As humans, we are not meant to be isolated. We all crave deep and lasting connections with other people. But we know it’s possible to feel alone in the middle of a crowd, and it’s possible to sleep in the same bed with someone for years and still feel lonely. Many of us never expect to be lonely in marriage, hoping that our spouse will be the lifelong companion who saves us from loneliness. Over time, however, couples can gradually disconnect from one another and find themselves feeling isolated and withdrawn.
My wife Susan is very creative in all aspects of her life, and that includes parenting our five children. There are times when I see her doing something creative with our kids and think, “I want to be a part of that!”
Many years ago, I watched Susan and our daughter Megan start trading a writing journal back and forth. After this went on for a few weeks, I noticed them laughing and talking more together. Pretty soon, Susan had these journals going with all of the kids. I felt left out of the fun and bonding so I took her idea and started journaling back and forth with our kids too! Of course, she didn’t mind, and maybe it was her plan all along to make it look so fun that I would practically beg to be a part of it, instead of telling me that I should do it.
Susan: We arrived at school, the kids got out the car, and I drove away, marveling that Megan had put into practice what we had discussed. I was so excited and wanted to encourage her to continue being patient with her siblings.
Then my excitement turned pensive. I began to worry that I would forget to praise her after school. I knew I would be distracted getting all the kids where they needed to be, finishing homework, preparing dinner…you know the drill. But I was not going to miss this opportunity to encourage her. I drove home and immediately wrote her a long note of praise and left it on her pillow. Why are indelible words on paper often more powerful than fleeting comments?