Last night I gave Evee a bath. As she was having fun and splashing all over the place, I had to make a decision whether I'd say something and try to avoid the water getting all over or just let her have a good time and keep laughing. She wasn't being defiant or anything, she was just having fun. She wasn't getting hurt or hurting anyone (because if she stands up in the bath I do say something). It may seem strange to some, but I genuinely have to think through these things sometimes. I tend to like things neat and tidy in our house and having a child has obviously stretched that in some ways.
Last night, as I sat on the bathroom floor, I started thinking about something I'd read in a book called The Surrendered Wife a few years back. As we finished up our first year of marriage a friend had given it to me saying that it had been helpful for her. At the time, the book had been very interesting and helpful in our marriage. I began considering last night how it now could be applied to a few different areas in my life.
The basic idea around the book is this - releasing control to gain intimacy. At one point the author, Laura Doyle, talks about how the basis of your relationship needs to be based on trust. Do you ultimately trust your partner? What made you be with that person initially? And can you trust that they will not intentionally harm you? If the answer is that you can trust them, then make decisions that put intimacy first. If I remember right, one example was when leaving the kids for the night with your husband don't make the meal because you're afraid they won't eat, tell your husband exactly what to do and when the kids ought to go to bed. Laura states that you have to think through the worst scenario - your kids eat junk food this night instead of a healthy meal and go to bed an hour later than usual. Is it worth killing intimacy so that those things don't happen. Is it really the end of the world?
She basically has you ask yourself - is this worth losing intimacy over? Therefore, when you really ask this and live it out it will then make your life more peaceful because you are not trying to control everything and it will lead to greater intimacy.
As for me applying it to parenting...I realized I can ask myself this with Evee and I'm sure other relationships as well. So, for last night - Is the bathroom getting all wet worth killing Evee's sense of fun, adventure, and creativity? When I think of it that way, of course not! So what if the bathroom is a bit wet - it's a bathroom! She was being sweet and having fun. I think have the time we don't even think of it as being controlling, but it really is. In the end of all this thinking, I'm sure I'll realize that a bit more can be "let go" of so that great things (intimacy, fun, creativity, etc.) can happen within our parenting and marriage. I know that as I release control, some beautiful things can and will come to be.
Just stuff I've been thinking about...