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My husband and I are big baseball fans.
If we had the cash and time, we'd spend every April basking in the Arizona or Florida sun, soaking up the experience of Major League spring training.
That, in our book, sounds like a little slice of Heaven.
I recognize some of you aren't baseball fans (there's grace for that!), but I imagine there is something you thoroughly enjoy just as much, whether it is another sport, hobby or activity.
My stepdad, as well as a good friend of mine from college, are both huge movie buffs. (My stepfather actually owns the DVDs of nearly every movie that has ever won an Academy Award in any of the major categories. I kid you not. Going into his and my mom's family room is like walking into a movie rental place, where countless DVDs line the walls).
My friend and I went to see a premier of "The Descendants" and actually even were able to attend a Q/A with the director, Alexander Payne, who is from Omaha. I was amazed at the details in the film that my friend noticed that flew right by me.
She loves movies and it obviously shows in her understanding and appreciation for film.
If you were to ask me what I love about baseball, I could rattle off numerous reasons.
I love the rhythm of the game, the ebb and flow of absolute calm and on-the-edge-of-your-seat intensity.
I love the civility of the game; how it is still a place where players (at least most of them) show up with their shirts tucked in. There is a tradition of respect and congeniality that is foundational to the sport.
I love the sound and feel of a ball park, the vendors hawking peanuts, the announcer's voice drifting over the PA system.
I love how the game can't end in a tie ("bonus baseball" is what we call it if the game goes into extra innings!)
I love watching our older son steal bases, catch an almost impossible fly ball or pitch a fabulous inning.
I love that it's a game where there is a lot of subtle idiosyncrasies that accumulate to reveal something of tremendous depth.
I love that it is much more a mental game than a physical game, where pressure exposes a player's ability to either rise to the occasion or crumble in distress. I even love that the managers can argue with the umps, often with such innate commitment for their player that they are willing to actually be told to leave the ball field. That's passion!
You get the picture. I love baseball.
If I were to ask you what you love about your favorite hobby or sport or activity, I imagine you too could go on and on about what you love.
But what if I asked you what you love about sex?
Could you with equal enthusiasm tell me why? Could you give me more than 1 or 2 reasons?
This is a valid question for husbands and wives -- the opportunity to actually express to each other why they each love sex.
I know I am making a daring assumption that you both do love sex. Even if that does not characterize your marriage, I believe this topic is still an occasion to initiate some much-needed conversation.
If possible, take the time individually to list 5 or more reasons why you love sex.
Ask your spouse to do the same. (And if "love sex" seems like a stretch for one or both of you, then come at it from the angle of... "this is what I envision sex could mean for us.")
After you each have your list, find uninterrupted time to share your lists, preferably when you both are well-rested, have possibly shared a meal or alone time together, and when the children aren't likely to sabotage the conversation.
Such a conversation may be cathartic in your marriage.
It likely will open up new avenues to understand your spouse's heart.
It's fascinating to me how two people who do so much life together -- possibly even for decades -- may not truly understand what sex means to each of them. If this is the case in your marriage, I encourage you to courageously broach the topic, and to genuinely listen to each other.
Maybe you'll even start making more trips around the bases, if you know what I mean.
(Sorry. The baseball fan in me just refuses to take a break!)
Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.