You see, after that original idea, I realized that in order to write about marriage, I had to think I knew something about marriage, and truthfully, who am I to talk? I must admit that I think our marriage is fabulous, but Andy and I have not quite 10 years under our belt, so I don't think we count as experts.
So over these last weeks I have been talking - mostly to Andy, because who better to discuss marriage with then the man you are married to? But I have also talked to friends - some happily married young, despite the warnings against it, some succeeding quite nicely on their second try, one in the middle of falling apart, and another single and searching.
Mostly though, I have looked at where I came from. My parents have been married for 33 years. One set of grandparents nearly 60, and the other was together til their savior took them home.
Andy is blessed with a similar story. Parents still together, both sets of grandparents together until death split them apart.
What an amazing, beautiful example we both have had to base our marriage on.
The reality of true love, the kind of love it takes to make marriage last.
True love knows that not every day is easy.
Not every day is googly eyes and romance novel. In fact, pretty much no days are romance novels... perhaps that is why romance novels get written? No real man leaps from his horse to rescue you from a deadly mountain slide, then stares into your eyes and expounds on your breathtaking beauty. (yeah, I know, I picked the cheesiest scenario possibly, but you know what I mean girls)
In fact, depending on what your man's "love language" is, getting him to comment on your beauty at all, forget calling your breathtaking, might take more effort then it seems it is worth some days. Because if words of praise are not what makes him feel special, remembering to give you praise is not even going to occur to him!
But enough about romance novels- lets switch to music. There are plenty of songs out there about love. Lots of them about what the world equates with love. I must agree with the songs and say it is one of God's most beautiful creations, truly, although I perhaps wouldn't be so crass about it. But it is not the same thing as love.
However music today has so much more to say.
The song of the night tonight will be John Mayer's "Say what you need to say".
(you'll want to pause the music at the bottom of the blog before you push play on the video)
Andy is a music fanatic. Truly, I am not exaggerating. He has more then 14000 songs on his Ipod, and that is the cut back version. So whenever I have something to discuss, he has a song in answer. Always.
While we have been on the subject of marriage, this has been the song of the hour. The original point behind it is slightly obvious. Be open. Discuss your feelings, even if they are scary, or negative, or something that seems impossible. Dreams and hopes as well as fears and stresses need to be shared for a marriage to have strength.
Don't wait and hope it, whatever it is, will go away. Don't hold things inside. Especially from your team mate. This is your other half. If you can't tell them, then you aren't part of a team.
This whole communication thing connects back to the Love Language idea. What if your man is the type who just bubbles over with compliments, but can't remember to take out the trash or carry his plate over to save his life? Or perhaps you really just need him to sit down for five minutes and listen while you tell him about the adorable and annoying things his children did today, and he just can't focus that long.
Gary Chapman will give you a whole book about each person's love language, what "speaks" love to them. But I would simplify it a little bit more. Rather then writing up a book about five generalized ideas, I think that you need to stop and talk to each other. Find a quiet moment, look your spouse in the eyes and ask, "What makes you feel special?" In return let them know, "This is what makes me glow". Don't wait until you are past the point of sitting down for a quiet moment and looking each other in the eyes.
Say what you need to say.
The second point hidden in this song is a little less obvious, and would perhaps only be learned by someone living with Andy. Every time I hesitated in my speech for anything this week, even trying to decide what descriptive word to use when telling him about a situation, he burst into this song. Especially when it was something I was stressed or concerned about.
Andy reminded me to find humor, and draw it out. He encouraged me to get the worry off my chest, and at the same time, made me laugh. There will be moments when things look bleak. Sometimes the well is dry and the garden has stopped growing and you think that God himself might have forgotten your address. That is why God made you a team, because chances are you won't both feel down at the same time. So, find a silly song, or a clown face, or their ticklish spot and remind your other half that laughter doesn't hurt as much as tears.
Say what you need to say, and laugh when you need to laugh.
What have you learned about communication and laughter in your marriage? Please, share.