I have to celebrate just a small victory today. I know there aren't many people reading my blog yet, though there may be some who come back to this article, or some friends who check in from time to time. Still the blogging universe makes it seem like you are talking to others even if you are just having a conversation with a computer screen.
All the same, there was a small victory for me today. I love words. I love to write. I love to talk. In my adult life I have learned there are some times that it's better not to share things with others, because I have been hurt. So, I can be cautious and quiet sometimes around others. However, if there is anyone who gets to hear all my words it is my husband and my children. This means sometimes a brief history discussion gets turned into a lecture, or I am not content ending the discussion of a character trait we are working on until I have given numerous examples (or too many numerous examples). This means when I am hurting or worried my words can be discouraging or even mean-spirited. I know other people wouldn't think that of me, but sometimes those who love us best are the ones who see those parts of us that we hide from everyone else.
My husband is self-employed and work has been dreadfully slow this Spring. Actually it is the worst Spring that we've ever had. The past several weeks it seemed like work was coming only to have one job after another cancel. I know that none of the people canceling are being mean-spirited. There are legitimate reasons that none of these people can have the work done right now. However, last night I was very discouraged because it seems like this Spring we just can't get back on our feet. I cried and cried, but when my husband came into the room amazingly I did not speak. Oh I was tempted to tell him all my discouraging thoughts, but some things are left better unshared (or shared only with Jesus). Don't get me wrong, my husband would still have loved me if I had said mean things about how he can't get any work, or discouraging things about how things are never going to get any better, but I know those things would have hurt his feelings. I am sure as much as I struggle with trying to homeschool and raise 6 kids on my husband's income the struggle is even greater for him. I don't want him to feel like a failure, especially when it isn't his fault. So, I kept my mouth shut. I kept thinking of the line most of our mothers have told us, "If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all."
And this morning when I sat down to have school with my children I also did not lash out at them or try to discourage their happiness. I even laughed with them today. I am still not sure how God will get us through this Spring, but He has gotten us through difficult times before, so I know He can do so again. In the meantime while I am waiting for Him to do something I am going to try to keep my mouth shut more often. I always thought my husband should know everything that I am thinking and feeling, because we are one, because I want us to be intimately connected. However most of the time my husband knows that I am hurting...crying is usually a clue to that. I don't always have to spill the whole jug of milk for him to see that it's sour inside.
So, I am celebrating today, because today I can see that my comments would have just made my husband feel worse, even if they had succeeded in making me feel better. Today I can see that the words would not have accomplished anything. Would they have brought in work? No. Would they have made him look for a real job? Maybe, but that isn't necessarily what I want. Would they have strengthened our relationship? No.
So, today I am writing it down, just so that I remember that it can be done. I can keep from speaking words that won't build up our relationship. I hope that I will remember this again and again so that even during difficult times I can encourage my husband to keep doing what he has been called to do, even if that encouragement only comes from me keeping my mouth shut.