We were all leaving the house at 6:30 this morning.
Me, with the kids loaded up my car, waiting for it to heat up a bit so we could go out to the coffee shop in Jacksonville to study spelling words and Bible verses before school and Josh, with Shelby loaded up in the back of his truck, getting ready to head out to work.
But before we left, Josh walked over to my car to scrape the ice off the windshield (My preferred method of ice removal is repeatedly and simultaneously pressing the water sprayer and the windshield wipers because scraping ice off the windshield is way too laborious and cold for me.) and then he came to the passenger-side window where Cole was sitting and slowly wrote "H+V=Forever" backwards, so we could read it from inside the car. (I call Josh "Harriet" from a quote he sent me from by Harriet Beecher Stowe when we first started dating and he calls me "Valentine" because we met the day before Valentines Day, eight years ago on an airplane out of Atlanta, Georgia.)
And later that morning after I dropped the kids off at school and was driving in the car by myself, I started thinking about how lucky our kids are that they get to witness little (but big) gestures of love like that.
And sure, they get to see other stuff too because sometimes we bicker, and sometimes their mom goes to the movies by herself because that's what she does when she's not getting along with their dad, and sometimes they hear their dad slamming a door, and sometimes they see us being cordial, but quiet with one another because we do that as well.
But honestly, I think its ok that they see those things and that we discuss those things with them, because one day, they're probably going to be married too and if the only things we ever allowed them to see were the more 'perfect' parts of our marriage, then they might think that their own marriages were a failure in comparison.
We just finished up a study with another couple on a book called, "The Meaning of Marriage" and about two weeks into the study, Josh made a comment in front of our friends that "our honeymoon was over." I was immediateley embarrassed and offended and said, "When do you think our honeymoon ended and why do you think it's over?" to which he replied, "I don't know...maybe a month ago when you told me that you wanted a divorce?!?" (That's another story for another time, but yes, I have threatened divorce on two separate occasions during our marriage when I was letting outside stressors get the better of me, but thankfully, Josh knows and accepts how utterly ridiculous I am at times.)
Then he went onto say something like, "But don't worry baby, now that the honeymoon is over, God can start doing the real work."
And while I still don't agree that the honeymoon is over, I do agree that God is starting to do the 'real' work.
It just sucks that sometimes, the 'real' work is painful.
But through it, I think we're becoming quicker to apologize. I think we're choosing to not be so easily offended. I think we're learning to give each other the benefit of the doubt and to accept each other's mistakes. I think we're realizing that even with the best of intentions, we're still going to let each other down sometimes. I think we're learning to put the needs of our marriage over our individual desires. I think we're learning to tell each other what we want instead of expecting the other person to read our minds. I think our friendship is becoming more authentic. I think we're more in love than ever. And maybe most importantly, I think we're realizing that our marriage has a generational impact on our kids and our grandkids and even our great grandkids that make it worth fighting for.
In fact, I called him earlier this afternoon to talk with him about an idea I had, and though our conversation quickly turned sour, I was able to say good-bye and hang up the phone without feeling offended like I would have in the past.
Then he called back just a few minutes later to apologize and said he was going to stop by the house before picking up Courtney Lee for their lunch date so we could talk some more. Unfortunately, that conversation ended on a sour note as well, but still, I didn't feeling overly offended.
And then during his lunch date with Courtney, he texted me say, "We're still on for our date tonight and I'd like to continue our conversation."
Which is all just proof that the 'real' work is fruitful because for the better part of the last eight years, my husband has purposely gone out of his way to avoid any and every emotional and/or difficult conversation possible, but today, he intentionally came back to discuss the same, difficult topic, not once, but three times.
So now I'm going to go do my hair so I look cute for our date.
Hope your weekend is great.