Last Tuesday was a rather normal day, but when dinnertime rolled around, I found myself exhausted and totally spent. The kids were being cranky and hungry and I simply could not take another moment; my introvert quota of “people energy” had been spent.
So I called Jake and asked him if he would allow me duck out and take a bath when he got home, while he cooked dinner and put the gremlins to bed.
“Sure,” he replied. “I’d be happy to do that for you.”
I took my bath, read my book and got what I needed in order to function as the healthy version of Melissa. After I got out of the bath, Jake and I had dinner and he asked me some questions about his work, we talked about scheduling stuff he had on his mind, and together we decided to read a marriage book he’d suggested—all things that would have exploded my shorted-out brain an hour earlier. But all things that Jake needed in order to process his day and be the healthy version of himself.
The evening could have been a disaster, but instead there was this gentle give and take, like the ocean tide ebbing and flowing against a sandy shore.
And it got me thinking.
This energy flowing between us, the way we each asked for what we needed, responded honestly, and worked dynamically to solve problems, THIS felt like the point of marriage. The space between us that was secure in the fact that we’d be staying together and the peace that descended on the messiness of everyday life as we traversed it.
It feels like the majority of the marriage books and resources out in the ether today are all aimed at STAYING TOGETHER. As if the whole point of marriage is not bailing out. I’ve been sensing this theme in our writing, as well, and it’s been bothering me.
The point of marriage is not just to stay together; it’s to experience something radically life-giving because breaking your commitment is simply not an option.
A recent example of this is our sex life. I’ll be frank, sex has been an issue since day one in our virginal union and it continues to this day. We do not have things in the bedroom all worked out, not in the least. But over the last couple of months I’ve felt a huge shift in our sex life, and it mostly has to do with my own mindset.
My big secret to better sex? I let it go.
It’s not that I stopped caring about sex or putting in effort, but I realized Jake and I were going to be okay in the midst of our sexual issues. We were committed to each other and loved each other and maybe it was okay to relax about sex a little. Maybe it was okay that I didn’t get exactly what I needed when I needed it. And perhaps, I had some issues of my own to work out (huge surprise).
This mental shift has opened up the space between us, literally like a breath of fresh air. I know we’ve both felt the energy between us relax when it comes to sex and this relaxation has sparked—no, not crazy lovemaking every night—but more enjoyable, loving, connected and easygoing sexual experiences.
And this is what marriage is all about: the freedom, learning, and joy that happens when you stop focusing on how on earth you’ll actually stay and relax into the energy flow of two people journeying through life together. It’s the interplay between two spouses that is so life-altering and affirming when done right.
So, what is your marriage like these days? Do you find yourself concentrating on how your relationship is going to stay together or are you able to see how you and your spouse move back and forth, learning and supporting each other as both unique individuals and part of a solid, unchanging union?
Feel free to share your thoughts below! -Melissa