My husband and I recently fought about something. We actually haven’t had an argument in a while, was one of the things I realized while we were in the heat of the moment. The other thing that surprised me was how highly reactive I was. He didn’t have to say much and there I was threatening to leave, to get away because as I announced, “the situation was just unsolvable.” Wow, really??? Even I, could not believe what I said! (It was not as if we were fighting about world hunger, hello.)
The problem was so simple- he said something I didn’t like, I said something he didn’t like. On another day I perhaps would have waited for the surge of irrational thought and overwhelming feelings to calm down before speaking up. Or would I?
A day after our fight (which we were able to resolve, thanks to a patient and godly husband!), my husband tells me, “We’re going out on a date tomorrow.” He said it so certainly that made me think, “Did I forget this on our schedule?” But there were no prior plans. Nevertheless my spirit agreed that we should do this. Because in one moment I actually had an explanation for my surprising outburst the other day and also a resolution for it.
It has been 8 months since Philip was born and that makes it 8 months since it has been just the two of us. Except for one lunch time in Hawaii, Joseph and I hadn’t gone on a date without tagging Philip along. And while this is sweet and fun for the most part, I realized that we’ve been neglecting our “romantic needs” since our child was born.
Now this doesn’t mean the love is gone. In fact it is quite the opposite. I thought that we loved each other so much that it was okay to keep pushing our seemingly unimportant needs as couple such as romance. I mean, what are dates compared to a nursing child, right?
But after 8 months I realized that dates are not unimportant, that romance is not only an option in marriage, but A MUST.
Before Philip came along, Joe and I stayed together in marriage because we liked to stay together. We want to do things together, and loved each other for who we were and even for who we are not. We didn’t need the reason of a child to stay together; with or without Philip, we stayed together simply because of each other.
Sadly though, when priorities are muddled along the way of nursing sessions, dirty diapers, rowdy toddlers, we forget that children are supposed to add and not subtract from the union of a couple. And this equation usually seeps into marriage so subtly that it can take as long as 8 months before we begin noticing it. Now I understand why some parents begin to wonder whatever happened to the marriage only years after. Life can get really busy as a mother and home maker, as a father and provider, AND it is so easy to offer romance as a sacrifice.
Perhaps it is because we have a notion that romantic things are selfish. But now I understand it is not. Like sex is to marriage, romance within the right context is purposed to enhance and intensify the couple’s union and intimacy. We need romance not only because it feels good, but also because it is purposeful in keeping priorities in the right order.
Marriage first, was what I said in my Instagram post featuring my date with Joseph last Wednesday. Because really, that is the divine order of things: me as the child of God, me as Joseph’s wife, before me as Philip’s mama. And we need to make necessary arrangements to keep it in this order, lest we be wallowed away into the seemingly more pressing and important things like work and child care. While seasons ask us to focus on the baby more, like when they are newborns or in a needy part of their lives, we should also know when to snap out of it to tend to our first love: our spouses.
And a regular breath of fresh air, outside of the home, where both can just be present to one another, enjoying good food and/or scenery, can do wonders. Because the time carved out for the person in front of you communicates, “You are important and I’d stay with you forever, children or no children.”
This is perhaps why it was so easy for me to snap at such a simple argument, because I have failed to remember that the person in front of me truly values me for who I am, and even who I was, before I became his child’s mother. I often think I cannot leave my child because he needs me, but now I am reminded that my spouse needs and wants me, as well! Thanks to the date we had yesterday, I am once again refreshed and reminded of how fun and sweet and romantic it is to be in solely in my husband’s company. To be valued not only for being a mom, but also for being an introvert, writer, learner, bookworm, a bad baker, and so much more that others don’t necessarily have to know.
“For me, spiritual dryness usually follows an extremely busy period. Air must be still for dew to fall, and I was anything but still.”
Ruth Bell Graham
I often say, “Be still and know that He is God.” And our marriages are really like our relationship with the Lord, too. For we need to be still before our spouses if we want to moisten the love and relationship all over again. Do not allow the love to slip away and let our feelings for each other run dry. Wet the relationship regularly with romance. In marriage, it isn’t selfish and unimportant.