Monday, December 5, 2011

Marriage Mondays: RU a Routine Wife?

The country bumpkins of the Christmas story have a lot to teach us. Yes, they were men, but most women can relate to the fact that they were "keepers of routines."  When they're first described in their story, we aren't given their names, years of experience, or even their number. We're told they were "keeping watch over their flocks by night" (Luke 2:8).  They were doing what they always did. Taking care of what needed to be done.
When the angel of the Lord showed up and God's glory surrounded them, they panicked. It was a drop your coffee in your lap moment. God got their attention to be part of something miraculous and divine. The catch was that they had to release their routines to make room for Jesus in their night. If there had been a wife among them, I'm guessing she might've said, "I should really stay with the sheep." 

Our routines aren't meant to rule over us. The group of men with "sheep-pan" hands were called out by an angel, received the good news of great joy, had a front row to the multitude of heavenly hosts, and immediately left their routine duty to go see what God made known to them. When they left the crude stable-birthing room later that night, they "glorified and praised God" like the angels and told everyone about the very "un-routine" events of their night. They didn't let life's routines rob them of the amazing!

As women, we struggle to establish routines that bring order and peace to our homes; families can feel more like rounding up sheep on a hillside with a loose wolf. Once we get those routines down, it's easy to fall into the trap of letting the routines use us, instead of using the routines. We can become more like drill sergeants than shepherds. Our husbands can feel like pawns in our plan, instead of masters of our homes. It becomes important to learn new ways of thinking.

Here's my nonscientific test for figuring out if I'm falling into the routine wife trap:
  • if Jeff puts his arms around me in the kitchen, do I to get "back to work" or reaching around him to "keep stirring"?
  • when he suggests time out together or "time in" together, do I first think about the kids?
  • if he sits down and wants to tell me about his day, do I think of how to get back to my routine?
  • have I been so routine driven that he doesn't put his arms around me in the kitchen, suggest time out, or sit down to tell me about his day?

We are wise to follow the lead of the shepherds of Christmas:
  • go with the flow and take note of miraculous moments
  • let go of my maintenance duties in order to maintain relationships
  • let the Lord (and your husband in this case) be spontaneous
  • remember that you're married to a man, not a routine
Are you the wife of routine? Let's not let the routines of life rob us of experiencing the amazing! God has new and wonderful things to show us if we make room.

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