By Brie Gowen
My husband stood outside the sanctuary of our church entertaining our toddler who refused to stay in the nursery without one of us present. He milled about the area outside the main sanctuary doors, and the drone of preacher’s voice from within, hardly understandable through the insulated walls, could be heard like the distant buzz of a television.
A young woman bounced her nearly asleep infant in his vicinity, and they smiled to one another that carefree smirk, the camaraderie evident amongst two parents who understood little ones weren’t typically entertained by Sunday preaching.
“You lucked out to get baby duty today, huh?” She asked him with a sideways smile.
“Yeah.” He replied. Adding almost as an afterthought, “I offered.”
“That was nice of you,” the young mother commented.
To which the long, gray-haired father replied, “I figured Brie needed the break.”
I sat inside comfortably, listening intently to the pastor’s words. No one crawled on my lap, or vied for my attention. No little voices competed against that of the preacher, and I sat there contentedly with no tasks begging for my immediate consideration. It. Was. Splendid.
I didn’t hear the conversation relayed above until after the fact, and as my sister (the young mother featured) retold the words it hit me what a considerate man I had in my life. It wasn’t the first time he had missed out on hearing the sermon so I could listen instead, but I suppose it was the first time I truly thought about how selfless he could be where his family was concerned.
My husband is a hard worker. He owns his own business, and he works more now as the business owner than he did years ago when he was an employee. Most days are twelve hour work days for him, and I can’t imagine the stress he is under on a daily basis. He’s the ultimate provider for his family, yet when he comes home he dives in passionately to his other job. Being a father.
It’s easy when you work to unintentionally neglect your time as a parent. But it’s even easier to let your actions aimed towards your spouse fall to the wayside. Moms who have spent all day with demands, whether that of the children or the workforce, can end the day with little left in their tank. And the same goes for dad. Tired husbands and wives everywhere end day after day exhausted with little thought towards their partner in it all.
Somehow my husband gives his energies all day at work, comes home full of love and attention to pour onto his children, and even manages to consider giving me a day off on his day off. It’s so easy as human beings to focus on the big word me. It’s easy to focus on your sacrifice, your efforts, your hard work, and somehow even pinpoint the areas where your spouse may be lacking. It becomes a contest in your mind of whose turn it is to do this or do that, never considering, “I wonder what I can do today to brighten my spouse’s day and lighten their load?”
It doesn’t take magic to make a marriage last long term, and it doesn’t even require grand gestures in the way of expensive rose bouquets or jewelry. It just requires a little thought, small sacrifices reciprocated over time, but not with the point of seeing what you can receive in return; simply giving out of love. It’s something as plain as watching the baby so your wife can sit alone in peace and quiet to listen to a sermon. Because it seems that the little things are really big things, and it’s those instances that can show just how much you care.