But, there is also a chance to connect in a meaningful way during this time of magnified emotions. This week my children are spending time with their dad, with all the excitement of a new home and school letting out and I hate to miss it. I really do. So I have to acknowledge the grief that lives along with the joys in my life. It's not my life, it really just is the way of living in our fallen world. I have so, so much for which to be grateful that it would be selfish to dwell in the negatives. Being sad and grateful at the same time is a real thing.
- Create your own traditions - Just you and your spouse. For us, that means attending Christmas Eve service together then driving around to see lights. Christmas morning we will be unrushed as we head to church and then to the Apple Barn Restaurant. I just know Mr. Wonderful will make me coffee and we will laugh together as we anticipate the return of all our children.
- Make your spouse a priority - It's so easy for the children to steal all your attention at Christmastime. Their schedules, their wish-list, their preferences get the spotlight. Plan something for just your husband like a back rub or special dinner. Ask him what he wants to do with your time alone together and just go with it, instead of having a 'better' plan. Give him your undivided focus while you can because those kiddos and their lives will dominate the home again soon.
- Let go of the ideal - There is an ache that will not go away, even when you are enjoying sweet moments of the season. There is a longing for the dream that you once had prior to divorce. But don't let your past steal the joy from your present. Look for the bright spots at every opportunity.
- Camaraderie with the Hurting - It's so easy to get wrapped up in my own life, I'm sure the same is true for you. But my wounds make me so much more aware of the wounds others bear, both near and far. I'm learning to treasure time to consider how I may help another and to pray for refugees, leaders, and those around me who are hurting. Awareness is a huge gift. Even when I share here, my eyes are opened to so many experiencing their own kind of imperfect Christmas. There was a time I couldn't relate, but now I get to share my burden and help bear the pain of others. This is a gift.
I love being married to Mr. Wonderful. The times we share together often seem stolen and limited. So this unhurried week of fun is a special treat! Remember, second marriages don't have the same "honeymoon" period as newlyweds in a first marriage. There are complications, children, exes and many other distractions. So, when you have time without those stressors, embrace the gift!