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Life Is Too Short
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I awakened during the night for no apparent reason. As I lay there in the dark, I listened carefully to my husband’s rhythmic breathing. It was comforting. Peaceful. I paid special attention because I knew that in a few days he would fly away to Haiti to help those devastated by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake. He would be going to Port-au-Prince where destruction and unrest were prevalent.

As I listened to him breathe, I thought about how I was used to having him around. He leaves for work and comes home. On the weekends it’s church, family and friends time, and then another week. But things would be different while he was gone. We wouldn’t be sharing the bathroom in the morning while getting ready for work. There would be no phone calls during the day to touch base. I wouldn’t be listening for the garage door to open in the evening. His place would be missing at the table. His side of the bed empty.

As I lay there listening, I realized that although I love my husband dearly, at times I’ve taken him for granted. It’s just been a given that he would always be here. But that night, facing weeks apart and the unstable situation, I realized again just how precious he is to me. And I realized that nothing in this life is a given. I have family and friends who no longer hear the sounds of their husbands’ breathing at night. Death or divorce has robbed them of those moments.

My Realization

Although I wish I could change their situations and bring their husbands back, I can’t. But I can share with you my realization: life is too short to take our spouses for granted. To assume that just because we are married we can treat them any way we want and they will choose to stay with us is wrong. And to think that death won’t touch our marriages is naive. None of us know what the future will bring.

So the next time your husband walks through the door, sits down at the table, works in the yard, fixes the car, plays with the kids, and yes—even snores—don’t take him for granted. Remind yourself of the things that you loved about him when you first married. If some of those traits are gone, gently let him know how much you miss them. Look at him in a new and fresh way.

And if you wake up during the night, listen to him breathe.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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