On how to have an extraordinary marriage

by EmilyW

It’s not that you’re not in love, it’s just that love becomes so ordinary, like peanut butter and jam on toast for breakfast, every single day, when sometimes you need Eggos with blueberry syrup.

Or a walk in the autumn leaves without children underfoot. Just you, and him, remembering when it was always just you and him. Not four little boys between the two of you, only chemistry and a bottle of wine and Bon Jovi on the radio.

It doesn’t have to be much, just enough to remember.

We sit on the couch every night before bed and watch a show or two—“Una mas (one more)?” we say playfully after the first episode of Big Bang or The Office or Numbers ends—and there’s never enough time, it seems. The night is so short, and the morning comes so soon, and we’re always so tired. But still, we must remember.

The love that made these children because one day—eventually, I promise—we’ll miss those kids that make us want to pull out our hair, and we’ll stare into the aging face of a spouse who shares our bed and bank account and we’ll find ourselves talking about the kids. Because what else is there to talk about?

So let’s talk about something else, before it’s too late.

Let’s make those moments. The kind of moments that play cards at a rustic wooden table in a pub, drinking a pitcher of Rickard’s Red. The kind that walk the boardwalk—“I didn’t even know we had a boardwalk,” you might say-because it’s been so long, but at least you’re doing it now.

On a recent flight to a conference I sat beside a man named Ron and his hands shook while he did his crosswords and when he found out I was attending a Christian conference he told me about his church, about how he and his wife were on the welcoming committee, there.

“Where is she now?” I asked, and his chin began to wobble. “She’s with the Lord,” he whispered.

Then he held up five gnarled fingers. “Five months ago,” he said. And I put my hand on his arm and he dabbed at his eyes with a Kleenex and for a moment we weren’t strangers.

He pulled himself together and talked about the weather and then he turned to me. “She liked to read,” he said. “Our house is full of books. I suppose I’ll give them to the church.”

“That’s something my husband and I have in common,” I said. “We love to read.”

I don’t want my marriage to be ordinary. I know that peanut butter and jam on toast is good and nutritious and solid. But sometimes you need Eggos. Every once in a while, just to remember that life is worth celebrating with the one you love.

Because sooner or later we’ll be sitting on a plane, alone, doing crosswords and trying hard not to cry.

***

(hi friends… my new book, *Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder,is now only $10 at Amazon.com; also available at Amazon.ca, ChristianBook.com and Barnes and Noble.)

36 Responses to “On how to have an extraordinary marriage”

  1. HopeUnbroken November 12, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    “it doesn’t have to be much, just enough to remember.” yes. harnessing just those small moments. and having the courage to make them sacred.
    beautiful reminder, emily.
    love to you this day,
    steph

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      “harnessing those small moments. and having the courage to make them sacred.” LOVE LOVE LOVE this friend. xo

  2. r.elliott November 12, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    lovely…and yes my friend…one day…they will be gone…and if we do not build love…conversation…interests outside the kids…when those kids are gone…we can fall right into that empty caverns…I am seeing toooooo many marriages shredding apart at the 25 yrs mark…and what I see as a common thread…the couples did not fight hard enough to live a life other than peanut butter and jam…they did not fight for each other…and in the emptiness of the house…the emptiness of the marriage becomes too weighty…and tears it apart.
    Oh sweet friend…keep this…continue to read this as a wonderful reminder…as a road map of where you are going…and you will do well~

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      thank you roseann. you are right. i need to read this often. to remind myself. it’s so easy to become comfortable with the familiar… and then one day the familiar gets boring. love you so much.

  3. Carolynn November 12, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Working in a senior’s residence, I witnessed first hand the ageless love that two people can share and how absolutely life affirming it is to be loved by someone you’ve shared a lifetime of experiences with. xoxo

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      oh friend, this is so, so beautiful. i can only imagine. it’s funny how many of us want to be old with our husbands, but it’s the GROWING old with them that can be challenging some days :) love to you.

  4. Diana Trautwein November 12, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Oh, Oh. So beautiful, Em. Thank you for this good reminder to reach for the Eggos once in a while, just enough to keep things lively and interesting and growing. It’s a gift we give each other -and, in truth, it’s a gift we give our children, too. This first love, keeping it glowing, stacking up the embers from time to time. . . yes – it’s a very good thing.

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

      yes, this: it’s a gift we give our children. absolutely, diana. some days i feel stressed because i know my boys/foster boys are watching, especially when i break down in tears and run off to my room because of something that trent says or doesn’t say, but then they get to witness the hug afterwards, and the “i’m sorry’s” which is powerful too.

  5. beth November 12, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    I am experiencing it now somewhat and we never had the kids. They are mine and are grown. We have the grandkids, but not that often. Just us and work and not much else. Feeling very alone.

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

      oh beth. i’m going to pray for you right now. that you and your husband would feel the arms of God around you, pulling you close together. bless you.

  6. Laura Shook November 12, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Beautiful reminder! Thank you!

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

      thank you so much laura. bless you. e.

  7. kendal November 12, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    a couple very close to us is struggling to stay together. and it’s making us cling to each other so very tight….

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

      oh kendal. lifting up that couple tonight. love how you’re clinging…

  8. Margaret November 12, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    for those of us who are married, may we all strive for unordinary marriages

  9. Kelly Chripczuk November 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    And here I am putting off picking a date night for this week when a friend has said she’ll come any night. Sometimes when you’ve gone so long just getting by on toast, it’s hard to choose something more.

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      i know kelly. toast can be so comforting. but then you get one bite of eggos and it’s like, wow. why did i wait so long? :)

      • Kelly Chripczuk November 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

        “Eggos” now on the menu for Friday night – thanks for the motivation. :)

  10. Donna Schultz November 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Thank you, my friend.

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      bless you donna. and you’re welcome. :) e.

  11. Alecia November 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    A much needed reminder to keep our marriages from falling into the complacency trap. To remember to make time for each other even if it’s just a little to connect and kindle the flames. I want there to be something there between us after the kids are gone and not just stare at each other like strangers that have nothing in common. Thank you for this Em!

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

      alecia, it’s so comforting to know that so many of us are walking the same path, all seeking God’s best in this life. bless you friend. e.

  12. Adrienne November 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Emily, thanks for the reminder and encouragement, even though I’m allergic to Eggos ;) My friends and I have been discussing this for some time and are writing about it, too, over at our website. And, we’re challenging each other not only to write about it, but, like you said, actually get up and put the Eggo in the toaster and talk about something other than the kids. xoxox

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      i love that you and your friends are discussing this, adrienne. i will have to stop by your website and read more. bless you friend.

  13. John November 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Good, true words, Emily. Thank you.

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

      So appreciate you stopping by and commenting, John. Bless you. e.

  14. Jennifer Dougan November 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Emily,

    Yes, those choices to pause and cuddle on the couch, or walk hand in hand, or sneak away to coffee out… those are vital to an extraordinary marriage.

    My man and I have been enjoying texting each other throughput the day this week, with a new unlimited texting plan. It’s a bit old school now, but we’re just catching up to technology, and for us, it’s romantic and fun.

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      i don’t think texting is old-school at all. my husband and i haven’t yet gotten the hang of it! :) i love that you’re keeping the romance alive. e.

  15. Jennifer Dougan November 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Emily,

    Yes, those choices to pause and cuddle on the couch, or walk hand in hand, or sneak away to coffee out… those are vital to an extraordinary marriage.

    My man and I have been enjoying texting each other throughout the day this week, with a new unlimited texting plan. It’s a bit old school now, but we’re just catching up to technology, and for us, it’s romantic and fun.

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

  16. Gianna November 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    One day we WILL miss them when we eat those peanut butter and jelly toasts. This was so beautiful and so wonderful and so exactly it! Thank you.

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      thank you so much gianna. love your heart. bless you, e.

  17. Jennifer@GDWJ November 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    Here’s to unordinary. And you are anything but ordinary. Raising a glass with you, my friend.

    • EmilyW November 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      love you so much sweet lady. can’t wait to raise a real glass with you in april. xo

  18. Amy Hunt November 13, 2012 at 3:16 am #

    “There’s never enough time…” I get this. We, too, say “one more” and we’re also “always so tired.” I cling to the night, though I often fall asleep with my head right next to my groom, cozy and loved feeling. Those are the moments — our simple togetherness — that makes the trying so hard find rest in joy.

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