because we have new beginnings every day, I am posting an old valentine message. I too need reminded of these things. . .
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-indulgence 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. 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.
I’m a morning person and happiest in a place with no walls. Give me a bed of grass and a blanket-sky and I will dream deep in wonder. But a good story takes me to this place too. And a poem? Even better. You can always find me here. Or connect with me on on facebook, twitter, or pinterest.