Wow, guys. This weekend, my husband hit me with one of those deep conversations that is not so much deep as it is is life changing. I was sitting in the family room with our son when S. asked “What is the best and worst thing you can do as a spouse?”
Now, I should tell you that S. and I often ask questions designed to spark conversation. We’ve had some great discussions as a result. My husband had just sparked another one.
Our 14 yo answered suggested it was not eating the food a spouse prepared for dinner but instead eating take out. S. and I agreed this was definitely a trait that could cause some issue, but probably not the worst. I answered that the best thing to do was to love. The worst thing was to hate. The men agreed, but S. expounded that the best thing a person could do for his or her spouse was “be there”.
S. gave an example after telling Bug that marriage vows are sacred and serious. God forbid, S. should ever be in a car accident and could no longer take care of himself, then love would be being there for him and making sure that he had all he needed. Our son nodded his head in acceptance of that. S. continued that this was not just for me, but for him as well. If I was ill and needed him, he would be there for me because that is love. And then he asked if what if not being there could be prevented. What if your spouse could be there for you by doing some action that would prevent their not being there and chose not to? How would you feel?
If mommy were to pass away from something that she could have helped, she could have prevented…I would be upset. I would think she didn’t love us enough to stay”
I listened as my husband spoke about how disappointed and upset he would be if be if I just simply did not care to grow with the family. I understood. I had a relative who was diagnosed with heart disease a major near-death cardiac episode. The doctors were very clear about what needed to happen. Exercise more. Change eating habits. Reduce stress. The relative listened for exactly two weeks and then returned to the same habits that allowed plaque to clog arteries and sickness to reign.
I was livid! Imagine walking outside and seeing a relative who was near death from a heart attack chowing down on fried chicken, ribs, and a host of fatty food for a barbeque meal. I couldn’t believe there was no desire to give more time to children who needed a parent and grandchildren who needed a grandparent. The relative refused to change stating they were too old to change and didn’t care to try. Now, my husband was speaking on something very similar.
I am 40 years old. I am the mother of five. I would love to be here long enough to see each of my children marry and have children of their own. I would love to grow old enough to sit on the porch and hold S.’s hand as we watch the sun set. I’d love for our grandchildren to come over so that we could spoil them, watch after them. But if I am not willing to make modifications to my life, those things won’t happen.
My husband echoed these sentiments when he said if I could make changes to my lifestyle and health that would allow me to have even another day with the family, it would be a blessing. But if I were to stubbornly refuse to make even the most minor of concessions and then passed away leaving my husband with five children to raise, I can imagine the pain that would leave.
A few more minutes of discussion and the conversation was over. I took to heart what was said. I believe that was the point. We’ve discussed eating healthier and getting more exercise a couple of times this year. So, that’s what we are going to do. It’s what we’ve started doing.
My husband is already an athletic person. He runs 2-4 times a week. He does workout videos. Pre-COVID, he was in the gym daily. My son runs with him. Our daughters work out in the family room. I now join them. I’m not going to say it’s been easy. However, I do feel good about making active moves to increase my longevity. I don’t know if God is going to allow me to live to see grandparents or not. But I promise one thing, I’m going to certainly give him something to work with.
So, my bottom line up front for everyone is this:
If you can give your time being there for your family, friends, loved ones. Do so. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is tomorrow isn’t promised and that life is fragile. We don’t need to speed up our clocks and waste the opportunity of life. Give the best….your time.