Why it is the Little Things that Matter Most in Marriage
Marriage is a lot of hard work. Trust me when I say that being married is something that requires 100% effort on behalf of both partners. It’s never 50/50 – since you both need to give more than half to make your marriage work. As a woman who has been married 10 years to my high school sweetheart, I can tell you with conviction and certainty that marriage is hard work every single day. Unfortunately, that’s not what young couples are told when they are getting married. They are told that marriage shouldn’t be hard, that love should be easy and that a happy marriage is one that does not involve fighting or disagreement or any of that stuff. Add to that the fact that social media highlights all the good and very little of the bad (thank goodness, if you’ve ever encountered the bad from that one person who cannot keep her personal life to herself) and that leads young newlyweds or engaged couples to feel that marriage is all pretty dates nights, wine and frolicking through flower-filled meadows with starry eyes and gleeful happiness.
Okay, so that’s cute. Marriage, however, is a little more work than that. It’s date nights and wine and frolicking through the backyard to chase your kids around to force them in the house when you are ready to start bath time. It’s rushing through dinner so you can get home in time to relieve the babysitter on date night. It’s wine that you throw back at the end of a stressful day while hoping your husband doesn’t want a glass because you want another and forgot to pick up a second bottle. It’s quick text messages throughout the day, quick kisses goodbye in the morning and hello in the evening and it’s realizing that you haven’t had a real conversation in a week because you’ve been all consumed with kids, work, extracurriculars and all that goes along with that.
But it’s all good. It’s good because this is the life you’re building together. It’s all about getting into simply, healthy marriage habits like quick text messages to remind your spouse you love him. It’s a bouquet of flowers from the supermarket not because he didn’t think you were worth the price of a florist’s bouquet but because he suddenly thought, “My gorgeous wife would love these beautiful flowers,” when he was in the supermarket picking up the milk you forget and the wine he knows you’re going to want later on as he’s on his way home from work. Marriage is hard work. It’s hard not to want to suffocate the man lying next to you when he’s snoring. It’s hard not to want to stick a foot out and trip him when he assumes that the coffee cup that the Keurig just filled up was his (it wasn’t) and he takes it. It’s hard not to want to throw a dirty diaper at him in frustration when he makes a remark like, “Ew, that looks nasty, and kind of like you let it sit there for a while,” when he walks in the house after being gone 10 hours and not having to change one dirty diaper all day long.
But at the end of the day, all the gross and annoying stuff is very minor, because it’s the good stuff that stands out the most. It’s the stuff that matters. It’s the kisses that your kids give you before bed. It’s the sweet prayers your kids say as you tuck them in, and it’s the knowledge that they pray because you two are instilling in them a sense of spirituality and encouraging their relationship with God. It’s the laughter you hold in while making eye contact as your toddler asks you whether or not “Effing gosh,” is a bad word and you want to ask her to repeat the question so you can get it on video, but you’re trying so hard not to laugh you cannot even stand it. Marriage is a lot of work, but it’s the smallest moments that make it worth the effort you put into it. We’ve rounded up a few of the smallest moments that you will encounter throughout your marriage that will remind you all the snoring and the bad driving are totally worth it. Because at the end of the day, someone has to point out that marriage is not all about giant bouquets of flowers, diamonds for no reason and spontaneous trips to Paris on a random Friday (though we will happily accept any and all of the above).
When you know exactly what your spouse is thinking
You know that moment when you are at an event, a school function, a wedding, a family ordeal and someone you’re talking to says something completely off the wall and you are thinking, “What the heck is wrong with this person,” but can’t say it out loud? You find yourself looking over at your spouse only to see that his raised eyebrow likely matches your own. You both stifle a smile and shake your heads imperceptibly knowing exactly what the other is thinking. You are reminded in this instant that you are a team, and that you always will be.
When you realize that your kids are just like you
It happens, and it’s a bit of a scary moment. But when this happens and you have your spouse there to share the moment with you, it makes you feel so connected. It reminds you that you did this together, so you’ll handle this together. You’ve got this. It’s a good moment to have together. It’s even better if you have a personal marital mission to fully and completely embarrass your children at any appropriate occasion.
When you get to hang out in bed together for a few minutes after waking up
These are some of the best moments in a marriage once real life takes over and these moments are so few and far between. So many mornings force you to get up and out of bed right away since you have to get the kids or get to work or whatever. But every so often, there is that one morning you don’t have to be anywhere, no kids are awake and you get to just lie there together snuggling, and it feels so good.
When you do something wonderful and unexpected for him
I was out recently when I noticed a dress shirt in Nordstrom that I thought my husband would love. So I grabbed it for him and brought it home. He wasn’t expecting it, and it caught him off guard. We’re usually so busy and so distracted shopping to pick up things not on the immediate list of “get this now or the kids will suffer or you will never have time to go back,” that we don’t get to take the time to browse. He was so appreciative and it reminded me that we are a team, and that doing little things for one another is always welcome.
When he does something wonderful and unexpected for you
My husband brought home a package of the big Reese’s peanut butter cups from the store the other day. He put them in the freezer, just like I like them. Then he presented them to me after dinner. I was in heaven. Heaven; not even joking. It was a $1 effort made by him on the way home because he thought about the fact that I’d mentioned to him earlier that I wanted something sweet. And it literally made my entire day. I love when my husband thinks me and then proves that to me.
When you’re just together
There’s very little time to just be together when you’ve been together for so long, especially once you have kids. Most of your together time is with your kids, your friends, your family and other people in general, which makes alone time all that much more special. It’s those moments after everyone is in bed, the house is clean and you get to collapse on the couch together for a few minutes of relaxation and visit with one another that make you feel so connected.
Once you realize that marriage is not all roses and romance all the time, you will learn to appreciate and accept the small things with so much more love and affection. After all, it’s the little things that matter the most in life, and that’s what makes a marriage worthwhile.