Don’t Give Up on Love, Valentine


This morning, my husband stands impassively beside me at the bathroom sink, readying himself for the day, a parallel existence to mine.

I hesitate briefly as I study his countenance; a face I know as well as my own. To reach out and touch him would be to breach another world. You see, we have grown comfortable.

Besides, there isn’t time.
I have a good marriage. My husband and I talk about the things that mean the most to us, our dreams and daily happenings; we laugh a lot, we are committed to spending time alone together. But sometimes, I wonder, are we just going through the motions? I’ve heard all the stories about couples waking up one day and realizing they don’t love each other anymore. And I wonder to myself, “Is this possible? Can this happen to us?”
In her book Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, Elizabeth Marquardt reports that a national study has found that two thirds of all divorces result from “low-conflict” problems, such as partners feeling “unhappy or unfulfilled”. Her book goes on to outline the myriad of problems that the children involved in these divorces face. They are subtle problems, difficult to measure by any scientific standards. The book is filled with words like “empty”, and “lost”; descriptors that society shuns in favor of educational level and average household income. We are rearing, in fact we are becoming, a generation of highly successful, yet unhappy people.
Marriage is hard.
In today’s world of self-indulgement and instant gratification, it’s all too easy to give up at the first little bump on the road of life. It can be boring, tedious, annoying, demanding, and downright tough. To be happy in a marriage is hard, hard work.
I have a good marriage. But I want an excellent one. Don’t I owe it to my children to demonstrate the richness that intimacy can hold? I don’t ever want them to describe their emotional lives as “empty”. As a product of divorce, haven’t I felt all of those tender longings myself? No, I want more for my children. The best gift I can give them is a marriage that is alive, filled with passion and enthusiasm.
I read this amazing passage in the novel Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. On pages 68-69 of this interesting story, Eugenides writes: “Bride and bridegroom performed the dance of Isaiah. Hip to hip, arms interwoven to hold hands, Desdemona and Lefty circumambulated the captain, once, twice, and then again, spinning the cocoon of their life together. No patriarchal linearity here. We Greeks get married in circles, to impress upon ourselves the essential matrimonial facts: that to be happy you have to find variety in repetition; that to go forward you have to come back where you began.”
How beautiful and wise are these words! To find “variety in repetition” is not an easy task. And to move forward together sometimes requires waiting, or learning to move in time to the rhythm of the other; a unique dance that only two can share.
As I look at my husband this morning, all of these things are going through my mind. Slowly, I reach out my hand. He turns to look at me, and there is a question in his eyes…like he is remembering something he has forgotten. And everything old is new again, for he remembers now how it feels to receive a tender touch from his wife. And because there is not time, the touch is a promise. A promise sweeter than any chocolate valentine can hold. It is the promise of a new beginning.

–published in the Charleston Gazette 2/10/08

Comments

  1. says

    Beautiful post, Laura! Thank you for the precious reminder that God did not intend for us to have good marriages, but incredible marriages..as He is the bridegroom for His Bride!!

    May our marriages be a picture of Christ and His Church
    …sacrificial, tender and permanent!

    Blessings, mariel

  2. says

    What a Valentine’s gift to any married couple who is committed to staying togehter. I drank in your post/article. Congrats on having it published. Lucky, no blessed people in your community to have the privvy to read your thoughts. I praise God for a good marriage, but it only became good, and hopefully moving toward excellence, after lots of work and sacrifice. I wouldn’t trade where we have been for anything, because now we have a past AND a future.

  3. says

    As you put words and feet to your touch, my prayer for you this Valentine’s Day is that the beautiful love you hold for your Lord will be more than enough so that you will draw out from this man of God, the man that God intended for him to be.

  4. says

    Laura, This was BEAUTIFUL! I hear you on the “comfort” thing in the marriage. I will celebrate my 25th anniversary in a few weeks. I was just talking to my husband about “comfortable”. I found this quote on Lyric’s blog from the book “The Beautiful Ache” and it has struck a chord with me.

    “The meanest ache of labor is not the ache that comes from tired muscles or taxed emotions or being spent for a grand cause or a small one. It’s the ache of apathy, or boredom, or futility – of caring too little, for too long, for the very work that we’ve put our hand to.”

    It’s so easy to just escape and exist in relationships, isn’t it? But it does bring an ache with it.

    I was grateful that you stopped by my blog. I am glad that God spoke to you through my post, etc.
    The name of the ministry that takes you back to rescue and ally the little girl with the truth is called “Christ Life Solutions.

    It made a huge difference in my life.

    I loved reading what you wrote and hope we can keep in touch. I am going to add your blog to my favorites so I can find you.

    You have no idea how much your comments meant to me today. It has been a day of hearing the lie, “why do___________, what difference is it going to make anyways?” Or more specific here, “why write on your blog, what difference is it going to make anyways.”

    Thank you for your words.
    Blessings,
    Julie

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