Our Marriage Needs a Prefix.

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Last night I told my husband that I miss him. He nodded in agreement as he sat beside me.

We are together a lot, but our moments of non-distracted, non-exhausted, non-sick, non-stressed, non-necessary, non-rushed, non-interrupted communication are slim. We’d like to add those little nons into our relationship, but they’re elusive little prefixes.

We strive to have non-distracted conversations, but texts, and emails, and demands keep breaking our concentration. Not to mention our kids.

We desire to talk about non-necessary topics, but there are fires to be put out before we can intentionally try to fan into flame our love for one another.

We want to give each other our non-exhausted selves. But, we can’t seem to find them.

We need the nons in our marriage.

But adding that prefix takes work.

And it should. Life moves forward after the wedding day and so should our relationship. It should grow and blossom instead of wilting. But it takes effort to remember to care for it in the midst of dizzying schedules and bursting calendars.

The daily, “What time should I plan dinner?” and,  “Did you remember we have that thing tomorrow evening? Did you find a sitter?” questions cause us to put a finger in the leaking dam and leave us in a bind the next time we hear, “Babe, can you give me a hand here?”

The days of long uninterrupted dinners and fun filled dates are taken over by quick, “How was your day?” volleys and conversations squeezed in while sitting in the bleachers.

You have to make an effort to add those nons. But how? What does that look like?

I think it takes many different forms.

Some days you make your kids gag as you kiss in the kitchen. Other days you put a movie in for them and you finish that difficult conversation that’s been driving a wedge between you. Some days you splurge on a nice dinner for two after they’re all in bed, and you tuck your phones away in another room too. Some days you go out to a movie neither of you really care to see just so that you can sit beside each other and hold hands.

And some days you simply acknowledge to each other that you miss the nons. Both of you do. That you’re striving to find them and you believe in each other and miss each other in the meantime. That the effort to find the nons is a small price to pay for the love of your life. You’re a team in this daily work.

Marriage. It sometimes needs a prefix.

And together, we’re going to work to add it.

Non-stop.


 

This post has been re-shared from its original publish date of September 21, 2016

Our Marriage Needs A Prefix.

 

IMG_1276

Last night I told my husband that I miss him. And he nodded in agreement as he sat beside me.

We are together a lot. But our moments of non-distracted, non-exhausted, non-sick, non-stressed, non-necessary, non-rushed, non-interrupted communication are slim. We need those little nons in our marriage. But they’re elusive little prefixes.

We strive to have non-distracted conversations, but the texts and the emails and the demands keep breaking our concentration. Not to mention our kids.

We desire to talk about non-necessary topics, but there are needs and fires to be put out before we can intentionally try to fan into flame our love for one another.

We want to give each other our non-exhausted selves. But, we can’t seem to find them.

We need the nons in our marriage.

But adding that prefix takes work.

And it should. Life moves forward after the wedding day and so should our relationship. It should grow and blossom instead of wilting. But it takes effort to remember to care for it in the midst of dizzying schedules and bursting calendars.

The daily, “What time should I plan dinner?”,and, “Did you remember we have that thing tomorrow evening? Did you find a sitter?” questions cause us to put a finger in the leaking dam and leave us in a bind the next time we hear, “Babe, can you give me a hand here?”

The days of long uninterrupted dinners and fun filled dates are taken over by quick, “How was your day?” volleys and conversations squeezed in while sitting in the bleachers.

You have to make an effort to add those nons. And that looks like many different things.

Some days you make your kids gag as you kiss in the kitchen. Other days you put a movie in for them and you finish that difficult conversation that’s been driving a wedge between you. Some days you splurge on a nice dinner for two after they’re all in bed, and you tuck your phones away in another room too. Some days you go out to a movie neither of you really care to see just so that you can sit beside each other and hold hands.

And some days you simply acknowledge to each other that you miss the nons. Both of you do. That you’re striving to find them and you believe in each other and miss each other in the meantime. That the effort to find the nons is a small price to pay for the love of your life. You’re a team in the hunt.

Marriage. It sometimes needs a prefix.

And together, we’re going to work to add it.

Non-stop.

The Popcorn Bowl.

What do I think of when I think of true love, commitment, and romance? You’ll probably never guess. Ok, maybe if you read the title of this post you’ve got a good idea. Otherwise, would you believe our popcorn bowl is what triggers reminders for me of how much I love my husband?

Yeah, it sounds crazy. But I’m going to let you in on an intimate detail of our marriage. Here goes. My husband loves to eat popcorn in the evenings. When he’s done with his snack, he leaves the popcorn bowl, full of kernels, on the counter. This irks me. …Yep, that’s the intimate detail.

This has been going on for years now. Can he not just throw the kernels away and wash the crazy bowl by himself. Yes, he very well could. But he doesn’t.

Now, we have a pretty traditional marriage where I do almost all of the cooking and cleaning. I’m good with this and enjoy it, for the most part. But the difference has been that I don’t usually actually use the popcorn bowl myself as opposed to when I make dinner and use the dishes for all of our family. So for some reason, the popcorn bowl feels different. Like it’s sitting there…just one more thing I’m expected to do before I head to bed.

This has gotten me a little steamed inside… and eventually my inner kernel popped! I finally voiced my displeasure one night asking why he expects this bowl to magically become clean and appear in the cupboard for his next salty rendezvous.

His response? He hadn’t even thought about it. He wasn’t intentionally leaving more work for me to do. To him it wasn’t any different from any other dish we used in our home.

Really?! Did he not realize I didn’t use the bowl and I instead felt used myself because he just expected me to put it away. This was news to him…

So how does this story end? Has something changed? Does Kraig now wash the bowl every time and return it to its rightful place in the cupboard? Yes, something has changed… but it’s not anything Kraig does. What’s changed? My perspective. When I realized he wasn’t intentionally trying to get my proverbial goat, I decided to change how I viewed the popcorn bowl. Now I see it as a round, shiny, salty, and silly little labor of love. I know, it’s weird. But, it’s a regular reminder to me now of how much I love this man.

I know he could easily wash it himself, and he’s even offered. But now for me it’s a tangible way to remind ME of how much I love him. And I’ve realized this doesn’t work if I do it with a bad attitude. But if I think of washing that bowl as a way to express how much I love Kraig, I even sometimes smile while scrubbing that thing clean.

We’ve got wedding rings and three kids to remind us of our commitment and history together. They are great reminders too. But on a regular basis, I’ve got a popcorn bowl to help me with this kernel of wisdom: I love the man who eats the popcorn. And when I think of all he does for me and for our children, I can season the menial tasks of my day with a proper perspective. And, that has made the popcorn bowl a savory symbol of romance in my eyes.

Now, if I could only do the same with the clothes hamper.