I must say that I cruise a lot of blogs and read many different perspectives on marriage. The odds are stacked against us married folks and we would be pretty silly not to acknowledge them. As comedian Bill Burr says, “Isn’t anybody looking at the stats? What is it like 1 in 2 marriages…? People, if you were going skydiving and they told you that half the parachutes weren’t going to open. You’d be like… I’m not going. I don’t like those odds. Fifty percent chance of splatting on the ground? I’m not going.” And yet, 2.2 million marriages are performed in the U.S. alone each year. That’s about 5,918 each day. That’s huge!
Why? Because we all have an idea of what marriage could be like and we’re willing to take the greatest emotional and financial risk of our lives to reap the rewards of a happy marriage.
Now, I’m not handing out advice on how to achieve the perfect marriage (after all, my marriage is not perfect but it is perfect for me) but I’m going to share the elements of my marriage that keep the romance alive.
Faith: Little in life could have prepared me for how it would feel to sit next to my husband and worship — together. I realize that not everyone who reads this attends a church, synagogue, or temple. That’s fine. Far be it from me to lecture you on spiritual matters but sharing your faith with your spouse is powerful stuff. That’s some good medicine, if you ask me.
Waking: Every morning (with a few exceptions), I get up with my husband. This may sound trivial, but my husband is a military man — this means that he is often crawling out of bed at 3:00 in morning. I shuffle out to the kitchen with him to pack his lunch (and scribble a love note for that lunch pail) and/or fix him breakfast. On his days off, Josh wakes before I do and takes care of all the animals without waking me. On those mornings, I feel so deliciously lazy and loved. Click here to see a typical breakfast for Josh.
Flowers: Flowers are also good medicine. My husband brings in flowers from the yard and leaves them for me to find or I arrange them around a candle for a romantic centerpiece. This is not an occasional thing. It happens frequently and, trust me, it never gets old.
Food: Meals are our time to reconnect and show appreciation for each other. I try to make every meal special with my invented recipes and the dishes that I know Josh loves. And as Ann can tell you, food is such an amazing blend of sensual textures and flavors that when shared with your sweetheart — food can really spice things up. My husband clears the table after every meal and I just melt. You men out there reading this: clear the table for your honey. You’ll thank me later.
Projects: We work very hard to be involved in projects together. Josh sits down and looks at the fabrics I have selected to work with (even though I know he’s really not into fabric). I keep him company in the garage and do the painting because Josh hates painting. We are project people. We were project people before we met and now we have a person who we love and respect to bounce ideas off of and learn from. Planning our garden, building guinea housing, or clearing brush from our woods — we find that sharing in projects is also sharing in love.
Drinks: This could have gone under the food category but I think it deserves its own spot. Why? Because there is something wonderful in having a tall glass of water or sweet tea brought to you by your loved one when you are sweaty and hot. Because sitting on the front porch in the cool of the early morning next to your spouse with a mug of steaming hot coffee or cocoa is a simple joy that cannot be put into words.
Bed: Oh yes, I went there but it’s not what you think. I absolutely love making the bed or turning down the covers with my husband. As we smooth out the quilt (that I made), I am sometimes overcome with love for my husband because sharing the simple household chores which I performed on my own for so many years is a reminder of how lonely I was and fortunate I am now.
Children: I fall in love with my husband all over again when I see him with the children of our friends or with his son. He feels the same way about me. Being able to see his capacity to love and be loved by children is a strong factor in why I see him as not just my husband, my best friend, or my partner — but as a father. We cannot wait to be full-time parents and to share in raising a child.
At the end of the day, country romance is more than just feeding each other fried chicken, slurping sweet tea, and enjoying the bench seat of a pickup truck — it is learning to view simple, everyday events as a way to reconnect.