Last week I wrote about what that initial “spark” is when you meet someone you feel attracted to. It’s a high. It’s a rush.
You get together. Get married.
And then I hear how couples barely talk to each other a few years into marriage. Or how couples don’t care to spend time together because they’ve got their own things going on in their lives….they’re just sharing the house now. Or how any conversation is only about the groceries, the bills, the weekly schedule or the kids. Or how “date night” is going to a dinner where each are on their respective smart phones through the meal, followed by a movie in a dark theatre shared by a hundred other strangers where the only thing you hold isn’t his/her hand but your bag of popcorn and drink. It honestly makes me a little sad when I see it.
One husband with two young ones commented to us that since we’ve only been married two years, we’re still in the “honeymoon” and romance kind of phase but that in a few years we’re not going to care so much what the other person is up to. Will still love them, but just not care so much.
I’m a little alarmed by this…is that going to be us??? I don’t want to become that comfortable, but kinda emotionally disconnected couple. I want to always find things that “spark” between us. I want to make sure there’ll be moments of feeling melty inside…for the rest of our lives. I’m pretty sure I’m not a hopeless romantic so this goal isn’t unreasonable is it? Any thoughts or comments from those married longer than two years?
I asked Skywalker what still makes him feel the spark now. He said, “The Holy Spirit.” JUST KIDDING. He said, “I love that we can have fun and be silly together and you’re hot.” *melty* “How about you?”
I said, “I love how you make me laugh, that we can ‘play’ together and how sometimes with one look from you, I can get weak-knees.”
Yeah…hope we’ll always be a little sparky. Long into Golden years of being wrinkled and grey.
After going on and on about the myth of “the One“…how does Skywalker fit into the picture? Well he’s THE ONE! Yay!
In seriousness though neither of us could say we were so taken in the moment we laid eyes on each other that we could barely say the first “hello”. I noticed he had good posture, nice build and a strong jawline but “meh, too bad he’s from Edmonton.” He noticed a girl with big eyes and a mysterious air about her…who would later brush him off a couple times. That’s all a story for another time. We made the decision to start dating after four months of corresponding and with Skywalker asking what my definition of “commitment” was right before asking me to be his girlfriend. Our entire dating period was long distance. Even the time between engagement and our wedding was long distance. One of Skywalker’s good friends asked if he really knew me well enough to marry me and his reply was if he waited to learn everything he could about me before he took the next step, he would never end up getting married…to anyone. He knew enough of my character and faith to be able to say we’d be good, committed life partners. I felt the same way.
It sounds very cerebral but it’s not lacking in romance or passion (we’re just not ruled by it). =)
We’ll be married two years in April…which I know is hardly any time compared to those married 20/40/50 years…but we can see how we’re becoming “the One” for each other. We come across things in our day-to-day that confirms our individual quirks just “fit” together. For starters, we can build Ikea furniture together without arguements (apparently this is a test)…as well as make a great cooking team. And we continue to find reasons we’re so glad to be married to each other. I greatly admire his faith and desire to seek after God in all he does. Yes there are many times we’ve revealed each other’s selfishness, and it stings at first, but then to be able to cover it with love and to support each other in becoming better individuals, all the while becoming a closer unit…it’s a mysterious but amazing process to go through together. I feel blessed!
(Just want to share again though, that being single is better than being with someone who doesn’t honor or respect you. It is also a great blessing to be single! Never forget that.)
…Romantic love has two stages
Actually, I knew there were two stages of love. Maybe not in these exact terms but I knew there was a difference between the “over the moon” swooning & butterflies honeymoon phase of a relationship, and the deep, sustaining quality of love that lasts through the decades. I just wasn’t sure how one transitioned from one stage into the next.
The first stage is easy…you’d do anything to be with or make the other person happy. Being together was effortless. It didn’t matter what was happening as long as you were together. Because you were “in love”.
And then one day it seems all the little habits, mannerisms, quirks and styles of your spouse that you fully embraced when you were “in love” (and vowed you’ll always love this person the way they are) has piled enough to topple over into an outburst of why the other person is the way they are. You don’t get why s/he isn’t getting it…s/he doesn’t get why you aren’t getting it. And then a stuck sort of feeling emerges. “Wow, this is hard.” “Is it supposed to be this hard if I’m with the right person?” “What happened to the person I married?”
I honestly expected these questions to emerge when I married. I expected the difficulty and the hard work that would need to come with it. In fact, as much as getting into conflict tears at my heart, I still saw it as an opportunity to hammer things out until we reached a better and deeper understanding of the other person. And so far it’s been great! (Once the conflict was resolved that is.) I’ve had to learn our differences and preferences in conflict resolution, but otherwise, every argument has resulted in a feeling of deeper love and appreciation for each other.
The book references learning each other’s Love Languages (more on their website). We all speak a slightly different love language so how we show love might not be how the other person likes to receive love. This results in you feeling under appreciated or not well loved….even if the other person is showing the best they can (in THEIR love language) that they love and appreciate you. I believe speaking each other’s love language well is what will inject those “in love” feelings into your marriage long after the honeymoon phase is over.
For Skywalker and I, some of the conflict we’ve had certainly stemmed from our differences in love language. Speaking each other’s love language takes a lot of practice because it doesn’t usually come naturally to who we are. I’ve read somewhere that the honeymoon period for anything (relationships, new job, new house, new city) lasts about two and a half years. That’s EXACTLY where we’re at from the start of our dating relationship til our first anniversary. So we’re already transitioning from phase 1 to 2! We’ve made huge progress….and it’s always about progress right? Here’s to year two…and beyond!