I usually save this kind of post for Marriage Month in September, but since it was on my mind, here we are.
People talk all the time about how marriage is “hard work.” I’d like to rephrase that and say that marriage, and relationships in general, require maintenance.
My love language (besides food, obviously) is quality time. Words of affirmation are marvelous and soooo meaningful (that’s definitely a secondary love language for me) but quality time is where it’s really at. But since David + I try to spend most of our evenings together, I couldn’t quite figure out why my love tank was feeling drained.
I knew that David was feeling a similar way. He kept apologizing for “not being a very good boyfriend.” I laughed every time because I knew what he meant, even if he didn’t actually need to apologize. He wasn’t doing anything wrong, but he recognized that something wasn’t right either.
Things felt off but we couldn’t quite figure out why.
Then a week or two ago, I had a conversation with a friend that shifted some things around in my brain, enabling me to see more clearly. She was talking about dating, I was talking about marriage, but the principles apply to relationships of all kinds. Here’s what we concluded:
Relationships are never perfect and they require work, no matter how committed to each other you are.
If you have to work at something, it doesn’t mean it’s broken.
If there are challenges, you can see them as a warning sign or as something to work on. And maybe there’s no point in working on them, but you’ll never know until you try.
Most importantly, if you’re not putting in maintenance time, things will eventually break.
It occurred to me that it’s okay if our relationship is feeling off-balance. That happens sometimes. Things might feel effortless for a while…until one day they just don’t anymore.
The real question is, what do we do about it? Because when things feel off, we have a choice: will we keep doing what we’re doing or readjust so things feel right again? Are we going to see that marriage “check engine” light and dismiss it, or will we spend the time + money needed to address the situation before it becomes an emergency?
Just like every relationship, ours requires maintenance. For us, right now, that might mean more regular date nights or a weekend away together. (Anyone wanna babysit three adorable children??) But it might also mean better communication and adjusting our expectations to fit our current stage of life. There are plenty of small course corrections we can make to ensure our marriage is still in good shape.
Because, just between you and me, I really like this guy. I’d like to make sure he sticks around.
(Also, as it turns out, we only take sefies together for Big Stuff, like on Europe trips and at art galleries. Maybe that should be part of our maintenance? It would definitely make us laugh!)