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When You Feel Restless in Your Marriage

Fri, Mar. 18, 2016 Posted: 07:46 AM

When I turned 39 my husband managed to surprise me. He knew he couldn’t pull off a surprise party when I hit 40; so he threw a “Forever 39” party instead.

My best friend had created a scrapbook of my life, and as I looked through it, I stopped as I hit the picture of 23-year-old me in my graduation cap and gown, after finishing my second Master’s degree. That smiling face looking up at me had so many plans–a Ph.D., a career, published papers.

Instead I was a homeschooling mom who wrote on the side. My days were filled with making dinner and laundry and chauffeuring kids to piano, while I occasionally spoke at retreats on weekends. Were my dreams dead?

Many of us feel restless because we haven’t achieved our dreams, but I think what we miss is that we are not the same people who dreamed them. I was not fresh out of graduate school with visions of Toronto skyscrapers in my head. I was a small town mom with a tent trailer.

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but the dreams should be about looking forward, not looking back. When I hit forty, I didn’t achieve many of the things I thought I would. But I achieved different things. True peace comes not when we tick off everything on our life’s to-do list; it comes when we get comfortable in our skin, make choices that reflect our values and who we are, and then live out those choices, in the nitty gritty, day by day.

This week I learned about another marriage I know splitting up. I thought back to the similarities between that split and several others close to me, and there’s a common theme.The moms had never made peace with this idea that it’s okay to have new dreams.

That leaves us feeling restless, like we’re not quite where we’re supposed to be. That’s so hard on a marriage. You start blaming your husband for stealing something from you.

Let’s keep the right perspective. It’s not about looking backwards. It’s not even about looking forwards! It’s about, everyday, asking, “is this where I’m supposed to be?”. Maybe your life doesn’t look like your original plans. Maybe you thought you’d be further ahead by now; married differently; or had more (or fewer!) kids. Maybe you thought you’d live somewhere else, have your own house, be financially stable.

God doesn’t measure your life by how much you lived up to your plans. He measures your life by whether you’re living for Him in the little things. When you feel restless, don’t take that to mean your marriage is somehow wrong. Maybe you just need to dream new dreams, based on the person God’s made you today. And that’s perfectly okay.

By Sheila Wray Gregoire via

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