On March 20th, a new season of Spring began and will last until June21st.
How does this season reflect in our marriages?
What follows are my thoughts which I hope will continue to help you “put a spring” in your step as a married couple.
“From this day forward you shall not look at one another the same way, for from this moment forward, you will be his wife, and he will be your husband.” Such are the words we say as officiants BEFORE we invited you to say, “I Do.” The words are spoken, the rings are exchanged, love is in the air and we invite your guests to stand and join us for the very first time in public to greet “YOU”, the newly married couple. And that is the official beginning to your life together “being married”. You walk back up the aisle in the sand with a strut in your steps, feeling relieved and elated.
But who teaches you how to keep that SPRING in your marriage?
Prior to establishing our wedding company, my business partners and I owned counseling centers. We directed retreats, held wellness workshops, offered individual, group and couple counseling, with a holistic perspective that honored the whole person, body, mind, and spirit.
Part of my practice was to sit with couples and help them resolve their differences so love could “flow” again in their marriage.
It was hard for me to leave that world of counseling and spiritual direction. Yet, after 15 years, I was called to help women in an oncology unit say their “hellos and goodbyes” to their loved ones, and I knew doing that was my new mission.
The result of that work was my first book, Time for What Matters and a subsequent journal about to be published.
The Time Gifter’s Journal, as it is named, is a tool I will use once again to help people, married and single alike, restructure their lives to “make time for what matters” every day. I long for the quiet times in my life again, and I hope I can help others cultivate that practice more often in theirs.
Keeping the spring in my marriage with my husband Bob, takes time and I am a strong advocate of making time for our marriage.
What is the gift of marriage? Beyond the obvious understanding that marriage is an expression, a blessing for those who want to be together and grow in love, I suggest that the gift of marriage is the grace to become love, by loving and being loved every day. For this reason Bob and I renew our wedding vows every year.
When I chose to marry Bob, I had been divorced for 10 years and was previously married for 15 years. At 21, I had a vision of marriage as the natural thing to do, I would grow up and get married and have a family. It was an expectation of women in my culture back then. Instead, I got married, we both worked full time, I pursued a master’s degree in counseling at night, and we made time for one another for dinner and weekends.
We were as some would say, young and innocent, and we did after all love deeply and happily till “one of us zigged and the other wanted to zag”. We were married but we were not equipped with the skills and understanding that put the spring back into our marriage.
Looking back, I wonder if we had been given the skills to know how to navigate these challenges whether we would have still been able to prosper our marriage. To this day, I speak with my former husband, we are dear friends; his child from his second marriage was our flower girl in my second marriage. I know we will always have love for one another.
Later in life, I met Bob. By now more wisdom had come to me regarding the purpose of marriage, and he was no stranger to an open heart. The words partnership were written all over the photos of himself, his dear wife from whom he was widowed and their family.
Marriage depends on more than relationship; it requires a “partnership”. And beyond caring for one another, nurturing that partnership is what puts the “spring” back into your marriage.
So how do we nuture a partnership with our spouse? Is it something we can teach another? OR do we need to evaluate if one exists BEFORE we say, “I Do”?
Another name for partnership is “mutuality”. Where respect for both parties is essential and demonstrated in loving ways over and repeatedly. There are many expressions of “partnership” …physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
In a previous blog, I shared how we build our emotional partnership using the “listener’s script” whenever one or the other of us needs to express his or her feelings. I utilized this “script” often in my counseling sessions with couples and taught them how to bring it home to their marital partnership. It works every time when used consistently.
Here let’s address “spiritual” partnership.
Remember that first kiss with your marriage partner? Remember how it seemed to express the eternal love between two of you? Some people call that “magic or chemistry”. I tend to think it is neither. It is the eternal flame of love expressing itself between two people.Relationships based upon “chemistry” or “magic” have challenges when that “spark” quiets ,because it was never about that in the first place.
Where does that sense of tapping into something eternal go when we get busy about our day to day activities?
Spiritual partnership invites us to come back to the eternal moment in time and remember love is the true purpose of marriage. As one writer expresses it: “To be with you and have your love is all I ask of life.” For we are brought together to love and be loved. Or as one of my favorite verses states” to bless as we are blessed”.
Most days, Bob and I practice spiritual partnership in our marriage. We do something that reminds us that we are married “partners”, not just individuals in a relationship called marriage. We deliberately make time that brings us together in the quiet…so we can remember love and put the “spring back into our marriage”. Without making this time. We get “out of sync” and this is reflected throughout our day. We need to express our shared love for each other at least once every day.
In future articles, I will introduce practices like synchronized breathing that help you both start your days in sync.
For today, consider this…how much quiet can you cultivate with your married partner? When was the last time you sat outside and simply listened to the birds or looked at the sunset?
My grade school crossing guard had it right. “Stop, look and listen”. What would date night be with a quiet walk on the beach, or in a park or in your neighborhood?
Without speaking necessarily… just remembering… your marriage, your partnership, your connecting to love.
Cynthia, Officiant & Co-Owner, A Beautiful Florida Wedding
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