31 Days:: Slippery Slope:: Marital Lessons Learned from My Mom’s Courageous, Flawed Journey
Marital Lessons Learned from My Mom’s Courageous, Flawed Journey
Ten years ago, when I had a two-year-old and an infant, my mom flew out to visit us. One day while my girls were napping, Mom and I had a good long talk while we washed dishes and cleaned up the kitchen together.
That day, I asked her all the questions I had been wanting to know for eight years regarding what exactly happened in her marriage with my dad that made her want to leave him for another man?
I was 100% honest with why I wanted to know this information: I didn’t want to do that to my husband or kids. And to her credit, she was an open book. She, too, didn’t want me to wind up repeating her and my dad’s same mistakes. She, too, didn’t want me to make the same choices she had made. Like any great mom— which she is— she wanted better for me.
That precious day, my mom was honest and introspective. She willingly revealed to me the inner workings of her mind and heart over the almost 25 years she was married to my dad. She traced the history of their issues and challenges without putting down or belittling him. She was gracious and kind, wholeheartedly truthful and transparent. What a blessing.
That day, because my mother dared to share her journey with me, I learned what a slippery slope both marriage and motherhood can be. I learned how important it is to reach out and admit to others when I’m struggling. I learned that, while being a stay-at-home mom completely focused on my children may very well be a good and noble thing, it is imperative that I take time for myself and do things I love— no matter how much effort it might take— so that I don’t lose my identity and go into crisis mode when my kids are grown and no longer need me. I learned that if I’m struggling or confused or feel forgotten or under-appreciated— I need to speak up and tell my husband. And he and I together as a team need to figure out what to do about that problem. I learned that getting a handle on my fluctuating female hormones is important for both my own sanity and the health of my marriage and children. I learned that even though it is important to focus on my husband and help him achieve his goals and dreams, it’s also important for him to help me find my self and discover my dreams and help me achieve them. And I learned that if I’m struggling with my value as a woman, it’s important to find resources and other people who can help me wrestle through that sense of worthlessness so that I can find out what God really says about me and how important I am in this world.
That day in the kitchen my mother gave me a priceless gift: the gift of her story and her imperfections and her lessons learned the hard way. With grace and truth and love, she blessed me by courageously sharing with me her journey.
I am forever grateful for the gift of that conversation. I hope to steward that gift well.
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What about you?
Have you ever had a conversation that changed your life? Have you ever been blessed in infinitely powerful ways because you chose to heed when someone else shared their story of loss or failure with you?
Please feel free to share your journey in the comment section below.