Wait, what? Yep, I was surprised too when I came to this realization…
I recently went back home to visit family and was trying to think of a good question to ask to catch up with people. I landed on, “What’s the best thing happening in your life right now?” It was so fun, I think I’ll stick with that one for a while…instead of the boring “How are you?” I had some meaningful conversations from that question!
I figured I’d better have an answer to that question when someone turns it on me. Immediately my husband came to mind. No, I’m not writing this just for brownie points (but I hope I get some hunny!). I honestly feel like my marriage is the best thing happening in my life right now among a lot of amazing things. I feel so blessed and grateful because I’m not sure many other people would say that. (For reference, we’ve been dating about 8 years and married for almost 2. Fair to say still in the honeymoon phase, and without kids which I know makes things easier!)
Why? The best way I can explain it is that we are at this great place where things feel safe and secure, but also fun and exciting. How? Difficult, uncomfortable conversations about needs, desires, expectations, and intentions mixed with a little surprise and delight, and lots of laughs!
We’ve talked about it all, and I mean ALL. Yes, even what you’re thinking…that too. Full vulnerability around needs and desires (yikes!). Full honesty about intentions and expectations (double yikes!). This has been incredibly difficult for me. Someone who wants full control and has a really hard time trusting men. It has been difficult for my husband, mostly because of the way we stereotype men and their emotions. A couples’ devotional helped us start some of these conversations in a neutral and natural way early on. It’s not over, it is lifelong work, hard work every day and in every situation.
That’s why we have to balance with some fun and laughs! Nothing over the top, but little things like code words, cards and texts just because, affectionate touches (I like to touch his butt…probably too much!), date nights either out or cooking dinner together, and going for walks in our neighborhood.
Leading up to and since we were married we’ve been having discussions about who we want to be, and how we want the other to support us in that. We have a pact to both encourage AND challenge each other to be the best version of ourselves and achieve who we want to be. The challenge part isn’t my favorite, but necessary! 🙂 We also talk a lot about what legacy we want to build in our marriage (family, finances, memories, values, etc.). This has been incredibly important for us to stay close as we grow and change through life’s chapters.
I recently listened to an amazing podcast about how marriage has evolved from what it was when it was founded (a cultural ritual of bringing people together for economic and political gain), to what it is now (finding a partner who can help you be your best self). There are new intentions, new expectations, and new realities in marriage as a result of this evolution we should be talking about. Maybe you can start by listening to this podcast together from NPR’s Hidden Brain, When Did Marriage Become So Hard?
Prayers and love on your journey. Please pray for us on ours!