“I know you love me…but do you still like me?”
I have found myself asking Graham this question a lot in the past year. 10 years into our relationship, 7 years into our marriage, 2 kids, two states, three houses and countless challenges later we are really good partners. We help each other. We love each other. We appreciate each other. But the constant, urgent, exhausting nature of this season of life with young kids has distanced the friendship in a way that makes me often question whether he still actually likes me. Despite seeing the very worst of me does he still find me fun, funny, charming, or just needy and frustrating. haha. I know that I am not alone in this feeling.
I have been working on the wedding of a really sweet couple that I shot a few weeks ago. When I look at their pictures I smile because what is so evident and refreshing is their friendship and enjoyment of each other. Now, I am no marriage expert…but if I have learned anything, it is that genuine, transparent, selfless friendship is crucial to a healthy marriage. And you know what? What comes so effortlessly easy in those early days becomes something that you have to intentionally fight for as the years go on. And that is ok. Actually, its more then ok. I think God uses those awkward moments when you are sitting across from your spouse without anything to talk about other than the kids to 1)make us rely on Him (God, help me to be a good friend and spouse. Help us to reconnect.) 2) to force us out of our selfishness (I can either work on this or I can be selfish and wait for him to make the first move and be bitter if he doesn’t) and 3) to really challenge us to ask what marriage is all about. Is it really all about my happiness, pleasure, enjoyment fulfillment and when I don’t feel that any more then it’s time to move on? That’s what the world would say isn’t it? But the scriptures would tell me that marriage is about much more and that the “much more” is worth it. And I believe it. I have seen it for myself.
We are working to rekindle the friendship. Regular date nights help. Long conversations help. Being honest about the situation helps. Asking meaningful questions helps. Growing together spiritually really helps. Breaking out of the routine and doing something fun and new helps. Putting each other before the kids helps. Prayer helps. I’m praying that this year is one where, despite life likely only getting crazier, we will take the time to brush the dust off of the amazing friendship that brought us together all those years ago. And by God’s grace I am able to see it happening even now.