What giving up my wife for Lent has taught me

When people discuss what they gave up for Lent I mention that I gave up my wife… at least for part of it!

Earlier this week Susan flew out to San Diego to be with Valerie and Aaron – our daughter-in-law and grandson; since Sam, our #2 son, is gone for two months of training with the Marines.

So to help break up the long stretch for them, and soak up sunshine and warm weather for herself, Susan is spending three weeks out west. Kyrsten – one of our daughters – is with her for a week but will fly back next Monday.

Three weeks!

We’re also referring to it as The Great Experiment because in nearly 29 years of marriage and family life Susan has never been gone that long.

Will Susan be able to endure all the sunshine and warmth and uninterrupted time with Valerie and Aaron? Probably.

Will those of us back home in Indiana survive three weeks without the mama? More or less. It’s a toss-up as to who is missing Mom more – Brynden, our youngest (12 years old) or Thor – Susan’s Yorkie!

So what have we learned from The Great Experiment so far?

Fewer people in the house makes for:

  • less activity
  • less noise
  • less mess

No big surprise there. But I’ve also learned that it means I have to be more human.

While I care about everyone and usually ask how their day was, Susan is the one who is more emotionally engaged with them on a daily basis.

I can do crisis intervention, mediate conflicts, and general house maintenance. But I don’t really give myself to being engaged in the little, day-to-day things that make up most of life.

Sure I listen and even respond, but I’m not intentionally connecting on a deeper level.

So I’m learning that I need to be more emotionally available, more in tune, more engaged, more human.

I hadn’t realized how easy it is to come home from work and be here without really being here!

That might be status quo or normal for many guys/dads, but I think God has bigger plans for us. We have a more significant role to play in the lives of our family. We are to love as He loves and that begins with our family!

“No amount of success outside the home makes up for failure inside the home.”

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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8 Comments

Filed under Family, Lent, Loving others, Marriage, Parenting

8 responses to “What giving up my wife for Lent has taught me

  1. Great post. Love the photo too.

  2. My father died unexpectedly the day after my 7th birthday. What I would give to have known him as an adult. To have known what he believed in, what he thought was funny, what he thought was beautiful. I also removed my mother from the traditional role of mothers in the 40’s and 50’s. Dad’s have so much to give to their children and so often don’t know how to start.

    • So sorry to hear of how you lost your father at such a tender age. What a big whole that must have left in your life and your heart. And I agree, dads do have much to offer and often don’t know how to start. Thanks Suanna!

  3. Connie

    Love the title!
    You’re a great dad and I know those kids love you.
    Miss you guys.

  4. Darla Randall

    you are so REAL as you write your blogs, Brother Rick! I appreciate that! I think there is much to learn from each other, men and women, in how we relate to each other and our families. Thank you for sharing!!!

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