Last weekend, we had the pleasure of going to the wedding of my oldest nephew on my wife’s side of the family. Joshua and Megan were married in a beautiful ceremony in the same chapel and by the same pastor who had performed Megan’s parents wedding. The couple disappeared to Canada for a honeymoon and reappeared at the airport in town last night.
And they are sickeningly in love.
Of the twenty or so pictures that I have taken of them in the last twenty-four hours, I can pretty much guarantee that all of them involve at least one of the following: cuddling, smooching, or back-rubs.
Last night I was sitting next to Joshua while we played Settlers of Catan and suddenly felt a bump on the back of my chair. It was Megan pushing past me so she could stand behind Joshua and give him a shoulder rub for while he played. She wandered off for a few minutes only to return to whisper in his ear. He whispered a back to her and she reappeared with a sandwich and a drink in her hand.
What I was witnessing was Megan putting Joshua’s desires over her own. Her comfort and meal was second in her mind to doing something special for Joshua.
Someone made a comment about Joshua needing to enjoy that level of service while it lasted.
I had an epiphany at that moment and leaned over to him and said, “You can guarantee that level of love and gooiness, but only for her.”
What I meant by that is that he (or you) cannot demand a specific level of devotion from your spouse. The exceptional giving and gooiness that Joshua and Megan have been displaying to everyone this weekend is simply the desire to proactively meet each other’s needs above all else.
As most marriages mature, they tend to lose this level of action to the gravity of life. Love becomes deeper as you share layered experiences that cross the gamut from mundane to amazing, but the display of love seems to cool and recede.
There are different theories as to why this change takes place. Is it a natural cooling of love? Is it a maturing? Is it simply “real life” setting in?
More importantly, can it be retrieved and revived?
I believe that it can, but it takes two different actions to accomplish.
1) You have to make a conscious decision to put ALL of your needs second to the needs of your spouse. If you try to balance our needs against your spouse’s needs, you will, over time, lean towards yourself. This is the natural aspect of human nature that seeks its own.
2) Like any new behavior that you wish to pursue, you need to put a reminder where you can see your commitment until it becomes your new default.
It takes effort and sacrifice to put the needs of your spouse ahead of you and a long term commitment to being second in your marriage. That is the only guarantee that you can provide.