There are a lot of things that women want from their husbands: love, attention, support, romance, helpfulness… Me? I have learned that what I really crave is his presence. I’m not sure if it’s because he is a bi-vocational pastor which means he is pulled in two ways most of the time. I don’t know if it is simply the nature of the ministry that there are no set hours that he gets phone calls, drop ins, or has someone to meet with.
It could be just me.
Maybe time is my love language. When I grew up my dad worked and then came home and was home. It’s harder when your spouse has a job or jobs that causes that work and home boundary to be less distinct. It’s very possible that it could be all of these rolled in together.
In general, our culture is distracted. There are media distractions every where and in your hands at all times. There are children pulling our attention every which way and things we waste our time with that become musts in our schedules like favorite t.v. shows or game apps that have become addictive.
After a long day at home, I thirst for my husband to be home and be all home…no calls, no visits, no emails, no sports, just home. Of course we all have things we do and want to do and that’s fine, but I find myself in my marriage sometimes lost in a sea of an hour or two here and there rather than getting a full dose of the family time that I desire.
Do you know what I mean? All of our family lives are so spliced by children’s sports, phone calls, errands, etc., that real un-disturbed, concentrated time for each other, be it the whole family or husband to wife, is gobbled up in daily life and responsibility. Basically, if there is no set time to put down phones, shut the computers off and check out of your day to be with your family, the really IS no time. Where there are no boundaries for family, there is no true family time. Everything creeps and seeps into all of your moments if no moments are made to be just yours..just your family’s…just between you and your husband.
All of this just leaves me very hungry. Hungry for presence. Famished for something that is just ours and something that is irreplaceable: time. My husband is great with our children and we spend time together in some way every night. Still, as time goes on, I’m coming to see that I don’t feel like we have spent time together even when we are together, if the “job” doesn’t stop: the texts that need to be sent, the call that has to be taken, or even the blog that needs to be written. I suppose what I feel is the lack of a break…an un-interruption of us or our family and if it’s always interrupted, I don’t feel like we have anything sacred. Not even hours in the evening.
For me, it makes me feel a void and I find myself jealous for my husband’s time. At times, I feel that way, even when I have his time because I don’t have it all. What I mean by that is that even when it’s my time, it becomes shared time. I know we can’t have all of our husbands and families all of the time, but I’m afraid if you don’t set marriage and family time as a priority, you never really have true time at all. Not really. You have a lot of bodies together with no presence. You merely end up with fragments of the leftover minutes of your day. You take what your life leaves behind rather than making your life made up of what you have to give, not what’s left after it’s all been taken and used up.
I’m not longing for my husband’s affection. I’m not wishing my children had a better father because they couldn’t. I’m not dreaming that we won’t have jobs and lives to live with personal time and relationships outside of each other because that’s not good or practical either. I’m simply left longing for more true presence with my husband and more less disturbed family days. It sounds more simple than it’s become.
I’ve found that of all the things a wife can be jealous for, what I’m jealous for most, is his true presence of mind and body. What I’m jealous for most, is his time.