Mutual Edit-fication: Term coined for the weekly time Shelaine and Bill spend in front of the fire giving feedback on each other's writing.
It wasn't always this way. For years Saturday mornings were a blur of pancake breakfasts and filling water bottles, then transporting boys across the Lower Mainland to soccer fields. Somewhere over the years cheering on our sons while standing in the rain shifted to sipping coffee in our robes and reviewing writing.
Actually, that makes it sound like I don't know when the change happened, but I do.
It happened when jaw pain sidelined my career in conjunction with our young men launching into adulthood, and Bill and I found ourselves in multiple transitions. Thankfully, we had made efforts over the busy child-raising years to stay connected and worked intentionally at growing together in our marriage. We looked forward to the empty nest season as one where we would spread our wings and hike, kayak, and even travel. However, my world of excruciating pain effectively clipped those wings.
Finding shared activities we could enjoy, during the two years I waited for surgery, proved challenging. We watched hockey and football together allowing the announcers to fill the void of talk in the room. We walked miles, often in silence, to manage jaw pain. And that was about the extent of it…for a while.
I don't recall any conversation initiating our fire-side interactions. It just evolved. During the week I wrote to stay sane and fill time in my endless home-alone days. Bill revised his textbook for the fourth edition and we emailed our work to the other by mid-week. Saturday morning seemed a natural opportunity to exchange ideas, debate sentence structure and encourage our craft.
Bill and I edited ourselves into deeper relationship.
We’ve discovered that pain and loss have a way of redefining us if we allow God to do so. And we haven’t navigated alone. We continue to seek insight from wise counsellors and support from caring friends. It takes a village to keep a marriage strong.
During our surgery months in Mississauga we began reading together, inspired by friends who have developed a meaningful habit of him reading out loud while she quilts. We took Silken Laumann's memoir, Unsinkable, Bob Goff’s Love Does and Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and spent hours enjoying their words; Bill reading, me listening with jaw wired.
And we loved the shared experience enough that 20 months later we've carried on. Four or five nights a week we crawl into bed and Bill reads a chapter out loud while I settle in and wind down from the day.
My world has opened widely since surgery and we marvel at God's abundant provisions both during and since that season. As I reflect on how we have grown as a couple I'm reminded that it's a three-way partnership. God has called us to committed faithfulness in sickness and health and He desires us to do our part. I write this fully aware that marriage can be a source of great joy, intense sorrow and every emotion in between. Sometimes it is just hard work.
And, we are grateful to the Lord for the dividends on the investment.
Our latest adventure comes in the form of websites. I launched mine in early January, after much edit-fication, and since then we have partnered to create a new site for Bill. You can find his, called Relating Redemptively, at: www.billstrom.ca where you will also see links to his two books, some self-assessments and his blog titled Virtuous Relating. Please, check it out. You might even find some resources there to strengthen your relationships.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst