FINDING HOPE IN NEW RELATIONSHIPS
“Is there a chance for a relationship between us down the road?” The tall, handsome widower placed a hand on my shoulder. His vibrant blue eyes searched mine as he spoke. Although I was attracted to him, I was momentarily taken aback.
End of a Relationship
My first marriage ended with the early death of my husband. Delighted as I was to share Jerry’s life, my inner drive sometimes found me focused on work more than on quality time with him.
After Jerry was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I made some changes. I worried less about having a clean house. I delegated more work and sat on the couch, holding Jerry’s hand rather than responding to work-related emails late into the night. I wanted my man to know how much I respected and loved him. Then I took a nine-month LOA to be with him for a transplant in Gainesville, Florida, 3000 miles from home.
We talked, focused on each other, explored nearby towns like historic St. Augustine and delightful Micanopy with its antique stores and ice cream shop. We appreciated every moment together. Friends and family came to visit, to say goodbye when it was evident he would not recover in this life.
After Jerry passed away in my arms, God spoke to me through Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans for good and not for evil, to give you hope and a future.” As I struggled to redefine myself as a newly single woman, I mentally kept that promise before me.
A New Relationship Begins
Two years later, I met Don. Eventually, we developed that relationship he had asked about. Four years after Jerry’s passing, Don and I married. God was giving me a second chance, a ‘do-over’. Would I live out the lessons I learned through Jerry’s illness and death, or wait for another loss to reset my priorities? It’s still a struggle for this recovering perfectionist.
Each morning is a new opportunity to choose to love. Knowing how hard Don works, will I encourage him to rest, to take a refreshing nap? Take him a cool drink when he’s hard at work? Step in to do some of the chores he usually does to free my time for writing? Or will I just leave it all to him and focus on what I want to accomplish?
Relationship Time v the Proverbial “To Do” List
Will I sit on the couch to answer emails in the evening, or put down my laptop and cuddle with my hubby while we watch football or a Hallmark movie together?
Will I walk into his arms and give/receive a big hug before I leave for an appointment? Relax into the goose bumps I feel when Don sneaks up behind me and plants sweet kisses on my neck, letting him know his touch is welcome? Or will I pull away from my man’s caress to finish whatever important chore I’m in the midst of doing?
Will I speak the truth in love when I suggest an idea or even a change? And will I consistently look for ways to affirm my husband, to encourage or help him when he’s down because he can’t do everything he used to do, or when he’s not feeling well?
Do I Show Appreciation?
We visited a dear friend with Alzheimer’s today. Before we left, Don bent to look her in the eyes. He told her how good it was to see her, and that we’ll try to visit again soon. Then he gave her a big hug. His gentle kindness touched me–and I told him so. He consistently extended that type of loving expression to my mother while she was alive, and has extended to other friends as well.
God has gifted Don and me with this precious time together. I want to live in such a way that, as much as possible, I will have no regrets. I will look into Don’s cerulean blue eyes often and long.
Finish the List, or Focus on Hubby
I’m speaking to myself here. I’m still driven. In addition to writing, spending time with family, doing the business of life (appointments, bills, etc.), I’m currently the Executor of a friend’s Estate. I can push myself to get everything done in as short a time as possible, or I can pace myself to allow margin to focus on my husband. The challenge is ongoing for me.
I read of a seven-year-old boy who was asked how you know someone loves you.
You know they love you when your name is safe in their mouth.
“Out of the mouths of babes…”
Is my husband’s name safe in my mouth? Do I build him up to others or complain about petty things?
My name is safe in His mouth
What about God’s love? He calls me His child (Romans 9:26 NIV). He says I am His (Isaiah 43:1 NIV). He loves me so much He gave His Son to take the punishment for my sins (John 3:16). God has chosen me (Romans 8:23-24 NIV), called me, drawn me to Himself. He sets me free from sin, fear, and purposelessness. I know my name is safe in His mouth.
As the song below says “You are for me, not against me.”
No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family (my addition–and for the Kingdom of God), what have you really accomplished? (Lee Iacocca)
What will you choose to do to affirm and express love to your husband this week? What would you regret not doing if he were suddenly gone? If possible, do it now!
And now remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13