Five years of Forever

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

– Mignon McLaughlin

Dave and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary the other week. Like any moment worth celebrating, it’s a great opportunity to stop and reflect on the time we have spent together. Reflecting on what we did right, what we did wrong and where we are going.  Above all, one thing really stood out to Dave and I: WE MADE IT!

As anyone whose been married that long will tell you, it’s no small feat.

Looking at those who have been married for sixty plus years, I wonder what they went through to get there. My parents, who have been married for thirty-two years, have endured many tough times and despite it all are still together. Not just the “grit your teeth and bear it” together but “we could do that thirty-two years all over again and hope for thirty-two more” together. It’s inspiring, and importantly: THEY MADE IT!

It’s sad to say but amongst our friends there’s been a huge increase in the number of our friends who are divorced or in the process of getting a divorce. All were married for less than five years, some less than three. I’m not just talking one or two couples, but rather twelve couples. That’s right, twelve. Most under thirty years of age. It’s upsetting that it has come to that point for so many people and my heart feels desperately sad for them. Some of the separations were through mutual agreements and for others, one party has decided that they can’t go on. Either way, I know how deeply it has affected everyone involved myself included.

Looking at society in general; celebrities, people of influence, friends, family and even the church, it’s easy to see divorce as normal. Almost all who get divorced appear to have a ‘valid’ reason for the separation. If I’m honest there have been times in our marriage where I have thought that I have a valid reason for leaving. I would rationalize: “It’s definitely not me, it’s Dave. He doesn’t talk to me the way he used to. We have just grown apart. He has pursued the business thing and he doesn’t have that much time for a marriage as well. I don’t think I’m attracted to him like I used to be.” For me these thoughts and mindsets that crept in came down to one thing.

Selfishness.

Plain and simple. Now that may be a bitter pill to swallow for some, but it’s the truth. For me, I didn’t view my marriage as Dave and I united. Nor was I thinking; how can I put Dave first? Rather, it was “what is in this for me?”, and “Im not getting it, so I won’t give it”. If you ask Dave he’d tell you he was thinking similar things. The point is we were both hurting and both of us felt like we were owed something.

When I realized this, I was then able to take this to God and Dave and ask for forgiveness. When both parties are hurt one of you needs to step up and break the stalemate. Each day I need to lay my relationship with Dave at God’s feet. It’s when I start to think that I can do this “married thing” in my own strength that I become selfish and unstuck.

So what is it that gets a couple to five, ten, twenty or sixty years happily married? Is it simply being unselfish? Well that’s definitely part of it, though you’ll always catch yourself being selfish at times. As Dave and I were talking about all this, we pin pointed one thing: Our mindset of marriage is FOREVER. Not until it doesn’t suit us any more, or while ever the other person is meeting my needs, or until it gets too hard. Rather through the good times and bad, through sickness and in health, ’til death do us part. Remember those words on your wedding day? Yep, we swore an oath to do that.

Now I don’t say that to condemn those that have chosen separation. My point is that for those who are married or considering marriage; you need to approach every conflict, argument or disagreement with the FOREVER MINDSET. This mindset requires that no matter what, divorce isn’t an option for resolving your conflict. Of course I’m aware that things like abuse and infidelity can make resolution difficult, if not impossible, but most couples don’t start there. When you think in terms of forever you’re forced to get creative and break out of your comfort zone. After all, who wants to live unhappily ever after?

Do you have the forever mindset in your marriage?

In a subsequent post I’ll share with you some practical ways you can create it in your marriage.

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My heart said what I wanted to say

The other day, Dave and I were going for a drive just to catch up and hang out. He has been so flat out starting a business that at times he must wonder if it’s really worth it? He has been putting in crazy hours, dealing with the highs and lows that each new day brings. He has taken care of 3 redwood trees worth of paperwork to get a US company set up and to be honest I watch him and I am in awe of the amazing job he is doing. It takes someone talented, dedicated and faithful to do what he is doing, and he seems to be doing it brilliantly.

As a wife of an entrepreneur, it’s sometimes hard when due to the business’ demands the relationship becomes a far away after thought that grasps tightly to the few moments you get to capture when the stars align, the winds blowing the right way, the moon is blue and you are there, just the two of you… alone. These moments can sometimes be daunting. Thoughts that run through my mind is how do I make the most of this rare moment?

As Dave and I were cruising down the 101 the other day, it dawned on me: This precious moment shouldn’t just be about the facts and events that have occurred since the last time we caught up. It’s about sharing my heart’s thoughts that sound weird coming out sometimes, but create a bond together in such a short amount of time. Here I was talking about my mundane things that had filled my week. How I had cleaned the house, unpacked some boxes from our move and completed my uni assignment. But then a heart thought interrupted my run sheet of facts. What my heart wanted to say was ‘Dave, I think you’re doing a really good job, and I am proud of you. I know this is a time where time is lacking, thoughts other than work are few, but thanks for being my Husband and making this time out of your mayhem so we can spend some time together.’

Too often in the past I held back from saying something like that because my first thought is ‘well he already knows that’ and secondly ‘it sounds kind of cheezy’ (yes I am not the best person when it comes to affection).

However, when those words from my heart came out of my mouth, not only did Dave’s face light up and chest went out, I felt that bond that was created, that although sometimes I feel as though I am an after thought, I really do love this man and it’s these precious moments together are worth it.

Do you have a spouse like this? Does it sometimes feel like your time together is as foreign as meeting a stranger? Although it can feel strange, make the most of your time together.

What does your heart want to say? When is a time in your relationship that you decided to let your heart do the talking? What did you find happened for you and your relationship?

Silly Passionate Lovers

Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly.
– Rose Franken 

You may have experienced love like this before. As you read this quote, you probably have a stupid grin on your face like I do, as you think about all the weird, quirky and silly things you share with your loved one.

Today I found myself in an amusing situation. A friend asked me “How did I come up with a ‘pet’ name for Dave?” There was an awkward silence as I thought…”How did I come up with that name?!”, and then all the memories came flooding back of the day that one word just ‘stuck’ and didn’t go away. We laughed about it, thought it was cute and wham! A ‘pet’ name was created.

Then there are other moments that you share when it’s just the two of you, things unfathomable to the outside observer. To most, we are probably ‘The Kuhns’ – Amber; a live wire who keeps things….fresh (as I like to call it. Others may call it interesting.) 🙂 Dave; a well-educated man who knows what he is talking about and balances the relationship. Then there are ‘The Kuhns’, when it’s just the two of us, which is probably closer to the truth. Dave; a well-educated man who knows what he is talking about, balances the relationship but also sumo wrestles me and gets great joy out of toilet humor. Then there’s me, Amber; a live wire that keeps things fresh and creates new animal characters who come to life at any given time, especially to win an argument… yep, definitely silly. However, when it’s the two of us, it makes sense (most of the time!) 🙂

It’s in these moments that we let go of our inhibitions and what’s the ‘sensible’ thing to do. Love was created for passion but also being able to be silly. It’s these things you share that bond you together.

What are the things that you and your loved one share? The things that bring a stupid grin on your face and thought in your head “I hope no-one is watching!” Hold onto these precious moments. Just like passion, it’s these silly moments that count!