When You Get Lost Without Ever Leaving Home
"But Martha was distracted with much serving ... But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:40a, 41-42, ESV
"I feel like I'm losing you ..."
I glanced up from the super-hero briefs I was folding and gave my husband a glazed stare.
The clock was pushing midnight, and he was slumped silent on the couch. His blue scrubs were wrinkled from a long day's work at the hospital, his green eyes glassy with tears.
"Losing me?" I gaped, an unexpected lump of anger rising in my throat.
"I'm right here taking care of your five children. And cooking your meals. And washing your dishes. And folding your clothes ..." I pounded my fist on the upturned laundry basket beside me and let weary frustration seep like a slow leak from my lips "How can you lose me when I never go anywhere? The only place I've been all week is the grocery store."
My husband slid from the couch onto the floor beside me and took a deep, wobbly breath. My sarcastic outburst hadn't dispelled the anguish in his gaze. "I'm not talking about what you do for me," he murmured sadly. "I'm talking about you."
He reached his hand across the mountain of laundry between us and curled his fingers around mine. "I miss you," he whispered. "I'm losing you."
My stomach lurched and my aggravation morphed into melancholy.
We slept in the same bed and poured coffee from the same carafe; we shared meals at the same table and drove the same dented mini-van with the same five kids. We worshiped at the same church and sat on the sidelines of the same little league games. We both worked hard for our family — I tended to the kids; he went to work and paid the bills. Our to-do lists were long, but our together-time was short.
We'd become so busy doing life that we weren't truly sharing life.
I could blame our floundering relationship on the press of parenthood or on the drain of the daily mundane, but in the depths of my soul, I knew the truth — our love wasn't dying; it was distracted.
Industry is no substitute for intimacy.
The tale that precedes our key verses today reminds me that I'm not the first woman to "get lost" in the daily grind.
In four short verses, we read the story of two women who love Jesus (Luke 10:38-42).
One chooses to savor Him. The other chooses to serve Him.
One makes time for connection. The other falls prey to distraction.
One winds up being blessed. The other ends up feeling bitter.
Sadly, I recognize myself in this story, and I'm not the sister slowing to relish the one she loves. If I'm honest, I'm more prone to have a Martha-heart than a Mary-spirit.
I can get so caught up in my self-imposed check-lists and daily to-dos that I miss the "better part" of marriage — the joy of friendship and the depths of connection my husband and I were created to share.
Lately, I've been asking God to help me become a woman who works just as hard on flourishing her marriage as she does on finishing her to-do list. I haven't discovered a secret formula, but l am learning that making small changes in my day can make a big difference in the health of our relationship.
I can't always ignore the dirty dinner dishes piled high, but sometimes I can choose to leave them in the sink and join my husband for some cuddling on the couch.
I can't always disregard deadlines or dust-bunnies, but sometimes I can choose to get up early and tackle my responsibilities right away, so I'm free to linger with my man when the kids go to bed.
And no matter what my to-do list contains, I can always pray for wisdom to choose the "better portion," and for an ever-increasing passion for my "better half."
After all, if a woman's going to be lost, she might as well be lost in love.
Dear Jesus, my husband doesn't just want my hands, he wants my heart, too. Help me to prioritize intimacy over industry, and make my marriage a reflection of Your measureless love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 1:9-10: "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ ..." (ESV)
I Corinthians 16:14: "Let all that you do be done in love." (ESV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What distracts you from investing time and attention in your marriage right now?
Ask your husband to name one thing you could do this week to make him feel lavishly loved. Put his idea at the top of your to-do list and carve out time to do it!
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