Today's lesson focused on Jesus's new commandment to us: "Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another." (John 13:34)
It discussed why Jesus decided to make a new commandment. It explained the differences of commandments from the Old Testament and New Testament. It discussed the benefits of living out a new commandment based on love for Jesus rather than on fear of punishment by God. It all made for good reading, but that's not what I want to talk about tonight.
I think I mentioned on Day 1 that at the end of each chapter there is a "Question to Consider." Tonight's was: How can I take a love that's old and allow God to make it new?
I don't know why the first thing that came to my mind after reading this was my relationship with my husband. We are both young, we are young parents, and our marriage is still very much new. (3 years and going strong!) I am still totally in love with my husband in every way. I am giddy when I get to talk to him. He makes me laugh as hard as he always has. He is my favorite person in the whole world to be around. But when I read this question, the first thing I thought about was how my husband and I (before he left, of course,) kept getting into little date night ruts.
It's not that we didn't make time to be alone with each other. We just couldn't think of anything new or interesting to try--- Dinner out. A movie in. TV show and a cold beer. Occasionally a night in the backyard with the firepit. If we were getting really fancy, we had a beer on the bench on our front porch.
Each of those evenings were very much enjoyable. All of those moments together created memories I would never trade.
However, I could tell that we were both getting a little frustrated with the monotony of it all.
Nathan would ask, "So what do you want to do tonight?"
I'd say, "I don't know. What do you feel like doing?"
He'd reply, "Well we could watch a show...We could pick a movie...We could light a fire..."
Then depending on whatever mood I was in that night, we would pick one and I'd make the drinks and he would set up the TV or the fire.
Date nights out on the town were a similar scenario. Our church offers a program called Parent's Night Out where for a nominal fee ($5 total for my 2 kids) we can enjoy an evening together from 6-10pm...can't beat that! We signed up for it almost every month. But I am pretty sure that each time we did the same thing. Went to a different restaurant, maybe, but basically the agenda stayed the same.
And while we definitely always valued and enjoyed our time together, I could tell that we were both ready for a change of pace. We started looking for events going on in the city that would never pan out. Concerts we just couldn't justify spending the money on. We even went as far as to 'google' stay-at-home date night ideas. (In case you are wondering, let me save you the time you would spend on that search. The main thing we kept finding is that you do whatever you would do on a normal date night--naked. Cook naked. Watch a movie naked. Play sharades naked...you get the point...and you're welcome.)
I remember feeling so defeated, wondering why in the world it was so difficult to think of something new and interesting to do with my husband. I didn't want our date nights to run dry. I certainly didn't want him to become bored of me. And because I knew that the deployment was right around the corner, I felt a desparate need to make every moment magical.
Now that he's halfway around the world, I could be spending my time coming up with all sorts of crazy and inventive date night schemes for when he gets back home. But here's the funny twist--all I want to do when he gets home is bring him his beverage of choice, snuggle up to him, and lay my head on his chest while we watch TV. I want to put a grown-up movie in the DVD player instead of having to watch Wiggly Wiggly World for the ump-teenth time. I want to have him start a fire with his obnoxious propane torch that I was always worried the neighbors would think was too loud. And I want to go eat in a restaurant that does not have a playland anywhere in it or within walking distance of it.
I now realize that I was taking advantage of the fact that I was able to spend so much quality time alone with my husband. He was always so good to set aside time for just me and him, where we could talk to eachother, laugh with eachother, make plans with eachother...and essentially work on our relationship. I was so worried about making every moment 'magical' that I didn't realize we already were. And because he is not here with me to enjoy these moments on a daily basis anymore, they have somehow found their "newness" again.
I love you, Soldier. I cannot wait until you are home!!!
(All that being said, we could probably still use a few add-ons to our current game plan, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know! lol)