When the excitement of the wedding wears off, we are left with the day-to-day activities which can quickly become boring, routine, and done without emotion. In short, it becomes mundane. Once the rhythm of marriage has begun, our actions and activities can feel like there is no worth or value in them, like what we are doing won’t matter in the long run. So we begin to let things slip. We may let the laundry pile up for weeks, only washing the bare minimum to get by. Or we may allow the mail to pile up, or the grass to grow longer than we used to; you figure who cares? Who will notice?
It may be no longer giving your spouse the kiss good-bye as he or she leaves for work. You may decide it doesn’t matter if you forget to do that one task they asked you to do, don’t they know how busy you are? It could even be simply not telling your spouse you love him/her as often as you once did. It is these little forgotten things, these little things that you enjoyed as newlyweds that cause little cracks in your newly minted marriage.
Both sets of my grandparents were married for over 60 years. There were mundane days, many, many of them I suspect. But the difference was my grandparents kept working at their marriage. They kept seeking their spouse out to know him or her. To love him or her. It may not have been visible to the untrained eye, but I know they spoke an intimate dialect known only to them. Secret looks, inside jokes, stories they’ve told a thousand times. All of this built their lives together.
After seventeen years of being married to my husband there have been thousands and thousands of mundane days. Up for work, doing the laundry, caring for the boys, doing the dishes, making dinner, watching television, going to bed and repeating the same routine the next day.
But I’d miss the blessings of the special, exciting days if I didn’t stick around through the mundane. I would lose out on the treasured moments. It is a choice. It isn’t an easy choice either. Some days it is all I can do to put my feet to the floor. I don’t have the strength, I don’t have the energy, or even the “want to” to continue on for the day.
So I choose. I choose to love my husband, not because he earned it or deserved it, but because I promised I would love him, that day in 1997, in front of all of my friends and family. I choose to expend energy, to strive, to know him better today than I did yesterday. It isn’t always easy, in fact, some days it’s a down-right, full-blown battle to choose love. But I choose it, every time.
Marriage is a hard reality. Some may make it look easy, don’t believe it. What we see on the outside is not what is going on inside. A couple newly married is often excitement and thrills. A couple married for a few years, with a few children can tell you with sleep deprived bodies that it’s rough. Talk with couples whose children are older, maybe close to college age, it’s a different season and leg of the journey. Ultimately, each couple may look great outside, but it took a lot of work to get there.
My hope is for the couples who need help, those who feel like it will never change, who have reached that place where they think, “what’s the point?” that they would be honest that this isn’t what they wanted and seek counseling, seek mentoring couples in their church, seek wisdom, find help from believers. In this area it it crucial to get help from people who have God and Faith as their foundation.
Mundane marriages don’t have to remain that way. Marriage was designed to show others what the relationship between Christ and the Church can look like. If we are trying to win others to Christ, why would we want to create the idea that the relationship with God will not be worth it?
If your relationship with God is worth everything to you, why wouldn’t you want to your marriage to have value, too?
Love your spouse– not because he or she deserves it— we certainly don’t deserve the love God gives to us– love our spouse because you promised to love him or her until your last breath. Love them anyway. Listen to them, apologize for the times you’ve been wrong. Seek for better understanding between the two of you.
Love them. Seek help. Don’t let the mundane become a way of life.