Yes, I know you may beg to differ and immediately reject my concept that marriage is a verb. But give me a second, ok?
All week I've kept writing, while at the same time reminding you that I was on vacation. It's the reason I've been less responsive in emails and in the comments area.
I don't mention it again because I want to make you jealous. Instead, I want to highlight one of the most important facets of my life with my wife – that we take breaks.
Not from each other, but from our daily routines where we're rushing past each other.
The Misconception of Marriage and of Faith
It's funny but whenever the topic of faith or marriage comes up, I hear people talk about them like a car or gas in a gas tank. They treat them as binary (I have it or don't have it) like you might talk about a car. Or they treat them as something that you measure (I don't have much) like you might describe how much gas is in your tank.
I don't think either can be characterized that way. I find that both are much better thought of as verbs.
Yes, now you know why I don't consider myself much of a writer. I capitalize the wrong words, misspell, and don't know parts of speech. None of these things are as important for a public speaker, but for a writer, eh!
When you think of marriage as a verb, you quickly realize it's something you do, protect, engage in, and build up. It's not a binary checkbox you mark.
Melissa and I take breaks at least twice a year to get out of the routines we fall into during the regular year. At least one weekend a year we also get away without the kids. And every other year we take a week away from the kids.
Sounds very structured, huh? Planned even, right?
Because it is. It's the strategy we've embraced to help us remember why we got married and why we had kids.
Let's be honest
There are times where anything you do often enough starts to bother you, right? My friend Brian just wrote about and used the illustration of playing a song you like until you hate it. I totally don't know what that's like. (just kidding)
Marriage can get like that if you're not careful. The constant routine can let you take things for granted. The little things can bother. You can choose to let your expectations get unreasonable (hoping they'll meet your every need before you even share it).
I was once married before. For 20 months. Until my ex left me. I could give you the ten reasons it was all her fault. But how about I give you the one single reason it was mine?
I came to take the whole thing for granted and acted that way. I acted like it was a noun. For life.
We take breaks…together.
I won't ever make that mistake again. But left to my own devices, I'll walk myself right back into a rut I've created on my own. I know, you're nothing like that.
But that's why we set up our regular breaks. Together. To spend time with each other outside of the rush, outside of the work, outside of Kung-fu and swimming, and school, and who's-going-to-cook-tonight.
And as we take the break, as we vacation, the same thing happens every time. We rediscover why we love our kids. They're cute. They're fun. They're sweet.
Ok, we'll keep 'em. 🙂
And we rediscover why our marriage works: because we treat it like a verb, rather than a noun.