Thursday, April 01, 2010

The marriage that keeps going and going and...

I understand now.
I understand how easy it is to fall into a routine with a person.
I understand how easy it is to stop showing the most important person in your life that you LOVE them.
I understand how easy it is to forget to be in a marital relationship, not just two people living together.

I never understood before how people could just "fall" out of love. Doesn't love last forever I thought?

When we are young, we read the fairy tales and watch the romantic princess movies, and the endings are always the same, they got married and lived "happily ever after." When we are young, it is understandable to believe that marriage is the end of the road. It is the finish line, that once you cross, the race is over, and the cool down can begin. In some ways, that metaphor is true. Marriage is the finishing line for the single life, for the rat race of finding "mr./ms. right." But in many ways, it is the starting line. It is the start of a commitment. A life long commitment.

Kyle and I were joking the other night about our contract with English Village, and how we were thankful that it wasn't more than a year. A year of chaos, is probably as much as we could handle before loosing what little sanity we have left.
The next part of the conversation is a little hazy but I said something about quitting Kyle (jokingly of course).
And Kyle's response was, "uh-huh, you signed a life long contract with me."
And it hit me, when we (people) get married, we are signing on for the duration of the rest of our life. It is pretty crazy to think that anybody would willingly sign something agreeing to one thing, the same thing for their entire life. When I thought about it in terms of contracts I was really hit with the longevity of it.

Don't worry people, I'm not getting cold feet three years into our marriage. But it is something to consider, looking at it from a different vantage point.

In recent weeks, as I have mentioned in earlier posts, we have been going going going, like two energizer bunnies with fully charged batteries. Working during the work week from 8:30 am-8:15 pm. Finding time to work out, to write, to rest were all on top of the list for the "to do" list after work. However, not on that list was to appreciate each other, or to love each other. And make no mistake people, those should be on a "to do" list of a married couple. Sometimes when we slip into one of our routines, I feel like we forget how to "be in love." And in actuality, I forget to love Kyle. I forget to appreciate him for the man I married, and not just the person I spend most of my time with. It is so much easier than I ever imagined to turn into "an old married couple." A successful marriage is not one that doesn't split up in my opinion. There are plenty of couples who remain together but no longer as a husband and a wife, but as two people who just happen to occupy the same house. An old married couple who no longer bother to even look at each other, or kiss each other because it takes too much effort, is not what I am striving for in my marriage. But I understand it now.

I have understood from the beginning that a marriage takes work. I was under no illusions that marriage is always a piece of chocolate cake, gooey, and delicious. But until now, I didn't think that falling into a loveless marriage would ever be possible for Kyle and I. We are so alike, we love each other with a fierceness. We call each other pet names and we aren't afraid to display public affection. But guess what? We aren't immune to the blah-ness disease. The disease of rote pattern, and blinders. The disease of selfishness and lack of consideration. The disease of loosing the romance and not bothering to look for it. I wish their was some sort of immunization one could take at their wedding ceremony to prevent these sad occurrences from plaguing our lives, from preventing life from wedging it's way into our relationship, but there isn't a magic elixir to prevent it. There is only us.

The antidote, for us at least, and most relationships (in my opinion) is effort. Effort to remember the other person. Not just to remember them, but to remember that they are a separate person with feelings, wants and desires all of their own, not necessarily connected to our own. Effort is remembering to kiss the special person, to show them the affection you wish they would done on you. Effort is remembering that cuddling next to someone should never just be habit, but something to cherish each and every time. We have to put effort into our relationships, treat that other person as we would want to be treated.

Our weekend of R and R, was just what the romantic doctor ordered. A short time to appreciate each other, to remember to be in a relationship outside of work, outside of friendship, outside of being roommates. We were able to take the time to look each other in the eyes for not just a second, but for minutes, melting into each others souls as we used to do when we first found each other. We told each other "I love you" not just because it was "that time" to say it, but because we meant it and because it had to be said before it exploded out of us. Taking time to remember to love each other, is what I found is extremely important in keeping our marriage vibrant.

So this got me to thinking; What do you do, to keep your marriage or relationships alive? How do you keep the love from slipping away into the abyss?


Ashton Sanders said...

Fantastic Post V, as always. You're totally right. It takes effort from both parties to put time into themselves, spend quality time together, and do things with each other. <3

Warren Baldwin said...

Vanessa, I'm still here reading.

This was a very good post.

Counseling is one way that has kept me focused more on home (with my wife and kids). As I have listened to stories of people who have neglected their role at home, and have neglected their family at home, it has energized me to go home and give the extra effort of time, love, energy, etc.

It is a constantly recurring need - to be freshly reminded of what we have at home and give those people and relationships the proper care.

It is worth it. Cheryl and I have been at it for 28 years.

Since we last visited each others posts (nearly a year ago) I have published a book of essays on Proverbs. One of my chapters is about the vow we take in marriage. Why do we take a vow? Why do we give our word to stay together? B/c there will be times when the emotions fade, and we need something to sustain us beyond the good feelings. The vow does that.

Just as the tide, emotions in marraige can ebb and flow. But it is in the honoring of the vow that we survive any low points and get to ride the tide to the top again, experiencing the joy and love of marriage.

On my blog, Family Fountain, I am posting a weekly series of "Favorite Marriage Books" by guest posters. You might enjoy looking at that.

Again, very good, and heart-felt, post.

Also, you are a very good writer. Do you see a book in your future?