The Other Woman in my Marriage
Elbows deep in a crumpled cardboard box, sitting on the wooden floor in my kitchen, I hear him. Coming up behind me, he ropes his arms around me, and nuzzles my neck. His two day-old beard and mustache scratch my skin, raising a chill down my lower back.
Surrounded by moving boxes towering high and a To-Do list just as tall, I waver.
And this is me, I recognize. This task-driven, productivity-focused woman is the one who wakes up in the morning, sees the jobs at hand, and plunges in.
But an unpacked or immaculate home is nothing without passionate loving relationships inside. A crossed-off To-Do list for a cross family solves nothing. So I’m reminding myself to set aside the lists to concentrate on the loved ones in my life. Sometimes this means a card game over coffee with my six year old and Lego battles that extend across the couch, or longer conversations with my teens about social media dilemmas.
I confess that I’m bad at this some days. Crossed-off items and a clean kitchen seem more outwardly productive than built relationships over the long run. But the payoff of a swept floor versus a sweet family connection is incomparable.
Sitting beside a cavernous cardboard box filled with random kitchen items and the guts of a spilled-out telephone drawer, I hesitate.
“It can wait,” I realize and stand.
My husband and I arrange a kids’ video for our little one before disappearing behind a locked door. Pulling shut the curtains and turning on the fan, we step in, fully seeing each other, smiling and leaning in.
The other woman in my marriage– this other personality side of me– is the fun one, the passionate and people-person one. She is the balance to my driven half.
There is a verse I have been scribbling across scratch paper, taping to my walls, and scrawling across my journal this last year or so. It rings in lyric prayer to me, and it comes to mind this morning.
May the Lord make your love increase
and overflow for each other,
and for everyone else,
just as ours does for you.
May he strengthen your hearts
so that you will be blameless and holy
in the presence of our God and Father
when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones (1 Thessalonians 3:12,13).
He is doing it, I see, this God-head whose very Being reflects an interwoven, inter-connected ability to wrangle work and relationships harmoniously. The God of the universe is working in me, in my marriage and family, rekindling flames, making our love increase and overflow. And He gets all the credit.
This same God sees you, sees your loved ones, and can do the unimaginable. Ready?
* Photo credit: Neal Sanche, Creative Commons, cc license.