For six years I’ve been married to this handsome cowboy. Six years in the scheme of a lifetime is not all that significant, but when you bring twenty years of marriage experience and five kids to the wedding ceremony six years is pretty significant. In reflecting on where we are now we realize the honeymoon phase is over and there’s been enough time to begin to define and refine what our marriage looks like and what we want it to be. Here’s a bit of what we discovered as we reflected together.
Romance is often an indicator of our schedules more than it is of our feelings for each other. When we are stretched and pulled in many directions it is so easy to feel disconnected. We have to keep in perspective that those feelings of disconnection are related to our schedules, responsibilities and stressors not because we have lost that loving feeling…
Time is critical for connecting with each other. We continue to learn to make marriage a priority and that it takes time to enjoy each other and communicate so that you have the stamina for the stretching and challenging years. This time together usually is not well organized or planned. Most often it comes in stopping in the middle of the chaos and saying now. We need a break now. Pull away and pull together even when you don’t feel like you have the money, time or energy.
Simplifying requires patience, persistence and flexibility. It feels that we are always trying to live in a more manageable way or finding ways to handle more. We are learning that cutting back in one year or phase of our life does not mean that we are giving up that activity or involvement forever. Similarly, a commitment we add for a time does not mean that each year we will re-commit to that activity. Freedom to support one another in adding or taking away without implied guilt is a significant part of how we do life together.
Honor where we are at now and who we are now. We are not exactly the same people as when we met. In some ways we have grown more mature and become easier to love and in other ways we’ve become more careless or complacent. Regardless of how we’ve changed, we acknowledge what life has brought us that has changed us and look forward to loving each other as we continue to change. We know that in six more years we will see even more changes and we look forward to those changes rather than fearing them.
Every day is not bliss. Days can be hard…nights can be long. When you look at your spouse for what you want in life we are setting them up for failure and ourselves up for disappointment. Instead, when you take the hand of your partner and you look at your life and relationship together the finger pointing stops (because you’re holding hands…) and the communication begins. Cheer each other on. Let each other make mistakes. Big ones and little ones. The journey of learning together makes love more meaningful and makes your marriage a safe place away from the world. Can you relate? What challenges and celebrations are you facing in your marriage?