“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.)