So….are you still in the ring???
I wrote a blog a few weeks ago called “Are you a fighter?” I was pleasantly surprised at the wonderful response to this blog. It seemed that so many people were either feeling the way that I did, in that they wanted someone to fight for them, or they felt convicted about not fighting for their spouse or loved one. The challenge I presented was for us to challenge our loved ones to “fight for us everyday.”
So….how can I fight for my spouse or loved one? How can I fight for my family?
Well,…how about letting someone know that you are fighting for them?
Wow…this one is so tough. It requires us to be vulnerable and possibly open to hurt. Since my blog, my husband has pulled me into a hug several times and told me, “I’m fighting for us.” He has also told me that the challenge that I presented to him was…..“life changing”.
“It was exactly what I needed…” he said.
We all want to be heard. Sometimes we want others to “know us” and “figure out” what we need. That’s ridiculous…and you know it. That’s our way of not being “real” with ourselves or our loved ones. We need to communicate our feelings, our hopes, our dreams, our anxieties. Have you ever noticed how sometimes just hearing yourself say something relieves your anxiety?. Especially if you are a SAHM, you NEED to talk. You need to have adult communication.
What about in our family? Does every family member have a “voice”? Do you know what your kids love doing? What their interests are? Do you really “know” your kids, or wife, your husband? I have found that the most important tool we can give our children is the ability to listen. Don’t assume what a person is thinking….ask them. Don’t assume that you know why your child is frustrated…ask them. Maybe you don’t like the huge temper tantrum that your child is throwing but….could you have avoided it? Do they have certain “triggers” that if you knew them well enough, you could have helped them work through it? Last night, we sent our kids to bed early because they were being totally crazy….well, most of them. Well, I could hear the sobs of the Fashionista…and it was not her typical cry. It was heart-wrenching. I turned to my husband and said, “we need to call her back down and ask her why she is crying. I think I know why but I want to hear her say it.”
I had a feeling she felt..betrayed.
She was awesome….all day.
She banged out all her chores, happily and worked so well playing with the other little ones. When she came down, she said what I was thinking, …
“I don’t think it’s fair that I go to bed early. I had a GREAT day!”
And she was right. She got to stay up til 8:30, her normal bedtime.
We teach our kids to talk to us. We have taught them that we may not like what they have to say but we want to hear it. We want them to communicate with us.
2 Change the priority…make this person more important than yourself.
Instead of asking yourself, “What have you done for me lately?” Look to see how you can do for this loved one in your life.
When we start the game of tallying, we are never satisfied. By tallying, I mean, “well, you let me go out once last week, but you went out twice this week.” If you think like this, you will always have the short end of the stick. If you are communicating with your spouse or loved one, and address the need to have some “personal time”, that should be enough. If your voice is being “heard”, what does it matter how your “tallies” fall. In addition, if both you and your loved one have accepted the challenge to “fight” for your family, then you have someone who is already looking at putting you first. When you have your “biggest fan” living with you, it changes your whole outlook on what your home life can look like. You are competing to see who can love each other more….everyone wins!!!! Look at the following scenarios:
Scenario#1: I want to sleep in but my wife has been up all night with a sick baby.
Action: I’m going to jump up and grab the baby when I hear him/her. I’m going to allow my wife to sleep in. I’m going to start the coffee so when she wakes up, she knows that I’ve thought of her.
The results: most likely your wife wakes up and is overwhelmed by this act. This act, that required little money/time, has catapulted her day. You have been influential in putting that extra “pep” in her step. In addition, you got to have some quality time with the baby. Maybe he or she snuggled with you or laughed and it was a moment that you would have missed.
Scenario #2: My husband has been so stressed lately. He’s been rubbing his neck and complaining about not sleeping due to a pain in his neck.
Action: I’m going to surprise him with a back massage early Saturday morning. I’m going to leave him a note on his pillow for when he comes home to get changed from work. I’m going to tell him in my note that I’m so thankful for how hard he works and that I think he could use this appointment. I have taken care of everything. It’s paid for and the time set.
Result: Your husband might come down and just hug you. You recognized a need and you met it. You addressed the need for him to provide and thanked him.
The fact is that selflessness breeds more selflessness much like selfishness breeds more selfishness. When my husband does something loving for me, it makes me want to do something for him as well. If he lets me sleep in, I might ask if he wants to grab a nap during the day or maybe catch some time by himself.
Which is more life-giving? Being selfish or selfless? Which one is truly “fighting”?
Decide what kind of marriage/relationship/family you want….and go for it!
If your loved ones biggest complaint is that they have no time with you, what can you do to change that? Can you have one day a week that you come home early and hang out with the family? The hubs and I try and take out one child once a month. These are typically father-daughter, father-son, mother-son, or mother-daughter dates. They don’t have to be really expensive….ice cream out….bowling….shopping. Some months are crazy and we do more as a family and then other months we might have two dates in one month. In our family, its our way of having quality time with a growing family. Does this sound possible?
Do you feel like you will never have time? It’s amazing how little quantity time you need to have quality time. My husband was always making promises to DDD of things they could do. He would promise him that they would go to the park and shoot hoops or throw the football after dinner and he always had other things come up. He would feel so bad. I remember one night telling him…”don’t make it such a big event. Just randomly give him time. 5 minutes here…10 minutes there. It means the world to him and its a nice break for you.” Sometimes, he will just text me to send DDD up to his office and they will wrestle. Sometimes he will have DDD set up a lego battle in his room and they will randomly take 10 minutes and battle. These “little moments” really mean nothing in terms of the work required by us, but to a child it shows we care.
Can you surprise your family with a four day weekend? What if you planned everything? Do you want to be more involved in your kids’ lives? Are you just so busy that you are like ships “passing in the night”??…plan a family meeting. Sit down and share schedules. Make it your responsibility to know what your families schedule is during the week. Make sure you are “involved” in the life of your family. Make time for a family dinner. Ask your kids to talk to you about their project at school, or their favorite activity this season? Can you pick up a child and take them to practice? Can you alleviate one of your spouse’s errands for that week?
If you want more of a romantic relationship, work on that….plan romantic “moments” in your day. Send flowers from work. Grab her hand while you are watching TV and just hold it. Have a babysitter “show up” at your house with a pizza for the kids and tell your wife that she is going on a date. Surprise her with sweet notes when she opens the fridge, or her dresser. Leave notes for your husband on the bathroom mirror. Text him little loving thoughts during the day. Give her/him reasons to think of you during the day. Create a romantic basket (like the one pictured below) and sit it out on the counter…..plan a time this week when you can open it and have time after work/school. Additionally, we have to remember that our children are also taking “clues” on how relationships work. If you are trying to raise a gentleman, be one! If you are trying to raise a loving daughter with self-respect, be her ultimate role-model!
Admit your failures.
This is sooo key. I can’t tell you how awesome it is when my husband shares with me that he was planning something that didn’t work out. He may be frustrated and I don’t know why. Simply admitting his own frustrations at his time limitations or work burdens makes me smile that he was trying to put me first. “I was hoping to get home before dinner to make dinner for you but I got stuck at a meeting that lasted too long.” Or how about, I have really been trying to put you first but I’m really overwhelmed at work and it’s affecting us.” Sometimes, it’s really nice to know that there was a “plan of action” that didn’t work out. You know?!
Pray for the desire to love and be loved.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.“- Phillipians 4:13
Pray for added strength when selfish tendencies surface. Wake up everyday and renew your commitment to fight the good fight for your partner, and your family.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7
My prayer is that you will continue to defend yourself over every “blow” that comes your way. That you will stand tall as you defend your loved one and your family.