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Groundhog Day

Don’t Be a Punxsutawney Phil

Do you have a favorite holiday? If you’re like the average Joe, you’d probably say Thanksgiving (hello stretchy pants) or Christmas (ho ho ho).

Weirdly enough, I’m a big fan of Groundhog Day and here is why:

  • In early February, everybody can use a fun day smack in the middle of cold and wet weather.
  • The costumes of the dignitaries are fantastic. A top hat and tux would be what I pictured Abraham Lincoln wearing every day.
  • The flashbacks I have of making crafts in elementary school and the fun of watching the event with my classmates warms my heart.

Did you happen to catch the news about Punxsutawney Phil several weeks ago? It was a sunny day in Gobbler’s Knob on February 2, so the groundhog obviously saw his shadow. His Inner Circle, who are his helpers, said that Phil declared there will be six more weeks of winter. He then returned to his cozy home to continue hibernating.

How does this giant round rodent make his decision? I turned to my bestie, Google, to investigate this matter further. I learned that if Phil sees his shadow, he gets scared and retreats to his den, so six more weeks of winter it is! What if we, as humans, got to make decisions based on the sun? Rats! I saw my shadow — I don’t have to go to the dentist today.

That may have made you laugh, but the sad truth is we actually DO the same as the groundhog. Is there something in your relationship that is “off”, like an area you can’t come to an agreement on? Have you had to bring up a hard conversation with your spouse but decided to wait a few more days because you didn’t want to deal with it?

Full confession – I am the worst at addressing the hard things in my relationship. If I have something to talk about with my husband that I know is going to be a sticky situation, I will do everything I can to distract both of us from dealing with it. We recently received a high medical bill that was not covered by insurance. I knew it was not something that would bring him joy, so I shoved the bill into the desk drawer. Whenever it came to my mind, I continued to dread sharing the news with him, so I kept silent.

You can guess what happened next. A new month meant a new bill in the mailbox that he opened before me. I held my breath as he read it, dreading the conversation that was to come. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oh well. How great that we have a savings account for bills like this.”

I had put myself on a crazy train simply because I did not want to bring up bad news. If I had simply shown him the bill as soon as I opened it, it could have been resolved and no sleep would’ve been lost.

Ignoring, delaying, or not addressing a source of conflict in marriage can seem innocent enough, but the truth is that anything that interferes with your unity hurts your relationship.

Taking a proactive approach when you first see a problem to pause and talk lets you both be on the same page and tackle the situation together before it snowballs into something big and gross.

Luke 8:17 tells us, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

So, let’s be couples that do not hide from the scary but link arm in arm with our spouses to tackle the tough together. If Phil were to have a “Paula” to explain that the dark monster is actually just his shadow, we’d all be in a better place.