Yesterday during our road trip back from Colorado we made an emergency Walmart stop. This, in itself, is not really newsworthy as those kinds of stops are fairly routine when travelling with kids. But unlike other stops- the ones to grab diapers, tums, baby Tylenol-, this was more of a pre-kid stop.
I rushed into the store and scanned for the right section. Hurriedly I jetted around, partially because we only had one hour until Tessa needed to eat and partially because I was excited to find it. I found the right section...the right shelf...and there it was! I let out a small shriek and then look around embarrassed. I grabbed it and forced myself to walk calmly to the check-out.
Once outside, I held up the bag in victory and could see Garrett raise both fists and holler in the driver seat of the van. Wow, I thought, we are big nerds. I hopped in the front seat of the van, tossed a round of fruit snacks to the ankle biters, and unwrapped our new treasure- the last book in the Hunger Games series. Just a few exits back we had finished book 2, but with a few hours left on our drive, we were anxious to dive into book 3. In those remaining few hours, we conquered four or five chapters, finishing the drive while reading to the light of the cell phone shining on the pages. We pulled into home and both sighed.
There was something so fun about reading those books together, something that brings up feelings that were more present before the kids started arriving, more common when marriage was new and this partnership was still finding its way.
Nine years into this deal, this covenant made before God and man, I am still surprised by how hard it is to stay connected. I mean, if I can practically read this man's thoughts, anticipate his jokes, and finish his sentences, why can't I so effortlessly stay tuned into the status of us? Why are we so often victims of the drift?
The drift is the only way I can think to describe it. It is not a decision to be apart, not a conscious effort to not be close, it is a subtle drift that carries us quietly and gently in opposite directions.
What is the solution? To fight. Fight often, fight long, fight until you win.
You have to fight your own selfishness that wants to see all hours past kiddos' bedtime as "me time".
You have to fight the lie that, at the end of the day, you simply don't have anything left for that person.
You have to fight to think the best when communication is choppy.
You have to fight your own ugly heart that wants you to feel like the victim, the one doing all the work, the one who should be served instead of serving.
You have to fight to find things that you enjoy doing together.
You have to fight a bad attitude when things don't go as you planned.
You have to fight to connect, to relate, to listen, to support, to pray, to encourage, to serve.
The stakes are high and the price is costly. But marriage, like anything organic and growing, doesn't thrive best when left alone to nurture itself.
So in light of all that...til death do us fight!