Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Marriage Series: Friendship & Romance

Hastings, 2011
Sometimes in marriage the lines get blurred when it comes to friendship with your partner. Because first and foremost, they are your spouse/significant other. At least for me, it can feel confusing.

Since the moment I meant Kevin, my husband, he was playful, funny, loyal and spontaneous. Those qualities make for a good friendship. But they are also qualities that make for a good mate too. I think once you are in the thick of it, it's easy to lose those qualities, or not necessarily lose them, but they sort of get lost in the shuffle. The longer a couple is together, sometimes those fun, friendship qualities are hard to hold onto and appreciate. The challenge for us is that we have never been married without children. Madelynn was just about 7 when we got married, so we faced challenges instantly. Our friendship and romance sort of suffered shortly into our marriage because of stresses in our lives, (and Madelynn was hardly a stress)! But there were many.

It's always been easy for my husband and I to be playful together. It has been since day one. We enjoy doing a lot of the same things, we appreciate a lot of the same things, and have similar values. We both have a zest for life, and have compassion for people and animals. We love music and enjoy traveling and exploring new towns. We like to find new unique things to do together too. We also love just discovering new things! Trying new things! We love trying new restaurants, and we both have a heart for the homeless and hope to serve in the city more often--getting back to what we use to do when we lived there. There are many many things that give us a good friendship and because of our natural chemistry, romance would be easy too.

It's no secret that our marriage has gone through some severe trauma. I wrote about a lot of it in the series last year, here and here.  And what I've found is that it's the pushing through those traumatic, painful, desolate times, that coming out on the other side of them, growing from them, and becoming more free from them, is when we re-visited what originally brought us together in the first place. Which is typically friendship and romance. Funny how that works.

Mpls, 2009
It's so so important to hold onto those things. Do you remember what they were for you and your spouse?
I know you have a lot of kids--it doesn't matter!!! I know you're busy with your job--doesn't matter.
These are our life partners, and staying connected through friendship and a way to romance can help in so many ways. It will take time, and you'll need to be intentional as you start exploring.

My husband and I started intentionally doing more things together, like right now we are doing a Paint By Numbers. Or he helps me with my blog. We read together. Or we laugh about something on the Internet together. We take Nells for a walk together. We sometimes dance in the living room together, or he sings to me. I especially like when he sings Elvis or Randy Travis. We have done a little cooking together. We play games together and sometimes I play video games with him!  We take pictures together. We appreciate one another's pictures. We go to coffee shops and write all the things that happened in 2012. And you can find things too, I bet you already have some!

We keep moving and drumming to the beat because if we don't, it stops. It will all stop, we'll be stuck. And life will be so mundane and so hectic, and so average and normal. And that is the last thing I believe we are meant for. Discover together what might be there.

Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and then they blossom when we love them.

I understand our lives are packed, but God wants so much more for us. I honestly believe if there is a WILL there is a WAY. Each and everyone one of us has a choice. My marriage is still not where I want it to be, but I refuse to sit back in bitterness and give up. I choose love even when my husband might not deserve my time or my effort. Because the one thing on earth I don't have a choice in, is to not love. I have to love to live. And love is at the root of all of it. Love in action leads to friendship and romance.

Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with your 

feelings, love, respect, trust, understanding, friendship and faith in 

your relationship.

Sometimes I don't know if my husband needs me as a friend, or as a wife. And sometimes it's hard to distinguish the difference. But I know I can be both. I know he needs both. I need both.

I bet if you take this week to think about and then focus on, the good qualities your spouse has,
and then choose to appreciate those ever unique qualities, your perspective will shift. It's so easy to highlight all the negatives, so easy. And so unproductive. Our spouse is a gift to us, we just have to keep figuring out ways to love them better. I think the contempt and disappointments in life and in our spouse keep us from enjoying the many gifts marriage has to offer. Just shift your focus a bit. You might be surprised. Have fun.

"Marriage provides the solace of worked-on friendship and the joy 

of being known profoundly." - Imogene Stubbs

I'm gonna go ask my husband now if I'm a good friend, and how I can be a better one. And then ask him what his thoughts are on romance.

Find two other posts by Courtney at Vintch
and Morgan at Mama Loves Papa sometime today too!
And if you want to write a post anytime-it doesn't 
have to be on Wednesdays, just grab the button
code from my blog, or don't, either way,
it's all good. Thanks for reading along!