“A baby’s born in the middle of the night in a local delivery room. They grab his feet, smack him ’til he cries he goes home the next afternoon. ‘Fore you know it he’s off to school and then he graduates in May; Goes out and gets a PHD and then cures all sorts of things; Wins a Nobel prize and saves a million different lives; The world’s a better place for all he’s done. It’s funny when you think about the reason he’s alive; Is all because two people fell in love….There ain’t nothin’ not affected when two hearts get connected. All that is, will be, or ever was. Every single choice we make, Every breath we get to take is all because two people fell in love.”
This last month, Frank and I celebrated a dozen years of marriage. Our anniversary sneaks up on us every year and this year I asked myself why. I concluded that it is because over time our marriage is becoming a lower priority. It is of course not our intention but is simply a product of our attention going in 5+ other directions and not taking the time and effort to build into each other and our relationship.
This year, I felt the neglect of our nurturing more than in years passed and felt the need to lean in, take a chance, and find out if he felt it, too. Turns out, we both were observing the same thing…months without a date and a child-free conversation. Yes, we still engage in dialog, “I love you’s,” and good night smooches but it has all become routine. More evidence of where our relationship is on our radar is this very blog, which is void of discussion on the marriage where these five miracles find their origin. Therefore, this post is a Tribute to Us because the happily ever after that we live each day is all because two people fell in love.
We like to say there was chemistry in chemistry back in Mrs. Peterson’s lab in 2002. Seated in alphabetical order, our paths were destined to cross. While Frank’s eyes first glanced upon my test answers before me, I didn’t hold it against him. It would’ve been easy to write him off as a cheater but instead this baseball stud and amateur rock star tugged at my heart strings.
Somehow we both got out of that situation with a stern talking to from our teacher versus a failing grade. While I wouldn’t necessary describe us as “high school sweet hearts,” I gave my heart away to him our sophomore year and it made its home in our- at the time- feeble relationship, which ebbed and flowed until my senior year of high school when we made a commitment to each other that I know today will last a lifetime. The trials and tribulations didn’t stop after the magical period of infatuation. Life dealt us our fair share of hardships, but no gale has been too much to capsize our ship. Looking back, I believe these difficulties and dark times prepared us for one of the hardest tasks we have ever encountered together- parenting.
Today, we remain committed and have recently renewed this commitment to “us” because we know this is a promise to a better future for our children and our family. And, one day when our house is too quiet for comfort and the chaos has subsided we will not look across the table to see a stranger but, a best friend.
Strategies that we have found and are finding can help sustain a stressed marriage are not hard to come by. A quick google search will serve up too many to peruse but here are ours:
- Make a commitment to your marriage and outline what that means.
- Support each other- the other person’s identity- and what is important to them.
- Identify and call-out habits and routines that may be slowly pull you and your spouse apart.
- Share habits and routines that keep you together.
- Identify your love language and actively seek to “speak” your spouse’s language.
- Redefine what a date is.
- Be brave and willing to take a risk on behalf of your relationship. See something, say something [in kindness].
- Let your marriage be a testament to I Corinthians 13 and live our Romans chapter 12.
I end with the words of these two letters from St. Paul, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:9-21)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13: 4-13)