It’s been a long time coming, finishing reading this book and I still have one more chapter to go! Change abounds for our family and we are embarking on yet more excitement so the book club bloggy posts have taken a backseat. But here are my ramblings for ch. 13
The title of ch 13 is The Art of Life. My reaction to the chapter centers me on one aspect of our [3 part] family mantra which is Love Thy Neighbor.
What Love Thy Neighbor Means to Us …
It means your closest neighbor is your family. For us that’s my Mister and our children. I’m not discounting my actual neighbors, friends, or even co-workers by any means. I’m just thinking that there is no way I could love any of them if I wasn’t loving my family [first] to the best of my ability. So we love the family to the best of our intentional ability and then we love outwardly to our friends and friends-to-be.
We’ve established some boundaries over the years to make this more concrete…. and a few times we’ve been made fun of for them (but people are people and we all think differently)
How We LOVE THY NEIGHBOR in the Home
- weekend nights are reserved for dates or family nights- this means we are happy to get together with a couple or family but we do NOT separate for a guys night or a girls night on a Friday or Saturday. Weekday nights are fine for a coffee out with the ladies, for example, but Friday’s belong to the mister (and the kids). This boundary works for us because my Mister is very busy with ministry and has unconventional hours. He’s up early sometimes or out very late. He’s traveling. He’s in meetings. He’s working from home. He’s all over the place 🙂 and it’s a good thing, but having a boundary has been helpful for our relationship. We always know that we’re going to have quality time to invest in our life (marriage and family). I’m his closest neighbor and he is mine and we are protecting our relationship.
- sharing a virtual calendar- this a a great way for us to know what’s happening in the entire household’s schedule. It’s amazing how loving and accepting we can be with each other if we aren’t being surprised with random events or “opps I forgot to mention” appointments, meetings, etc.
- Our once a year weekend away. no kids. Need I say more ??? 🙂 okay- I will say, that this once a year weekend of solitude is not only great for having a good time but it’s the time we use to ‘check in’ and make new goals/readjust old goals for our family and our marriage.
- Weekends away with the kids. We’ve been planning a handful of weekends away (in the mountains, in the country, at the beach) for a few years now. Our kids have awesome memories of these events and will grow to understand that it wasn’t to do a boardwalk amusement ride but it was to grow in our relationship and make lasting memories
- family dinners. This isn’t necessarily a boundary but it’s something that we try to be sure to keep too. In other words, family dinners are becoming a thing of the past with crazy schedules and life events. So we try to keep family dinners sacred as much as possible. Also, we hold hands when we pray. It’s so simple. It’s so uniting. It’s living with the intention that we want to show our children we are connected more deeply than just the words. We are physically connected. It may mean nothing to them now— but it will later 🙂
- We let others know that “we’re loving our neighbor” when we have to say no to things. Sometimes we get an awkward glance but we roll with it and explain if necessary.
On occasion we’ve run into a invitation and had to decline but felt that awful dread on how to figure out explaining we can’t come but the only reason is that we reserve Fridays and Saturdays for each other. Since we’ve ‘named it’ (loving thy neighbor) we’ve just decided to say I’m loving my neighbor and that’s my Mister (or Misses). There is usually nothing but respect that follows. We named it! That was the key. There is very little a naysayer can contribute when you tell them you’re being obedient to the second greatest commandment!
What’d you think of the chapter? How to you create the Art of Life for youself (and your family)?