Time for a Marriage Monday post- I haven’t done this in a while!
Weekends are great for assessing the temperature of one’s marriage. And by great, I mean terrible.
On the weekends, schedules are off, lists are made, intentions are shared but often not fulfilled.
He has his agenda, I have mine. Sometimes they’re similar but mostly they’re not.
Marriage is a constant dance of two people moving to their own beats. He’s got tango on his mind and I’m more at a waltz pace. He likes completion and I am about the process.
The weekends are also the time we have the most fights. It used to be on Sunday mornings while getting ready for church but lately it can be Saturday evenings or throughout the day on Sunday. It doesn’t happen every weekend but when it does, it’s a big blow up and things get said. We’ve learned to embrace the fights. We don’t fight like we used to but they’re certainly not enjoyable affairs either. However, they are necessary. We keep things unsaid. We bottle up and filter to protect each other until we can’t hold it in any longer. And then it blows.
But I will tell you this- the best part of the fights is the making up. And no, I’m not talking about THAT. (although make-up sex definitely has its perks) The making up of “I’m sorry” and “I didn’t mean to say that” or “I didn’t realize…” .
We’re growing. Always growing.
We’re learning. Always learning.
We’re stretching. Always Stretching.
And one thing we’ve learned after 23 years together is that we’re friends first.
We were friends before we dated, before we loved, before we kissed, before we got engaged. We were friends through it all and when I walked down that aisle, I married my friend.
Friends first is what gets us through the bad weekends, the fighting, the hum-drum days, the long silences.
Friendship is the basis of our relationship. And friendship makes us fight harder to stay together.
There were a few years when we had moved away, started out on our own, had babies alone, struggled without food and clothes and necessities …those were hard days. No sleep, sick kids, too many bills, no fun, not much to look forward to and pure exhaustion with life. We didn’t talk a lot. We fought some. Sometimes we didn’t love each other for a long period of time. It was hard. Really hard.
But even in those dark days that lasted for years(yes, really- years) we always held on to our friendship. Maybe we didn’t treat each other as good friends should. And maybe we took our friendship for granted. But we had the memories and the hope of what was and what would be.
And I’m happy to say we came out of those long, dark, trying years with our friendship stronger and our focus sharper: to be good lovers, you have to be good friends.
After we were married 10 years we started to laugh more.
After 13 years we held hands more.
After 15 years we loved being together more.
After 17 years: the fire was lit. We fell in love all over again. Not just puppy love. Not just superficial, sexually-fired up desire(although that was part of it), but true, enduring, abiding love.
I don’t know how to be married and not be friends. I don’t even know if it can be done.
If you are struggling in your relationship and finding you’re wanting to give up, try being friends. Friends WITHOUT benefits. Love her, love him just for being your friend. Laugh, hold hands, buy a gift or a treat. Show up unexpectedly. Send them a note, a text , an email. Be funny. Be silly. Be FRIENDLY. Bake some cookies. Order their favourite book or movie from Amazon. BE THE FRIEND YOU’D LOVE TO HAVE.
And you just might be surprised that they’re the friend you need.
This weekend one of the best posts on marriage that I have ever read was spreading like wild-fire. I have a feeling it has gone viral already. If you haven’t read it, take a few minutes to read it now: it’s amazing.
Marriage Isn’t For You by Seth Adam Smith