By Joy Sherman
There’s something exciting about the early days of a relationship; while your face is flushed with excitement and adrenaline being near someone you love, there’s also a second natural high that comes from the interesting discoveries we make. Sometimes it’s the small things: He doesn’t like lima beans either! or It’s so funny the way she loads a taste of everything on her fork at one time. Sometimes it’s the surprising things: I didn’t know she liked to play tennis or He’s a really gifted writer. Sometimes it’s the differences: I didn’t realize he was such an introvert or She stays so busy.
After a couple has been together for a while – there’s not really a specific time limit here – it seems the discoveries start to wane. There is less newness and more sameness and things don’t feel so exciting. This is the place where lots of couples start to believe that maybe the relationship isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, that those feelings just aren’t there anymore.
Truth is, we can’t ever know all there is to know about a person, even someone we spend our lives with every day. There are entire novels of childhood stories, a vast array of small joys and sorrows that weave into the fabric of each person’s life. Just by living, we make tiny revelations about ourselves to one another each day; we just don’t give them as much attention as we did in the beginning.
So what if we did? What if I valued the things today I’m learning about my husband, Steve, the way I did 14 years ago when we met? Like the fact that he doesn’t really like coffee without some kind of sweetener in it but he will drink it that way for me if we share a cup. What if I showed interest in every location he pointed out where he’d harvested a deer, because every woods tells a story about him? I’m not suggesting everything new I learn is exciting because of what I learn, but everything I am learning about my spouse is exciting because there is still more to know.
Healthy relationships aren’t always about the right feelings; sometimes we put in the work and time when the feelings aren’t there. But we can’t buy into the lie that feelings are gone because there’s nothing new to learn anymore. Every day is a new page in my husband’s story that I haven’t read yet because he’s just starting to write it that day. I’m committing to enjoying the story, giving thanks for the smallest of discoveries along the way.
What new discoveries are you making in your marriage?
Images courtesy of koratmember and photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A weekly post on Tuesdays at 10:10 am that addresses some topic associated with relationship and marriage health. Don't miss it!
Main author is Lavern Nissley, Executive Director of MRCMV. Guest authors will be included in posts from time to time.