Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Live Life by Design

I'm reading a book called "What's It Like to be Married to Me?" by Linda Dillow.  In the book, she asks wives to go through an exercise where they imagine their own funeral.  The reader is supposed to picture her husband getting up and speaking about his wife and the marriage that they had.  It really makes you think about whether you live your life as a wife, on purpose or by default. 

So often in life we get so busy, things get so hectic, that we don't even remember our priorities.  People and things that should hold places at the top of our list of priorities are easily shuffled to the bottom, because we think they will "understand" or we fully intend to get around to them later.  We like for our family and friends to think that we are juggling all things well; our relationship with the Lord, our husbands, our kids, our friends, our jobs.  But the truth is, we sometimes put the most important people at the bottom of the list, hoping they won't notice or mind.

But life seldom manages to be not hectic or fast paced.  What then?  What do our actions say to the ones who are waiting for a glance, a touch, a moment of intimacy with us?  We may get used to putting loved ones at the bottom of the list, but they surely never do.  I really began to think about the title to this book "What's it Like to be Married to Me?"  It forced me to ask some really uncomfortable tough questions of myself.  Does my husband always see me come home from work at the end of a long stressful day, not willing to cook dinner or go for a walk with him?  On the weekends, do I give him a long list of things that only he can do, even though he's had a tough week, himself?  When he's in the middle of talking to me and one of our grown children or a friend calls, do I take the call and forget that he was even talking to me?  When he wants to be intimate, do I think to myself, "My God, doesn't he even care that I had a long tough day and I'm not in the mood"?

My husband is the most important human being in my life.  When we are treating each other with kindness, respect, affection and attention, that is the best gift that we can give our children.  That is what will make our kids feel loved the most!  We can choose to live life by design, on purpose; to picture life from the end instead of from the beginning.  What will the people who mattered most to us say?  Did I purposefully give my husband, my children, my family, my friends, the place that they deserved in my life?

Don't think that I believe this is easy.  Living life by design, on purspose, instead of by default, takes work.  It takes committment and dedication.  And most of all, it takes selflessness.  But I also believe that if the ones I love can really feel that I am selfless towards them, it will come back to me one hundred fold.  When I find life getting really hectic or tough, I need to step back and examine who and what I am placing priority on.  Yes, there are times when I need to dedicate myself to a job or committment or appointment.  But I must always make sure my loved ones know that they are my priority.

What would I like my husband to say about me, about our relationship, our marriage, at the end?  What would I want him to be able to say were my best qualities?  Was I a good wife on purpose?  Did he feel loved and cherished by me? 

If we can just purpose in our hearts and ask the Lord to show us how, we can let our spouse know that above all else in this life (except for our relationship with the Lord), they mattered most to us! Most of the time (though there are exceptions), when one human being feels like they are the top priority to another human being, the rewards are endless and there are great times of sweetness to be shared!

From His lap,

45 comments:

  1. That sounds like such an awesome book Erin! Thanks fo rsharing it with us :-)

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  2. Your welcome, Kathy. She asks a lot more of what she calls "dangerous questions." It really takes a lot of honest introspection!
    ~Erin

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  3. I am a teaching Elder at my church, and my wife is Women's Ministry Leader. We are both trying to live in a manner that Erin has described in this post today. It is an exceptional, yet succinct blog post that we should all endeavor to emulate.

    Thanks Erin! God Bless you.

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  4. Stan,
    I know that you set a wonderful example for the young couples in your church. My parents had this kind of marriage and my husband & I work towards it every day!
    Blessings,
    Erin

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  5. Erin this is a great post! I needed to hear this today. I love the idea of living my life on purpose and putting my spouse on the top of my list!! Thank you!

    Kathy
    My dishwasher's possessed!

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  6. I know, Kathy. I think we would live our lives completely differently if we thought about it from the end to the beginning. But when we're young, we just don't do that!
    Erin

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  7. The example you are setting for your children and those around you give them ground work for being a good spouse. Most of us I am sure at one time or another live all aspects of our lives by default and it's definitely something not to do!

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  8. Guilty, guilty & guilty, Karen!

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  9. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful book Erin... Each post you write touches me...
    Take care,
    Lisa

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  10. Lisa, I lost your address!! I need it!
    Erin

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  11. Hi Erin,
    Yesterday ,when you tweeted the title of this book, it stayed in my mind throughout the day in the form of a question. After reading your post, it is something that I'll be considering even further. I might need to pick up Linda's book.
    I'm just now getting to your post because yesterday was my husband's birthday. It was one of those days when even the simpliest of plans seemed to crumble. As we was out picking up some Chinese food I began to think about what might make me feel better and with very little effort was able to bring some magic to the day.
    Now that I'm reading this post I realize that changing the "mood" of the day required intentional action on my part. It wasn't anything fancy or difficult. And after reading this I realize it is something that I need to do much more often.
    Thank you for sharing information on this book. I appreciate your honest & thought-provoking post as well.
    As morbid as it might sound I do often wonder what people will say or feel about me when my time here is done. I want them to see/feel/say many of the things you mentioned.
    Looks like God & I have some work to do.
    Blessings!
    Melinda

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  12. Melinda, isn't it wonderful when God "drops" a revelation into our heart and then when we act on it, kapow! I think living intentionally is something we all need to work on!
    ~Erin

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  13. Thanks so much Erin for this great post. This raises alot of questions for many of us living in a world full of distractions. We will live in greater peace and harmony when we have our priorities in order.
    My husband's work schedule is anything but routine...however, he is happily employed for many years with a great company and enjoys his job. I'm also employed PT outside the home. We also have a young daughter.
    We could easily find ourselves lonely,traveling seperate roads,and leaving each other in the dust of life.
    Instead, our relationship requires intentionally praying to be properly positioning ourselves into each others hearts.

    There are those days when we are just plain tired and worn out from our day. Often in those times God will reach out to us and strengthen our marriage with affection and intimacy when we need it most. We are far from perfect and at times we have drifted as a couple. Fully accepting that sometimes we will dissapoint each other. However, we are confident God sees our need, redeems our time, and helps us live purposely as partners and parents.
    Thanks again Erin for the sensitivity and outline of your blog.
    Bless you, friend.

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  14. Melinda, It sounds like you and your husband know the work that it entails to make a marriage happy, engaging and successful! I'm sure that you are a wonderful example to couples around you! Thank you so much for your input. I appreciate you!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  15. Erin - Wow! truly puts things in perspective! Sounds like you have found the key to life's happiness! - Holly

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  16. I may have found the key, Holly! But I haven't always done a great job of using it. I'm doing better though!
    ~Erin

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  17. Think I need to stop by here more often. I feel optimistic while visiting. It is a nice feeling. The pic of you and your Dad touched my heart.

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  18. I really need to read this today. My husband travels for work and is home only a few days a month. When he is home, I tend to let him deal with the kids or the chores that piled up while he was gone and take some time for myself. While I do deserve time for myself, I also need to place my relationship with my husband higher.

    I'm going to get this book. Thank you for sharing!

    Christina

    Visit me at Spilled Milkshake

    P.S. Visiting from voiceBoks!

    ♥ xoxo

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  19. Christina, isn't it funny how we know that we deserve time for ourselves but we forget that our marriage deserves time for itself too! Maybe you could plan something for the 2 of you to do together when he gets home and then have him take care of some of those other things!
    Erin

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  20. Thank You For Visiting My Shopping Site. www.Couponanna.com . I Have Some Great Deals From Big Name Stores. You Have A Very Nice Blog. Anna

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  21. So very true! With my husband deployed I've had a lot of time to stand back and re-evaluate our relationship. I know that time with him is going to be so much more precious once he returns!!!

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  22. Oh Nicole, that's so awesome that you realize that now! Thank your husband for his service to this country for me!
    Blessings,
    Erin

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  23. This is an awesome post-- while at church today I too started to think about this question--- This really makes you stand back and really take a good look at yourself and I'm glad I found you, I really needed this!

    Friend from VB and now a follower!

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  24. Sometimes is good to just step back and think about what's important right now. Love this post. Thanks so much for sharing and for coming by Espanol para Ninos.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Barbara
    Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

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  25. Hello, I am a new follower from Voiceboks. I would love it if you would visit my blog and follow me back at Valerie @ My-2-Cents

    Thank you
    Have a blessed week
    networked blog because GFC is down AGAIN

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  26. Right on! I love your blog! Thanks for visiting my blog, and for your kind comment! See you on VoiceBoks!
    Love,
    Lisa

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  27. Chene, I'm so glad that the Lord spoke to your heart about this very topic this morning. God is good..all the time. All the time...God is good!
    ~Erin

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  28. Amberr, thanks for stopping by & sharing my post! You are a blessing!
    Erin

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  29. Erin,
    Thanks so much for stopping by our little blog.
    This sounds like an incredible book - what a different perspective to look at your life through.

    xo
    babymama

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  30. You obviously have such an amazing family! That's so wonderful!!! http://homesandbabies.blogspot.com Becky from VB

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  31. I think that this post was thought provoking and it points to an important aspect of married life. Inasmuch as I try to be the best wife for my husband, there are days when I cannot be all that he wants. I can only try one day at a time with God's help.

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  32. Ooops! New follower via Voiceboks! Nice to meet you and your blog!

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  33. Sometimes I'm afraid to think what my husband would say. Poor, patient man!

    Following back. Thanks for the great comment on my site. I actually had a good talk about my PPD with a friend yesterday. :)

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  34. Oh Beth, I'm so glad to hear that!! Don't stop talking about it til you feel better!
    ~Erin

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  35. Visiting from voiceBoks:-)

    This is an absolutely beautiful post, and one I re-read. I resonate with your passion to create yourself, and find your way by helping others to find their passion as well.

    After reading your thoughts on What Its Like..., I think I need to go buy this book.

    Blessings,

    ~RJ, the Hope Coach
    http://jrrsehopecoaching.com

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  36. Thank you, RJ! I love it...the Hope Coach!!! That's awesome!
    ~Erin

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  37. Great reminders on how to treat our husbands. I do want mine to think of me as someone who has dinner ready. Have to work on that one. Following you from Voice
    Boks

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  38. I really like the idea of creating our self - a life long process, I'm sure:) But it means that each step of the way, we hopefully get better and better:)
    Thanks for sharing,
    Kristina

    Visiting from vB

    www.icing-and-crumbs.blogspot.com

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  39. Love this post! I have four daughters and sometimes ask myself the question, "If my daughters grew up to be exactly the same kind of wife to their husband as I am, would I be proud of them?" It definitely helps keep me on track.

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  40. Shanda, I bet you make great dinners for your hubby!
    Kristina, I like the idea of creating myself too! It means I don't have to sit around and wait for someone to tell me who to be!
    Shannon, Just asking yourself that question will make you the kind of wife you would like for your daughters to be some day.
    Thank you all so much for your input. I really treasure it and hold it dear to my heart!
    ~Erin

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  41. I LOVE this post! I have to find this book now! Very beautiful post you really added heart to it! Glad to be a follower:)

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  42. Ah, thanks for this. It is always good to reflect on a relationship! I'm returning your VB visit to Why We Love Green at http://whywelovegreen.blogspot.com

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  43. Hey Erin -

    The title and significance of the book is very special indeed. Many people are so wrapped up in non-essential matters in life and these things can over-whelm our sense of loving each moment. I envy what you and your husband have together. It's what I've always wanted yet never attained. I haven't given up hope yet the clock keeps ticking,,,and ticking, lol. I enjoy the importance and your realization of your story. I also appreciate your excellent writing style and ability to convey an effective message. You write wonderfully. Have a nice Tuesday. :)

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  44. Brian, thank you for such kind words. Don't give up hope! It's a combo of passion and hard work to have a relationship that stays alive and beautiful.
    Blessings,
    Erin

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Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

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