My husband and I spent this weekend at a Marriage Encounter in the city. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the event; I’d seen an advertisement in our church bulletin and then visited the website, but knew nothing beyond that. It just seemed like a good opportunity to get away with my husband for a couple days. So we left Sunshine with her grandparents and went for it.
Marriage is hard work
I don’t think any of us realize that when we’re falling in love and making wedding plans. It hits later, and then we’re surprised. We don’t want to talk about it, because all our friends’ marriages look perfect and we must be the only ones fighting over trivial things. But as John and Stasi Eldredge say, putting two people together in the closeness of a marriage relationship is like sticking Huck Finn and Cinderella in a submarine and closing the hatch. You expect something to explode.
I guess I’ve come to realize that if something is hard work, it’s okay to ask for help. And the Marriage Encounter weekend offered that help. It was good to hear from other couples who’ve been there, done that, and could share what they’ve learned about loving each other. It was good to see the other couples attending—some who’ve been married as short as we have and some who’ve been married for over twenty-five years. And it was good to spend that time just with my husband, talking, sharing, connecting again.
Somehow I thought that if I didn’t share my feelings, I couldn’t get hurt. If someone didn’t know they had hurt me, then they couldn’t hurt me that way again. Or if someone didn’t know that I really really really wanted to do something, then they couldn’t hurt me by denying me the chance to do that. So I hid. But that thinking didn’t really work.
Sharing Our Feelings
This weekend, as my husband and I shared our feelings with each other through the tools provided by the Marriage Encounter, I realized how nonsensical my thinking had been. It was so much better to know he understood what I was feeling and to know I understood what he was feeling. I realized that too often, I had been hiding from his feelings just as much as I’d been hiding from my own. Some of what he shared with me surprised me; other things, I knew I had heard before but ignored. We talked and shared about things we hadn’t really talked or shared about before. It was good. Very good.
Coming away from the weekend, I feel so much closer to him again. I know we’ll still have our ups and downs, but I also know that we’ve learned to connect and listen to each other again. If we take the time to do that, our marriage will continue to grow.
Thanks for sharing. Your vulnerability in expressing deep feelings is very courageous, and appreciated. I’m so glad you got the chance to get away and reconnect. You’re right – marriage is hard work, and those times of renewing love are so awesome.