath.
He goes to work at three and doesn't get home until three. I'm up at seven while he's only had three and a half hours of sleep. He wakes up at 11 and we eat and get him ready for work, and he's off cleaning up the streets while I clean up the pencils scattered all over the floor and the yogurt splattered on Evie's face.
He does a traffic stop on a man who has a loaded gun under his seat. I sit on the couch with my computer and my cookies, wrapped in a blanket, scrolling through Pinterest.
Sometimes we go for walks, and I don't even think to hold his hand. I remember when all I wanted to do was hold his hand.
We are ships in the night, sailing silently past each other without even noticing, really noticing, each other.
The waters suddenly become not so smooth, and we collide. Hard. And our bows are snapped, and our decks are smashed.
I'm sitting on the bed, and he's sitting on the floor as he asks me in frustration why I won't tell him what's bothering me. He rubs his hands roughly over his face and asks me how I can get mad at him for not understanding when I won't even talk to him. I sputter through tears that I have needs, too, and I feel ignored.
We both feel unloved.
When there are just two of us ships attempting to sail under a pitch black sky, it's no wonder we end up steering ourselves into rougher waters. I guess we forgot how important the lighthouse is. It helps us remember where to focus our gaze so that we can avoid the rocks. And so we can see each other.
"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain." -Psalm 127:1
I've been thinking that staying vigilant means I should make sure I cook dinner or put together Mike's uniform or pack his lunch. I've been thinking that it means I shouldn't ever ask him for time to myself because he works so hard everyday at work. I've been thinking that as long as I just get all of these things done, I am a good wife and I am doing what needs to be done to keep us going.
But lately it has felt like I am building in vain. Those things are good and need to be done, but I have been depending upon my own strength and goodness to do them. And to be honest, I'm not all that strong or good on my own. Bitterness and pride tend to nudge their way into my thought process and I withdraw, which is the worst way to be a good wife to my husband.
What I think would mean more to him is if I let the Lord take watch over our marriage because he knows better than me how to stand guard, to keep it safe and to keep it good. That means loving him how the Lord says to love him: to believe the best in him, to be vulnerable and humble enough to tell him when something is wrong and when I need help, to listen to him and ask him questions, to hold his hand and kiss him more often, to tell him what I love about him, to think it's worth it to work our problems out instead of just ignoring them, to give him grace.
When I let God shine a light on our marriage, I can see my husband more clearly. I can plot my course with more accuracy.
He is learning these things, too. We are both learning.
At our wedding, instead of pouring sand into a jar to represent the commitment we just made to each other, we braided a cord with three strands. One for me and one for Mike and one for God. Life moves fast and hectic, and we forget He is our third strand sometimes. We tend to operate on two strands most of the time. And that makes us feel fragile.
But He is still woven tight around and through us just as we are still woven tight around each other, no matter what might happen.
Because when there are three strands, a cord is not easily broken.
"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:12