(The Bones, Maren Morris)
I spend every November deliberately and publicly (on Facebook) being grateful for all that I have. It is not just a show, but rather a way that I can really think about all the good I have in my life, and to really focus my efforts on not dwelling on what might not be so good. Let’s be honest: it’s can’t always be butterflies and and rainbows. Life doesn’t work like that. And ohmigosh, it’s been a year, hasn’t it? I feel like the only thing waiting to come would be an asteroid headed our way. We’ve had locusts (at least in Uganda, we did, coming from Sudan and Kenya); we’ve had floods; we’ve had plague (sort of); we’ve had infestations ... it’s been one test after another.
Beyond that, we also made an international move in the middle of a pandemic. That alone was beyond challenging.
It’s times like these that really test the foundations of relationships. We are lucky because each of these challenges, each of these hurdles, we relied on our strengths to get past and beyond. I don’t have the same skill set as my husband; we each bring our own to the table. Now, our kids are getting to the age that they, too, bring their strengths. Previous moves - even the last one to Uganda - they were young enough that it was more a matter of taking care of them among all of the other things that had to be accomplished; now they can handle their own responsibilities. Of course, they also have nearly man-sized clothes and feet and ecoutrements.
I am so grateful for my family. That they are well and happy, and well-adjusted ... it makes me feel like this is all going to be okay. Somehow we’ll come out the other side of this year, after all of these obstacles and we will be better for it.
How about you? How are you feeling after this tough time? I know a lot of families (couples) have entered therapy or counseling, because one of the main points of this whole pandemic is how much time it gave us to be home and to be together. For some, this was an unexpected joy; for others, this exaggerated time together suddenly highlighted cracks in the relationship that could no longer be ignored. The structures of our relationships - the bones - are what keep us together through tough and trying times. The bones stay strong even when we go through a period of neglecting our relationship, maybe not giving as much as we are taking. I honestly thing the best thing we can do for a marriage is to regularly check in, check how we are doing and how we are feeling and shift focus to what needs attention at that moment. Sometimes our communication is not in sync; others maybe one of us is overwhelmed and stressed at work. With give and take, we make it through the tough times.
Relationships don’t work if there is always one person doing all of the giving. It doesn’t work for that person, who will eventually feel as though they are being taken advantage of, nor for the relationship which will wither from the negative feelings. Relationships need loving care and attention; without those two key components, a relationship will die.
That sounds really dramatic. Maybe that’s the best way to put it, though.
To be sure, I know a lot of really good, kind people who are really crappy spouses. I know a lot of really smart people who just don’t understand what it takes to make a relationship really thrive. I know a lot of giving people who aren’t happy in their relationship because they don’t feel as though they are doing any ‘getting’. It’s a two-way street with a lot of roundabouts.
I hope you find a lot to be grateful for this year, on this day of giving thanks. I hope you have a lot of happiness and love around you. And I hope you are spending your time with people who relish being in your company.