Our 18th anniversary is in two weeks but this blog post just won’t wait. I don’t know what I can say about Julie that I haven’t already said but I’m going to write it anyway. Similarly, I tell Julie I love her every time we talk on the phone…which is probably 5 or 6 times each day. I tell her I love her when I leave for work. I tell her I love her throughout the evening. I tell her I lover her before we fall asleep.
Does she not know that I love her? Oh, she knows. But she still likes to hear it. And I like to say it. I need to say it. So I’m going to ask you to listen to it.
It’s like I need to remind myself sometimes. I love Julie. I love Julie.
I love Julie.
And I really don’t know why I have to be reminded so frequently.
We are easily fooled into believing silly things. I could easily fool myself into thinking she doesn’t love me. But that’s not true. It’s just my insecurity.
So I battle my insecurity by seeking affirmation from her early and often.
But we are easily fooled. How much do you hate your job? Do you know what happens when you make a concentrated effort to tell yourself how much you love your job? This is dangerous stuff. Get up tomorrow morning and write out 10 things you like about your job. Lie to yourself if you have to. Then for the next two weeks read that list to yourself every morning. Pretty soon you’ll be convinced…for better or for worse.
For better or for worse. Do you focus on the worse of your spouse? Why do you do that?
I believe God spoke the world into creation. Spoke it. I was created in the likeness of God. I guess likeness counts toward my looks but I really think “likeness” means more in terms of ability. I, too, have the power to create with my words. In fact, I believe I can create a wonderful relationship with my wife. But I also have the power to destroy that relationship. Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
God also created marriage. And the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. Do we focus on how horrible our spouse is? How ugly? How fat? How old they have gotten these last few years? Why do we do this?
SO, Mr. HeadFarmSteward (if that’s your real name), what the heck does this have to do with your farm?
I want to farm. I don’t want to farm alone.
There is no farm without her.
I have a tendency to stew on things. There are times when Julie and I don’t see eye to eye. Or times when she somehow says the wrong thing to me. Or times when she doesn’t say the right thing to me. Or times when things just aren’t going well and I find myself stuck in a cycle of worry and fear and anger. Stuck in a place where I can only see the failures in my personal relationships.
But that’s a lie. Dirty dishes are not Julie’s not-so-subtle way of asking me for a divorce. Dirty dishes are the result of supper eaten at 9pm because we were too busy to eat earlier in the day and too tired to wash dishes before crashing onto our bed too few hours before we have to get up and do it all again. Julie loves me.
Julie loves me.
Why do I forget that?
What am I creating today?
Let me tell you about a little my wife. Just in case you didn’t know.
Julie is a strong woman. Not just physical strength. Grit. Tenacity. Determination. There are things she wants to do because she wants to do them. So she does them. She just does them…just makes up her mind and gets it done. I admire that in her. My opinion is certainly considered and she offers me respect but let’s be clear, she and I are equal partners in our marriage. I don’t tell her what to wear. She tells me what to wear (lol). The kids were recently talking about “my” new (to us) car, “Mom and dad don’t have their own things. They share everything.” I’m glad they picked up on that. I don’t have a new (to us) car. We have a new (to us) car.
I didn’t tell Julie to stay home and raise our children. She is living the life she has chosen and is doing so with my encouragement. If she wanted to get a job I wouldn’t stand in her way. Thing is, she’s just too darned busy to get a job.
Julie runs the farm.
Read that again.
Julie runs the farm.
My contribution is money. I work to pay for the farm. When I’m not at work I pick up the heavy things that she simply can’t manage on her own. I also advise on where to move the cattle. But Julie does the work.
And teaches the children.
And runs another business.
And she loves me.
I work to enable her to live the life she wants to live. She works to enable me to have the things I want to have. We are a team. United and working toward a common vision.
If you and your spouse are not working toward a common vision you will soon face the realities of division. I started down that road once. It’s a rough road. Almost killed me. I don’t recommend it.
It is interesting to look back to 1993 when I met Julie and track the ways we have changed each other and changed together over time. To look at the things we have gone through together…to look back at our hardships and stand together in the oppressive humidity and swarms of insects, holding hands as we walk through the pasture after finishing our evening chores. There’s an analogy in there somewhere.
That time in the pasture is the time I focus on, not the dirty dishes. I love the few minutes we have together at night. Walking through the tall grass and hearing her yelp of surprise as her wrist buzzes. She is always surprised when her FitBit tells her she has taken 15,000 steps again today.
I love my wife. I love her. Her. And in case you are not understanding me I’ll just say this plainly. Though I like Julie’s body, I love Julie. There is a difference. And it’s important. It’s not enough to be attracted to her. I have to love her. Truly love her. I respect and admire her too but that’s not enough. I love her. So each day I remind myself how much I need her and how much she means to me and I work to align my dreams with hers. It is unfair to her and damaging to our relationship for me to dwell on her failures. And she has failures…but not many. She loves me. And she, too, chooses to overlook my numerous shortcomings. Instead we lean on each other, depending on each other’s strengths. We work to motivate and encourage each other and remember our love for each other as we move forward together.
Because we remain in this relationship voluntarily.
But there’s more.
And this one is a little fuzzy. And maybe it’s not for you. But it’s certainly for me.
I love my wife. But I have to keep my priorities straight. I do not worship a creation. I worship a creator.
All these things I do to train and retrain my thinking to stay married (and happy in my career)…I also do those things to remind myself that I have a purpose. That I was created. That I am not an accident. That God made me because God wanted a Chris Jordan in this place and at this time. In Psalm 103 David said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name!” Why did he say that? Because he needed to hear it. Because he was feeling discouraged and needed to create something within himself. He needed to create a positive relationship with God. Maybe because David was feeling alone and afraid.
What are you creating in your relationships? Even if you don’t have a farm I’m sure you have a vision. Or do you have division? Farms are hard to divide.
And, perhaps even more personal, what are you creating within yourself? Who do you think you are?
You don’t have to tell me. But you ought to tell yourself. Death and life are in the power of the tongue.