One day, in the hard to imagine future, my boys will leave home. I will tearfully help them pack. I will hope they return for dinners but manage their own washing and ironing. I will be faced with an empty nest and seek comfort in my husband’s arms. The man who made these boys with me. Our greatest achievement. And when our lives become less about our children and more about each other, I want to turn towards someone I still love with every ounce of my being. I don’t want to turn towards a stranger.
Lives become unfathomably busy when children enter the picture. Attention and space taken up by little people. It can be so easy to slip into co-caretaker mode. So easy to forget what brought those little people into the world in the first place. You make plans and lunches and dinners side-by-side. You negotiate the sharing of child care. You note when bills need to be paid and when the insurance is due. There is the silent accumulation of points and favours. The person that has had no sleep and therefore deserves a sleep in. The person that works all week and therefore should be cut some slack. The person that desperately needs a break and some time away from everyone else. Competing needs and wants balanced on the knife edge of marriage.
I consider myself a kind person. I will always try to help where I can. But too often I don’t extend enough kindness to my husband. Too often I take him for granted. Or I rob time and kindness belonging to him and I give it to someone else. I don’t say no very often. But when I say yes to all the other things, in reality I am saying no to someone. I am saying no to spending time with my family. With my husband.
I think I need to say yes more often to the person I love above everyone else. The person that is kinder to me than I deserve. The person that still sets my heart fluttering when he looks at me a certain way. The person who picks me up when I am feeling down. The person who has seen me at my best and my worst. The person that I share my life with. The person that will be there twenty, forty, sixty years from now.
I have been talking about intimacy this month. Keeping the spark alive when the kids are little. I firmly believe being kind ignites that spark. And it’s what will keep the fire burning.
Do you think you are kind enough to your spouse?