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Distance Makes the Heart Grow… Pt. III

(Weight) Distance – Roger de Bussy-Rabutin wrote, “Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small and kindles the great.”  What kind of love do you have?

I think most anyone in relationship would agree that distance – physical, emotional, or mental – has been experienced at some point during the relationship.  As I said in a previous post, Jon and I have been towing the line the last few months.  Honestly, after talking to a number of my girlfriends and browsing FaceBook over the last couple months, I’m confident we are not the only ones.  So, today I felt led to write about this space, this distance.  
Distance, distance… what kind of love do we have?  Can it go the distance?  Will it be defined by the distance?  Will it be extinguished or kindled?  These are the questions, the honest questions we asked ourselves these past few months.  
Lucky for us, we experienced physical, mental, and emotional distance.  🙂 Physically we were separated.  I went to stay with my parents in another state during the first part of my pregnancy, until I was well enough to care for myself and our son.  In addition, Jon is required to travel for his job from time to time.  So, even when I returned home we were, at times, physically distant.

Mentally we were separated because (how do I say this?) we were/are both making sacrifices, but neither was mentally acknowledging the sacrifices being made by the other.  Jon has been studying for a series of professional tests.  Passing these tests will be great for his career, and essentially great for our household financial stability.  These tests however, require that he study for hours AFTER coming home from work.  He hangs out with us until Jace goes to bed and then studies until 1am.  Although I know why he is doing all this, I still felt lonely, disconnected.

The emotional separation stems from the physical and mental distance, I think.  When I am physically distant from you I cannot “know you” as the Bible says.  This bonding is important for the emotional health and growth of a marriage.  Sharing that intimate space with your spouse … it’s important.  Being in the same physical space as my spouse is also important because it is one of my Love Languages.  But in general, when you are with someone, the two of you are making memories, sharing experiences, building bonds, and becoming intertwined emotionally.  Another part of my emotional distance came from feeling unappreciated.  As I said before, Jon was studying and traveling, and I’m stuck at home with the kid 24 hours a day.  I love my son, but I am pregnant and tired.  Toddlers don’t understand that you need a break.  They want their juice NOW.  I’m also taking graduate classes.  Toddlers also do not understand the need for uninterrupted study time.  And quite frankly, after I put him to bed I’m spent.  So I’m in my head getting angry with Jonathon because I feel like I am being deprioritized, like what I need to get done does not matter. When I feel unappreciated, I find it difficult to connect with you emotionally.  I find myself sharing less.  I find myself building walls – justifying doing things on my own.

So what kind of love do we have?  
I believe we have a love that lasts.  I believe we have a love that is filled with purpose.  God did not bring us together just to have us separate this early in the game.  Thank God for a husband that understands this.  Listen, (lol) I can be really stubborn.  Pray for me.  The Lord is still working on me, but thank God for my covering, my husband.  He truly strives to operate in our marriage according to the Word.
25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.                                                    

After weeks at odds, we were at a real breaking point.  I was crying myself to sleep many nights, and Jon was, in my mind, retreating  to work and studying.
** Jon’s actual thoughts, “Jocelynn, I knew in that moment that I had to give you what you needed, not what you wanted.  By that I mean, you wanted me to stay and hang out with you, but for the betterment of our family you needed me to go back to studying.  At the beginning of our marriage I would have done what you wanted to avoid your attitude.  Now I care less about your attitude and more about the long term stability and happiness of our family.  I’m not wiling to sacrifice that to assuage your attitude in the moment.**
I wasn’t really sure how we were going to get out of this rut.  I was praying, but I felt kind of distant from Christ as well. :-/  However, the prayers of the righteous availeth much.  No matter how distant I feel from Christ, He is never distant from me.

So, after putting our son to bed one evening, Jon fixed me a lovely dinner complete with sparkling grape juice.  It was very sweet.  I can’t remember the last time we had had a date night or sat down to dinner alone.  After eating he took my hands and told me that he promised to spend time with me.  He wanted me to realize that he was doing all of this for our family.  Of course he would rather be hanging out with me and Jace all the time, but right now it was not possible.  He also told me that he really appreciated my patience and support.  A few simple, but meaningful words.

As I said before, everything is not “fixed”, but we are on the right path.  There are a few things that really help.  First, we have found a church, like literally two weeks ago, that has really fed us spiritually.  There is something about worshiping together.  Something.  The first message that we heard was on peace.  Not going into detail, but it was right on point.  It made me think.  My husband has made a significant gesture to bridge the gap.  Since that time he has made good on his promise.  I need to open my heart to the peace of God.  I need to rest in His plan.  I need to rest in the fact that He has blessed me with a husband who is willing to do what needs to be done to make sure his family is taken care of.  Another thing that really helps is the support of friends that are really praying for your relationship.  Friends that speak truth into your life.  One of my friends told me straight out, “Girl, you need to give it to God!  Everything that is bothering you needs to be handed over.  Stop nagging that man about it because that will not help.  Nagging will only push him away.  Is that what you want?  No.  Remember you are both sacrificing to make this relationship and this family work.  You two are in this together.  He is your king.  Treat him that way.  Give it to God.  Peace in your heart, peace in your home.”  Finally, diving back into my Word.  It’s amazing how God gives you clarity when you meditate on the Word.

So has the distance been a kindling or extinguishing wind for our relationship?  I believe it has kindled our relationship flame.  The kindling was our choice though.  We could have let it extinguish the burning flame, but thank God for Jesus. 🙂  Thank God for His love.  I thank Him for especially for the pricking at our hearts to push through because He has something greater for us.  We are sowing seed as a couple – into our children, other couples, unbelievers.  The enemy would like nothing more than to see the flame go out.

Keep stoking the flames of your relationship.

Always Striving, (because the journey is real)

Joce

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