"Keep the Crumbs off the Table!"
Updated: May 5
Following suit with our latest blog, I want to share the last of three tips or guidelines my husband and I do our best to abide by in our every day lives. Keep in mind, we do not have a perfect marriage. Is there even such a thing? But, that's the beauty of this blog!
After more than three decades of marriage, Byron and I are still learning each other and taking the time to invest in the health of our union. Our final tip is:
3. Give your spouse your best.
This particular lesson took way too long for me to learn.
I have a type A personality so I never like doing anything halfway. I jump in, head first, and ask questions later. And when I'm in, I'm ALL in from the crown of my head to my ashy, cracked heels. It can be frustrating to be that kind of woman, but I don't know any other way to be.
When our children were small, my husband and I arrived at a decision that changed the entire dynamic of our little four-person family. We decided I would become a stay-at-home mother. Careful now - I was not a housewife! I was never a housewife. I was Mrs. Morgan. I married a man, not a house.
I determined I wouldn't be an ordinary stay-at-home mom. Of course not! I became the black version of June Cleaver. I woke up with the children, filled their belies and prepared them for school, volunteered in their classrooms, became a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) officer, joined an African American advancement group, volunteered with my local church, washed and ironed everyone's clothes, cooked for and fed the entire family, put the children to bed and to borrow a line from the R&B singer Karyn White, "Early in the morning I put breakfast on the table and made sure that his coffee had its sugar and cream . . . " . Yes, I did it all, but to what end? I was making everyone else these elaborate, gourmet seven-course meals and serving my husband the crumbs.
I remember being invited to dinner by some friends of ours. They had recently begun their own ministry and invited Byron and I over for dinner. After a delicious meal, we all relaxed in the living room, lying back on the furniture and chatting comfortably with each other. Byron was holding court. This was very unusual. Byron is usually reserved unless we're engaged in some kind of competitive game, then the beast comes out. But that particular evening, he had our attention as he described a trip we'd taken on our marital journey that, if I had my way, we would have never taken:
"You know . . . Tracy was home maybe one or two nights out of every month . . . for months. I barely saw her. If she wasn't volunteering at the school or taking care of home, she was at the church doing ministry."
He might as well have cocked his fist, reach back toward Timbuktu (Is that even a real place?), and punched me right in the center of my face. I felt the tears well up in my eyes, realizing the truth in his statement and the sadness in his heart.
I didn't fully learn the error of my ways that evening, but it was a great beginning to an awakening. What did I think I was doing? In a sense, this was a virtual act of infidelity. I was giving myself to everyone but my husband. I was giving them the best of me and saving the rest of me, the fragments of me, for him. I didn't even try to dress it up. No fancy tablecloths, no sterling silver flatware, no gold-plated china . . . I just threw the crumbs on the table and expected him to be okay with it. Even if he was okay with it, how could I have been?
Don't ever give more of yourself to others than you give to your spouse.
I will not treat a best friend, a Pastor, a child, an instructor, or the Pope better than I do my husband. I made vows before God and before both family and friends to cherish him. I pledged my whole my life to him and I meant every word. He is the man I cleave to. He is my better "whole." He is the one I want to grow old with. When my body begins smelling like drug store vitamins and I need someone to help me pull up my skin because it has lost its elasticity at 85 years old, and rub that tried and true BENGAY® into my sore spot, he'll be the one I ask because he's familiar with every wrinkle and crevice. I won't be ashamed to bare my nakedness before him or share my Geritol® with him. After all, he is my husband! I belong to him!
I'm not asking you to never serve anyone. No; I'm a servant at heart. What I am suggesting is that you serve your man better than you serve anyone else. I am asking that you place him before every human being that will ever cross you path. I am asking that you prepare the seven-course meals for him, first. He, alone, should have your firstfruits. Give him the decorated meal accented by the luxury tablescape. Hand feed him his heart's desire and treat him like the king you prayed for. Serve him like graduating from culinary school was your kindergarten experience and . . . "Keep the Crumbs off the Table!"
I love my husband AND marriage!