If I get married, I want to be very married. ~Audrey Hepburn
This quote could be brushed off as ridiculous. Very married, that’s like being a little bit pregnant. Either you are or you’re not.
I get it though. I am married and I want to be all in. My blushing bride self didn’t have these thoughts. They’ve grown over the past nearly 14 years. If I’m going to vow to share my life with another human being until death parts us, then I want to make it worth it. I want to be very married to Craig.
It’s fitting the day before Valentine’s day that I would share with you some wisdom that has been circling my brain, from the book Very Married by Katherine Willis Pershey.
Pershey, an ordained minister, takes us on a very real journey through her own marriage. From being tempted to cheat on her husband to the scary realization we all have that one day either our spouse or our selves will die she lays it out there with stunning, raw, honesty.
One little nugget. tucked into her beautiful, genuine writing has woven itself into the pathways of my thoughts.
“We take risks-to love, to marry-and home that we will not be made fools by the ones to whom we have entrusted ourselves. And just as surely as we take risks, we are risks. The one who has entrusted himself to me is hoping I will not make a food of him, either.” K. Pershey
Read that over and over. Let the layers of enlightenment wash over you.
Our spouses know nearly every naked (literally) detail of our lives. From what makes us cry to whether or not we snore to how loose our postpartum belly skin is.
It’s risky business to reveal your inner most thoughts and feelings to another human being. When you share your soul with someone else you take the chance that they won’t know the significance of the gift you’re giving them. But without those vulnerability the deep connection of a marriage is impossible.
It’s also scary to think that we could take this gift for granted from our spouse. Each of us fails and we might not recognize the value of what our spouse is trying to tell us. Without practice we can miss reading between the lines and choosing empathy over indifference.
I sometimes think I’m an expert on other peoples feelings, because, after all I’ve been dealing with and judging my own feelings for quite some time now. And some of these feelings are pretty big with strong opinions to back them up. Alas I forget that this does not give me a licence to judge how something should make my husband feel.
I want to hold sacred the things he has entrusted to me alone.
Another prominent point that Pershey comes back to repeatedly in her book is kindness.
“In all my reading, research and reflection about marriage, one quality has stood out, head and shoulders above the others, as the hallmark of a healthy relationship. It’s so obvious that it’s easy to overlook, tempting to undervalue. It’s kindness.” K. Pershey
Ack why must things look and sound so simple in the pages of a book and sometimes be so very difficult when you attempt to practice them in real life?
When the baby is screaming and everybody is hangry (Hangry is what happens when you leave hungry too long and you are past the point of no return with your mood) and you still have a half an hour in the car before you get to some place that resembles civilization, it’s dang hard to use gentle words.
“There are two ways to think about kindness. You can think about it as a fixed trait: either you have it or you don’t. Or you could think of kindness as a muscle. In some people, that muscle is naturally stronger than in others, but it can grow stronger in everyone with exercise.” Emily Esfahani Smith as written in Very Married
I’m pretty sure I’m one of those people who need to do a lot of exercising to build up my kindness muscles. This is both encouraging and daunting.
I am responsible for making my behavior kind. My actions are not dependent on Craig’s attitude. It is up to me to choose kindness. (Not gonna lie, I will be hoping any kindness I throw out there will be met with all sorts of love and affection).
Have you learned anything mindblowing about relationships lately? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment.