Lauren McCall quickly dashed away the tears that had spilt down her cheeks, forcing a smile to her face as the children ran into her mother's kitchen. She had been thinking about her husband and how she had left him 4 months ago.
She had felt her husband had failed them. She had felt she had been losing him, to his job, and possibly to another woman. She never smelled another woman's perfume on him, or saw a lipstick smear on his collar, while washing the clothes, but stillbecause of their arguments, he had seemed so distant. He had worked in the office til the wee hours of the morning, as if he detested coming home to her. He had said it was necessary to try and get the promotion he had always wanted, but she had snapped back, No job is more important than our family!. After all, she had always greeted him at the door with a smile and a hot meal. She always kept their home clean and picked up, of the toys the kids had played with as babies. So she couldn't understand why he cared so much about getting ahead at his job.
She had become angry with him because he did not meet her expectations of marriage. Unmet expectations had now led to bitterness, and now her body would not melt under his touch, when he would turn to her in bed. There had been too many nights that he had arrived in their bed at two in the morning, not to mention that on days he did not bring much work home, he would watch sports on the TV.
Four months ago she had left him to live with her parents. He was still living in their home. The first few months he had written letters and called regularly apologizing for having ignored her and the kids and for having been too busy at work.
After the first two months, the calls were less often and the letters stopped. Now he had not called for over a month. Her good friend Betty from church back home had warned her moths ago that the divorced women in the church were spending much time chatting with him between services.
Lauren had begun to wonder if maybe she had made a mistake, if maybe she could have trusted God and been more patient and not argued so much, and if maybe things would have turned out different. She feared she had lost him for good.
Lauren shook herself from the reverie as she placed bowls of macaroni and cheese before the kids. When you guys are done eating, we'll run down to the video store and pick out a couple real cool movies, k? That sounds like a deal? She tousled each of their sandy blonde heads, before moving to the refrigerator to pour them each a glass of cold milk.
Derrick brightened almost immediately Yeah! He high-fived her, before shoveling another bite into his mouth. Melanie tried to get into the moment, but her eyes held such sadness that Lauren's heart nearly broke in two.
Sounds good mom, she said never once lifting her eyes from the bowl.
That night, as Lauren snuggled with the kids on the couch, wrapped in a thick chenille throw, one kid reclining on each shoulder, watching as the cartoon characters pranced across the screen, Melanie reached out to touch her mom's hand, her bright blue eyes filling with tears. I wish daddy could be here, she said in a choked voice. Lauren caught the little hand in hers, stroking the soft skin, wanting to throttle her husband for the way he was treating them, and yet wanting to rekindle what they once hadwas it gone forever?
She ran her hand over the silky blonde hair of her daughter. Me too, Mel, she whispered almost inaudibly. Me too.
Grandma, grandma, look what we found!
Lauren dropped the dishcloth, hurrying to see what had excited the children. Her mother was bent over the two children, exclaiming loudly over the small woven nest they had come upon. As she came closer, she glimpsed what had really excited the kids. Inside, smooth and sky blue laid two beautiful eggs.
Mom, look, Melanie squealed excitedly as she saw her mother enter the room. We'll have to prop the nest back in the tree, near where you found it okay, kids?, Grandma admonished. Hopefully the mother will come back to reclaim the eggs. You didn't touch the eggs did you?
Both children shook their heads solemnly.
I told Derrick not to, cause then the mother will abandon the nest, Melanie boasted proudly, eager to use her title as the eldest of the two at every opportunity.
That's good, Grandma nodded, smiling at her grandchildren. Then at Lauren. If your mom here doesn't mind finishing up the dishes I'll help you guys reposition the nest. Lauren waved them away and returned to the kitchen. She was drying the last bowl, standing on tiptoe to place it on the top shelf of the cupboard when the phone rang. Wiping her hands on the dishtowel, she scooped up the receiver. Hello?
Lauren, it's Scott. Scott? Why are you calling here? Is something wrong? She hoped he would not realize she was happy he called.
No, well My gym buddy, Paul suggested we go to this marriage retreat. If you'll consider coming home, I'd like to try going to it with you.. Paul said, he and his wife were going through some turbulent times in their marriage, and this seminar really helped them. They're so in love right now. I thought we could give it one last try. He paused; she listened closely.
Lauren pressed trembling fingertips to her pounding temples. She said, Ok Scott I would be willing to go with you. She wondered if this was his way of ending their relationship or was he interested in getting back together.
She let the phone slip from her fingers, as she replaced the receiver. That evening she lay in the darkness. It was quiet; everyone had gone to bed. Scott's recent phone call replayed over and over in her head. She knew what she wanted to do but could she?
Oh Father, she whispered in the dark. I know I don't deserve my husband back. I need your help. I want to believe I've changed and I hope and pray he's changed. I want it in the worst way. I know you want us to be together again. That's your plan. Dear God please help us to get back together. She drifted off to sleep, with this prayer on her lips.
Four weeks later, Lauren stepped off the plane and into her husbands' arms. It seemed like he never wanted to let go, yet didn't know exactly how to react as she kissed his cheek quickly and stepped away. He had been so out of touch in the romance department. He grabbed up her luggage and they made their way to the parking garage where he had parked.
Lauren silently observed him as he eased the car onto the main highway. He did seem different. He glanced her way often, smiling warmly. At one point he reached across the small space between them, and squeezed her hand lying in her lap. It's so good to see you again, he said.
Lauren didn't know how to respond. She just smiled back.
When they arrived at their beautiful home, she didn't realize how much she had missed it. The flowers had been tended in her absence, flourishing in vibrant colors along the flagstone walkway and foundation of their home. The maple tree in the front yard had turned a beautiful coppery color, dropping autumn leaves like shiny pennies. Scott led the way to the door, stepping aside as she stepped thru. The rush of eucalyptus hit her with fresh memories. Of when he had presented the fragrant swag to her, as she lay in the hospital bed, after having just given birth to Melanie. It was her favorite smell, when walking in the door. She breathed deeply, before climbing the stairs to their room.
Go on ahead, he said. Make yourself comfortable, I'll get the rest of the bags from the car.
Upon stepping into their room, Lauren caught her breath. He had repainted everything in the soft yellow, blues and greens that she had often dreamed of. The comforter was caught between a feminine pastel swirl to a masculine bold stripe. Her feet sank into the plush white carpeting. Candles waited to be lit on tall slender candlesticks and fat glass holders.
Do you like it? She jumped at his voice in the doorway. She hadn't heard him come up. She turned slowly. It's beautiful. I never imagined it would be so pretty. Well, I had a little time on my hands, he said, setting her luggage at the foot of the bed. I just had to see your face when you saw it. I'm glad you like it. Like it? I love it!
She flung herself into his arms and he kissed her passionately. He lifted his mouth from hers, surprised to see tears in her eyes. He nodded; let a hand drift over her hair, styled prettily at her slender shoulders. Are you ok? You can tell me what you are thinking Are you hungry? I fixed dinner. It's nothing fancy, but I've been practicing while you were gone.
Lauren smiled at him; glad to see he wasn't pushing the subject. I'm famished, she announced, following him down the stairs.
That night as they readied for bed, Lauren toweled off with a fluffy towel, slid the black silk gown over her head, belted the robe at her waist and opened the door, walked over to the bed, slipped the robe off her shoulders and climbed into bed. She lay there, very still, staring at the ceiling. He reached over and caught her hand, twisted in the sheets, the calloused pad of his thumb making idle circles over the creamy skin. Then he leaned over to kiss her softly on the lips, tucking her hand between them, throwing his free arm across her, making her feel oddly safe and cherished. And this was how they awakened the next morning.
She packed a light bag for the two-hour drive to the mountains, where the marriage retreat would be held. It was a one-night affair, packed full of speakers during the day. Then they would relax overnight in a small cabin made of real logs and deer antlers for lamps and drawer handles.
Scott explained it all in detail as they rode along the interstate. Sometimes they would lapse into companionable silence, other times Scott and Lauren would make conversation.
When they arrived, they were shown their quarters. Lauren was surprised it was so beautiful. A fireplace stood cold, awaiting the touch of a match to bring warmth and romance to the room. Candles lined the gleaming log walls in rustic sconces. A hot tub took up one corner of the room. A thick wolf print blanket was thrown over their bed, leading to the ambience.
They arranged their luggage, and slid her hand in his, as they went in search of the large church where the seminar was to be held.
The messages that came from the eight speakers that day touched each of their hearts. They laughed along with the three hundred some couples that had come together, as one of the speakers explained the sketch of the human brain, breaking it down for male and female. He pointed out that the biggest part of the male brain was S-E-X, drawing it out loud and slow, eliciting laughter. He then pointed out that there was a very small part of a woman's brain for sex, that the biggest part of her brain was romance and affection. She needed to be shown each of these every day. He then listed just a few things that the husband could do to show his wife that he knew of this emotional need and was willing to do what he could to meet it.
You husbands need to hug and kiss your wife every morning that you wake up and before you go to bed. Before you leave for work, give her a quick call to let her know you're on your way home. She can anticipate your arrival and if need be, put supper on the stove. Buy her flowers frequently; make sure they're her favorite. Some ladies detest certain flowers. I know my wife, hated carnations and yet they were always in the paper bouquet at the supermarket, so I bought them, rather than taking the time to find out what she liked. If you're privileged to eat meals together, as you look across the table and you're admiring that beautiful bride of yours, tell her so. Tell her what you're thinking. She's dying to hear it.
Lauren kept her eyes straight ahead at the speaker, not daring to look at the man at her side. This was exactly what she'd been dying to tell her husband all these years, and yet she had been afraid of rejection.
When dinner is done, help her clear away the dishes, the speaker continued. Take a few minutes to wash them with her, or load the dishwasher. Help her with the laundry throughout the week; iron some of your shirts to alleviate some of the workload on her. When you come home from work, make a point of finding her before doing anything else, giving her a big hug and kiss, tell her you love her, and ask how her day went. Men, I guarantee you, if you do all these things; your wife will crave you. It will take away the complaint that she no longer wants to play around with you. That she no longer finds you desirable.
Wives, in the same way, make yourself available to your husband. If he thinks you'll never be in the mood, it's likely he'll give up all together. Sex and our performance is a huge self-esteem with us men. We need to know we're loved, we're cherished, we're desired, and what better way than the way God created? Lovemaking can be so wonderful with two committed, loving people in a marriage agreement. Wives, make a point to smell and dress nice, if not sexy. It's well known that sight is what triggers our male brain. We Christian men can't go out there, and shouldn't want to, and be with the sexy women in the world, the women who dress scantily and flaunt their good looks. But if our wives would dress sexy and wear perfume and style their hair, than that would meet an emotional need of our own.
The speaker glanced at his wristwatch, than at the clock across the room. Well folks, it's been great being here, but I've run out of time. I trust that God will help you in your marriage relationships, and lead you closer to Him. Thank you Dallas for having us. Good night! So many thoughts swirled through Lauren's head as they filed out of the church. When they reached their cabin, she turned towards him, tears streaming down her face. She gripped his hand fiercely. Scott I forgive you. And forgive me for ever taking you for granted. I love you. She spoke with such conviction, the tears that made watery trails down her cheeks, glistening in the pale moonlight. Scott felt himself getting choked up at the strong emotional moment. He caught her face in his big hands. Oh baby, I love you too. It means so much that you'll forgive me. As for you asking forgiveness, there's nothing to forgive. He took her by the hand, unlocking their door, leading her inside. Come on, he said huskily, We have so much to catch up on.
That night they reunited in love.
Two weeks later, after an extended honeymoon in their own house, they arranged to have the kids flown home. At first Melanie and Derrick were wary of their new dad, but as time went on and they spent quality time together and resumed their family nights, they grew comfortable with the routine and eventually threw themselves wholeheartedly into the family activities, even cooking together. Lauren happened upon a heartfelt conversation one evening as she came to kiss the kids good night. Scott was bent over their eldest, tenderly kissing her forehead, when Melanie spoke. Dad, I've missed you.
She watched as Scott's features changed from love for their daughter to remorse, as he gave her a hug. Oh sweetie. I've missed you too. But this ol' daddy is here to stay. I'm glad, Melanie whispered, clutching her ratty old teddy bear that he had given her on her third birthday. Even when Lauren had taken the kids to their grandparents, Melanie was determined to take along her bear, Scottie.
I love you baby, Scott murmured, tucking the heavy quilt around her small frame.
Love you too daddy, came the sleepy answer.
Derrick was already asleep when Scott came around to his bed. Love you sport, he said, touching his lips to his forehead, before joining Lauren at the doorway. Arms around waists, they closed themselves inside their bedroom and began the journey to new beginnings.
Comment by: Old Site
Date: 2/9/2013 7:48:47 PM
A reader says ... I am going through a tough time with my wife. she just left this past Saturday 12/04 and I am sick w/out her. I feel like part of me has died, I really took care of her and made dinner, massaged her feet, back rubs, and listened to her about her day. I made it a point once I was married, I would treat my life like a princess.. We have been married for 6 years and it was the best time of my life. Two years ago we bought a house and things just went down hill. We couldnt really afford the house on our salaries, I was laid off and she was out of work as well. So we were in a financial pinch and had decided to sell our house.. The house was on the market for a year and it didnt move. I guess in this time my wife was upset about things, and so was I.. I tried to to be optimistic, but she couldnt see a clear future with me. She no longer wanted to have sex or be affectionate,,it seemed like a job just to kiss her.... Then finally things came to ahead and she said she was thinking that things were not going to work out. I suggested that we seek counseling and she said she would think about it. Then she left last weekend... I tried calling her and she seemed like she didnt want to talk and was firm in her resolve.. She said she made up her mind and said thats it... Its only days before Xmas and I am depressed, sad, lonely and cant stop crying. I miss her terribly and I am not sure what I should do.
A reader says ... From the author- I'll be praying for you. My husband and I have gone through and are going through some trying times as well. I guess it's part of what a marriage truly is, the give and take. Hang in there, if you're a Christian look to God. If you haven't yet given your heart to Him, He's waiting to hear from you. God Bless!
A reader says ... i am so happy for lauren and scott and their children because the ending is so happy. however i am crying over my own life and the way things are in my life