“We were together. I forget the rest.” – Walt Whitman
In Love – Relationship Series – Part 3
Jesse and I got married on the 28th February 2004. Twelve years and two kids later, we’re still figuring it all out. I feel completely unqualified to talk about the ins and outs of being in love. Ha!
However, a couple of observations thus far:
On Flow: Romance has its up and downs. I don’t always feel like I’m in love with Jesse, and he doesn’t always feel like he’s in love with me. Sometimes, I feel like our relationship is falling apart, while at the same time, he feels like it's going strong. And vice versa. Sometimes we meet in the middle – all the planets align – and we gaze longingly into each other's eyes and feel sparks go off in our hearts.
Understanding that there is a flow has really helped our “togetherness.” In those first few months of dating, being swept up in love and romance, there's a lightness and thrill to being together. After a while, though, when you start to experience real life side by side, the lightness gives way to the weighty things of life, and the thrills sometimes have to make way for responsibilities.
This is NOT an unhappy or unfortunate event. It's where the real beauty, and dare I say depth, of your relationship, begins. Bills, work, house, food (vegetarian, vegan, paleo… the options are endless…), politics, church, God, careers, children, illnesses… Real life is going on all around us and in us.
This doesn’t dampen or subtract from love, love is there to help us engage with our boring, wondrous, adventurous, tedious lives as best and full as we can. Check the tide. Ride the waves. There’ll be times when the flow of your marriage needs attention. There’ll be times where the flow just needs to be lived through.
And there'll be times where it's smooth and sunny days. In the midst of it all, love dwells. In the highs and the lows, the glamor and the dullness, the joy and the pain. It’s that, in and of itself, that draws out the beauty in love.
On sex: Let's talk about it. Physical attraction and connection can mean all different kinds of things to all different kinds of people. Some have a lot of baggage around sex and attraction in polar opposite ways (think abuse, porn addiction, value… etc.).
Expectations, assumptions, ideas, stereotypes… all of these things, and more, heavily inform our approach, enjoyment and understanding of sex.
All I really want to say about it is this: Talk about it. Figure it out. Say stuff out loud. If you can’t talk intimately and vulnerably, how can you expect physical intimacy to work well over a lifetime? If there’s trouble, get help. If someone’s unfaithful, get help. If it's awesome, enjoy it. If things change, talk about it.
Over time, sex becomes less about physical attraction and more about intimacy and connection. Or perhaps those are the things that end up becoming attractive. Keep the conversation open.
On making decisions: Look, I’m a bit of a feminist, as in men and women are equal. In our household, we both make decisions. If I feel strongly about something, Jesse trusts me with that decision. And vice versa. If we are at loggerheads over something, we take our time and talk (sometimes fight) it out.
We’re normal: we fight, we send each other nasty text messages (yep), we storm out of the house, raise our voices, sometimes we even swear at each other (shock, horror). But we figure it out. TALK-TALK-TALK. Cool down and calm down. MAKE TIME. Let the other person talk for once (that's a lesson I’m still learning). And listen – not to respond, but to learn.
Your perspective and ideas are not the only ones that matter. They do matter, but not exclusively. Share. Listen. Learn. Compromise. Take turns. Figure it out. It will take a lifetime, and that's the glorious point.
A few of my favorite “In-Love” quotes:
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu.
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Friedrich Nietzsche.
“We were together. I forget the rest.” Walt Whitman.
Over to you… Leave us your comments below.