Some good friends of ours once asked us, “how’s your marriage?”
Has anyone ever asked you the same (assuming you’re married)? How would you feel if they did? Would you answer honestly or would you be inclined just to say, “yeah, it’s fine”?
It’s not something we ask each other readily or often and I wish we would.
Let’s be honest, marriage is hard. It’s not as simple as finding the ‘love of your life’ and just settling into blissful, contented matrimony (if you think it is then sorry, I’m not sure I believe you!) It takes commitment and effort. We need to learn how to do conflict with our spouse and how to communicate well with one another. We have to figure out constantly how to cherish one another and make each other feel loved and all of that is in an ever changing context. Perhaps, you have kids and suddenly you’re tired all of the time, or your kids turn into teens and you’re now not alone with your spouse in the evening. One of you gets a new job, or you move house and therefore the community around you changes. In order to make our marriages ‘work’ we have to put in the work.
And I don’t know about you but I don’t see the sense in doing that alone without a community around us. I know that often we chat to our friends as individuals about our lives but I want to have married friends who will encourage us but also challenge us. I want them to ask us how our marriage is and be ready to hear us say, “actually right now we’re having a tough time…” and I want to be those people for my married friends. I can’t bear the thought that we might be talking only surface level with our friends while internally they’re screaming out for support or for someone just to say “we’ve been there”, or “we’re praying for you”, for that specific thing.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we start asking all of our married friends to become accountable with us. That would be hugely overwhelming and the thing with accountability is that you pick people you trust and want to be honest with and so these need to be friends we’ve actively chosen.
So, picture those friends in your head, if they asked you right now, “how’s your marriage?” what would you answer? Perhaps the thought of even having to answer the question is enough to make you realise there are things you want to work on or that you’re not actually sure how your spouse would answer.
When we were first asked the question we realised that actually, at the time, we weren’t communicating particularly well as the busyness of life was getting in the way. So now it’s a question we keep coming back to so we can figure out how our marriage really is, so we can see what we need to work on and we can ask how we can love each other better. And, the more we ask the question the easier it is to answer because we’re so consistently aware of how our marriage is and our desire before the question is even asked is to be able to answer it in a way that makes us happy!
So, how’s your marriage?*
*obviously, please don’t all actually send me your answers! (But, do feel free to comment and let me know what you think of the idea)