It’s that time of year again. Wedding Season! Or as I prefer to say, Marriage Season! One of the aspects that I love about ministry with pre-marital couples is the reminder to value my own marriage. Listening to couples navigate the challenges of growing from me to we can’t help but hold me accountable to my own “we.”

This weekend was no different.

Saturday late afternoon I arrived home with an expectation. (And as we often talk about in pre-marital sessions, expectations can often just be resentments waiting to happen.) My expectation(s) were:
the girls would be ready to go
the car would be packed
all I needed to do was change before heading to the shore for two days with Grammy, Pop, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

If you couldn’t guess, my expectations were not met.

Not only was the car empty, I came home to my husband storming out of the shed with a power tool in hand. Though useful for home improvement, those were not on my carefully created packing lists. My husband’s face looked eerily like my father’s used to–once upon a time when my sisters and I made some innocent mistake like leaving black streaks on the kitchen floor with our patent leather “ice skates.” We don’t have white kitchen floor, and the girls don’t have patent leather shoes, so I knew that wasn’t it. Actually, one of the girls’ hamsters mysteriously escaped during cage cleaning, and the hamster moved in under the bathroom vanity. This was NOT on the agenda for the day. For a fleeting moment, I felt a range from frustration to anger to self-pity.

Didn’t any of them appreciate how hard I worked to get home in a timely fashion to get going? Didn’t they understand that we needed to get on the road? Didn’t my husband understand that his estimate of 30 minus of home improvement meant 3 hours minimum?

By the grace of God I remembered that I was part of we. After helping the girls finish packing and working with them to load the car, I decided to broach my husband to see if I should simply call to say we’d come the next day. What I thought would be a quick question transformed into a 15 minute conversation about how much we appreciated each other as well as a way forward. Between the two of us, we created a strategy to approach the girls and the hamster crisis. Who knew such deep and loving conversation could happen in a torn up bathroom?

About an hour later, we were on the road. We left a small dish of food and water AND an open cage for the hamster. We crossed our fingers and headed east.

Yesterday, we arrived home to the hamster back in her cage. Apparently, she, too, needed us to step back, take a deep breath, and let her be.