Effort isn't exactly the largest word in the English lexicon... but I'd be willing to wager that it has one of the largest potential impacts of any word in any language. When we get down to it, effort is the catalyst to achievement, the key to change, and the facilitator of open, honest communication. The true value of effort lies not only in seeing it from your partner and the confidence and reciprocity that it inspires, but also the honest, whole-hearted effort that you bring to the table yourself. There are many things that are easy: Falling off a log, making slow sweet love on a Saturday morning, holding hands and talking while it rains on your roof, yes these things are all easy, but sometimes effort isn't.
Being there for your partner can mean listening when you are tired, showing up when perhaps you'd rather be doing something else, saying you understand when maybe you don't and especially taking that extra minute to give them some time to be themselves... Sometimes I have to set up a "mommy time" intervention for June. June is a fantastic housekeeper and a hard worker and I will defiantly admit that our boys definitely keep her on her toes. I'll be honest I'm really not much different than anyone else, I have my own interests, and sometimes at the end of a long day, I'm not much for talking, sharing, or being loquacious... but I see the positive effect that my effort has on my family, my home and my relationship.
It stands to reason that along with effort, honesty and action also make up important parts of a DD/TTWD relationship. It's easy to say something. make conditions, promises, consequences. It's true what they say though, there is a time for words and there is a time for actions and then again I also say that talk is cheap.
Following through can be a true test for both parties... I realize for my words to carry the proper weight in my home, I must be committed not only to be the best man I can be for my woman, and my children, but to further illustrate the importance of commitment, honor, dependability and to go back a bit...effort. June really is a good girl and in truth does not often warrant or require correction. It is still easy to see the value of being a gentleman or lady of one's word... even and especially when it isn't easy or fun or life isn't convenient. That dedication, that solid foundation can in fact be a source of comfort during times of stress, a source of surety and a demonstration of love that speaks much louder than words ever could.
One of the beautiful things about DD/TTWD is that we learn very quickly that indeed there is no one perfect and that indeed we require grace, patience and hearts that yearn for growth and affirmation through the consistent application of patience, effort and follow through. It would be easy to do less, but at what cost? Take the time to communicate. Apply effort and understand that indeed actions speak volumes more than any amount of words. Sometimes following through will test you, there is no getting around that, sometimes giving your partner what they need, when they need it will hurt....but in so doing, you elevate your relationship to a new level where the air is clear and our bond solidifies into a unshakable foundation.
Daddy gives me his every effort. He shows up every single day. He makes time for our family, I love to watch him roll around on the floor with the boys, or pick them up and carry them around over his head like a sack o'taters, lol (I did tell you Daddy is a BIG man, right?). I love to watch him sit down with the boys over homework, while I make dinner, and watch his love and patience carry them through difficult assignments.
Daddy has a hard job. He sees some of the ugliest of behavior. And he has to treat the perpetrators with a kindness they have not shown to others. This wears on him, deeply. I can hear it in his voice some days when he calls because he just needs to hear my voice, to touch some piece of home and comfort to get him through a day. Some days, he walks through the door and his eyes are haunted. When we see man's inhumanity to man we can't unsee, or unhear, or unimagine, and it could easily strip our own humanity.
But he comes in to his family, and he shows up. It's a struggle sometimes. But you can see him, stripping layer by layer of his turmoil. Sometimes it's classified, he can't even get the balm of my assurance. All I can do is tell him that I see it, and wrap my arms around him and make home his refuge.
How easy in the sight of this for him to shut down? How easy to check out? How much easier to nurture his own wounds and walk away, than to see the struggling child, or to see his stressed out wife? But he shows up. He sees us. He shucks the world and assumes the responsibility of this family. There are the times then that I offer myself to him, for his stress relief. And there are others when I am struggling, those are the hard ones, those are the ones where he has to be bigger, and stronger and more. How easy to check out? He never does. He takes us in his hands and he leads. He gives us every single thing that each of us needs. He never, ever cheats us, shortchanges us. And in so doing, he makes us unbreakable indeed.