I was recently talking with a friend about how difficult it is for couples in our world to hold it together. It's really tough out there. Today more couples than not are getting divorced. It's more and more difficult for single people to find the "right person." People are finding more ways out of marriage or commited relationships, but more and more people are dying to find that meaningful relationship that will fulfill all of their expectations and meet their needs. Both women and men find physical fulfillment elsewhere because their partner just "doesn't do it for them anymore." People "fall out of love," and need to "see what else is out there."
When did we get so selfish?
Marc and I are not a perfect couple. We have issues just like the next relationship. We're human beings - and human beings are prideful, selfish, and bent on pleasing themselves first and using the leftovers to help their partners, but only if they feel like it.
Sorry if I hurt your feelings. But I think if we all just sat down and really thought about what kind of people we are, we would recognize the abomidable selfishness and pride we live by and would be ashamed of ourselves. I know I am. But I also know I constantly ignore that and choose to think I'm a great person and the fault lies in everyone else, especially my husband.
I wanted to share something we're working on. This is not a blog about my feelings about life in general, but a broadly based documentation of our move from East to West. I try very hard to keep it at that.
Moving out here was a huge decision and life change for us. Not just career- or church- or friend- or family-wise. This decision and consequential change for us got right down to who we were as a couple and what we needed to change in order to make this work. But the process didn't begin with the call that we got the offer from San Francisco. It began when we were dating and Marc told me that one day he would like to do Mergers and Acquisitions work and that would make it necessary for us to move away. Far away. And that there would be other sacrifices - ones that came with the territory and that we needed to prepare ourselves for from the get-go.
Marc has had a more time-consuming job since before we met. I knew when we were dating that things wouldn't be "typical" for us as a couple. But that was OK. I loved him. I wanted to make it work. It's not always easy to put on a happy face and deal with it, but I have to remind myself that Marc is my partner - we're in this together and if we're doing what our God wants us to and seeking to please Him in it all, He will give us the grace to grow through and rejoice in the tough times.
-- Have a date night: it doesn't have to be a set night every week. But do something together every so often ON PURPOSE. It doesn't have to be dinner at a nice restaurant. Go get some coffee and go for a walk. BE together on purpose.
-- Get out in nature together. Marc and I have the best conversations when we are on a hike, driving somewhere, or something similar. Being in nature strips away barriers and puts you on the same plane again. It also changes your perspective: we aren't the center of the universe - look how much bigger it is than we are!
-- Talk about the church sermon together. For goodness sakes - no where in the Bible does it say that the husband has to lead his wife in devotions every day. But make the time to have conversations about the sermon on Sunday, the Home Group Study, the Prayer Meeting. If spiritual things are important to you - make sure it's shared with each other.
-- Learn to appreciate what each other enjoys. Listen to what he/she talks about. There are things that I talk about that normally would probably send Marc into an irretrievable coma except for the fact that he loves me and wants to know what makes me tick. Just listen. Go online or to the library and learn something about what your partner likes so that you can have an intelligent conversation.
-- Allow each other to have time to do things that you enjoy, by yourselves. It's not healthy to spend all of your time together and participate only in activities that you both enjoy. It's good to have time to go for a run on your own, play a round of golf with a guy friend, etc.
-- Learn your partner's "love language." What does he especially appreciate and accept as an act of love from you? A great meal? A back rub? Going out of your way to get him something he loves? Public affection? Listen, learn, and then act on it.
-- Adapt. People change as they get older and as your relationship changes. It's OK to change. But it's not OK to do the same things the same way forever. Your needs and your partner's will evolve as you grow together. Adapt to them.
-- Just laugh together. When it gets hard, find something to laugh about and do it together. It makes all the difference.