Enriched Marriage

In the early years of my marriage, my husband and I would often attend marriage enrichment seminars. Sometimes we gleaned life-changing information, and sometimes we merely received nuggets that we stored away for future use. At one such event, there was a story shared that has stuck with me, and I tend to draw from it regularly.

Two Christian marriage and family therapists hosted this particular seminar. Without divulging sensitive and private information, one shared a story of a wife considering divorce. The wife felt ignored and oppressed. She was angry and finished. The therapist, with an ulterior motive, encouraged her to spend time wholly serving her husband for a period before she left him. The point was, upon the wife’s departure, the husband would greatly regret the poor treatment of his wife. She agreed to the pretense.

Several months passed and the therapist and the wife came across one another at a public event. The therapist asked if she had been successful at leaving her husband. She was appalled that he would think such a thing because her husband was a wonderful man and they had a sensational marriage.

I don’t recall if this is a true story or if the therapist later relayed that the story was fabricated. What I do know is that I grasped the message; “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 10:12). I like what R. J Palacio said in Wonder, “If we have to choose between being right and being kind, choose kind.” I am a fiery and feisty woman, and sometimes I have to concentrate on setting aside my weapon of choice, a shovel, to dig for ways to serve and be kind instead of digging a grave. I’m just being real.

Heart’s Desire

 

My husband and I have been blessed with the adoption of six children. Some of these gifts came as newborns and some as older children. Our pre-adoption counselor “warned” us about the hearts of older children. He conveyed that their hearts belonged to another mother and another father. He made sure that we understood that they would love someone else. He wanted us to understand that the mind of a child doesn’t comprehend the opportunities given by a loving adoptive family because the heart of a child will want to go “home.” He explained that the unfavorable conditions in which a child was removed didn’t factor into the child’s desires. The circumstances that they came from was what they knew, what they were comfortable with, and the conditions that they would willingly return. He encouraged us to look at the adoption of older children as a Christian service.

When your heart yearns for children and when you want so desperately to have children, you may try and convince yourself that fulfilling a Christian service will be enough. If you are the quality of person that can die to yourself and serve with abandon without expectations of a return, then when I grow up, I want to be like you. Truth is, I quickly discovered that I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be my adopted child’s mother, their mommy of choice. I became desperate for it. In hindsight, I should have known that “service” wasn’t my goal at the time. I’m just being real.