I read an amazing post yesterday about friendship in marriage (click here to read). One of the early comments caught my attention, she asked how to be friends with your husband when you are exhausted from taking care of the kids and maybe a little resentful of him.
It reminded me of a favorite passage in Little Women. I bought this book recently at a book sale for my daughter to read. I had no plans to reread it since I read it as a teenager, but I opened the book to a page in the middle and was sucked in. When I read it in high school I read about the daughters. Today, finding my way as a mother, I read about Marmee. What a woman!
Here's the passage I wanted to share. I've taken excerpts from Marmee's counsel to Meg after the twins have been born. Meg has been so busy with the twins that her husband has started to go and visit with a neighbor couple each night for conversation. This bothers Meg, but she's too busy to do anything about it. A lot like the woman who commented on the blog post, she is exhausted and maybe resentful.
"Make it so pleasant he won't want to go away. My dear, he's longing for his little home; but it isn't home without you, and you are always in the nursery.'If you keep reading you will find that it took some effort, and forgiveness, but that by it their whole family was blessed.
'Oughtn't I to be there?'
'Not all the time; too much confinement makes you nervous, and then you are unfitted for everything. Besides, you owe something to John as well as to the babies; don't neglect husband for children, don't shut him out of the nursery, but teach him how to help in it. His place is there as well as yours, and the children need him; let him feel that he has his part to do, and he will do it gladly and faithfully, and it will be better for you all. ... Let Hannah come and help you; she is a capital nurse, and you may trust the precious babies to her while you do more housework. You need the exercise, Hannah would enjoy the rest, and John would find his wife again. Go out more; keep cheerful as well as busy, for you are the sunshine-maker of the family, and if you get dismal there is no fair weather.'... 'This is just the time, Meg, when young married people are apt to grow apart, and the very time when they ought to be most together; for the first tenderness soon wears off, unless care is take to preserve it; and no time is so beautiful and precious to parents as the first years of the little lives given them to train. Don't let John be a stranger to the babies, for they will do more to keep him safe and happy in this world of trial and temptation than anything else, and through them you will learn to know and love one another as you should."
Being able to find joy in motherhood is so important. Often it takes eyes that can see those precious fleeting moments of joy or beauty in the middle of the chaos. Occasionally it requires that we ask others for help so we can step back and catch our breath. It certainly requires that we treat ourselves with compassion, and care, to keep ourselves healthy and rested as much as possible. But it is worth every effort, to make sunshine for our family, and to preserve the beautiful friendship that should exist in every home between a husband and a wife.