I was closing at the restaurant I work at tonight, and as I was putting the dining room back in order/trying to hint to my table of three ladies that we closed 15 minutes ago, I started listening to their conversation. They had no idea. This is one of the great mysteries of being a server at a fancy restaurant: you don’t exist on the human level to most people you are serving. You only exist on the robot/slave/sub-human level, so even when you’re in close listening proximity it doesn’t matter because you’re of no earthly import anyway.
But that’s not the point.
I gathered that these were all Christian women, and at least two of them had recently been divorced or were about to get a divorce or were wishing that they were getting a divorce. Maybe all three. This was easy to deduce as they were talking with one another about “what went wrong” in their marriages. It was pretty normal stuff too.
What I mean by normal is, as I was listening, I was wondering if I am doing the same types of things to my wife and am completely unaware of it. They spoke of how their relationships were lopsided when it came to disciplining the children, not feeling supported emotionally, feeling their spirits dwindling, and wishing their husbands had a clue about caring for their spiritual well-being. Real stuff, and totally normal stuff.
They were maybe 10 years older than me, and I wondered about how my actions today, 10 years into marriage, could have an effect on my relationship with my wife 10 years from now. I wished that there was more hope in their relationships that ended when their kids were teenagers.
Marriage is so volatile. Especially after kids are put into the mix. You have to learn new ways of communicating about things you never even had to think about. This morning, my wife and I talked about how, to my dismay, our son is completely and utterly addicted to television shows and playing on the iPad. I never wanted this, but it has happened. The first thing he wants to do in the morning is to “watch a show”, or “play the iPad”, or “play mommy’s phone”. We decided this morning that we have to set some limits and not let technology be the primary teacher/parent to our children. It happened so suddenly that we didn’t see how our laziness was having an effect on our kids (who are only 2.5 and 17 months old).
We are all at risk. And tonight I made a small commitment to never forget how important communication, spiritual leadership, and sincere love for my wife is to the health of our marriage. Everything matters.