[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
As I drove towards my garage the other day I noticed how I had parked my car in a way that would make it impossible for my husband to come in and park his. I realised that simple act or image, although not intended in this case, in different circumstances and relationships could be sending a message of “I don’t want you here”. It is a very easy mistake to make because we sometimes rush into the garage, park any how rationalising, “But I will be coming out again before he comes back.” The fact of the matter is you don’t know that and when he does come back one would wish he will come back in a place that is ready for him, where he has his space, where he has room. In a very small insignificant way, what I am communicating when I do not make room for him to park is he is not welcome in that space. There is no room for him there. Go and park somewhere else. I do not have time to go the extra mile for you.
How do we make room for people in our lives for them to feel welcome; to feel wanted and to feel at home? Could we perhaps through our nonverbal messages be communicating: “my wife does not have a place here”; “My husband does not have a place here.”; “This child is not wanted here”. Perhaps he is even labelled as the ‘black sheep of the family’. We don’t go out of our way to include them in our family. Who in your life do you not make room for? Is it the child you had before you were married? As a step parent do you include your spouse’s child/children before the two of you were married or do they do not have room in your life? They are not wanted. They are not welcomed. You do not include them in family activities and outings.
Actions speak louder than words
How do you treat people in your life? Do you treat them as unwanted? As inconveniences? Do you make them feel that your life will be better, more exciting, more acceptable in society if they were not there? Sometimes you might not mean to communicate such messages to your loved ones but actions do speak louder than words. Our actions might not be communicating the messages that we want to our loved ones. How are we not making room for them to be in our lives? The things and people we want as families; as couples; as individuals: do we make room in our lives for them? Do we really want them?
Steve Harvey tells the story of how when he was younger and he was staying at home with his mother and trusting God for a car; he had his own beaten up car that was parked in the garage and he did not want that car he was trusting God for a better one. His mother kept on saying: “Your car is in the garage.” “Mama I am going to get me a new car!” Steve said. “That’s good baby but what are you going to do with your old car because your old car is in the garage.” A couple of weeks later he went to his mother again, “Mama I am going to get myself a new car”. “I know baby but what are you going to do with your old car.” He tells the story of how every time he went to his mother she would tell him his car was in the garage. One day he asked her why every time he says he is going to get a car she told him his car is parked in the garage. She never answered him and left him with the puzzle to solve. Steve says it dawned on him that if you are asking God for something then you better get ready for it. He called the tow truck company who came and removed the car. He cleaned the garage. He says: “I was getting ready to receive what I had asked for. It was not 30 days later that I got a new used car.” In order to receive a new car he had to make room for it. There was only room for one car in that garage. It was a single garage.
Are you a single person and you are trusting God for a man; for a wife but everything in your life screams single? How are they going to feel welcome in your life if you do not make room for them? You have to make room in your life for the things you want to attract. It’s a principle of life. A couple who wants to have children but their lifestyle screams busyness. Their lifestyle suggests there is no room in our lives for a child. Even if that child was here we would be far too busy to take care of her. That child would be an inconvenience to our lifestyle. Make room for the baby. Slow down the pace so you can be in a position to have a child. I have read many stories from couples who when they were ready to have a child they started eating healthier. If they had a history of struggle in falling pregnant they started to exercise. The woman started to get her body ready to be pregnant. They consulted a doctor. They made room. What are we communicating with our lifestyle? Is how we are living perhaps not pushing away the very things and people that we want in our spaces? Are we perhaps not communicating that we do not want them by how we live?
Let’s be careful that people in our lives don’t feel like unwanted guests in their own home. Let’s be careful that through our words; through our actions; through our attitudes that we don’t make our loved ones feel that they are strangers and trespassers in their own home. There is a different way that a trespasser behaves and is treated in a space they don’t call home.
Do you communicate to your husband that you do not want him through your nonverbal actions? When you go to bed, do you have a headache? Do you intentionally dress unattractively? Husbands do you communicate that you do not want your wives by not being as loving to her? By being cold to her in your words to her? What are we communicating through our actions? Let us examine our lives and watch how we treat the very people we proclaim to love. Let us make room in our lives. Let us make room in our hearts to love again; to be welcoming again. To make people feel that they are absolutely wanted.
Make room in that garage. Make room in that bed. Make room at that dining room table. When guests come to your space for dinner you prepare food for them and you make them feel welcome and you make room in the dining room area and allocate a seat for them to sit. That is a welcomed guest. You make wonderful food to be welcoming to your guest. You enjoy their company! We can be guilty of treating our families worse and treating visitors and guests in our space better than we treat people that we live with and we love. Do we go out of our way to prepare special dinners for our families? Do we make them feel welcome? Do we make them feel special? Do we make room in the dining rooms of our lives? Do we make room?
Examine your life. Examine every area of it and make room for the things that you want. If you share a wardrobe and you take up all the space in the wardrobe, make room for your beloved. If you watch TV and you are the only person who has access and deciding power on what to watch, give the remote to other family members. There are other people sharing your home who would also want to watch what they want to watch. Make room in your life. The little things mean so much. It is the little things that speak volumes. It is the little things that say: “I love you.” Examine your life and make room in your life for the people that you stay with; for your loved ones.
Make space in your life for the things you want. Make room!