Who Are You Investing In?

It is a spectacular morning by the swake; the mist is rising on the water and that vibrant spring green of brand new leaves is finally visible.  Things are relatively quiet.  There is the clatter of the loading of the dishwasher as Greg cleans up the remains of last night's party.  This is an auspicious weekend as the second niece is getting married and all the assorted blendings of our family have arrived to celebrate.

May 17, 2014 by the Swake
Weddings and celebrations are what we do well as an extended family so this weekend is full end-to-end with celebration.  And it all started last night by the swake with a party I planned but failed to attend.  About eight weeks ago, I sent out invitations to the out of town family guests inviting them to descend on the swake on Friday night for some fun.  A week ago, as I got off an airplane at about 9:00 p.m. I realized that I was in trouble because I was going to be getting off the same flight at the same time on the coming Friday and there were going to be about twenty-five people at my house waiting for a party.

Mess up?  'Fess Up!
It caused a conundrum.  You can't un-invite people.  So it was time to own up and spill the beans to Greg.  He was going to be hosting alone for the majority of the evening.  He was going to be solely responsible for ensuring that the bathrooms were clean and that the ubiquitous dog hair and sand was largely absent.  He was going to be shopper and food preparer number one.  I had to 'fess up.  Fortunately my confession met with a calm graciousness that I fully realize is a gift.

Choose Grace...
As I spelled out the implications, Greg made a choice to remain calm and be gracious about my whoops.  I think it was a choice.  Although last night when I finally arrived home there were some relatives around the kitchen counter who felt that the calmness factor is a family trait that is in the genetics.  Regardless, there are times in a marriage if it lasts long enough when one has to intentionally choose grace as an investment in the long-term healthiness of the relationship.

Assuming you are working with some good material to start with, investing in that relationship will pay-off handsomely.  You will end up with someone to laugh and cry with.  You will have a best friend in the house; someone always in your corner.  You will have a cheerleader and an honest critic.  You will have a best friend who knows you as well or better than you know yourself, and who loves you anyway!

On Friday, as I sat through my course in Victoria I wondered how my spouse was faring.  I fretted about the cleanliness of the bathrooms on the swake and whether they would be guest ready.  I felt compelled to tell strangers about the situation I had put my spouse into, as if in the confession there might be absolution.

However, the confession raised other reactions as my classmates volunteered their own confessions.  One announced that her mum and dad were divorced because they were married at nineteen and the only reason they got married was that they liked how each other looked.  Another shared the brokenness of her own relationship.  I wonder if we all have an inherent need to engage in confession and to be the recipients of grace; to have someone else, even a relative stranger invest in us.

Getting myself into the party pickle got me to thinking about weddings, marriage, relationships, friendship and such.  The wedding is the big bang part with all the glitz and energy.  The marriage is the important part with more 'bangs' that can either put you under or help you grow.  There isn't much glitzy about the hard work of marriage even if you are fortunate enough to have a great partner.  Good relationships and friendships are gritty.  The reality is that it takes energy to sustain a marriage but the payoff can be a relationship with a best friend; one who will jump in and take over the party planning when you mess up so the party can go on!