"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."
When I was growing up, I used to hear my mom mumbling this prayer under her breath from time to time. I liked the sound of it, but I don't think I really understood it. As I got older, these mumblings seemed to coincide with times when my father was driving her up the wall.
As a woman who's been married for almost nine years, now I get it more than ever!
I love D with all of my heart and soul, but in many ways, we are two VERY VERY different people. I didn't want to marry someone exactly like me, but I had no idea how incredibly different from me the man God chose for me would be!
When we were first married and one of those moments would occur where I'd realize, "We are SO different in that respect," my mom's whispered prayer would come to mind immediately. Back then, I focused on the beginning of the prayer. I prayed for acceptance--for the Lord to help me to accept my husband for who he was, because I wanted to love "the complete package" and not just parts of him.
In the last year or two, though, I find myself focusing on the second part of the prayer--the ability to change what I am in control of. I've noticed that in controlling what I can (say, my reactions to certain behaviors or habits of his), that his attitude has slowly changed.
Now comes the "wisdom to know the difference" part. One of the things that I love the most about D is that he challenges me to be a better person. And I know that there have been times in our life where my "nudging" D has encouraged him to do something that has bettered our lives. But what I really, really struggle with, is WHEN to just accept things as they are, and WHEN to have the courage to try to change things. I want to challenge, to encourage, to coerce (is that always a bad thing?), but I don't want to be a nag. I don't want to be a constant cheerleader, either. D's a big boy, I don't want him feeling like I don't trust him and his choices because I am constantly attempting to change them. And simultaneously I don't want to become complacent to our lives as they are and constantly say, "Oh well, it is what it is, and this is how it's going to be forever."
Finding a balance on the path to serenity... maybe I'll have it figured out in another nine years... or more.