On Marriage

GlassesI was getting discouraged this morning because it seemed no matter how hard I tried to focus, I was seeing the entire world as through through a blurred smudge. I checked my attitude – nope, I think that’s okay right now (whew) and I checked the computer screen – nope, it’s been recently cleaned and just as I started to settle down into a light funk I realized that the grease splatter left over from searing the brisket I prepared this morning for the crockpot not only made it to the counter, the walls, the mixer, and all other random things I had left on the counter, but it has also left a residue on my glasses and I never noticed it the whole hour and a half I’ve been working in the kitchen. I had to step outside the kitchen to notice I wasn’t seeing things well and even that didn’t do the trick immediately. It took further investigation before I realized that no, my whole house isn’t, in fact, covered in grease, but the very thing I have placed in front of my eyes to help me see the world better had a problem. Fortunately for this morning, this was an easy fix. My glasses are now clean and I can see things clearly again. For now.

But I wonder how many other things in my life I’ve allowed to slide behind an oil-smeared existence without noticing there’s even a problem…without realizing things could be better. My work room is a prime example – little by little things get stacked in here and before I know it I have a whole mountain of stuff to deal with. If the table had been clear one day and stacked up 3-feet high the next, I would probably notice that in a hurry, but as it is, one little thing gets put on top of another little by little over time so that I can walk by the whole stack now and not even notice. Messes made over time are harder to see, more difficult to deal with.

Marriage is much like this. Who starts off thinking they are okay with a mediocre marriage? Who gets married hoping that 16.5 years from now you will have a great roommate who tolerates you because they are used to you? Oh, and because they said they would?

Craig and I joke that “our song” is U2’s With Or Without You which is both beautiful and devastating at the same time. Maybe that’s exactly what marriage is.

More recently I’ve wondered if Sara Grove’s It’s Me is more indicative of things.

In the end, though, I still think Charlie Peacock‘s William & Maggie does the best job for us:

William to whom the world was given / Dared not disturb the sleep of friends
But one time in the night / He turned to his wife and he whispered
Remember when I was young / And you were Maggie?

Cause I been thinkin’ about / You and me and everybody in between
It seems we’ve suffered one too many dreams / Of things that weren’t so bad
It’s just they were never things that we could trust / Are we still pretending they’re enough?

Maggie by whom all hearts were measured / Kissed William softly on the cheek and said
Oh, it always amazed me / How someone could come to the edge of the world
Drop a stone down the side / And turn and return to the very same life
I remember when I was young and you were William

‘Cause I been thinkin’ about / You and me and everybody in between
It seems we’ve suffered one too many dreams / Of things that weren’t so bad
It’s just they were never things that we could trust / We must stop pretending they’re enough

But what of the interval moment / When you feel nothing
And I feel nothing / Maggie, I’m trembling in this interval moment
When you feel nothing / And I feel nothing

Maggie by whom all hearts were measured / Kissed William softly on the cheek and said
Sometimes William / William sometimes
You’ve got to open up the window / And let the wind blow through

You’ve got to let it blow through / You and me and everybody in between
It seems we’ve suffered one too many dreams / Of things that weren’t so bad
It’s just they were never things that we could trust / We will release them as they turn to dust

I been thinkin’ about / You and me and everybody in between
It seems we’ve suffered one too many dreams / Of things that weren’t so bad
It’s just they were never things that we could trust / Are we still pretending they’re enough
Still pretending they’re enough / Still pretending they’re enough for us?

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Every once in a while our marriages need us to step outside the kitchen in order to notice the smudge we’ve been functioning behind. Sometimes we need to take our glasses off and give them a good cleaning so we see things clearly again. Sometimes we need a relational reset.

Maybe your reset happens with a quiet dinner out. Maybe you need a whole weekend away. Maybe you need a to make a therapeutic playlist (ahem), or perhaps the upcoming City Pres Marriage Conference is what you and your spouse need to stop for a moment and be intentional about where you are and where you’re going. Regardless of which method you use to get there, get there. Start cleaning off the grime right now and move forward.

Megan Dunham