Starry-eyed couples in love often think their marriage will be unlike any before or since. Soon we learn similar patterns occur and we need the counsel of others. Read some of of the advice we received here, and share your own.Read More...
This week I was the beneficiary of some little kindnesses that impacted me in such a big way I want to share.
Here’s the scene. We were ready to head home from Ohio after a family visit. The drive, with stops, is about 10 hours. We’ve each driven it by ourselves. In more recent years sharing the drive has proved a healthier choice. The problem this time was that Jerry was not feeling well. I felt cautiously optimistic that I could complete the drive home, but still had a few friends join me in prayer.
When packing the van, the hoyer lift always goes in first. I rolled it through the lobby to go out. I noticed a few business men waiting for someone in the lobby. I took the hoyer apart, loaded it into the van and came back in just as this group was leaving. One of the men stepped toward me ever so slightly and looked me right in the eyes and said, “you have a good day.” Odd though it may sound, that small greeting spoke deeply to me. It said he had acknowledged my responsibility and wanted to share a word of kindness with me. It felt like God was saying to me, “I see what you need to do today, I am watching and will be with you.”
The next load was the shower chair and a portable table. As I rolled these items out a different man stopped and asked if I needed any assistance. I’ve done this so long on my own that sometimes assistance is more of a hindrance than a help, and these were easy to pack. I thanked him but told him I had this ok. Again, another small kindness that spoke deeply to my soul on a day when I felt an enormous weight on my shoulders.
I doubt I could ever identify these two men, but I am grateful to them. Likely they will never know the impact their 3 to 5 second phrase made in me. But that’s ok. I know. And God used their kindness to encourage my heart and remind me that I was not doing this trip on my own.
I even had back-seat kindness on the trip – whenever Jerry woke up on he checked in to see if I was ok, and then went right back to sleep. I am glad I could minister to him by letting him rest, and we made it home safely.
I came home grateful, and reminded that it often is the little expressions of kindness and grace we share with someone that matter. We may not ever know if, or how, our words or actions mattered. But Proverbs 3:27 reminds us to do good to others when we have the ability to do so (my paraphrase).
Last week a Facebook friend shared a link from the website Holy Ruckus. It is a letter written by a guest who witnessed a young couple’s wedding ceremony The letter is written in a different style than I write. It comes from a faith perspective that is different than my own. But I believe sometimes we need to hear things from a different voice or perspective. Those experiences provide a fresh way to look at, in this case, marriage. There is much in her letter that I hope is characteristic of my marriage. Read it here and then please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Once Jerry and I became engaged advice started pouring in. Jerry recalls his favorite piece of advice was “buy a King Sized bed – you will need it.” For me the most memorable advice came from my friend Joni Eareckson Tada. Jerry and I had not yet begun work with her ministry, but had known her for many years in our single days as we partnered with the ministry. I can still recall Joni looking me straight in the eye and telling me, “Never let your husband give up on his dreams.” She shared some examples from her marriage with Ken, and in particular his love of fishing.
I know I received many other pieces of valuable advice, but for some reason Joni’s is the one that has stuck with me all these years. Pondering her words have helped me embrace the idea of Jerry completing his master’s degree, take other advanced courses, start his own business, attend more baseball games than I had ever imagined and so much more. Over this next year encouraging his dreams means a move to Florida for us. Some of his dreams are pretty amazing, and oh the adventure of supporting them.
Perhaps the reason God has allowed that piece of advice to stick with me is that He knows my propensity to want to be control. The truth is, control is a gift that is useful in certain situations, but marriage is not one of them. I am grateful for the reminder to do what is within my power to help my hubby live his dreams, which sometimes become my dream as well.
I am certain we are not the only couple who received marriage advice. What about you? What was the best marriage advice you ever received? Or what is the one piece of marriage advice you are prone to share with engaged or newlywed couples?