Tag Archives: wife

Ice ice no baby…literally

87611732A few weeks ago I participated in a man’s rite of passage.  The passage from being a man one day…to being a man who won’t be creating any more kids the next.  That’s right…it starts with a “V” and rhymes with schlasectomy.  Overall, it wasn’t too bad.  The worst was the interminable drive home when I felt like I was going to die.  But, once I got home, I did a lot of resting and felt much better.  For the next couple days, it was actually nice to have no responsibilities…and lots of drugs (prescribed by the doctor).

Julia was amazing.  Whenever I needed something, she was there.  Books, remote controls, ice, food, pillows, movies, water…more ice…she was ready with it all!   I got taco pie, guacamole, frosted lemonade…whatever I wanted.  After all (in the words on Phil Dunphy), “is it a vasecta-you or a vasecta-me?”  I felt so loved how she took care of me.  I felt free to rest and to allow myself to be taken care of.

It was a difficult weekend for Julia though.  She was waiting on me hand and foot, plus taking care of Eli, plus visiting with out of town company and baking things.  She was stressed and I could feel it.

It was tough for me to be passive, especially as I started to feel a little better.  I wanted to stop and clean up the kitchen.  I wanted to tell her to sit down and relax while I made a nice dinner.  But, she wouldn’t let me.  She knew that the most important thing was for me to rest so my body can heal.  She was determined to take care of me and wouldn’t have it any other way.  So, I had to resist the urge to exert myself.  Julia was right.  It was the right move, and the rest I got helped me to recover quickly.

Looking back on it, it was actually a really awesome weekend.  I felt special and very much loved.  I learned first-hand from Julia’s example how much taking care of your spouse means to the person being taken care of.

My advice to you:

Sometimes you will be the person that needs the help, and sometimes you will be the person who needs to be helping.  In either case, do your job well!  I know that I will be there for Julia the next time she’s in the spot I was.  Make sure you see when your wife needs it and help her out too.

Just get her flowers for crying out loud!

Seattle 081Julia loves getting flowers…this is something I know.  She tells me frequently, and it is very clear.  She doesn’t tell me in a nagging pestering way making me feel like a louse for not getting them.  But, sometimes we talk about things we can do to show each other love and things we really appreciate, and flowers is one that seems to always come up.

You would think this clarity would be great right?  I’ve been granted access to this secret knowledge of a way to Julia’s heart…score!  So, what could go wrong??!!  I’ll tell you what goes wrong…I don’t get them.  It’s as simple as that.  “But Michael, that doesn’t make any sense!” you say…”if she tells you that she feels loved when you get her flowers, and you are always trying to find ways to show her you love her, then why don’t you just get her some flowers?!”  That’s a very good question, to which I don’t have a good answer.

Now to be fair, I DO get her flowers sometimes.  Sometimes it’s for no reason at all.  Sometimes it’s when she’s having a rough day.  But, my issue is the frequency.  To give context for comparison, let’s says her ideal desire is flowers once a month (I’m just throwing that out there as a basis to compare to, not that it is accurate).  If that is her desire, my frequency is around once every 3 months probably.

So, here is the issue…there is a big opportunity for me to show her that I love her, that I was thinking about her, that she is more important to me than the small cost of getting something pretty even if they only last a short time.  Even though I do it some, this bothers me that I’m missing out on an opportunity to knock her love-socks off.

IMG_1061I don’t have a magic answer to master situations like this.  Obviously…because I am far from figuring it out.  But, my hope is to continue to think about her and think about how I can show her I love her.  I’ve recently been thinking that I wished I would get Julia flowers more.  Then, yesterday, I was at the store getting some groceries, and when I passed the flowers section, it wasn’t even a question of whether or not I wanted to get some.  I picked out some flowers I thought she would like and put them in a vase at home.  When she saw them, she came up with a big smile and gave me a hug and a kiss and told me thank you.  Score!  :-)

My challenge to you:

Is there an area that your wife could feel loved in that you’re not doing all you can?  Maybe it’s getting her jewelry, you cooking dinner, cleaning the house, taking her on dates, helping out more with the kids.  Think about what your wife has expressed about ways you can show her love, and think about if there are some of those areas you’re NOT taking advantage of.  Then…make a plan to make it happen.  Keeping it at the front of your mind is going to be the best way to help make it a reality.

My wife will never be all I need

IMG_1506Guys have needs…can I get an amen out there??  I don’t often consciously think about what my needs are.  But, the one time I really realize it is when a specific need isn’t being met.  When it’s been a while since I’ve been hiking or camping, I realize I have a need to get outdoors.  When I haven’t been spending time with God, I realize my need for spiritual direction.  When Julia and I haven’t been on a date in a while, I realize I need quality time with her.  I have A LOT of needs.  The list goes on…eating food, having friends, feeling safe, a sense of accomplishment at work, sexual intimacy, exercising, getting enough rest, etc.  Unfortunately, some guys place unfair expectations on their wives to meet them.  

The phrase “you complete me” was made popular by the movie Jerry McGuire, but this statement couldn’t be further from the truth.  Your wife will NEVER complete you.  She WILL make your life better.  She WILL help meet SOME of your needs, but expecting her to fill every void in your life is a disaster waiting to happen.  There are some needs in your life that it IS your wife’s role to fill.  This centers around the design of marriage and bringing two people together as one.  You are BOTH meant to work together as parents, as managers of where you live and what it takes to make life happen, and to meet the physical and emotional needs in your relationship with each other.  But there are many needs in life that fall outside of this.

One major source of meeting your needs is YOU!  As great as your wife may be, she doesn’t know what you need better than you do.  Take responsibility for yourself.  If you feel down because you don’t enjoy your job, or if you are disappointed with the number of friends you have, don’t take it out on your wife.  She can’t make up for it by loving you more in other areas.  You need to evaluate what your needs are, and if something is lacking, think about what can be done to meet it.  An even better idea is to involve your wife in the conversation.  There is a good chance she will have some great ideas!

But, the biggest factor in this conversation isn’t you or your wife, it is your relationship with God.  Everything good in MY life is a blessing from Him.  He is the ONLY one that can complete me, because He is ALL I NEED!  A lack of outdoors time or playing sports don’t mean anything compared to the presence of God.  If you are living in Him…there is nothing else in life that truly matters.

My challenge to you:

If you are disappointed with how your needs are being met or feel there is a void in your life, don’t blame your wife!  First and foremost, take it to God.  Spend time in prayer asking Him to reveal what needs to happen in your life, and to help you put all your trust in Him.  Then, reflect on what YOU can do to meet those needs.  Lastly, if there is something still lacking that involves your wife, talk with her about it in a loving and respectful way.  But, at the same time, try to find if there are any needs YOU are not meeting for HER.

The marriage trap

New-Members-Only-267x300”Free tablet for new customers!”, “Special 12 month introductory rate!”, “Sign up today and save 20%!”…don’t you love these types of promotions?!  I always get excited when service providers try to woo me with deals that can save money or give me free stuff.  But, you know what stinks about these specials?  The company does so much work to get you signed up with all these promises and special deals, but once you’re locked in, they often do little more than the minimum that is expected of them.  There are no more special deals or free stuff.  They often assume they don’t NEED to put much effort into making you happy or keeping you since you’re already locked in.  After some time with high rates, no more specials, or a few instances of bad customer service I find myself wondering if I need to stay with that company.  Maybe there is another service provider out there that would be better and could give me some special deals to move to them?!

I realize that unfortunately I sometimes treat my wife this way.  When we were dating, I put so much thought and effort into making her feel special.  I was constantly thinking of special things to do for her and cool dates to take her on.  It’s never been my intention, but, now that we’re married, over time it has been easy to fall into the trap of not putting as much energy into PURSUING her as I used to.  I call it the Marriage Trap…and it is lame-o!

Here is what I want to do…I want to pursue my wife…even now.  Sure, she has a ring on her finger.  Sure, we have a life and family together.  But, I never want to take it for granted that she has chosen me.  I want her to choose me over and over again every day!  My hope is to always be thinking about special things I can do to show her I love her.  I want to plan fun dates and experiences for us to go on together.  I want to bring her gifts to show I was thinking of her.

Now, I do believe that marriage is for life.  And I don’t think that a LACK OF pursuit justifies “shopping around for other deals”.  But, I think it is important for a husband to continue to treat his wife as he did when they were dating.  God has brought you together and has a plan for your marriage.  You owe it to your wife, to God, and to yourself to make it the best marriage you can.

My challenge to you:
No matter how long you’ve been married, make sure you continue to pursue your wife and treat her as good (or better) as you did when you were dating.  Don’t give her the opportunity to be disappointed in who you’ve become or the lack of attention you give her.  Keep blowing her away with awesomeness and you will see your relationship continue to grow!

What do you do if your wife messes up?

1792984756_1396528939This is a tough subject to write about.  For one thing, I can’t speak from experience. 😉  But seriously, this is not a light topic.  It is one where advice is easier to give to others than it is to live out.  No marriages are perfect.  This is not a shock because we are all flawed human beings fighting against selfishness every day, so we have issues.  You know what I mean…one of you is upset and says something hurtful…one of you takes the last piece of cake that the other wanted…one of you spends money on something that the other gets upset about.  These are common sorts of issues that all marriages deal with.  They are not huge and can usually be sorted out with a small amount of communication.  What I want to address is, what do you do if your wife does something that hurts you significantly…something like hiding an addiction from you or having an affair.

Before I get into it, I want to first say that I know I run the risk of appearing insensitive.  I realize that I’ve not been through this, and if I HAD, there is a very real chance that my words would be different.  I know that men who experience this will have their lives turned upside down and can feel broken and helpless.  I apologize if this opens any wounds or feels insulting to anyone for the situation they are in.  Considering all of that, I still feel God leading me to address it, so I am going to go out on a limb trusting that you know my heart…and know that it is not my intention to offend or trivialize anything you way have experienced.  If you do feel that way, I apologize.

For starters, it needs to be said that problems like this probably need professional help to appropriately deal with it, both for you and for her.  It’s important for her to understand that what she has done is not ok.  I am NOT professional help and am only sharing some thoughts I have in hopes of being helpful to someone.  I am not going to attempt to craft a complete response to this question as there is too much to deal with.  Rather, I want to focus on just one aspect…forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:32 : “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Matthew 6:14-15 : “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

From these verses, I find 2 significant points:

– God forgave us for sinning against Him, and He wants us to forgive other people.

– If we do not forgive others for their sins, God will not forgive ours.  (YIKES!)

These points are important because it sets ground rule expectations for how we should live.  It also assigns gravity to it based on the fact that if WE want to be forgiven for our screw-ups, then we need to be willing to forgive others.  I know we ALL need this.

Luke 17:3-4 : “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Matthew 18:21-22 : “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

There are 2 significant points I get from these verses:

– If someone is repentant of what they’ve done, then we MUST forgive them.  I think it is worthwhile to mention that we should forgive others even if they AREN’T repentant, but this passage specifically mentions when they are.

– Jesus’s call to forgive seventy times seven is an indication that there is no limit to the number of times we should forgive someone.  

So, what exactly does it mean to forgive someone?  Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you act like something never happened, but rather that you give up your desire for revenge and feelings of resentment.  NOT forgiving someone will result in anger, resentment, and frustration that will never go away.  Forgiving frees you from those feelings and makes way for hope, joy, peace…and yes…even love to fill you again.  Forgiving your wife for something she has done may even help you to have compassion and empathy for her situation.

Now, there will likely still be consequences from the actions.  Trust takes a long time to earn back when broken.  There could be physical consequences, and it will certainly affect your relationship.  Concerning marital infidelity, it also should be said that I realize there are biblical grounds for divorce.  I’m not going to take the time to go through what they all are here or debate whether or not it is good to do so in certain situations, but I just want to point out that forgiveness is something that SHOULD be present no matter what the action was or the consequences that came from it.

So here’s where the rubber meets the road…putting this into the context of real life.  What do you do when your wife messes up?  There are a lot of things to say, do, and work through, and again I suggest getting help to do so.  The one thing I want to encourage you to always be ready with is…forgiveness.  If she is repentant for what she did, forgive her…unconditionally…over and over again if necessary.

 

Wait…this is NOT the person I married

scan0010 - Version 2Do you ever wonder what happened to the person you fell in love with and married?  Are there things about your wife that have changed over the years?  It’s natural for people to change.  Think about yourself…what were you interested in when you were 20 years old?  What types of things did you do with your time?  Now look at today…are you still interested in the same things?  Do you still spend your free time the same way?

**disclaimer…unless I specifically mention something about Julia that has changed, any examples I give are NOT about her…just so we’re clear** :-)

I know I’ve changed.  I used to stay up until 4:30 in the morning every night and would sleep as late as I possibly could.  Now, I’m being wild and crazy if I’m up past 10:15 and am excited and ready to get up at 5:00 in the morning!  Also, I used to HATE any form of exercise…running specifically.  Now, I LOVE it!  I got into running several years ago and would go 4 -5 times a week eventually racing in a marathon.  Now I’m totally into Crossfit and do it 5 times a week!  It would be easy to look at me and say that I’m not the same person I was back when I got married…because I’m not!  I’ve changed in so many ways.

It makes sense if you think about it though.  When you’re young, you’re still learning who you are, who you want to be, and what’s important to you.  As you grow up, get a job, and start a family, your priorities change and so do your interests and actions.  I’ve seen this in Julia too.  When we were dating, she was “very interested” in camping, hiking, and outdoor activities.  She hadn’t done it growing up, but I had and she wanted to do it too.  As we grew in our marriage, she decided that she really didn’t like it…at all.  So, even though hiking and camping was a big part of our dating relationship, in the last 5 years, I think we’ve camped together once.

I’m guessing guys reading this may have something they feel that has changed about their wives since they’ve been married.  So, is this kind of a bait and switch?  Do you feel cheated?  Did you fall in love with your wife solely because of her long brown hair, but since then she cut it short and dyed it blonde?  If that’s the case then that’s something you’re going to have to work through.  But HOPEFULLY it was more than one or two specific things that made you fall in love in the first place.  Hopefully a couple things about them changing is nothing compared to the complete package of the person they are.

greek_letter_delta_rectangle_decalHere’s what you need to do…EMBRACE THE CHANGE!  Your wife is growing as a person and finding out who she really is.  I fell in love with Julia because of who she is, not because of her singing voice, her love of reading, her looks, her intelligence, her ultimate frisbee skills, or her love of camping.  I married her because God brought us together and there is NO ONE I would rather spend my life with.  She makes me a better person and is my best friend, and those are things that will NEVER change.  I love her way more now than I did when we first got married, and I’m proud of the woman she has become.

My challenge to you:

If there is something about your wife that you used to like which has changed over time, focus on who she is as a whole.  Don’t lament the long brown hair she used to have, the way she used to love to travel but doesn’t now, the the skinny legs that she used to have, or that she used to like the same movies as you but doesn’t anymore.  Instead, love her for who she is now.  Remember that God has created her to be that way and he has made her to be your wife.

My secondary challenge is this…think about how YOU have changed.  Some ways may be for good, but some may not.  What attracted your wife to you originally?  Was it your humor, personality, looks, confidence, the way you pursued her, the way you paid attention to her.  Some of these (if they’ve changed…like looks) you can’t do much about.  But, some of them could change due to laziness or a lack of focus.  So…think about what may have changed in YOU that she may miss…and see if you can do anything to get it back!

5 easy steps to always win an argument with your wife

bigstock_you_win_road_sign_4335631All I do is win win win no matter what…that’s how I roll!  LOL…not really…but seriously…I do.  One thing I always win is arguments with Julia.  So, what’s my secret you ask?  I’ll share it with you!

The first thing you need to realize is that you cannot “win an argument”.  Yes, you read that right.  It doesn’t matter how clever of a defense you come up with, or what sort of glaring mistakes you point out in the other person, you will lose.  Winning an argument is not predicated on proving who is right.  The more you continue to argue your point, the bigger the hole you are both in.

I know, I know…THAT’S TOUGH!  We all want to be right.  And it feels SO GOOD to lay down the hammers of justice and truth with some witty retorts and truth-bombs.  So, where does the “winning” come into play?  A win comes about by resolving the argument in a loving way where each of you learn and grow in your relationship.  BOOM!  So, you want the secret?  Here you go…

5-steps-office-renovation5 steps to take in order to win:

  1. Get to the root of what your wife is upset about.  Hint…it may not be what you originally think it is.  Ask some questions to make sure you understand what she’s upset about.
  2. Share your side of the story.  Be careful here because this step has the potential to stir things up more.  Make sure to be cautious and loving with any words you use.  This step is important because it’s important for BOTH of you to understand where the other person is coming from.
  3. Figure out what part of the argument is your fault.  I don’t mean figure out what % at fault you are, then compare that to her…but figure out what YOU did wrong.  If you are arguing with your wife, you did SOMETHING wrong.
  4. Take a minute to calm down.  Maybe go to a different room or take a short walk.  Use the time to think and pray for perspective.
  5. Apologize first.  Admit what you did wrong and be genuinely sorry about it.

I bet you’ll find that if you go through these steps, the argument will soon be a thing of the past.  Then…YOU WIN!  That doesn’t mean you “won the argument” by being right, but rather that “you won” by resolving the argument and both of you growing.

6 steps to rock Valentine’s Day

valentines-dayOk guys, it’s coming…Valentine’s Day!  Are you ready?  Do you ever have the feeling of, “We just HAD Valentine’s Day!…like 12 month’s ago!”  Do you ever feel pressure like you HAVE to live up to certain expectations?  Expected gifts, dinners, or activities?  That pressure comes from The Man.  I’m not sure who The Man is, but I think he works for Zales.  I admit that at times Valentine’s Day can feel like more of a responsibility than a joy.

Even though sometimes I dread aspects of it, when I get the right perspective, I ALWAYS love it.  You know why?  It’s another special date with my Baby!  Even if I’m being corralled into certain expectations, I always love when we get to spend meaningful time together.  So to help you with this, I have 6 tips to not just survive, but THRIVE during Valentine’s Day!

  1. Do SOMETHING:  This may sound silly, but it’s important to make sure you are doing SOMETHING to celebrate the day.  The last thing you want is to disappoint your wife by not doing ANYTHING!  It doesn’t mean things have to be fancy or expensive, but just make sure you’ve planned something.
  2. 10492391_10153079122079328_2286394721021814369_nIt’s ok to flex what day you celebrate: Have you ever tried to find a babysitter on Valentine’s Day?  Have you ever gone out to a nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day?  These can be more stressful than they’re worth.  A nice way to combat this is to pick a substitute day to celebrate.  For this to work though, you need to really commit to the substitute date.  It may sound silly, but try to ignore the real day completely and treat the other one as if the whole day is actually Valentine’s Day.  Julia and I celebrated last weekend.  We went downtown and stayed at the Ritz for a night!  The restaurant we ate at was nice and relaxing, but they said they had 600 reservations already for the ACTUAL Valentine’s Day!  I’m glad we went early.
  3. Stay at home:  If you don’t want to deal with sitters or crowded restaurants, an At Home Valentine’s Day may be best.  Put the kids to bed early.  Cook something nice or simply order take-out and eat by candlelight.  Watch a romantic movie or plan your own at-home activities.  Check out my post from 2 weeks ago if you want more “at-home” ideas.
  4. Give a gift…IF YOU WANT TO:  Don’t buy chocolates or jewelry or flowers because you think you’re supposed to.  Buy a gift if you WANT to.  This may take knowing your wife and if that’s a big deal for her.  Whatever you do, don’t buy something trite just because you think you have to.  If you get a gift, make it something meaningful that she will like.
  5. Share responsibility:  A couple years into our marriage, Julia and I realized that Valentine’s Day and our Anniversary were creating stress.  I felt like I had to plan something special EVERY TIME and Julia WANTED to plan something special, but we both had trouble doing so not knowing what the other person was planning on.  So we started sharing responsibility.  One year, I will plan what we do for Valentine’s Day and she will plan what we do for our Anniversary.  The next year we switch.  It is such a relief for each of us to know what’s expected and to not feel like either of us ALWAYS has to do it all.
  6. Play offense not defense: Don’t make your goal to NOT disappoint your wife from whatever expectations she may have.  Make your goal to WOW her.

With all this being said, THE most important thing is to put thought into it.  No matter what you do, if you’ve put thought into how you can love your wife, it’s going to be good and she will appreciate it.  So if you haven’t started thinking yet guys…get on it!

How to go on a date without hiring a sitter

Everyone loves going out on dates.  Remember before you were married when you would go out on dates?  Remember how exciting it was?  You probably put a lot of thought into what you wore, how you looked, where you went, and what you did.  If you’re like me, it’s a lot tougher to do that now.  Maybe you have kids that make it tougher to get away.  Maybe you don’t know anyone you trust to babysit?  Maybe you don’t feel like paying an extra $40 for a sitter.  Or maybe you don’t have the disposable income now that you used to pay for a nice dinner out and a concert or movie.  Well, if that’s your situation, then I have 4 words to save the day!  AT HOME DATE NIGHT

Boom!  There it is!  Four words that require no babysitter and no extra money.  Just a little planning and VOILA…date night with your wife!  So, how does it work you ask?  I’ll fill you in on the details.  Then, I’ll give you some ideas to get you started.

At Home Date Night Rules:

  1. stock-photo-25102927-even-romance-needs-to-be-scheduled-calendar-marks-date-nightSchedule it: Let your wife and kids know about it and put it on the calendar
  2. Plan dinner: Figure out what to cook and get the groceries you need ahead of time.  Ideal plan is to let the kids eat first, and then eat with JUST your wife afterwards.
  3. Get rid of the kids: Yes, family time is great to plan too, but date night is about just you two.  If it’s early still, set the kids up with a movie to watch or iPad to play with in the other room.  And whenever it’s time, get them in bed!
  4. Plan activities: Plan something ahead of time for you and your wife to do together in the house.
  5. Focus on each other: Don’t get distracted by normal things (work, TV, chores, email).  Remember it is a date and treat it as such.

Here are some ideas of things to do:

dinnerhomeDinner Ideas:

  • Cook something yourself
  • Cook something with your wife
  • Order take out so neither of you has to
  • Set some ambiance (nice dishes, candles, nice napkins, etc)

Activity Ideas:

  • Play a game together
  • Questions: Sit out on the deck/porch/patio or anywhere that is different than normal and take turns asking questions.  Try a conversation starter app like Conversation Shaker, Ask Me Anything, First Date, or Chatoms.
  • Watch a movie
  • 482881_10151553627884328_1090362511_nDo some sort of art project like painting, drawing, sculpting from play-doh, etc.
  • Paper airplane making contest.  Yes this is an idea…we’ve done it.
  • After the kids are in bed, head to YOUR bedroom and figure out something fun to do there.  I’m not supplying any ideas for that though.  😉

Here’s my challenge to you:

Right now…yes…I mean RIGHT NOW…take a look at your calendar.  Pick a night that’s free sometime in the next 2 weeks and put “At Home Date Night!” there.  It can even be a weeknight!  If you want extra credit, go forward into the next few months also and schedule a few ahead of time.  Then, as the day approaches, put some planning into it and make it a fun night for you and your wife to spend some time together.  Don’t forget about scheduling “regular” date nights also.  But, doing them at home is an easy way to make them happen.

Reaching my limit: The story of one of the toughest weeks of my life

I have discovered that sometimes advice is easier to give than it is to live out.  A couple months ago I wrote about the importance of stepping up your game when your wife is sick.  The idea was that you’ve been practicing how to be a good husband and then it’s game time…time to step up and take care of your wife and kids no matter how tiring it is.  Well, this past week tested me on that philosophy.  I can honestly say that this was one of the toughest weeks of my life.

I did ok for a while.  Julia had a procedure on Friday where she had to recover by lying down for a day or two.  That wasn’t so bad.  I was all about making meals and taking care of things around the house.  It was a fun challenge!  About mid-day Sunday she started to take a turn for the worse though.  She had developed a spinal headache, which was the main possible side effect we were hoping to avoid.  She’s a pro at dealing with migraines, but this was much worse.  The plan from the doctors then was to take a couple more days to lie down and hope it recovers.  Ok…a couple more days…I can do this.  More meal prep, more dishes, more dog care, more Eli care.  It’s ok, this is what I’ve trained for!

IMG_2670Then, everything got even worse when I picked Eli up from school Monday.  He was complaining about his neck hurting and legs being tired.  I could tell he wasn’t his normal bubbly self (only speaking 500 words per minute instead of the standard 800).  A temperature of 103 prompted a call to the pediatrician.  Because of his symptoms, they were worried about the flu or meningitis, so off we went to the doctor.  Thankfully it wasn’t anything too serious…just a virus that would take a few days to run it’s course.  So now I’ve got two patients to take care of…and two dogs…and a house…and my work to balance around it.

wellstarhospitalThe next two days were a blur of exhaustion.  Julia and Eli weren’t physically able to do anything, so I stumbled my way through.  More meals, more dishes, more water cups, medicine, blankets, remote controls, pillows, and work.  Just when it all SHOULD have been getting better, it got worse again.  Wednesday afternoon, Julia realized her pain wasn’t going away, so we had to go BACK to the hospital for another procedure.  This one was ROUGH!  She equated the pain to the late stages of labor.  So then we went back home and Julia could move even less than before.  The spinal headache was gone, but then she had back back pain to deal with.  And of course, Eli was still running a fever ranging between 100 and 103.  I would have cried, but I was too tired.

I had high hopes for Thursday.  I hoped Julia’s back AND head would be better and that Eli’s fever would be dropping.  The morning was still tough, but as the day went on, Julia’s back got steadily better, which was great.  She was able to move around more, but still needed to take it easy.  Eli seemed to be feeling better and the fever was a little lower.  Just when I started to get hopeful though, Julia started to develop a regular headache…not a spinal one like from the procedure, but a normal headache…like the ones she used to have all the time…the ones that all this work was SUPPOSED to get rid of.  And…right before bedtime, Eli’s fever was 104.6!  Thankfully, after that point (7 days in) it got much better.  Eli’s fever dropped steadily over the next day and Julia started doing much better and able to get around.

It’s tough for me to emphasize how difficult this week was for me…physically from the non-stop serving I had to do, and emotionally from the back-and-forth health swings  that seemed to punch me down as soon as I got optimistic.  Thankfully I “survived” because of some amazing people who brought tons of meals, watched Eli, and went to the store for us…meeting our needs before we knew we had them.  Thank you family and friends who constantly found ways to help…and many more who offered!  I felt like I was climbing a mountain from the effort to simply heat up the meals, I can’t imagine what it would have done to me to have to prepare and cook them too!!  One night, I was so tired I actually almost posted on Facebook soliciting someone who would be interested in coming over to clean up the dishes.  I guess I felt it was a little too desperate, so I got up and did it myself.  Each night I was in bed around 9:15 because I just needed to sleep.

IMG_2680I had a realization Wednesday night.  Eli was burning up and just wanted to lay down with his head in my lap.  I reflected on how tough things had been and laughed at how ironic it was that the blog I wrote earlier about stepping up during sickness was written for times like this…but I felt incapable of doing it.  I felt like I didn’t have enough in me to keep going.  As I sat there stroking his hair, I thought…”This is what it is all about.  I am his father, and I am Julia’s husband, and the ONE thing that matters in life right now is that they are taken care of.”  The weariness and the pain of exhaustion is a very real act of service that I CAN give to them.  I can’t take away their pain, or make a fever go away, but I CAN stroke his hair as he rests…and hand his him water cup…and clean Julia’s dishes when she’s done eating.  I fought to keep the tears from coming, and I realized how desperately I love these two.

I don’t have a specific challenge for you this week other than reminding you of the importance of caring for your wife when she’s sick.  Basically, I just wanted to share my story.  I hope it was encouraging for you…and that I never have to go through it again…but I would if needed…every time.  :-)