Today is my 18th wedding anniversary! And what makes it even more special is that I’ve now been officially married for half of my life. (My ds16 asked me today if I felt like it had been 18 years, and I wasn’t sure how to answer – I don’t feel old enough to have been married that long but obviously I am!)
I’ve been thinking about marriage lately. Some people might think that if you have a good marriage, it kind of stays like that once you get it off the ground. But you really can’t take your marriage or your spouse for granted, no matter how strong your relationship is. Relationships become stronger with regular investments of time and energy, and feelings of connection fade when too long goes by without consciously putting forth time and energy to build the relationship.
I recently caught myself being so busy that my husband and I were basically giving instructions/information to one another in passing, without having time for meaningful conversation. Even though my husband is the most important person in my life, I realized I wasn’t allocating my time in a way that reflected that. A couple of days ago I told him I recognized that I’ve been doing this, and that I’d really like to have a weekly night out together.
This has been something he’s wanted to do for a long time but I’ve been resistant to making it something regular that I have to put into my schedule. My nature is that I enjoy getting things done, and it’s actually relaxing for me to be at home and cleaning the kitchen while chatting. But my husband understandably doesn’t find it relaxing to talk to me when I’m cleaning the kitchen and flitting from one thing to another. And honestly, it’s totally different when you get out of the house, because all of your focus is on your spouse, not on what else has to be done at home.
Recognizing that love means doing for someone what they perceive as loving, not doing what you want and then getting annoyed that he doesn’t appreciate your efforts, I felt it would be an important message for him and for myself, that I was putting our relationship ahead of everything else. It’s not just a token acknowledgement – it means in the middle of a busy week setting aside an evening when we know we’ll have a chance to connect on a meaningful level (we already have that on the weekend, so having a mid week opportunity helps bridge the gap).
Going out doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. I prefer quiet settings where I’m not distracted by other people, so I can focus on my husband. My husband knows my preferences by now and suggested a place by a lake, which was really beautiful. It was peaceful and quiet (both of which I really appreciate, not having much of that during the course of a day!), and I’m looking forward to making it a regular part of my week. I really enjoy his company, and I love that our relationship gets better and better every year!