Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Learn to Swim!

on April 7, 2013

Learn to Swim!“It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go…and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time…. It is much better fun to learn to swim than to go on endlessly (and hopelessly) trying to get back the feeling you had when you first went paddling as a small boy.”
~ Mere Christianity

I read this quote today in a post from the Official C.S. Lewis Facebook page and it immediately jumped into a marriage context! (This was only the 2nd time that something has triggered a post in this manner since my husband’s accident back in November. I didn’t really realize it at the time, but I’m pretty sure I had another brush with seasonal depression these past few months.)

But I thought about how love grows and changes over many years. New love IS exciting! You can’t wait to see the one you love– you spend hours on the phone, learning about one another, making plans, and finally, just listening to each other breathe because you’ve said all you can think of but you can’t bear to hang up the phone. But at some point, all that changes. (Funny real life coincidence: This week one of my teacher friends was trying to explain this concept of long-married relationships to her high school seniors who were reading Pride and Prejudice. She told of hours on the phone when she was dating her husband– but said after 15 years of marriage, she’s over listening to him breathe!) Real life steps in. It’s different, but not worse.

Possibly no matter how long you have dated and how well you know each other when you are newlyweds, life is exciting when you are newly married– the parties and showers, the wedding and honeymoon,  a new place to live, SEX (sorry Sis and Sunshine), making plans for the future, etc. It’s all very energizing. But at some point, things change. You get cramps. He goes in his man cave. You both get tired and cranky. You have arguments, and make up. You work together on your home. Maybe you do something terribly unglamorous like changing out a toilet or dig up a sewer line. You nurse one another through illnesses. You become FAMILY. The everyday-ness of ordinary life becomes the norm. (I wrote a post about joy displayed as a fruit of the Spirit in marriage through hard times, a similar idea.)

It happens very gradually, but it will happen. And hopefully, you will recognize it and not fight it (“endlessly [and hopelessly] trying to get back the feeling”), but appreciate it for what it is: “learning to swim,” not “paddling like you did.” You develop true intimacy. Not just sexual intimacy, but emotional and spiritual intimacy. You become one another’s most trusted confidante and biggest fan. You know each other’s greatest strengths and trust each other with your greatest weaknesses. You fail one another and even hurt one another, but then you forgive and work to grow closer. You experience life together, secure in the knowledge that you are FOR each other, no matter what. Forever.

This song goes perfectly. I played it for Mr X the morning of our 30th anniversary. Thanks to our son-in-law (Mr. Sis) who sang it in one of his college recitals and introduced it to me.)


16 responses to “Learn to Swim!

  1. So true. I used to fight the realization that I no longer “feel in love”. Now I know it’s something more. The way I used to just melt in his arms is gone, but when they come around me now, I know I’m home. Perhaps that’s a strange way to put it. But when the feel-good feelings leave, then the best of all can come.

  2. True words. So true. It happens to everyone, but the ones who can roll with it – learn to swim – are the ones that make it through. I love your quote “You become FAMILY.” So true and that is what we all want isn’t it? Thank you for sharing at Time-Warp Wife.

  3. “Trusted confidants” “biggest fans” – that next to last paragraph just sums it up perfectly. Robert and I call it the 20-year warm up…

  4. We really were on the same wavelength, weren’t we, Em! I like how you’ve fleshed it out a bit more here, though. It’s so easy to carry the need for “infatuation” into our marriages, when we are missing out on the deeper bond of love that God wants us to walk towards. Thanks for linking this up at Wedded Wed, my friend. I really do “love” it! :)

  5. Nan says:

    We are going on 30 years of marriage too. Our oldest son just got engaged recently and they are in the throes of planning their wedding, etc. We don’t choose to love based on a feeling, we act on love and when we do, the feeling comes! That’s what love is an action, not a feeling, and I think that’s why love doesn’t last for some people.

    OOops. have to run to a meeting! Have a great night and thanks for linking up to “Making Your Home Sing Monday” today!

  6. Britany says:

    I have been married almost 6 years. We started dating in 8th grade and never broke up. We are now 26 and still attached at the hip most of the time.
    I have tried, and cried hehe, about the excitement I used to see in his eyes. This article helps me see that this is normal. I really wasn’t sure. When couples around us that we grow up with like my soccer coach divorce, we begin to question “how does it get to that point?” “Are we headed that way too?”
    Reading this blog assures me that we are normal

    • Auntie Em says:

      Britany, I hope you can imagine how happy this comment makes me! You are EXACTLY who o had in mind that I hoped would read my blog and learn just this sort of lesson! I hope you stick around, and learn some more from my mistakes so you won’t have to learn the hard way!

  7. Pamela says:

    Excellent. Oh how thankful I am for my sweet RB and the love we still share after 37 years. Yes, always growing closer. Love this song, too.

  8. [...] lenses of new love, but as our sweethearts grow into that curious position of lover AND family, the relationship changes, and we do too.  As with so many things, we have to find a balance– in this case between [...]

  9. Donna Flowers says:

    I just read this this morning. After almost 49 years and bypass surgery, I am thankful I can still listen to him breathe. Just a thought.

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