Day 7: Diversions

Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment. (Have you memorized it yet?)

Today’s theme is “diversions.” A bit of an overlap from yesterday . . . but whereas we “dream” together, a good marriage includes a variety of physically and spiritually healthy diversions, both together and independently.

One Christmas I splurged and got Craig a camera he’d had his eye on for some time now. It was more money than I’d ever spent on a Christmas present. But watching his eyes light up, and seeing him play with the lenses and filters with all the excitement of a kid with a toy train, I knew I was investing in our family’s future memory bank.

From that moment, the pace of our family outings slowed. “Hold on, Heidi! Let me get this shot!” he’d call to me on one of our family walks, fiddling with the lenses again as Sarah and I struck a pose and Chris pulled up the hood on his jacket. Maddy was the only one who seemed to enjoy it . . . other than Craig, who reveled in getting the perfect shot. DSCF0569

It can be a real temptation for any couple, as their family grows, to get so caught up in the merry-go-round of sleep-eat-work-eat-sleep that we forget what it is to live. What diversions do you most enjoy, that have gone by the wayside? How can you strengthen your relationship just a bit more today, by taking it up again?

While healthy diversions can do a great deal to strengthen a good marriage, toxic diversions (explicit movies or books, excessive drinking, or becoming overly invested in work or volunteer commitments) can wreak havoc on our relationships. Is there an area of concern here? If you’ve raised the issue before and have been unable to settle it, consider making an appointment with your pastor or a marriage counselor to discuss it.

“A clean heart can see God, can speak to God, and can see the love of God in others,” writes Mother Teresa. “When you have a clean heart it means you are open and honest with God, you are not hiding anything from him, and this lets him take what he wants from you.” (p.27, “Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta.”)

Day 3: Acceptance

40 day challenge 20th

Welcome to the third day of the challenge!

Did you remember to start the day with the Prayer of Abandonment”? If not, go ahead . . . I’ll wait.

Starting today, we will take up the “heart” of the challenge by focusing each day on a quality or charism that is essential to a happy marriage. You’ll find that (more or less) I’ve arranged them in alphabetical order. (If you think I’ve missed any, go ahead and shout it out in the comments!)

Today’s theme is “acceptance.”  (We got a bit of a head start yesterday, but it’s such an important part of marriage I don’t think a little review will hurt!)

Watching my mother decline — particularly mentally, as her dementia intensifies — I’ve often made the mistake that many caregivers struggle with, arguing with her when her version of reality doesn’t align with mine. This is particularly hard when her version causes her great anguish or fear. But as I’ve turned to others who have been where we are now, they all say the same thing: When you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This means being gentle and empathetic as you guide them to whatever it is you need them to do.

We all need to be understood, to feel as though someone really “gets” what we are going through. This, too, is a form of acceptance. Even when we hate the choices our loved one makes, and are forced to bear the consequences as well, being able to put ourselves in the shoes of that other person can make all the difference in our ability to love.

Think about your husband, and all he is and does for you. What can you do to practice the gift of acceptance?

Teresa-21

Are you enjoying this Lenten series? Please support the effort if possible by picking up a copy of Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Thank you!