Last night, exhausted at the end of a day that started too early, we watched an old episode of The Office. We ended up watching the episode where Jim declares his love Pam, it ends with their sweet first kiss in the dimmed lit receptionist area.
We've watched the show long enough to see Jim and Pam's rocky start to a life together. I think it's the best prime time love story out there. But lately I've been worried about them. Jim's been living and working out of town, leaving Pam home with the kids and her job. She's lonely. She misses her husband, and the strain of working and caring for two children alone is getting to her. She has a breakdown on camera in front of Brian the camera guy. And a little door is cracked open. He offers her his support, lets her cry on his shoulder. He has been there with her, silently filming for a long time. But I can see it coming. The schism between Pam and Jim grows wider and Brian is there just off to the side, waiting to fill the void. The last few weeks have left me wondering if they would really let it go there. But the Valentine's Day episode ended with a thread of hope. Even though their romantic day was ruined and Jim was ready to head back to the city, leaving Pam alone again, Pam speaks up. She tells him to stay. He doesn't want to. He knows they'll fight. But she tells him to stay anyway, and they will fight. She made a choice, probably because she knew their marriage was something worth fighting for.
It's a choice we all have to make.
Marriage is something you choose daily. Because every day something will compete for the attention your spouse needs from you. Jobs, kids, leaky pipes-whatever. But this marriage? That is something I need to make a conscious choice about every single day.
I choose to make it a priority because if I don't those immediate things: crying babies, faulty plumbing, and job reports; will all become the priority. And no one ever wanted to grow up and marry faulty plumbing.
Even though I've been wearing this ring for a long time I realize that I still need to make a daily choice to put my marriage ahead of everything else. What does that even look like today?
Communicate. And communicate right. This isn't about quantity, though that's good. But quality communication is key. Each of you has your own unique love language. Learn those special languages and speak them often. If you aren't communicating in a way that your spouse can hear and understand, you might as well not communicate at all.
My husband needs words of affirmation, when I affirm who he is a man he feels loved. I need quality time. When we are together, intentionally focused on each other, I hear his love the loudest.
Be the Wife
Be his wife. Your husband does not need a mom, he's already had one and now he's a grown man anyway so he doesn't need mothering. So those sock he leaves out? Don't nag him to clean them up. Choose to step over them, or choose to do a loving act of service and pick them up for him. But do it with a grateful heart for the man who wears them and is home everyday to toss them across the room. Do it prayerfully, asking God to bless his feet and the places he goes. Sounds hokey? Try it, they're just socks. And as your busy not being his mom, remember that what he really needs is a wife. And I mean a wife who does all the wifey things a man needs. You're the only one allowed to fulfill him physically, so do that. And do it often. That's a privilege, and also? It's pretty fun for you too.
Remember that you're in this for the long haul. Let those petty disagreements go. Next week they probably won't matter. Tomorrow they probably won't even matter. So get over them, look each other in the eyes and say I love you. And then get naked.
Bow chica wow wow
You saw it coming, right? Never underestimate the power of getting it on. Really. And yes, I'm going there. In my marriage I've noticed that we are always at our most irritable, most snarky, most frustrated when the sparks have not been flying in the bedroom. There is a reason that God made sex just for husbands and wives. He knows you can't stay mad too long when you're busy doing other things. And that shared intimacy is like glue in all the best ways.
I've only been married 13 years, but since the average marriage only lasts 8 I feel like I may be kind of qualified to speak to this issue. Because it's not just about staying married, it's staying happily married. We haven't always been happy, but we've turned it around because we've made a choice to choose each other. We prefer each other over ourselves and over anyone else. Because when that tall dark and handsome young guy got down on one knee and proposed forever, I knew I wouldn't be happy with anyone else. So I said yes, and have been saying yes every single day since then.