After having a rough day in the world of marriage, my bestie sent me this beautiful quote.
“Marriage is a not a noun, its a verb. It isn’t something you get. Its something you do. Its the way you love your partner everyday.” -Barbara De Angelis
The quote couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been married to the most amazing man for over six years. Not that long in the grand scheme of life, but what makes it feel long for us is that we have lived in 5 cites, had two children, and many many transitions in between. It has been a roller coaster to say the least.
It has been fun. Hard. Unbearable at times. Exciting. Joyful. Tearful. And character building to say the least.
Over the past six years, since we said “I do,” we have BOTH changed. A lot.
And somewhere along the way, we lost sight of our friendship.
We lost sight of how to do the work that helps us dig deep when the days are long and tough. And let’s face it – most of the days are long and tough in one way or another.
We lost sight of the fun. Mostly, because we were constantly covered in moving boxes to pack and unpack, babies on our laps and in our arms, jobs to settle into, family to visit, sleep to find, chores to do …
We lost sight of the fact that we needed to DO the marriage part.
Marriage is a verb, y’all.
There were a lot of things distracting us from the fact that we were not tending to our friendship. The work of life was a distraction of course, but also the fact that many of the days that were passing us by were still “happy.” We had so much to be grateful for and so much good surrounding us. There was not really a reason for us to stop and make any kind of real change. Life, for the most part, was truly good.
It was easy to look the other way and say that even though we weren’t really connecting as much as we desired, we did indeed “have it all” … or at least we were pretending to.
Well, then came my 33rd birthday. It just happened to be on a night where a very close friend of ours suggested that she come over and watch our kids while we went to dinner to celebrate. The hubs picked out an extremely fancy and totally perfect restaurant and even left work early to make sure to come pick me up for our reservations. (He is amazing.)
As we sat across from each other, dressed all fancy, in this cozy little intimate setting, tears filled my eyes.
Why was it SO HARD to just enjoy myself?
The simple answer?? It had been too long since we had done what we were doing. It had been too long since we nurtured and invested in just the two of us.
So many feelings were flooding in. There was this HUGE realization that we were not connecting as a couple. Sitting there, with no other place to look, but in his eyes, made me realize that our life as we were currently living it did not reflect spaces for us to thrive as a couple.
The foundation of our relationship was leaking and although the love has never changed, we needed to recommit to the relationship work needed in order for our marriage to flourish.
We pushed through dinner and continued to try and lift the spirit of the evening. Still though, I went to sleep with tears in my eyes that night. With those tears though, came a huge sense of gratitude. I had HOPE in my heart and I was grateful for the glimpse of understanding of how much we could not take our love for granted. I had hope because we had indeed become honest and were finally looking at the life we were living without the rose colored glasses.
We woke in the morning with the understanding that real work needed to be done. That if we wanted to stay happily married, we could not take each other for granted. We needed to build.
We made some plans. Some of which included some great resources from The Gottman Institute which I highly recommend that any couple invest in. They have a great “Marriage Minute” (that can really apply to any committed relationship) you can sign up for that sends a quick talking point to you and your spouse each week via email. They also have some other great resources that you can order on their website. We ordered some question cards and have been reconnecting through these resources as well as noticing some other ways we can nurture our relationship. It has been really fun and almost feels like dating again – but better.
Love isn’t enough for marriage to work.
We have always know that, but recently we hit a bump in our road that shined a light on this truth. My husband and I have never lost the love, but we lost a bit of the connection. We lost the connection because we didn’t continue to DO the work. I am sure there will be another time and another that we lose the connection. But with each bump in the road, we continue to promise to each other to keep trying and keep working.
I share this with you all in a place of solidarity. Understanding that we all have struggles in our marriages at one time or another. So, if you are feeling disconnected – don’t wait any longer. I encourage you to seek out ways to reconnect and DO it.