Marriage is messy.
Each marriage is its unique kind of messy because the two people who make it up are completely different than every other human being on the planet.
It’s so easy to compare ourselves in every area of our lives… whether it’s our income, lifestyle, appearance, kids, home, vehicle, success, and yes, our marriage too. It’s so interesting because what is there to compare other than it’s a covenant before God of two people?
I used to think my marriage had to look like my parents’ marriage because they have the “perfect” marriage.
I now realize that that false idea has created such needless stress, strain, and disappointment in my life. Maybe you do the same thing or something similar? Maybe you compare your marriage to someone else’s and then sit in ill feelings and thinking because yours just doesn’t look like theirs.
I’ve also taken a step back to look at the JOURNEY of marriage instead of one day, one week, month, or even decade. It’s a journey, not an isolated frame of the movie known as marriage.
When you put marriage through the lens of Mind, Thot, and Consciousness, it’s no wonder that we experience something different than others, sometimes even different than our spouse. Ben and I can be sitting right next to each other on the couch and yet feel like worlds apart.
Because we’re both caught up in our individual thought matrix.
A good visual to grasp this concept, consider two people on a couch and each one has a cartoon thought bubble. If you were to compare our thoughts, it’s likely that our lists would be 100% different and thankfully so. It’s really quite fascinating that any of us can even engage in a thread of words called a conversation given the volumes of thinking that we’re doing at any given time.
Even couples who have been married for a long time attest to feeling lost, and alone at times in their relationship. I think it’s because we’re often living “double lives.” The one that everyone sees – including our spouse, the one on the outside of us. And then there’s the one on the inside…our thinking, which creates our feelings. We can be so invested in our thinking that it feels real; that the chaos we drum up in our thinking is actually occurring, when the truth is that it’s only happening in our thoughts.
If we don’t INTENTIONALLY make time and space for one another, all that we’re left with is our made up stories about each other and our relationship.
And that’s just it…they’re stories. Even if there is baggage, hurt, AND love from the past, in that moment, and every moment, there is the present. That’s it. Everything from the past and the future too, it’s all made up!!
You did NOT read that I said that the past didn’t happen; that it doesn’t have a certain character. I am simply pointing out the obvious is that it’s not happening right now, so it’s all in our thinking. And it’s all ok. I find the more that I observe my thinking and am ENTERTAINED by it versus letting it drench me, the better experience of life I have.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves and those we love is to commit to the discipline of being present, in a state of no thought. To show up for one another with no agenda and quiet listen; to fully be in the moment. No interrupting. No phones or other distractions. This habit will change your life. You don’t have to spend hours together in this place, though you will want to. But rather, intentionally carve out 10 or so minutes per day with each of the people that you love, especially your spouse.
And look, if it doesn’t happen for a day, days, weeks, just notice that you have dropped the habit and pick it back up. You’re not a terrible person and likely neither is your spouse. Lean back into each other and keep moving forward.
Here’s the truth, in every relationship, yes EVERY relationship, our only responsibility is to bring the best of ourselves to it. That’s it.
It’s not to change anyone.
It’s not even to necessarily love them.
It’s to bring the best of ourselves, which you know what happens…LOVE!
Our romance danced on the rays of sun as the snow swept up in our faces under skis as we carved through the powder.
It was a perfect day…for us!