This daily thing I do - marriage. Most of my friends are married now, and we sort of toss the word around. "So-and-so just got married." "Isn't she married to so-and-so?" Lots of jokes about the fights we all have, the ruts, and of course the sex.
But marriage feels heavy today. Not at all like a burden, maybe heavy isn't the right word. Maybe it feels thick, like a big deal. Like it really, really matters. Like it can make or break me.
So I was going to post some thoughts on marriage - but Mark Driscoll beat me to it - and his are way better anyway. (Since he's been married approximately 6x as long as I have.) He and his wife both list 18 lessons they've learned in their 18 years of marriage. I've read a lot of marriage books, and I've taken multiple marriage and family classes, (before and since I've been married). But these seem solid. Legit. I've read them over and over and I LOVE them.
And I guess, for what it's worth, here's what I'm learning presently:
1. Be a well, not a fountain.
"The hardest of all is learning to be a well of affection, and not a fountain. To show them that we love them, not when we feel like it, but when they do." [Nan Fairbrother]
A while back, after Dan and I both took a personality test in a counselor's office, this particular counselor told me that one of the weaknesses of my personality is that I want affection and intimacy on my own terms. I almost replied, "Isn't everyone that way?"
So I love this quote - it is simply a poetic, illustrative way to say - be selfless. Encourage, not when it's easy, but when it's hard. Allow your spouse to draw affection, respect, intimacy, encouragement, and help from you. Rather than spouting all of those things out on your own terms, or when it's convenient to you.
I like the imagery of a fountain - that I could (ideally) shower Dan with all those things - but (and maybe I'm just getting older) I love the humility, the quietness, the reliability of a well. It's less flashy than a fountain, but flashy is seriously overrated. Knowing what I know now, I would choose steadfastness over flashy every day of the week.
I want Dan to know that even when I'm not dancing about, spurting bubbly praises, I am a well for him. So that in a moment of need (or even just desire) he can come and draw encouragement from me. That in quiet, honest moments - he can always find respect and admiration and love here. On his terms, not mine. So I often find myself whispering, "Be a well, Kate, be a well."
Didn't mean to bunny trail. Go read Mark Driscoll's post again. Sound, practical advice. It made me cry (surprise), because I SO love marriage.