If you have made it this far in the 20th anniversary edition of the “40 Day Challenge,” you discovered that I made it only a little over half-way before a previous edition kicked in.
There’s a reason for that. Though I didn’t originally intend to drop the ball, at a certain point I realized that I had to choose between getting the series done by Easter … or take one for the team and admit that I didn’t have the bandwidth to do both this and everything else.
While perseverance is an important part of marital success, I’ve also found that finishing something just to say that you’ve finished it is not always a good thing. Whether it’s a trashy novel or a frost-bitten half-pint of Ben and Jerry’s, there are times when it’s really, truly okay NOT to persevere. (While that doesn’t apply to marriage in general, it does provide food for thought about the millions of little decisions we make within that holy huddle.)
In twenty years of marriage, I’ve discovered that our capacities — physical, mental, and financial — change, and often shrink. Now my husband’s energy stores quickly become depleted when he attempts to work several twenty-hour days in succession. I’ve found my sense of humor grows equally in short supply when attempting to be everywhere and do everything at once.
For both of us, when we try to be and do too much, one of the first things that suffers is our relationship. He becomes loquacious, I become irritable. We retreat to opposite ends of the house, instead of meeting in the middle (after the kids and my mother turn in) for a cuddle. And don’t even get me started on what this does to the sex life.
Middle age is a time of transition, a time to dig deep in the storehouse of wisdom that we’ve acquired over time and with experience. So, in closing, I’d like to offer this one last “Prayer of Abandonment: Twenty-Year Edition.”
Let us continue to abandon ourselves, come what may,
not knowing what the future holds, but confident in the One who does.
Let us be ready for inevitable change, and lingering struggles.
Let us say “I do” to each other, over and over and over again.
I offer you all that I am, and all that I have,
to claim or ignore or appropriate, as needed.
Let the love that we have continue to grow,
and to reflect in some small way the Perfection
to which we try to surrender ourselves, body and soul,
until at last we see the Glory.
St. Charles de Foucauld, pray for us.