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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

The Mistake I Made While I Was Married

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we don’t see our mistakes so clearly when we are doing them. It’s only later that the mistake is so obvious.

I grew up with my mom teaching Sunday school, my friends and I were acolytes, and our family ate fish on Fridays. Church and religious practices were just a part of our week. Dang, my first kiss was at youth group (cover your ears mom and dad).

I always expected involvement in church to be a part of my life and to be a part of life for my children.

Then I got married.

I knew my religious beliefs were more developed than the man I married but the significance of it didn’t sink in for a while. We attended church with a few of our friends but it didn’t seem to be a natural habit. It was like I had to campaign to get him to go.

Then we had children. One. Two. Then Three.

When I came up for air (maybe I should rephrase that). When I finally was not as sleep deprived, I again brought up that it was important that we concentrate on finding a church. My recollection was that my idea wasn’t very popular. In fact his response was very discouraging. There was resistance. I was disappointed. It became more difficult.

My version of the story was that:

“He didn’t want to go.”

“He wasn’t supportive of it.”

“He didn’t see the value.”

If you think this is about religion, you are missing the point.

Don't miss the point.

It’s about the mistakes we may make by not pursuing involvement in something we care about. It is your value. It is your interest. Clearly, it is important that whatever it is you want can’t threaten your relationship. It has to be something that fits for you.

While I was married, he wouldn’t have stopped me from going to church on my own, or even taking our kids. I was just going to have to take the lead. But, I wanted it to be a consensus. That was my mistake. I regret it now that I look back.

Ask yourself if you are blaming someone else because something isn’t happening when you clearly have the option to pursue it?

Where are you denying yourself of something because you want another person to want it too?

I admit it. I own it. I denied myself something that was within my reach. In my head, I thought it was his fault. But it was clearly my fault.

The first day I went back to church was the Sunday right after our divorce was just beginning, I took all three of my children with me. We sat in the back. I cried quietly.

It felt like I was home.

That is when I realized that it was my mistake. I should have been going on my own all those years. I was the only one to blame for being absent. The mistake I made could be overcome.

This past week has been a rewarding one for me as a mom. My oldest son (who just finished his Freshman year at the University of Arkansas) is working this summer in Texas as a counselor at Pine Cove Christian Camp. My middle son left a few days ago to go on his first mission trip to Guatemala. This past Sunday, my youngest son sat with me in “big church” instead of going with his friends to Sunday school. All three of my children were baptized within two years of our divorce.

It is possible to make up for our mistakes and make things happen.

Who are you blaming for something that you have the opportunity to do?

Are you wasting time wanting someone else to value something the same as you?

Don’t make the same mistake that I did. Whatever it is, ask yourself how you can make it happen.

Until next time,

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