By Cindy Koch –
Many good advice-givers tell me that marriage is hard work. I even want to believe them in these times of kids, activities, commitments, meetings, bills, stress, and the endless search for rest. My husband of 18 years, now, is a familiar face in the blur of everyday routine. And sometimes, I find myself missing the friend I knew in my youth.
After years of babies, student loan stress, church council meetings, home renovations, and (now) teenage breakdowns, we are almost never focused exclusively on each other. Of course we do things together; we tag team to piano lessons and eat at the same dinner table. But our weekly routine needs a time when I laugh with him, recognizing the amusement in his eyes. I must have a moment to clearly see the frustration in the creases of his forehead. And we have learned to schedule this time together in our week.
Thursday is the one night out of the week that I learn even more about my friend, my husband. We talk about the future, the past, theology, sports (I try to listen and make sense of it), our friends, our families, our victories, our pain, even our anger. Some Thursdays we go out and have nothing to say at all. We will just eat, drink, and smile. I may dress up one Thursday with heels & lipstick. The next Thursday it might be my simple jeans and a T-shirt. It’s not uncommon, on a Thursday night, I break down in tears. Something held in too long, something I didn’t even know that hurt. There are Thursdays I had to forgive. There are Thursdays that I was forgiven.
If you are anything like us – married – then you know that the relationship isn’t just magical once you repeat the words “I do”. There is another sinner that now lives in your house, for the rest of your life. There are frustrations and expectations. There are hurtful words and too many activities. We have moved beyond the puppy love friendship recalled from our wedding day. And so they say that “marriage is work” and you will have to really try hard to make it last. But, I think it may be easier than all that.
Just go out.
Enjoy your life with your friend. Be with your friend. Laugh with your friend. Cry with your friend. Forgive your friend. God has given you this special person to share your days here – so just be what He said you were – one flesh. Escape the façade of your mundane day-to-day. Be free from the staged Facebook happiness. Go out and live a few hours refocused on the gift of each other. Your friendship becomes less like “work” and much more like the blessing it was meant to be.