From this day forward …
Once upon a time, hopeful and desirous of a happy and seamless marriage. Perhaps initially naive about the pressures that would hover over the marriage. Maybe a little clueless to the way the marriage could come in and out of seasons: seasons of fruitfulness and growth, while other times being more fickle and susceptible to waning romance.
From this day forward … vows easier said than done, and over time, tested and tried.
Perhaps, now realizing that “From this day forward”
calls for intentionality, leaning in, flexibility, and effort.
Is the romance and connection being threatened by busyness, parenthood, or other stressors? You are not alone. I don’t have solutions or answers, but I can share what my husband and I have done over the last twenty-one years to remain committed, connected, and rooted in love.
Note that in every stage, we’ve adjusted to patterns and rhythms to help create margin for
connection. We’ve also had numerous honest, vulnerable, and difficult conversations to calibrate expectations and make needs and wants known. It goes without being said that it takes two willing and committed people to make it work.
How have we lived out “From this day forward …”?
Some things have been practical:
- a commitment to reasonable bedtimes for the kids, to allow for catching up at the end of a day.
- 5-10 minutes of protected time to talk without interruptions. We explicitly taught and modeled this to our kids.
- turning to trusted friends and family to babysit.
- planning monthly dinner dates.
- getting away for one-night staycations.
- going for short neighborhood walks with just the two of us.
- and if you know the tune: “Let’s talk about sex, baby..?” This part we’re always trying to figure out!
Other things have been a posture and attitude:
- agreeing that our marriage relationship came before the kids
- choosing to be present
- expressing love and gratitude through words and actions
- delighting in each other and learning to laugh and play together
- looking to serve one another
- showing acts of kindness
- validating the other person’s feelings
A healthy marriage is love in action. A constant recommitment to “From this day forward …”
Finally, I would add that the most important precursor to a healthy marriage is the willingness to recognize wrongs, to make wrongs right, to apologize, and to take responsibility. Marriage will involve uprooting some things so that love can grow! If any of this sounds easy, it’s not! It’s a messy, imperfect waltz, with both people having left feet!
If nothing else, remember these three things:
- Intimacy is more than physicality; it’s about hearts and minds staying connected.
- Be encouraged. You’ll hit some rough patches, but it is never too late or impossible to reset and reconnect.
- Don’t stop talking. Communicate, even when it’s not easy. Your spouse is not a mind-reader.
From this day forward…
How will you be intentional? How will you lean in?