ARE YOU READY TO LOVE…
Well, you must put in the work!
“Marriage isn't for the faint of heart; it's not always pretty. That part about for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, are in the vows for a reason! It's "Happily Married Week." If your spouse is still your best friend, works extremely hard, has been with you through triumphs and tragedies, loves you when you’re at your best and worst, is who you're proud to be married to, then make a post.” I’m not sure who wrote this, but it is so true. After seeing this challenge post on Facebook, over a week ago, it caused me to pause to think about my own marriage.
Many saw this post as a challenge to submit great pictures of them with their spouse on Facebook. But this post was much more about the substance of marriage, the stuff beyond the photo. Being happily married is not to be confused with having a perfect marriage. As we prepare to celebrate our 29th anniversary, we reflect on how the stuff behind the photo helps mold us into being Happily Married.
Spring is a time of new beginnings. Each year we try to find some time for reflection and look at what we like to call our “Year in Review.” The purpose is to discuss our Grows and Glows, opportunities for growth and accomplishments to celebrate. After the world was thrown into quarantine in 2020, we like so many of you found ourselves wondering how long this is going to last, and will we ever get back to our normal routine. We experienced Triumphs, Tragedies, and seeing each other at our worst more than we probably would like to admit and have enjoyed each other at our best. The key that helped get us through was being intentional to communicate. Now we are by no means the perfect couple, but one day while preparing for our couple’s class we realized that the pandemic had brought us closer together. I took a good look at myself and realized that I was always complaining about what I didn’t have. Especially in our house and felt like my husband didn’t care one way or the other as to what our house looked like as long as there was a clear path to the T.V. for a football game or anything that related to a sports event.
One day I started a conversation about some things that I wanted to do within the house. Much to my surprise he was open to conversation, and we began to make some major renovations. As we worked together to do the renovations inside the house, the time spent together brought us closer together. Did the project at one point seem to be a little more than we bargained for? Yes, it did! But we talked through the setbacks, we made trip after trip to Home Depot and Lowe’s to make sure we had all the necessary materials so that the finished product would look like the vision we created together.
As I thought about this time together, I realized that our marriage is constantly under renovation and restoration. Renovations in the sense of making what we have even better and restoration in the sense of bringing what we have back to its normal state. Now getting us back to our normal state didn’t mean our marriage was broken or in a bad place but recognizing that we had gotten away from some things that attracted us to one another in the beginning. Being quarantined gave us a chance to see what needed to be restored. The time away from the world gave us the time to begin our marriage renovations. We worked on Better Communication, Quality Time, and of course Intimacy. 😉 It takes work, it takes time, and it takes intentionality to continue to do the work so we can receive the outcome that we both desired. You must be ready for the curve ball. You must be intentional and consistent to make deposits into your marriage love bank. Next, we realized that you cannot do it alone. Communication, Quality Time, and Intimacy are things that we can physically control ourselves.
But when life happens out of nowhere, and the renovation doesn’t seem to come together the way we want, we realized that we needed to restore our relationship with God. As a part of our yearly Renovations and Restoration review our major deposit in our marriage love bank is to attend the Heart of Marriage Retreat. It is a full weekend of pouring back and investing in our marriage. Our big take away from the retreat last year was the 365 days challenge that Pastors Damon & Khalia Williams issued to us. We are to find something that affirms our spouse daily until we return to the retreat in 2023. It does not have to be long. It can be a text, a phone call, a small note however we decide to do it. I must say doing that daily helps us to view each other through a different lens. It’s a daily intentional deposit into the love bank. Have we missed some days…of course we have. It is a daily act of renovating and restoring that brightens up my day. It opens topics for communication, it helps with intentional planning to spend quality time together. It has us wanting to hurry to get to that part of the day or evening when intimacy is the thing that we both are looking forward to. The point is we must make constant renovations as a couple on how we view things and respect each other’s opinion. Sometimes we agree and other times we disagree. But at the end of the day, we realized that being on the same team is where we want to be. Our goal is to stay Happily Married.
Happy 29th Anniversary to us!🧡💜
George & Cynthea Lester