As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that our lives are characterized by what we can think of as defining moments. We look back on experiences, conversations, relationships and other events that happen throughout our lives that turned out to be pivotal moments because of the impact they’ve had on us.
They are the “ah-ha!” moments when the light bulb goes on and you are struck by a profound realization.
I remember one particular such moment in my life, based on an article I once read. In the article, two women were sitting next to each other on a plane and struck up a conversation. One of them was married, and had said she’d been happily married to the same man for 19 years, and the other woman was engaged. The engaged woman asked the married woman what her secret was to a happy marriage.
The woman replied,
you gotta keep the party going in your marriage.”
She went on, “my husband and I often drink champagne together and he frequently brings me roses. We never forget to
celebrate our relationship.”
It was such a simple statement that said so much to me.
It came at a time when Ed and I were at our lowest; we’d been married for over 10 years, we had little kids, and we were at that point that so many couples in this phase of life get to, where they lose sight of their relationship beyond the children, the stack of bills on the desk, and the never ending pile of dirty laundry. It seemed like forever since the last time we’d spent any quality alone time together, and making love had gotten to be all but another chore that had to be done.
I shared the article with Ed, and we talked about it for a long time. We talked about what it meant to “keep the party going” in our relationship. It had the same resonance for him, too–he just instinctively understood what it meant. We both understood that it was about remembering what it was that attracted us to each other from the beginning and rekindling that excitement. We knew that underneath all that dirty laundry and the pile of unpaid bills, that spark was still there. We began to conspire ways to reignite and revitalize that spark.
I won’t lie to you…it took practice and profound dedication and determination because we’d fallen into some really bad habits with each other. We had to learn new ways to communicate, and we had to adopt new attitudes about all kinds of things, but mostly about how we saw life. We made the conscious decision to see our lives with gratitude and reverence. When you approach life from this perspective, it becomes something to celebrate, not something you automatically lament. That’s one of the reasons we started rockinmarriage.com, because we know that if it worked for us (and, boy, did it!), it can work for others, too.
I challenge you to make this commitment to your life and to your marriage.
Once you do, you will be inspired to act in new ways with your partner. Here’s an exercise for either husbands or wives: if you have kids, get a babysitter for one evening, to make sure you’ll have the evening to yourselves. Grab a bottle of champagne (if you don’t drink, buy sparkling cider); have a couple of fancy champagne glasses handy, light some candles, and after dinner make a toast to your marriage. Speak directly from the heart and make the commitment to this renewed attitude, and tell your spouse how much you love and appreciate them. See what happens when your partner hears those words from you. I promise, you won’t regret it.