As you know, my marriage is so, so, so very important to me. It's important to have that relationship at the forefront of my life, making every effort to keep it in top notch shape. Declan and I have been together over eight years and have been married for three in August, yet everyday I seriously love him more. If you would have told me that would be the case back when I was 19 and head over heels in luurrve, I probably would have laughed at you and thought it was impossible to love him anymore then I 'thought' I did at the time.
But, it's true.
Each day our relationship grows.
Each day I seriously treasure my marriage more.
Each day he blows me away with some selfless act that makes my heart leap. [Don't gag yet...there's plenty more to go.]
For us, there's no big secret to all this. It's just knowing each other well enough to realize it's in the little things. The unconscious things. The every.day.things.
We make fun of each other in a lighthearted way all the time.
We say things to each other that make absolutely no sense to anyone listening (and gawd, I hope they aren't listening!), but send us into fits of laughter every time.
We have an odd lingo of our own.
We act childish and weird together at times, and darn-it, it makes marriage more fun.
We try to re-live and re-tell old stories of our past together because they're so very much part of our story.
We tell each other e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
We make sure to tell each other just WHY we love the other.
We are best friends.
He knows what little things to do to make me feel special and fill my love tank. He knows that the way I receive love (my love language) is through quality time. So, he'll sit in the bathroom with me while I take a bath or shower, to catch up with me about my day or simply to keep me entertained for a few minutes because I don't prefer being alone. He watches shows that he would have neeeevvverrrr watched on his own simply because he knows it's important to me. He'll send me an email at work to tell me that he doesn't think I'm crazy for crying that morning on the closet floor over maternity pants, and that "he wants to be there for me" every step of the way in this pregnancy whether its pretty or not. Seriously? My heart melted too. He encourages me in my writing, in my future as a mother, and is my biggest fan.
On the other hand, I know my husband well enough to know he receives love through words of affirmation. He needs encouragement, to be able to talk about his day and know I'll listen, and be told what a great job he's doing running a department, being a husband, or will be as a soon to be daddy. I'm working on doing a better job at being affirming, because it's not just a natural characteristic in me. He knows that I support him in anything he does, that I think he's talented in so many ways, and that I'm his biggest fan, too.
Don't get me wrong, it's not ONLY the little things (but those things sure make everyday a lot better)...because our marriage is built on a firm foundation, which I believe is a key factor to our happiness and desire to see a fruitful marriage. When we said our vows to one another, we invited God to be the center of our marriage. You see, for us, we're just better with him present.
A year ago Declan and I read a book that's based on the love & respect principle. It also became a big part of our marriage, but almost sub-consciously. The gist of the book is: Every man desires in his heart to feel respected by his wife, while every woman desires to feel loved and pursued by her husband. It rings true to us.
With these bigger components as a solid foundation and the additions of the everyday small things, it has truly been the recipe for a fulfilling marriage. No marriage should suck the life out of you, nor should either person be bringing the other down. Your marriage shouldn't exhaust you. Because, we all know we have 329038 other things that exhaust us on an everyday basis, right?
Declan loves me enough to let me be me, in all my uniqueness and with all the flaws I have, and I do the same for him, recognizing that we're so different in many ways--yet together we make such a perfect pair.
We both can honestly agree that we are better because of the other.
We balance each other out, truly. Our friends and family would nod their heads in agreement.
I don't say all this to be on my soapbox about marriage. We are so very far from perfect (what is perfect anyway?) But, I do believe that what God has given us in our marriage is so special, and so important that it deserves to be nurtured and cared for. Every marriage should be that way, it's just often time we lose that focus.
If it's as simple as grabbing ice water for your husband before bed before he thinks of it on his own, or getting your pregnant wife some honey nut cheerios before plopping down to watch American Idol with her...then do it. Those little things take only a few seconds of your time, but can make a heart smile and feel loved for a long time.
Happy blustery (at least here) Friday!