My soppy hubby wanted us to sit as a family on Valentine’s Day and watch our wedding DVD together. It’s something we usually do in July on our wedding anniversary and I love reliving the pure joy of that day but this was the first time in a while that I really paid attention to the words that were said during the service, the reading we chose and the vows we made.
Like many couples on our wedding day, we promised to love, comfort, honour and protect each other in times of prosperity and health and in times of trouble and suffering. In the bigger trials of our lives and especially in the days following our daughter being diagnosed antenatally with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and the many weeks in hospital after her surgeries, those vows have kept us strong, kept us together. We have supported each other, comforted each other, cried and prayed together and held tight to hope and faith together.
However, it has not been the big trials that have been the ultimate test of our marriage, but the nitty-gritty of day-to-day life. The busyness and exhaustion that life with two small children brings – the lack of time spent together and the little resentments that start to simmer below the surface. These are the little cracks that appear all too easily and threaten to tear us apart if we don’t pay attention to them.
The words from our chosen reading from 1 Corinthians 13 have particularly been a good reminder with regards to those little resentful moments:
I find it all too easy sometimes to let thoughtless, hurtful words slip out; to see too many of the little things that irritate, to focus on perceived wrongs and forget the many good moments and the extra efforts that have been made. All too often I am impatient, unkind, envious and too easily angered. Stopping and reflecting on the words from this reading has made me realise how unloving I can be at times and how I need to work on biting back those thoughtless words, to take a deep breath and focus on what really matters.
Our minister summed up those day-to-day struggles of married life very well in her address to us:
“You will both grow and you will change. You will disagree and events beyond your control will put stress on your relationship. If you have children they will almost certainly cause you stress… Keep talking and listening to each other. Pray together and work on this new life you have chosen. Although this is the end of your courtship, this is the beginning of an awful lot of hard work. ..
Marriage is hard work but when we put the effort in, it is amazing how much difference it can make. Taking the time to stop and say “thank you” for the little things, biting back the impatient remark, saying “I love you”, reaching out and holding each other’s hands and making time to listen to each other and reconnect with each other as a couple – these are the things that help remove those little cracks before they have time to grow into big ones.
One of my new year’s resolutions was to make sure hubby and I had a date night together at least every other month. We managed a cinema trip in January – our first for a very long time – and enjoyed a night out at a friend’s birthday party earlier this month. This month’s Me and You photos were taken at that birthday party by our friend Brian, who also happened to be one of our wedding photographers. As much as we love being Mummy and Daddy, it was so good to enjoy being us on that night out and to reminisce. Seeing the person that each of us fell in love with again, laughing and joking together and letting the day-to-day worries and cares just fall away for a few short hours. And despite the late night, we were much more chirpy the next morning than we had been for a while. It is amazing how much of a difference taking that time for each other really can make.