Being a widow, we have many opportunities to reflect on good times, bad times and sometimes amusing memories of our husband and our life married.
I was talking to a group of widows this week as we gathered for lunch. While discovering each women’s widow journey, we found out everyone is in different stages of grief. Some ladies became a widow less than 6 months ago, others in 2021, while I’ve journeyed 8 years.
While talking about managing those unexpected “waves of grief” that often attack suddenly while at home watching television, sitting at church or even while grocery shopping, we shared the depth of the grief waves. Seemed everyone had experienced the “grief creep” that can unexpectedly take your breath away at times we don’t anticipate. Whew.
The conversation shifted to the many things we missed- hugs, daily conversations, passionate intimacy, and even someone to available to fix things around the house in need of repair. In full disclosure, my husband John wasn’t a particularly handy man around the house, so I shared how I had to learn ways to prompt him when things broke in the house and needed attention. My schedule was full working full-time, I also managed an herbal consulting practice, and we co-parented a daughter with disabilities. He on the other hand was retired from several careers and worked part-time for several years until he finally retired. In other words-I needed help running and maintaining a house!
My solution was drafting a “honey do list” which I posted on the refrigerator. This list was specific tasks I wanted him to do- things like pick up certain items from the grocery store or picking up our daughter from therapy or repairing a broken chair. It’s no secret I used to get so frustrated waiting for him to complete the list! Every day I’d pass by the list to see if he had crossed off any item as “completed”. But I often waited in vain.
After many months of frustration, I decided to add a deadline or due date to every item on the list! I realized that putting dates helped to identify the urgency of certain tasks and allowed him to plan when he wanted to tackle a task. Brilliant! Understand, the key to the list’s success was not “micromanaging” the tasks, but instead patiently waiting for him to complete them. Even if it was completed ON the deadline date! I couldn’t get upset if I thought he could’ve done the task faster or earlier- I had to turn my head and not glance at that posted list and just “trust” he’d get around to doing it by the deadline or in his time! I learned the gift of patience with this assignment. Lol
We had a good time at the luncheon sharing stories of household tasks being undone or hiring professionals to help when all else failed!
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to talk with young women recently married who get so frustrated by the lack of shared household responsibilities with their new spouse. I know I’ve saved many a marriage by sharing the “honey do list” strategy! I know it saved my marriage from many disappointments and arguments.
I always laugh when I remember this simple strategy that helped my husband and I build a strong marriage for almost 25 years. I hope you laughed too and make time to reflect on the wonderful stories and experiences of your marriage. No matter the good and difficult experiences we had- we still miss them dearly and hold every memory close to our hearts.
“A happy heart is good medicine, and a cheerful mind works healing”…. Proverbs 17:22