One of the greatest gifts of marriage is to be seen as you want to be known. We will make our way through Las Vegas with all of its distractions of bright lights and big bets. I think about how we tackle 24 hours there as a family and I want to take some time to think about gambling on love.
I’m grateful to be with someone who has eyes only for me. It’s evident in how he holds me up with his words. He speaks with a passion when he talks about our love. He is driven by his commitment to deepen our connection of understanding. He is affectionate and heartfelt. I continue to learn how to soak in that unashamed love. I’ve always been more guarded. I have to work to silence the negative voices in my head that often take what he says and spins it opposite. When I focus on the truth of what he is saying, it’s the healing balm I need to go out and conquer the day. It’s what a strong and healthy relationship should do; it should strengthen the connection, sharpen the affection and make one another better.
I share this because I believe in finding deep joy in the marriage relationship and feeling side by side. Choosing the right relationship is more like a sure placed bet where you cannot move the chips. It’s all in on one person. It’s an unwavering commitment to do all you can because you can’t fold. Joy in marriage is not a discovery process that unveils itself with the morning sunrise after saying a Vegas style “I do”. It’s sometimes a heavy trudge through the leftover words laced with hot lava.
It may be the vigorous climb back together to the top of a weather worn mountain with no ropes. It’s looking for signs, however small they might be that love is still in this place.
It’s taking the hard places with you to remember just how resilient the two of you are and that you could not do this with anyone else.
There is no perfect guidebook for a marriage and there are plenty of missteps. We’ve taken the pages of our own experiences and tried to study some of the steps we made so we can focus more clearly on how to make our next move. . . to grow closer, not further apart. Considering we are in our forties, I’d say we’re half way up the trail. We’ve held on for dear life and we’ve walked stretches alone. However, our marriage goal has always been to get to the top together. It’s vital for couples to share the same goal and almost just as vital, is for couples to have the same rules of engagement.
We’ve often talked about marriage being an effort of 50/50 but we see it as a long journey; a series of efforts where the end goal of living life together is to FEEL like it was 50/50. I want to believe I can look back over our lifetime and know we were giving each other the best of what we could and that over time, it was balanced. We know we haven’t matched up at times and some of our seasons were out of sync for too long. But we know that’s how careers are made, how vacations get curbed or new ventures are begun. There have been stretches of 90/10 or 40/60 and we can identify those seasons pretty well now looking back. Thankfully we learned to fight fair and love even deeper as we unloaded the hurts of those desert stretches of misguided attention and lack of shared vision. We acknowledged the distractions of work and children and definitions of success. We allowed those arguments to be heard and then we tucked them into the folds of our journals, and scripted our history so we would not repeat it.
Now, we focus on each other and the road ahead. Who knows, we may even renew our vows in Vegas just to relive the fun of saying I do, because if I do say so myself, the view sure looks better when sharing it with a partner who’s all in.