The last few weeks have been insane. I can’t believe it is already Jan 25. Seth and I went for a drive after a big snowfall. It was gorgeous. We went along some back trails, listened to the Charlie Countryman soundtrack and took our time taking photos, accidentally falling in the snow (me…twice…) and drinking some lattes we brought with us. It was a good day! I’ve still been working on the same projects as earlier this month and am excited to launch the new website and branding tomorrow. It’s very exciting for the client (and me).
Seth and I are souping this month! We are still eating the occasional snacks, like when I made Seth’s lunch for work (summer sausage wraps with red pepper hummus) and I couldn’t help myself! My parents mailed them all the way from Ontario, since we can’t buy summer sausage here. It became a tradition as a kid, whenever we bought some fresh at the farm down the road, that everyone in the family got a couple celebratory slices before it went in the fridge. And you could bet whenever someone was making a sandwich, they would need to slice a dozen extras for the rest of the family who all gradually crept up behind them. And the same goes for popcorn. Basically, if you’re eating in front of other family members, you can always expect someone else will want some too.
Our apartment is littered with balloons, chairs are tied with gold ribbons and the table needs to be cleared of champagne glasses and empty cans. Seth and I are snuggling on the couch with Baloo and Gingerface. It seems they are exhausted from last night’s gathering as well! I love dinner parties. Before Seth and I were married, I lived with my parents. I wanted to have fancy gatherings all the time, but living in the country it was never very ideal for guests. We often hosted them at another couple friend’s of ours who already had a house, or at Seth’s mom’s in the summer for a pool party mix. Now that we have our own place, I was really excited to have our own.
I love reading. I have several series I’ve read three times and hope to soon read again. The bible is one of those books, and educational books about its teachings. When I was a child, my mum – a devout reader like me, wanted to read the bible as a family. To really dive down deep into the scriptures and learn together. However, there was a problem. My dad was constantly nodding off! If he wasn’t falling asleep, he was hungry. If he wasn’t hungry, he needed to use the washroom.
It became such a cycle that soon us kids began to do the same thing, and eventually my mother gave up. She decided to instead read the bible alone, by herself at night. I still remember her, highlighting passages, writing notes, embracing God’s divine scriptures. That image of her was so powerful that as I got older, it became something deep inside me that I wanted to fulfill. So, when Seth and I got married, it was something I hoped would be different from my family. Something we could enjoy together.
Now, I already knew when I was dating Seth that he was not a reader. Such a contrast! Oh he would read magazines, fact books, animal care guides, social media posts, (captain underpants when he was younger) … But a book? A month after our wedding, Seth decided to try reading one of mine. He chose the first Green Mile in the Stephen King series. A thin book to start with. I walked into the living room a few minutes later to see him, book open in hand, a few pages turned, and his head rolled back, sound asleep. Oh it was the sweetest thing at the time.
Now that it is Christmas season, I’m really wanting to feel that connection with God and start a tradition of reading the Saviour story together. However, just like my mother, I have a problem. How to keep my husband awake and active in the reading? It can be very frustrating. It can feel as though they don’t care. It can be downright irritating after you realize the entire page you just read fell on snoring ears. So how can we fix this problem of our spouses falling asleep, or even just getting distracted, hungry… ?
These are several ideas on how to keep them aware and involved:
- Read earlier in the day, when people are more rested, rather than later when they are tired.
- Go to the bathroom before starting.
- Have a small amount of food and drink for them to enjoy during the reading. Something that sits well with their stomach, and not too much – you don’t want them needing to go to the washroom again so soon.
- Turn off the TV and cellphones. Find a space with no distractions.
- Read shorter bits, and take time after each paragraph while reading to maintain eye contact and ensure they are focused. Sometimes that means stopping in the middle of a chapter for the night if you can see them drifting off.
- Instead of focusing on getting more chapters read, read less and dive into the topic at hand by starting a conversation. Ask them their opinions, ask questions, really let the message sink in. After all, it’s about understanding, not how quickly we can finish reading something.
- Get them involved in the reading. This can be difficult and intimidating for some partners if reading is not their strong suit. That’s okay. Keep their readings short and encourage them. Practicing a bit every day can give them more confidence about reading in general.
- If that’s still not working, try sitting in uncomfortable chairs, or even taking your reading out. Read at a quiet coffee shop, or somewhere with no tvs or distractions. The change in atmosphere might help them feel more inclined to stay awake.
- Don’t feel like because your spouse can only handle short bursts, that is all you can read. My husband really wants to be involved, but he also enjoys relaxing and falling asleep to the sound of my voice. He finds it soothing and peaceful. So have two sessions, one that is for both of you to listen and learn about together, and another that they are welcome to participate in but also welcome to fall asleep to without judgment. You can also encourage them to have their own time to read by themselves as well. Use that alone time reading to take notes and form discussions about them together later.
- Sometimes, with all our efforts, it still doesn’t work. That is when we are reminded that we need to ask and rely on God for his help. It could be that our spouse may not be trying that hard to be involved, but have you ever considered that Satan is trying to put a stop in our spouses’ hearts to hear God’s word?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
We are in spiritual warfare, and the devil will do whatever he needs to, to pull us away from God and cause a rift in our marriage. But God is stronger than that fallen angel, he is mightier than our difficulties! Before each bible session, pray fiercely in the name of Jesus to banish distractions from our heart, to drive Satan away from our mind and home and to be filled with the Holy Spirit so we may learn and understand and keep him as number one in our hearts!
Please keep the evil one from distracting us from Your sacred Word. Banish him from our presence. We are not strong enough to win this battle without You. Let Your Holy Spirit wash over us and protect us. You are our Almighty Father, we trust in You for safety. Please fill us with divine energy and an unfailing desire to read, listen, respond and be fully aware of the meaning of Your message. Bless us with Your wisdom and keep Your words alive in our hearts. We praise You Lord for hearing our prayer and rejoice at Your everlasting mercy and love!
Thanks be to God! Amen
Wishing you, your family and friends a blessed Christmas eve and Christmas!