What You Don't Know About My Marriage
Once upon a time, a boy met a girl.
Then he met her again... only this time they had a conversation... then a date... then a courtship... then the two became one.
Twenty years later, they are still on their honeymoon - some days with ease, and other days by choice and the grace of God.
What He has joined together, let no one separate.
That's my story, by the way. My wife and I just celebrated twenty years of marriage together.
How do you feel about that?
Culturally speaking, you're supposed to applaud. That's what you would do if I said this out loud in a group of people... like how everyone applauded when I flew recently and it was discovered that there were two couples on the plane each celebrating 40 years of marriage. The flight attendant announced it as we landed, adding, "That's so inspiring in a today's day when you just don't hear as many stories like that as you used to."
Unfortunately, it's also popular to be a cynic. I sense this reaction when I'm in the company of someone who has had a hard road when it comes to marriage. They hear of another couple who's "making it work" and can't/won't comprehend anything but skepticism of what's "really happening behind closed doors over there."
Then there's one other extreme - you hear of someone reaching a milestone and think, "I need to do what they're doing." There are some conversations I have with people who I can tell aren't talking with me as much as they're constantly picking my brain through my stories to better their own life. That's fine to some point, but these chats seem to make me feel like a lab subject.
Here's what you don't know about my marriage:
- There is some moment in most every day that we start take our eyes off of each other. We get busy by the same things you do.
- There is some moment in most every day that we remember to fix our eyes on Jesus. I can count on one hand the number of times we've not ended our night by praying together.
- There is some moment in most every day that we misunderstand each other and have to slow down to make sense out of it all.
- There is some moment in most every day that we push back inward to make it work versus pull back to stay resentful.
The list can go on... but perhaps the most recent takeaway is that even in knowing all of that and trying to be on the ball we developed something between us we didn't realize:
A spirit of unconscious angst.
From time to time there are a handful of things my wife would like to tell me, but feels bad bringing up given the things I already am doing or out of the fear that I might react too personally to them. There are (likewise) many things that I'd like to tell her, only I hold back for similar reasons. That typically means we push those things down and take on the burdens ourselves versus share them.
You can do that for a while, but eventually it will create resentment you're not even aware of - a spirit of unconscious angst.
This is not only what you don't know about my marriage... this is what I don't know about my marriage.
In the month of our 20th anniversary, my wife and I took some extended time off of work. We shut down our phones, didn't attend to email and let the world run on God's energy versus ours (which, to no surprise, He is a rockstar at doing). Throughout this time, we had fun as a family, took care of projects around the house and celebrated twenty years together. We likewise talked about topics we just don't get around to talking about:
- How we can better be a part of each other's lives/passions.
- What it means for each of us to be parents at this point in life.
- Who we want to be when it comes to our physical affection and sex life.
- Where life seems to be taking us.
- When we will do life together - from me being less of a night owl and her figuring out how to adapt to my varying schedule.
- Why we love each other, and how to fan the flame of that.
You don't need to know our answers, but I do want you to know the value of asking questions like this. I believe it's what propels a husband and wife to start to know what they don't know about what they don't know.
Everyone tries to have a good marriage... but not everyone trains for it.
What do you think the difference is?