Janus was a Roman god with two faces, one looking to the past and other to the future. He symbolized change and transitions from one vision to another, and the passage of time. He also represented the growth from innocence to wisdom.
I am a big history buff, so you can imagine my surprise when my husband gave me what he termed, “the gift of Janus” this Christmas.
From a tiny metal box plugged into our computer, I was able to view picture after picture of the start of our life together. We had lost all of these memories after our old computer died, taking its treasures to the grave. My husband had wisely saved the wasted corpse and had secretly asked a friend to “do whatever it takes” to save those files.
There was our past displayed on the screen before us, pre-crazy boys. I didn’t have bags under my eyes and my hair and clothes weren’t wrinkled. My husband wasn’t wrestling wild children. Instead, I was the one he had his eyes on. That was our innocence.
While those images skidded across the screen I yearned for that time as a newly married couple. Then I heard my boys say: “Where am I? Why am I not there? Am I in your tummy yet?” Looking across the heads of our three little boys at my husband, I was hit with wisdom. Our children had come between us, but they had made us a family.
Truly, it was a gift worthy of the Roman god Janus.
And it reminded me of a quote I had heard somewhere in time that says:
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow…”
– Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
Viewing the pictures of my yesterday with my today crawling all around me, I wondered about the tomorrow that was upon us–the new year. What did my husband and I hope for? Was there a way to restore that romance that I had just witnessed between us as newlyweds?
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”- Albert Einstein
The answer is yes, there is a way. Setting goals together is a way to restore the romance. It may not be the most obvious of romantic gestures, but it gives you and your husband a chance to get to know one another again.
Setting goals together will:
1. strengthen relationships by giving you the opportunity to work as a team towards a common ambition.
2. improve communication and understanding as you sit down together and discuss personal desires.
3. legitimize desires and hold you accountable to working towards common element.
4. allow you to support and cheer one another on.
5. contribute to overall satisfaction as goals are achieved.
6. provide you with a chance to celebrate the life you are building together.
Perhaps your relationship looks a little like mine, with kids always between you and your husband. Maybe you are like me and wonder how you can restore some of that newlywed romance back into your marriage. Is there even time to sit down and set goals together?
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, we read:
“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other…”
Sitting down together in a quiet kid-free setting is not only okay, it is a solemn responsibility.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World also states that:
“Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness and to teach them to love and serve one another….”
Taking time out to renew relationships with our spouse provides the perfect opportunity to teach children about love and service. You serve someone when you give them your time. You grow to love someone as you serve them. And you model service and love to your children when you treat your husband as someone worthy of your time.
When you set your goals together, remember that marriage is ordained of God. No relationship is complete without invoking the help of our Heavenly Father. Join together in prayer as you seek to set worthy goals, asking for God’s direction.
“… for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,” (Romans 8:26-27, King James Bible).
Don’t forget to give yourself the gift of Janus too. Go for a trip down memory lane together and remember just why you chose this guy again. Treasure how innocent you were yesterday, recognize the wisdom you’ve gained today, and have faith in the hope together you have planned for tomorrow.
Jessica Clark is a wife, mom, writer, runner, knitter, and proud Canadian. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Anthropology, and has been a student of people and cultures ever since. Right now she is busy studying the behavior and cultures of the people of Texas.