My friend and I sit across the table from one another outside the coffee shop and she tells me of three friends who are facing divorce this week. Three. Three men who decided they were going to go outside their marriage for intimate relationship and leave their wives and children as a result. I tell her I know of other friends in my life in this same situation. We sit quietly and consider the reality all around us. Marriages shatter. Children lose the stability of their homes in a matter of months. These things seem to happen overnight, but truly, more often than not, life slides towards this type of destruction bit by bit until a final blow does a marriage in. One partner, blind to the commitment, amnesiac of love, decides to pursue a thrill and abandon home and family for a lie.
My husband and I — really most marriages at various times — have experienced drift. We have let stress or just the drum of life get in the way of our connection. We have been great roommates and missed the heartbeat of our relationship in those seasons. Maybe ebb and flow occur in any normal long-term relationship. The strength of our marriage withstands these periods of involuntary aloofness. We move along as trains on parallel tracks, efficient and yet not connected emotionally.
One or the other of us, or both of us will wake as from a stupor and say, “I miss you.” I miss what started all this in the first place when we are humming along functioning without our heartstrings being tied. We started as friends. We grew to love one another and our love surprised us. Over the years I have been critical on occasion, wanting more from this man than I ought to expect from any human being. I have taken out my aches and hurts on him on bad days. Commitment means hanging in there. Saying “I do” means riding out the storms and knowing there will be sun again. We’ve had hard days. We’ve made mistakes. We’ve occasionally forgotten the treasure that is us.
Finally, we remember. We come to our senses and we remember the goodness of our love. In seasons like the one we are in now, it takes only a glance across the kitchen and we find ourselves moving toward one another. We look in one anothers’ eyes. We linger. We experience the peace of our well worn marriage which has weathered the years and traveled through both great joys and great sorrows along the way.
Just yesterday we had one of those looks. No music was playing. My husband heard our shared melody and came to me and grabbed me up in his arms. He started dancing me around the kitchen. Delight rose up contagious in our home. Our littlest jumped inbetween us. Marriage joy spilled over him as we all laughed, dancing together. We danced. Eating it up I smiled and soaked in the blessings of God’s good gifts.