It seems like life is one transition after another. Some are obviously life-changing: giving birth, the death of a loved one, or a walk down the aisle. Others seem less significant, but in actuality are highly impacting.
This fall our eldest daughter moved away to attend college about seven hours from home. I knew it would be a difficult transition for me because Kaia and I are very close and have always spent a great deal of time together. Once she was in school I would rarely see her; it was just too far for a weekend trip home. So I tried not to think about the day I would drive her to campus and drop her off to start her new life without me. But it snuck up on me anyway.
The week before we left, I fell apart… literally. No, my arms and legs didn’t fall off, but I was blindsided by a severe bout of clinical depression. My heart was broken; I was unable to get out of bed for more for more than a few minutes at a time for nearly a week, I was sobbing, sick to my stomach and absolutely full of despair. My spirit was dark. And it didn’t help that I had a book deadline right around the corner.
My husband had suffered from depression in the past and he knew I would never find my way out of this pit on my own. So he called our family doctor and scheduled an appointment for me. An hour later I had a fistful of prescriptions and a very worried physician. My serotonin levels were so low he knew something needed to be done… and NOW.
We made the trip to Judson University in Chicago the next day and I survived, but it was the toughest trip I’ve ever made. A week later it was like a dark veil was lifted and I started to feel like myself again. Praise God for medication!
The pace of my life has slowed significantly since then. We still have a son at home, but we have far fewer school events to attend and far less action around the house. My husband and I have enjoyed our time together; lounging by the fire, cooking together, watching movies and playing board games.
Today we have experienced another big transition – our youngest son passed his road test and got his driver’s license. Seemingly, that isn’t a big deal, but in actuality it is a HUGE deal. We know from our daughter that having wheels means Connor will be gone a lot more; his social life will expand, he’ll get a job and he won’t need us as much. We’ll no longer need to drive him to and from school and he won’t be after us for money nearly as much (hopefully).
But that piece of paper has far bigger implications. Now we will have even more freedom to nurture our marital relationship by having dates and enjoying time alone at home than ever before. We are entering a new phase in our married life. We’re not quite empty-nesters, but the last baby bird is standing on the edge ready to fly.
When Connor was born my doctor asked me a question I’ll never forget: “Who is the most important person in your life?” I replied confidently, “My children of course!” “Wrong,” he said. “The most important person in your life should be your husband. One day your children will be grown and out of the house and then you’ll only have each other.”
I finally understand exactly what he meant by that. I’m actually enjoying this phase of life and am looking forward to what the future has in store for us. (It helps that I’m still crazy about my husband!). So for you married folks out there be sure to nurture that relationship. Other than your relationship with God, your spouse should always be the most important person in your life.