Many moons ago when I was about 15 or 16 years younger, my dad took me to Atlanta for aptitude testing at the Johnson O’Connor Institute. I learned I am analytical and have a very poor imagination with high finger dexterity. It said nothing about its suggestions for careers as a lawyer or a psychologist serving me as a friend.

I am sorry to have been away from y’all for a while. I’ve been in Super Friend mode in addition to my regular roles as Super Wife, Super Mom, and Super Conservative. It takes most of a person to be a huge support for a friend. And I am honored to be trusted. It was not a burden. Ever.

It would be very wrong for me to detail my times with these three friends. So I won’t. What I will share, though, are some common themes throughout the three very different (and ongoing) situations.

Let me preface ALL of my words with this – I have no intent of ever being the blogger who says “we must” and “we are told.” If I do this, it is in reference to me and the voices in my head. I always intend to say “I must” and “I am told” etc. Not sure? Just ask.

Proverbs 31:10-31 is the view of the PERFECT woman to the PERFECT man (Christ). It is not a realistic, must-be-everything role. Not for me. And not for the friends to whom I have heard great woes of fallen expectations. Proverbs 31 for me is a guide. A path. A guide for asking Husband on what path he’d like us to travel. So I ask questions.

When I was in a playgroup a long time ago, one of the moms shared how she was trying to prioritize what she did during her day – she could not do it all so she had decided to pick and choose. She decided what to choose by asking her husband questions such as

“Do you want dinner served as soon as you walk in the door? Or after you’ve rested and had a beer?”

“Do you want to make love every night? Or only when you have the desire?”

“Do you like the sink to be clean when you walk to the kitchen for coffee in the morning?”

“Do you enjoy your mornings quiet without us or do you want me or all of us up together before you leave?”

“Do you want the kids to have all their toys in their rooms or do you like to see them playing in the living room?”

“Do you want today’s paper in the bathroom for reading or would you prefer to read it on the sofa?”

 

The set of questions would be different for every couple. Every family. But she asked. And so she knew what was expected of her by her husband so she could then mesh it with what was important to her and create an atmosphere of joy for her house. And I stress she had to mesh it with what was important to her. We are not meant to lose ourselves in a role. We are meant to become ourselves in our role.

I’ve done similarly. And I have taken it a step further (as I am sure she did, too) by asking questions along the way. Because we do change, even if only for a brief period of time. But since we change, so do needs. I want us to shift together, not separately.

So as I have spent time with my friends these last several weeks listening and talking and helping, I’ve noticed one  most significant consistent thread – they didn’t know what their husbands and their families truly needed from them. And therefore they had lost where they fit into their families.

Another theme in each situation is money. And not always a lack of money. But in most of the situations, understanding about how to spend it. Now, I don’t have a lot of help for that one. I am just barely this side of a miser. I cringe over spending money even for groceries, so I obviously have issues as well. No less, as my deductive, analytical mind studied the word choices and the life choices of my friends, I can’t help but believe communication – including asking questions about money, too – could have at least eased some of the stress.

And, drumroll, please… and dear friends with whom I have spent so much time of late, I’ve already said this to you so take any *harumphs* you have and tuck them back in your pockets. Every situation, including most of my own times of discord, are the direct result of not putting the marital relationship first ahead of the kids and friends/church/work/etc. How to do this?

Husband and I go on dates. And when we don’t date, like of late where we’ve fallen off the date bus, we make an extra, conscious effort to be present for each other when we are home. Maybe that means turning on the boob tube for the kids and us going to our room and staring at our tv, too. But it’s time just for us. We don’t always get it right. Not at all, but as we’ve now made it a priority, we get it right more than we get it wrong. I know that when I am in the right place with Husband, I am more able to care properly for myself and then for the children and friends and such…

No, I don’t have all the answers. For my friends, I actually only had a few that weren’t even answers, but suggestions. Mostly our times together in person, via text, via chat were spent by my just listening. That’s really what friends do for one another. I listen. I don’t judge aloud. I won’t direct an adult. I will make sure my friends know they are loved. And that’s all I can really do.
So, hello again, blog world. I’m listening.

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