It’s New Year’s Eve, y’all! It’s that magical night of the year when it seems like we are all on the precipice of something absolutely incredible. Maybe it’s the romance of the evening, maybe it’s the post-Christmas high we’re still riding, or maybe it’s just the champagne bubbles, but there is this overwhelming sense that everything we could ever want is ahead of us.
And so, bring on the New Year’s resolutions, champs. Bring on the life change. Bring on the bright, shiny frickin’ newness.
There’s this nagging feeling I get every December… this nagging feeling I get every time I turn the crisp pages of my planner to January 1. I’m not ready to write in it yet. I’m not ready to leapfrog into the new year, not just yet anyway. If you’re like me, you know this feeling, and you know the reason you’re not ready to get on with banging of pots and pans at midnight (Anyone else do this as a kid? Just me?) is because you haven’t fully digested 2017 yet.
This year, I decided that before we ever even eat the pork and sauerkraut (Notice the theme of weird holiday traditions I’ve got going here), I’m going to be fully digested.
So, like all good wives, I forced my husband to participate in my madness. At the beginning of December, my husband spoke at a youth camp and I had the honor of tagging along. This was a weekend about Jesus and reflection and—especially for us—time away from the busyness of life.
During our time at camp, we took some quiet time to explore, what I think, are some really important questions for couples. I’m sharing it here with you, sweet friend, because somewhere between the Christmas hangover and the New Year’s one (literal or figurative… you decide), I think God calls us to pause and be grateful. It is then that we do not just plan for the year ahead with His Spirit, but from His Spirit… and consequently, we do not just hope with Him but find hope in Him for whatever 2018 has in store.
Here’s how we looked back in order to look forward. I encourage you and your spouse to write these answers down and visit them again next year. A lot can change in a year, you know.
- What has been the hardest thing about this year?
It ain’t always peaches and roses, kids. It’s important to talk about the yucks. The love is in the mess, right? For me, it was surprising to learn that my continued struggle with infertility was one I was not alone in—despite the fact that I often felt lonely (Sounds stupid, I know, but if you’ve been there… you feel me). Bearing one another’s burdens all up in this house this year.
- What has been my biggest joy this year?
The difference between my husband’s personality and mine was never more obvious than in our responses to this question. He picked a single event, and I picked a meaningful, thematic answer. The glory is—that’s what these questions are all about!
- What has been my biggest professional achievement this year?
- What has been my biggest personal achievement this year?
No cop outs. You can’t have the same answer for #3 and #4. Seriously. Draw in closer.
- What do we want most out of the next year? How will our schedule reflect that?
Yikes. I don’t know about you, but scheduling our time is about the most difficult part of our marriage. There’s so much to do, but we’re realizing slowly that we do our best work, have our best quality time, and cultivate our friendships best when we budget our time to reflect what’s most important in each season.
- How do we want to help serve people in the next year?
I can’t talk too much about this one because I get all the feelings, but if you can’t think of something in the moment… pray about it together. It will be revealed to you in time.
—PAGE BREAK! These next questions get heavy, and you might think “But these aren’t just “year” questions, Keira!” You’re right… or maybe you’re not…—
- What is scary about being my wife/husband? Where do you worry you’ll fail? What do you want to do better?
Maybe this was just my covert way of letting Benny know that I want to be a better listener for him… or that I’m still secretly (or not so secretly now… thanks, Internet) afraid I will blow this whole beautiful marriage thing we’ve got going on. Still, if we can’t talk “biggest fears” with our spouses, then who can we talk about them with? You’d be amazed how the vulnerability of this one question can change the way you relate to one another.
- What is the best thing about being my wife/husband?
We certainly needed a pick-me-up after #7, and this was just the ticket. I was surprised to find that Benny’s answer had very little to do with the amount of delicious cheeses I’ve brought into his life, but I was happy with his answer nonetheless.
- What do we want our family to known for?
Phew. I told you it would get heavy. But every family has a story, right? What do you want your family’s story to be? ‘Cause guess what? You get to write it.
- What traditions are/will be important to our family?
If you read my last post, then you know a lot of our responses were Christmas themed. However, the “will be” part really got us thinking. I hope it does the same for you.
- What do I think God likes best about me? What’s He most proud of?
If you’re stuck on coming up for an answer on this one, ask your spouse what they think. I bet their answer will surprise you and encourage you all at once.
That’s it, folks. A couple’s year-end review. For us, it was a fun opportunity to grow deeper in our relationship and process all that 2017 has thrown our way. What was even more fascinating was that after we talked through all of the questions, we realized that the things we “thought” were important or would be important in the coming year didn’t even make the list! Surprising to me especially because I was quite sure I knew everything. Ha!
Anyway, I hope you have a fabulous start to the new year and find love in all of the biggest messes! I know we will.