If my husband and I are not in sync with each other, it makes for a strained night of entertaining.
We’ve had an argument or we’re not seeing eye-to-eye on something. STRAIN. We haven’t resolved something from the night before – thus bitterness has settled in. STRAIN. We haven’t had enough “alone time.” STRAIN. We’ve been rushed and hurried all day long. STRAIN.
In our earlier years of entertaining, my husband and I would often find ourselves in one of those scenarios. As the guests would arrive, we’d have smiles on our faces. “Everything is just fine! Come on in and let us lie to you that everything is just fine!” our faces would tell them.
Today is our anniversary, and I like to look back to see how we have grown as a couple, and what I personally have learned over the years. This 17th year of marriage reminds me … “marriage requires aptitude and grace.” (Matt 19:11, The Message)
Marriage is a huge commitment and very hard work. We learn the art of compromise and what sacrifice is. We learn to move graciously with each other and in the power of unconditional love and forgiveness. But as we are willing to learn, grow, and change, the rewards are vast, including as we work together to reach out to others.
What is my Check Point with my husband before our guests arrive?
I try to connect with him in some way, right before the guests arrive at our house for dinner. It could be working in the kitchen together, sitting and having a drink and relaxing for a few minutes, or just making sure we are on the same page for the evening.
How can we truly give to others if we’re moving through the evening with fake smiles on our face?
I’ve found it to be miserable and dishonest.
I remember earlier in our marriage, getting into arguments right before walking through the church doors on a Sunday. We’d put a smile on our faces, meet and greet, and act like nothing was wrong. How many times have any of us done this? We put a wall up, smile, and basically lie to those around us.
What are the rewards to being on the same page?
Everything seems to flow. The whole evening falls in to place and gels. My husband and I occasionally make eye contact, or we put our arms around each other, or we grab each other’s hand under the table. We put our guests first, but we don’t forget about each other. We have unity – something that in earlier years we did not have because of tension and strain in our relationship.
What if you don’t ever experience unity?
Go on a date night with your spouse and bring up this subject. Let him know that you want to “connect” before your guests arrive. Let him know what the rewards are and why it’s important for you to be honest with yourselves first – so you can then be real with your guests.
Try it and see if it works! Do it!!
“But if you are capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it!” (Matt 19:15, The Message).
(Read last years’ June 8th post about our Focus on the Family interview with Dr. James Dobson & marriage, here. Photos: more daisies from our yard; table setting last week using “wedding dishes,” garage-sale glasses, Target-clearance daisy side plates; our wedding day 17 years ago!)