on marriage

I read this blog post today, and it really resonated with me. She writes to both men and women, all in this vein,

“Ladies, before you were Mommy, you were his. Men, before you were Daddy, you were hers. Remember this. Hold on to this. Keep these words precious to you.”

One theme in Matt’s and my conversations over these past couple weeks has our collective gratitude for this precious time in our marriage. We have 2 kids but only 2. The cessation of nap times in our house means that, by and large, our girls are tucked into bed before 8:00 each night, leaving us with hours of time to ourselves before we need to sleep. And we’re saying no to a lot of things – a lot of very good things. Our ministry involvement is much more limited than it used to be – Matt is no longer an elder, and I no longer do much ministry outside of our family. We’re focusing on fewer relationships and aiming for depth instead of casting a wide net for breadth. We don’t attend every event at which it would be possible for us to be present; sometimes our physical presence would benefit no one. We’re not in the middle of an adoption process. There are absolutely things I miss about those stages in which we lived our lives differently. BUT – and this is a huge but – it was not always working, not well at least. And to a large degree, we are truly seeing that clearly only now, as additional distance has followed those months of transition. Technically, everything was fine, and nothing was really wrong, per se.

But now? Now that there’s space for it? Now we’re experiencing some sort of marriage revival. I don’t even know that we can call it a return to the first days of our marriage, as we spent only 2 months living in the same city after our wedding before Matt took off for grad school while I stayed behind for another 6 months to finish up my undergraduate degree, and we saw each other only on weekends. But whatever this is, it’s good 🙂 We’re back to reading books together. We can text back and forth during his breaks from teaching. There are still parenting dilemmas and still rough days, but he’s with me in the parenting dilemmas. When I text him with a question or a problem or just to vent, I’m not one of many – I’m the one, and I need that. I need to know it. The other day after a rough morning and some (probably disproportionate) discouragement on my part, the doorbell rang a few minutes after he had departed for work, and there were flowers and a sweet card waiting for me on the front porch.

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We’re having more date nights, whether they entail going out for dinner (for which Matt actually got in touch with one of my friends and arranged childcare for us without my involvement one night this past weekend!) or just some time set aside for us to hang out on the couch together after the girls are in bed. We’re laughing together more. I find myself again looking forward to his return from work at the end of the day, not just so he can be another pair of hands in parenting, but so that I can see him again. The other night I actually noticed that he smelled nice. Our conversations are better – not just about logistics and how we can attempt to coordinate our schedules for the week but conversations with real depth and connection.

And in the midst of it, in the midst of all these changes in the context in which we’re living out our relationship and the changes in the choices we’re making and the ways we’re relating to each other, I find myself more in love with this man than ever and having more energy to love and care for our kiddos. At the end of the day, it’s not ten minutes of I-haven’t-been-alone-all-day-I-just-need-to-hear-myself-think time that I’m craving. I just want to fall into the arms of this guy again.

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Ten years into this thing called marriage, and I’d say it’s pretty amazing 🙂

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