When I became a wife I was super excited to finally have someone to take care of. In my single years, living with housemates, they would often say how lucky my husband would be since I loved to take care of people and things. So when I got married I was excited to do laundry, excited to cook meals, excited to keep the home cozy and nice. In that I strive to excel. Because I know it blesses my husband so much when I take care of things. He takes care of the things he said he would take care of, and I’d like to take care of mine. It’s my desire to be a blessing to my husband. Some call it old fashioned. I find true pleasure and satisfaction in it.
Somewhere down the line Tim did have to balance me a bit. I do think I strive for perfect and I have to be careful that doesn’t exhaust me. I cannot be perfect. Trying to be perfect is the wrong striving.
When I started picking up work again Tim challenged me to share some of the chores I considered mine. I disliked that idea. I still wanted to take care of things myself. I still wanted to see them as my job. But I gracefully accepted Tim’s help and we learned a new normal. For one, he started doing groceries and it was a huge relief. But I kept having the feeling that I failed. I was no longer doing what I had in mind I’d do. It was hard for me.
And then last week happened. I had much on my calendar. It’s sometimes overwhelming to work, and deal with my Holland house and other lingering things in Holland, all the while keeping our home organized and still bless the people around us with meals, home made caramel and surprise parties. Somewhere in there I also want to do things that help me relax, like going out on walks, photography or being creative in other ways. So on Monday I messed up. All these things came together and the day just wasn’t long enough. Time got away from me.
I made a point to mention to Tim about dinner plans. He had soccer at night and that means he can’t have a late or heavy dinner. So I may a point to say we’d have a late big lunch. Well, I wasn’t around for lunch time. And I got home late which even compromised dinner which put stress on both of us since we had to leave for soccer. Not a pretty picture. Though Tim isn’t demanding, he was disappointed. Since I made a point to mention the schedule for the day he was counting on me. I felt so bad. Failing the one I love feels horrible. It gets worse. Will you believe that I did the same thing the next day? Well, I totally did. We had another night of soccer, another full day for me and I totally blew it, again. I felt so bad, again. I had totally disregarded Tim and his needs over mine (work, working on a quilt, helping a friend). Me wanting to be perfect causes this all to be a big deal. It was easy for Tim to extend grace, he was quick with it too. But to extend grace to myself is really hard. I felt embarrassed.
Now I know lots of wives will tell me that this happens to them all the time, that this is pretty normal. I believe that, but I don’t want this to be my normal, and lately it becomes pretty normal for me to juggle schedule like this. More than I would like to I am working on laundry in the evenings or weekends, taking away from our time. In the beginning I had set the standard that Tim would not be bothered with or see the home chores. I would want to do my chores during working hours so that Tim would not be faced with any of it. And now in reality I am making the bed late at night, he sometimes has to grab his laundry straight from the dryer. I hate that. That will not be our normal. And as I learn to better handle my schedule I know there are lessons in all this too. First of all, I need to accept that I can’t do it all, all the time. It is wonderful I want to put my husband first. It is wonderful that I long to serve him and do him well. But I will fail. And I will need Tim’s help. And I certainly need his grace. Second, I need to embrace God’s gift. He knew I could never be perfect and He extended grace in all circumstances. Without grace I am nowhere and I need to learn to be full of grace towards myself. Neither Tim, nor God are expecting me to be perfect. Striving to be perfect is the wrong striving for it is by grace I have been saved, through faith – and this is not from myself, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that I can not boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Without Him I can do nothing. And when I do succeed, He deserves all praise and glory!
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