Today’s chat will be a bit different.
Marriage is our passion; we see signs of brokenness all around us and many days it feels like we are in a sinking ship that offers little or no help for the catastrophes that surround the boat.
One of the elements that we do not often focus on when it comes to marriage is investing in people’s lives: the friends and/or family that surround you.
Generally speaking, when we do coach couples about those relationships, we are encouraging them not to share too much with others about their relationship. It can cause trouble with family members and friends who don’t often provide proper council.
But recently the importance of friends in our lives and what that means has risen to the surface.
Today I will be very transparent. Today I will reveal a deep cavernous area of my own life that doesn’t often rise to be seen by others. I do this in hopes that it will cause reaction in you to do something. It is a cry for help of sorts. Perhaps not a personal cry for help, but a cry for help by someone who you personally know that you need to reach out to today.
I am a self-professed introvert.
I do not often reach out to others around me for any reason. Being in social situations drains me emotionally. It is not that I do not like people, but it takes a lot for me to crawl out of my shell and be an active part of society.
I am not in any way shy. To me there is a very real difference between introvertedness and shyness. I am not afraid to speak to people, I just choose not to.
I have dealt with the repercussions of that all my life. Some people have thought of me as unfriendly, stuck up or even worse. Others have a sense of who I am by seeing me in my element. They see me in action teaching or coaching alongside my husband; an environment in which I am very comfortable. This reveals a different side of me; which is usually dispelled when they try to talk to me “one-on-one”.
My husband falls somewhere at the opposite end of the spectrum.
I call him “Mr. Personality”: He never meets a stranger. He is most comfortable in social environments where he can talk to people. He is very good at finding a common interest topic and he can stimulate conversation with anyone. He thrives in a high energy situations where he can laugh, cut up and have fun.
The thing that I have most recently found is that both of us are at a place where many people find us “unapproachable”:
- People see me as someone who “doesn’t need friends”. They think that because of my tendency to be a home-body means that I never want to be asked to go out and enjoy interaction.
- My husband, on the other hand, finds himself at a place where people assume that he has so many friends and is so busy with everyone that they don’t reach out to him because they don’t think that he has time for them.
So why have I revealed this about us?
Because I can’t help but believe that we are not the only ones who are stuck in this place. I think there are thousands of other couples who are struggling in the area of friendship.
We have allowed unimportant things to control our schedule and we forsake things that really matter.
You do it, I do it, we all do it: We spend time doing things rather than investing in people’s lives.
I understand that we have to have jobs, we have to clean and do menial tasks so that we don’t live in squaller.
Investing in People’s Lives?
Everyone has lost someone who mean a lot to them.
I immediately think of my mom who passed away just 5 years ago. She was my closest friend outside of my husband. We had been close my whole life. She was a person that I knew always had my back; she supported me; she always cheered me on. She also had a dibilitating disease that caused her to lose her mobility. Although she had the disease all of my life, it was a digenerative disease that worsened as she aged. We hit a place where she could no longer do things with me. She lost her ablilty to drive. Just climbing in and out of the car eventually became too difficult to do to be worth a trip outside. I wish I could tell you that I continued to spend as much time with her. I wish I could tell you that I stopped doing some of the menial tasks to spend more time with her, to hug her more and to tell her how much she meant to me.
I did not.
I even excused my behavior because she had become quite difficult to be with. She did not feel well and it showed. Then in the wee hours of March 7, 2010 she breathed her last breath in this world.
To this day I wish I could call her, hear her voice, tell her how much I love her.
That brings me back to today. What will I do about it? Will I continue to live in regret or will I change my behavior with those around me?
I challenge you today…
Make that call, send that text! Do whatever it takes to tell those around you that they matter and that you care about them. Don’t let the menial get into the way of the eternal.
I will tell you this: once they are gone, it is permanent in this world.
Think about those around you that you care about. How would you respond if you received a call today that they had passed away last night?
I know that is brutal; it is a horrible thought.
Would you drop to your knees in regret of conversations that you did not have, memories you could have built but did not?
You don’t have to have that regret! Reach out today and being investing in people’s lives!
Don’t assume that someone else is doing it. Don’t assume that they don’t need your encouragement.
You will most likely never know the impact that you might have on their life!
Because marriages and friends matter,