I was talking with another friend who has been married long enough to know. To know how it feels when some of the passion/emotion/sexual tension that drives so much of the early part of a relationship has settled. Not faded. But morphed and matured into grown-up love. Beyond the “We-can’t-keep-our-hands-off-each-other” passion (which certainly is a lot of fun!) or “We-could-stay-up-all-night-talking” excitement of getting to know the other. Those of us who have been around the block a time or two with our spouse have learned through experience that the majority of a marriage relationship is most definitely spent outside of the bedroom. And eventually you come to the place where, when you both are in the bedroom, sometimes (thought not all the time) you prefer to actually sleep together. I mean, really sleep. With your eyes closed.
I don’t mean to put passion and maturity on opposite sides of a spectrum, because they are most definitely not mutually exclusive. I am trying to contrast how love…grows. And as things age, they look different. Look at your family photos over the years. My kids are not nearly as energetic now as they were at 2 years old. But now, they are certainly better conversationalists, more poised and more fun to take out to a restaurant for family dinners.
My friend was describing a couple she knew who had just moved out of this first marriage season and were making the transition to the next one. They were growing up. Growing together. She said, poetically and appropriately, “They have landed.”
She wasn’t implying they weren’t still in love, or passionately hot for each other, or that they were now fuddy-duddy old people who ate dinner at 4pm in their pj’s. She was saying that they were in the process of maturing in their relationship together. And they were doing it well.
And it occurred to me that all married couples must make this transition. To grown-up love. To a love that has landed – in reality. Because this is where we have to live.
We don’t live in the world of candlelight dinners and flowers every night. There are dishes and laundry to do, bottoms to wipe, bills to pay, lawns to mow.
My point is that finding love there, in reality, on the ground, rather than floating around in the air where no one can live forever…this is what grown-ups do. This is what makes a marriage so beautiful. Learning to live a real life together. And somehow not lose your affection and passion for the other.
After 17+years of marriage, I’ve found that…
Kisses are much more passionate, not just when driven by hormones, but when accompanied by memories of a lifetime together. Holding hands fully clothed can be powerfully intimate at the graveside of a parent or in the midst of heartbreak and tears. A simple meal can be incredibly romantic when it is shared with the crazy/loud three kids God chose to put in your family – and who don’t want to leave the dinner table because they are enjoying family time so much.
Landing well…staying and growing in love, real love…this is a most healthy marriage practice.