Do you remember butterflies? Not the pretty, winged, hatch-out-of-a-cocoon kind. The kind that flutter in your stomach when the person you’re crushing on is around.
The ones you feel the moment that person walks in the door.
Looks over at you.
Walks towards you and says hi or gives you a hug.
If you’ve been married for a while, it probably feels like they’ve flown away forever. But they were there, and they were fabulous.
Last month, my husband and I went to southern Texas for my cousin’s wedding and decided to tack on a few extra days to celebrate our 5th anniversary. [YES we stopped at Magnolia…but that’s a story for another day.]
It was wonderful. One night in particular, we sat in the hot tub at our rental, glass of wine in hand, and reminisced over our relationship, from when we first met, to our first “non-date,” to now, life with 2 young kids. It was definitely a highlight of the trip for both of us, and there were moments when I experienced those butterflies once more.
And it helped remind us how important those two things are to our marriage.
On our trip, my husband, Stuart, and I renewed our vow to keep our marriage a priority by continuing to date each other so we don’t gradually become two roommates who hardly know each other anymore. As parents, it’s easy to become wrapped up in your kids lives, schedules, and needs that by the time you have a moment for each other, you feel so exhausted and depleted, you end up vegging out to Netflix or your own separate activities [especially when one of you LOVES football and one of you abhors it…] instead of investing that time on each other.
Parenthood is TOUGH. It’s simple truth. It’s exhausting and taxing and most days take more energy than you think you have in you. But if we take a moment and remember back to the days before we became moms, when our children were just hopes and dreams in our minds…remember the person we hoped and dreamed alongside?
Back when we had all the time in the world to simply sit and talk and do life with just our husbands. Back when Saturdays existed in slow motion, sweatpants, and breakfast at 10am. Back when we didn’t have to schedule our, ahem, “adult activities,” around naps and bedtime. Back when we couldn’t imagine a day of not knowing the person lying in bed next to us, finishing each other’s sentences, laughing and joking with each other about things only our spouse got.
Fast forward to endless sleepless nights, nursing bras being worn months after you finish nursing, being too exhausted or afraid of creating another tiny human to engage in those “adult activities,” because goodness gracious you can hardly handle the two you have, who would ever want more?!
Now fast forward again to soccer games and PTA meetings and bake sales and business trips and more EXHAUSTION.
Now fast forward even further to waving goodbye to your youngest child as they leave for college [cue all the tears]. Now, look at the person standing next to you. Do you still know him inside and out? Can you still finish his sentences? Do you still make each other laugh? Or do you just roll your eyes at each other and retreat to your own side of the bed, ignoring the growing distance between you?
Ok, now come back to the present. How can we erase that horrible future Marty McFly in Back to the Future II style??
Keep getting to know each other.
Keep laughing. [Even at his dad jokes…]
Keep growing together.
Keep loving each other.
Keep kissing goodnight.
Keep date night on the schedule.
Keep eating dinner as a family.
Keep engaging in “adult activities.” [Just remember to lock the door…]
Keep giving grace and forgiveness.
Keep remembering what butterflies felt like and who it was that gave them to you.
[For me it was this stud…still is!]
Our marriages matter way too much.
[As an end note: these suggestions aren’t a be all end all to the perfect marriage…it doesn’t exist! But they definitely will help you and me keep our marriages heading in the right direction!]
What are some of the things you do to keep your marriage alive, exciting and thriving? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!