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I batted my eyes and received my coffee maker with grace and humble appreciation. (Side note: Tried the contraption and it totally rocks. So glad I didn't rob my husband -- or myself -- of the joy of generosity).
Anyway, as we stood in line to buy the new addition to our family, enjoying our playful afternoon shopping, I casually leaned up and kissed him.
Just a kiss.
Nothing extraordinary, even to us really.
But right then, an older woman in front of us glanced our way and sweetly said, "Kiss any chance you get. My husband just passed away. You don't know now how you'll miss those kisses."
This moment, of course, comes on the heels of my own reflection in recent weeks that nurturing my marriage is something I can't take for granted. Or put off.
Don't get me wrong -- as far as married couples go, my husband and I have what I would consider a decent connection. We love each other. We love making love. And even in our most frustrating moments, we each have a deep sense of "Hey, I'm on your side. No matter what, I'm on your side."
But life gets full, you know? With the ring of the morning alarm, a relentless list of details lines up, vying for our attention, time and energy.
My husband and I don't always have the same agenda -- our "to do" lists don't always complement each other; and some days even compete with each other.
Life isn't just "messy," it's downright sticky and confusing and exhausting and bewildering.
Car batteries go dead at the least convenient time. Dogs -- and kids -- throw up, rarely on the easy-to-clean kitchen floor, but nearly always on the 600-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Bank accounts run low.
And how is it that I can't manage to keep enough milk in the fridge -- but still can manage to buy Greek yogurt that expires long before I get around to eating it?
And still, in the midst of all life's craziness, my husband and I have to figure out a way to not just have a marriage -- but to have a marriage worth having.
Can you relate?
Paul Byerly touches on this extraordinarily well in his recent post "Not Divorcing is Not Enough." He throws down the gauntlet and asks, "Being married 25 years is not impressive if the couple has been angry and/or miserable most of that time. I can honour them for sticking it out, but how much better to have worked through things so they got to a good marriage?"
Whether your marriage sucks right now or it is just existing or if you are comfortably happy with settling for a "just okay" relationship, ask yourself if you really have plenty of time to nurture your marriage?
I realize that "it takes two" and that sometimes one person in a marriage wants to nurture it -- and the other person is either oblivious or downright resistant.
A lot of marriages, though, could improve -- with a little effort by even one of the people in it.
Give a compliment.
Initiate sex when it's least expected.
Linger longer in each other's arms.
Do what you can to become better friends.
Offer a backrub.
Suggest a new activity.
Spend an afternoon together.
Look into each other's eyes.
Is all this easy? Well, no. But the rewards cannot be measured.
Kiss every chance you get.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.