Again, I'm reminded, and I wonder: When will I be over it? When will I forget? When will my scarlet D be removed? Again I tell myself: Never. It is a part of who I am - a part of the story that God has written into my life, and God never uses erasers on our story. I am divorced. I don't have a husband or a marriage. For now, that's not a part of the adventure God has written for me.
It's not that I envy others who experience wonderful marriages ... that I would ever want to take the joys and struggles of marriage away from someone else .... I just grieve again and again for all those dreams and plans of which I have had to let go. Again ... and again.
I go through all this emotion while reading a favorite blog ... Not that it's unusual for me to experience a lot of emotion when I read Ann's blog, but I don't like these emotions ... don't like revisiting them.
But what she shares is truth ... a key to strengthening relationship ... advice for enhancing koinonia. She asks Who doesn’t want a deeper relationship? and I remember "Bloom where you're planted."
I may not have a husband to try these methods with, but I have relationships. And although they may require some very different things from the marriage relationship, they still need some of the same things too. So I take her advice, and consider what it should look like with my boys, and how these 4 Minute Marriage Habits can be transformed to 4 Minute Mothering Habits:
1. Four Focuses
Four times a day focus on the promises I've made to God in raising these boys to manhood. When they wake in the morning, leave the front door, return to front door, head off to bed - even with my young men, these are the four critical archways of time in our day. Touch or whisper encouragements at these gate points, reminding them that they are my treasures. No matter what has transpired through the day, I should take these four opportunities to remind them that no matter what has happened or what will happen, I want them and am here cheering for them.
2. Four Touches
Four times a day, intentionally touch them. Hug them and look in their eyes. Rub their back. Hold their hands a minute. Kiss their hair. Intentionally repeat it four times daily. Connection requires contact. Even though my boys are at different stages of acceptance of public displays of affection, they all still need to be touched. I need to look for private moments to remind them that we are connected and that they are very much loved.
3. Four Affirmations
Four times during the day, thank them. For diligently completing schoolwork, for being kind to their brother, for giving me a hug, for taking out the trash. Look for the ways to thank each of them. Recognize the strength in their character and compliment it ... but be prepared to give them a specific example or two of how they demonstrate such qualities.
It has been a long time since I thought of this, but when the boys were little, I had simple goals. One of them was that each boy, when asked "Who is mommy's favorite?" would say, "Me." I want each boy to feel so special to me, that it is easy for him to believe he is my favorite. I still want that today, but that goal gets lost among the goals of finishing schoolwork on time (or at all!), and getting everyone to the places he needs to be, and remembering in between all the taking-care-of to make sure I get a shower and eat and read my Bible! The 4 Minute Mothering Habits can go a long way to making each of the boys feel special, treasured, favored.
As I consider these habits, I suddenly realize the biggest way that these 4 Minute Mothering Habits differ from those in Marriage: I am only doing these for them until I surrender these habits to their new wives. And after all, that is one of the biggest reasons I want to mother them well - because I want them to be loving husbands and fathers who know how to love and to be loved.
So I guess it is all about marriage after all. And I do play a very big part in this loveliest of relationships!