Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 11:07AM
Caring for Marriage

The chickens were putting up quite a fuss this morning. I went outside to check and saw the fox circling the coop. I flung a stick at him and gave him a piece of my mind. It must have worked because he dashed into the bushes. The hens were not appeased and kept up their stance of frozen attention, all pointed in the same direction, on the highest perch possible. What could they hear or see that my lazy senses were blind to? 

The Silkie, who was in the smaller cage while her broody sister remains on three unfertilized eggs inside, was frantic. I dislike that Pumpkin is often alone, but putting her with the big hens is out of the question and when I include her with the littles she sometimes chases them. Blast that age old pecking order. So I held her. Inside my sweater.
The chicks did not seem to understand the danger and ate scratch eagerly. A few discovered for the first time that if they fly to the roof of their doghouse they can hop to the top bar of the pen. Great. I scrambled to put them back in and readjusted the netting. 
I pulled a chair outside and sat watch for most of an hour. The fox stayed hidden, or went for easier prey, and eventually the hens calmed down enough to get back to the business of breakfast. 
The twins and I have lost too many hens to predators, and have worked hard to protect these ones. Check the fences, lock the door, latch the dormitory, reinforce the edges. Every morning, every night we remember to keep them safe. 
Several years ago a friend said that she is aware of a danger in her marriage. Her husband did not offer her as much intellectually as he did early in their relationship, and she longs for it. Light conversation about the kids, sure. Instructions about the schedule, fine. Deeper insights into religion and spirituality, not much. She wondered if this makes her vulnerable to an over attachment to the wisdom of other men who are willing to discuss things that matter to her. 
I was moved by both her wisdom to see a pending risk and her love for protecting her promise. It was humbling to simply sit with her while she described her efforts to keep the door latched. 
There is an interview in the very first issue of the Caring for Marriage Newsletter about a woman whose husband seemed to change. In the beginning he was adoring, attentive, wise. They exchanged love letters for thirty months while falling in love. But a decade into their marriage he became angry and withdrawn as he succumbed to a grueling commute and job. It was not until long after he died that this woman reread the letters he had written in those starry eyed years. Here she found him again, the man she had first adored, and wrapped her heart around. 
It reminds me of the Children of Israel. They were permitted to look across the Jordan River into the Promised Land, but then they wandered for forty hard years in the wilderness. Finally they are welcome to enter the land of Canaan, and call it home. It intrigues me that they were given that one glimpse of the goal, a land flowing with milk and honey. Perhaps it kept their hope alive as they trudged across the desert. 
Maybe it is the path we are all following. 


Article originally appeared on Caring for Marriage Home (http://caringformarriage.org/).
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