Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Ebb and Flow of Marriage

I can easily write about motherhood, because my kids don't care to read what I write about them.  Writing about marriage is a little trickier because there's a husband to consider (and he knows when I've blogged because we're friends on Facebook) :).

But, I had coffee with a friend this morning and our recent (over the past week)marriage experience has been virtually the same, which confirmed something I already knew:  There is an ebb and flow phenomenon in marriage.  Sometimes you're "clicking" like there's no tomorrow and at others, well, you're not. 

I think it's worth writing about because we were extremely surprised that the other's experience so closely mirrored our own.  If we know that the ebb and flow is normal (in theory and in reality), and consequently experienced by most married couples, my hope is that the isolation and temptation to panic during the "ebb" times will be diminished...

A week ago today, my husband took the day off so we could spend the day together Christmas shopping (in lieu of exchanging gifts on Christmas morning).  The day was awesome and I felt like we were newlyweds in a town far away (except for going to his work Christmas luncheon and being at Post Oak Mall). 

All this to say, that we had a "clicking" day just a week ago, but it feels a lot longer than that. 

When a feeling was there, they felt as if it would never go; when it was gone, they felt as if it had never been; when it returned, they felt as if it had never gone."
-George MacDonald

There are simply times when I feel uninteresting to my husband.  Not that there's any problem or conflict, just that "There's just not much going on," in his words.  During these times, I know he isn't mad, but wonder if he's dissatisfied and feel as though he just doesn't like me.

I know I can overthink these things, so two days ago, I asked him, "Are we okay?  I feel like you don't like me."  (I hope it didn't sound as pathetic as what it reads here).  He reassured me that all was well and spent all of yesterday asking lots of questions about my day and making overt gestures to make sure that I knew he "heard" what I was saying. 

I really hate to quote Sigmund Freud, but I think he's onto something here, "The need to be looked at with acceptance and the fear of being looked at with disapproval, or not being looked at at all, are two of the most powerful forces in our lives."

I think this explains why it can feel so devastating when we feel uninteresting, overlooked, or disapproved by anyone, but especially by our spouse - the person for whom we've peeled away every layer and exposed our unprotected essence. 

I don't really know where to go from here, except to say that knowledge is power.  I already feel better about my position during the "ebb", knowing that I'm not alone, that it's normal, and that it is short-lived.

My security always needs to come from my relationship with Christ, and that is my life's work.  Second to that, I need to make sure my husband knows I see him, am interested in who I see, and that I approve.  Because, that's the truth.  I suspect that if I do this well, the ebb will disappear into the flow, and I will be wondering if there ever was an ebb at all.

Dear Almighty God and Father, Thank you for the gift of marriage.  Thank you for my husband and his way of reflecting Your Love for me.  Please forgive my temptation to insecurity during the "ebb" times.  Your Love is supreme, help me to rest securely in that.  Please help me communicate my love and zeal for You above all, but also for him.  Please bless our marriage and all marriages, especially those whose who are on the brink of divorce or separation.  Help them to "see" their spouse with Your eyes, to let them know that it is good that they exist.  Amen.

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