When was the last time you wrote a letter to your husband?
Personally, I can’t remember when I wrote a letter to Jeff. At least not in the last year. But I do remember writing letters in the early years of our marriage.
These were six pages long!
In those love essays, I would tell him my frustrations of raising our two-year-old daughter, venting about not being a good mom. In great detail, I would tell him stories of things they had happened, both good and bad. Most of all I wanted him to know how much I missed him and I would draw little hearts all over the page for added effect.
A week or two later the mailman would deliver a letter that was addressed from Jeff. I remember opening them with excitement!
His letters were encouraging and loving. He didn’t try to solve my frustrations or give advice on how I should be a better mom (okay, maybe there were a few sentences about him trying to solve things). He would share with me about his exciting travels and how he missed being home and to see all the new adventures that our daughter was discovering.
AHHH! Those letters are priceless!
You know what? I miss those letters of communication when he was away, both in receiving and giving.
A letter then, a text today
Nowadays we communicate by text; it’s easier.
I will text him while I’m at home, or running errands or if I have a quick question about an event or a family commitment that we have. Sometimes, I just say hi, I was thinking about you.
However, I’m embarrassed to admit I become impatient if he doesn’t respond to me immediately. Even if my text was nothing more than an emoji kiss!
In addition to my impatience I’ve mentally packed a few more expectations in my carry-on:
1. A call asking me how I was doing or just to say, “Hi I was thinking of you.”
2. A listening ear and an understanding, loving and supportive response when we do talk.
3. Call or text starts and ends his day. (I do receive those text or calls more often than not)
As I was lugging around my bag, I began to feel the weight of that, and as I continued to carry it, I became sad the entire time Jeff was away.
I anticipated how those conversations would go, I waited for those text of a “Good Morning Beautiful or Good night; I love you.”
Thinking about it, that was selfish of me and unfair to Jeff as well. He had no idea of what I had packed. In doing so, I removed the potential of loving and grateful communication and conservation with each other. No wonder I was frustrated.
I once heard that in marriage we owe everything to each other but are not owed anything to one another in return; especially in how we hope they would respond to us.
I didn’t want that.
How to let go of weighty expectations
Being a veteran pilot wife, I should know better than to expect my husband to carry the weight of how those conversations should fly. There are things I should remember…
1. I have control over how I react to my husband’s text messages or calls and whether or not they are what I expected.
2. When I call, and my husband is not available, I need to be more understanding of what is going on in his day. He’s busy flying and can’t answer his phone.
3. When I do call or text, and I’m venting or letting him know about an event, I need to provide him with the cliff-notes, same as if he were at home.
4. When my husband says,“ Honey, make it fast. I’m about to leave the jetway” to just say, “Okay, I love you. We’ll talk later.”
5. In all likelihood he is not dead or doesn’t want to talk to me, his phone is probably not charged, or he’s just too tired to talk at the moment.
When those negative thoughts creep in, I need to remind myself that he can only do so much when we are apart.
Quite frankly, that it’s hard to do.
Create in me an open heart of response
When I asked other wives how they communicate with their husbands on a trip many of them shared that the majority of the time they will text their spouses throughout the day. Occasionally a long text of whatever is happening at that “vital moment” of the day; maybe a call or FaceTime later in the evening.
A few wives admitted that they too, at times found themselves becoming impatient in not receiving an immediate response from their husbands.
While we never intend to be selfish or set unrealistic expectations, if all our conversations start with “I”… (I expect this, I….), that will ultimately lead to some serious engine/marriage failure!
That’s why this verse that I recently read inspires me, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit with me.” ( Psalm 51:10 KJV)
When we find ourselves carrying a heavy weight of expectations, this verse reminds me that open communication starts with my heart and my spirit. Otherwise, my conversation with my husband will be hindered.
Is that how I want my communication with Jeff to be like while he is gone?
I want to have an open heart and unobstructed view to take-off while he is away. I pray that God will renew my thoughts when the enemy hands me that carry-on of expectations.
My prayer for us this week: Lord, communication is hard. It takes constant work with our husbands, especially as they travel and are away for long periods of time. I know that you are always near and you care about all parts of our lives. I understand that communication is essential in my marriage. Often those expectations that I carry often lead to my frustrations. Show me how to release those moments of heaviness that I have. In those times of hoping that he knows what I want or prideful moments come on my radar, give me the strength to put aside everything that keeps me walking in wisdom and help me to have a clean heart and right spirit within me. Amen.
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