I haven’t done a real post for awhile-you know the kind. The kind where I share my deepest thoughts, concerns, hopes, and dreams. Well, looks like today is your lucky day.
There’s a picture on my desk at work of Kevin and I on our honeymoon. It’s one of those close-up pictures taken by one of us reaching forward and turning the camera around. I’m sure you have a million of such pictures of you and your boyfriend, or best friends at the prom. You know the kind. Anyway, here in this photograph we were in the Smokies, probably about to embark on a long hike. Little did we know then that we were embarking on a real adventure-not a hiking adventure, but a real adventure-life together! Well, I guess we did know that our life would be an adventure, but never could we have imagined how beautiful our baby would be or where we’d be now, or where we will be in 10,20, 30, 60 years. You see? We made a good decision to get married and all we can do is pray that we continue to make good decisions together for the rest of our lives.
Maybe this concept doesn’t seem so deep to you. I mean-the concept itself is simple. Make good decisions. Together. Make good decisions together. It’s not rocket science. The implementation of the concept however, trips a lot of couples up. So many couples find themselves making decisions apart. A little independence here, a little lack of communication there and you’ve created distance. A little distance isn’t the end of the world-it can easily be zipped back up and mended, if it’s caught in time. But the problem with a little distance is that it can very easily lead to a whole lotta distance. And the problem with a whole lotta distance is that once you realize that there’s this wide chasm between you and your spouse it’s practically too late to be restored. What am I saying?
I’m not talking about myself and Kevin here. But we’re (together) in the process of watching a marriage fall apart. It’s awful. Secrets, lies, betrayals, years of loneliness and depression. Like I said, it’s awful.
What we’re learning: As awful as it is-as painful as it is to watch-there’s nothing we can do for them. All we can do (for ourselves) is squeeze out every lesson from this experience that we can. So we’re making sure that we stay connected. We talk about our days, even if nothing particularly exciting happened. We listen to the other, even if our spouse has nothing particularly exciting to say. We are intentional about doing things together, even if they are not particularly exciting. See a pattern here? That’s why our “hot dates” currently involve grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons, cooking dinner together, crawling around on the floor with Sophie. It’s in the ordinary life that love is strengthened.
I’m not some marriage expert (uh, duh, I’ve only got 2+ years experience) but I have seen some great longstanding marriages in action (or inaction-it’s not all about action). My parents, for one. Both of my sets of grandparents for some others. We’re talking 60+ years of marriage here folks-happy marriage. They know the secret. I really believe that the secret is this: You stay connected through everything. Boring times, exciting times, no matter what. You’ve committed to spending your life together, so spend it together you shall! This doesn’t mean that you can’t have alone time, or spend time with your friends. If anything it validates that time, because it gives you something meaningful to share with your spouse.
Right now I’m reading The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff, the synopsis of which I’ll save for my book review. But suffice to say-the topic of marriage has been on my mind.
For my married readers: How do you stay connected to your spouse? How have the different marriages you’ve observed in your life helped you learn how to be a better spouse?
Funnily enough, I didn’t start out this post to write about this at all. I actually was going to write about how God has been teaching me lately. Funny, huh? Perhaps this post is more of me letting go and writing what God had laid on my heart to write (unbeknown to me until right now). So, hopefully this was an encouragement to someone, maybe even me.
P.S. BIG thanks to Melanie for awarding me the Lemonade Stand Award! Everyone should go check out her blog-it’s great!