when I fell asleep
turned away from you,
do I wake with
our legs entwined,
my hand in yours,
and a smile on my face
when I feel this?
God bless my wiser,
faithful, hands and heart
for remembering the truth:
I Love You
far far more
than I’m (trying
to be) annoyed.
Image: David Lester-Bush
Through a ranty, rambly convo with my Vicar’s wife a few years ago, during one of those inevitable bad patches of marriage, I coined what I call the Three Ts; they’re basically my 3-point guide for regular health-checks on my marriage. What’s great about them is if they’re both diagnostic & curative…hope they help you too:
T1: TIME… We are both really busy (who isn’t!) so we need to really try to spend quality time together having fun & making memories together. Just ‘being’ in the same room, home or even bed (well…) together doesn’t connect a couple as does a round of crazy golf & a cocktail! When I start my week & people ask ‘what did you do this weekend?’ I don’t want all the fun I had to be with other people and all the sitting on the sofa to be with my husband…my friendships would quickly tire & die if we just sat watching TV & discussing our schedules each time we met so common sense says my marriage will fade if we don’t have fun together too: cue Date Night.
T2: TALKING… I’m a talker, hub is not, but we both try more & more to talk to each other about our days, about our gripes, about our plans &, yes, about our feelings. This ranges from touching-base re what we are up to socially to the more in depth ‘this is bugging me’ chats. There are many times I have a problem and David is nottt the person I need to talk to: I need a girlfriend (usually one with whom I can swear!). But while I could be tempted to then shut David out, instead I make a point of sharing it with him anyway even though he won’t know exactly what to say like my girlfriends will. He doesn’t need to be my counsellor or genie but he’s my husband so I make sure he’s connected with what’s going on in my head and in my life-and the more I share, the more he knows me & the better he gets at supporting me. And vice versa.
T3: TOUCHING…like having fun together & communicating well (!!!), sex is a vital relationship glue and one which uniquely sets marriage apart from friendships. Intimacy breeds intimacy so prioritising time to be sexual, to be creative, naked & vulnerable is vital. When one first starts dating it is such a struggle to leave the house on time and not stay home kissing like a teenager (sorry about that Char Char!). But then you’re married and they’re always ‘there’ and so quickly sleep can begin to feel more important than sex which can be had any day. NO! The more sex we have the more we want it (good ol hormones!) and the more connected & in love we feel. That said, there is more to touching than sex! As a teenager, I remember kissing til my lips were sore! The hand holding, shoulder-rubbing, face stroking, & kissing *just because we want to kiss* are fun ways to physically & emotionally connect us, not just as a key to open the sex-door.
So they’re my 3Ts…of course lots of patience & forgiveness needed too but they don’t begin with T! If they help, share them, and please comment & share our own good tips too!
While this may sound bizarre to admit even though it’s a common sense fact: I know my husband may cheat on me (as may I on him). I’ve seen adultery a plenty in my life and have a great cheating & bullshit detector…I’m sure we all know the classic lines from the Cheaters Handbook, the oh so popular ‘s/he doesn’t understand me but you do’ & the tried & tested ‘I’m only staying for the children’ lines!
Hence I recognise this obvious truth: my darling, devoted, absolutely incredible husband may cheat on me (& I on him!). Nearly every couple meant their wedding vows on the day, but things can change… distance & resentment can creep in and so, seeds for cheating can germinate, as shown so well by my beloved fictional friends Steve & Miranda in Sex & the City: if devoted, dependable Steve can, anyone can!! Adultery doesn’t have to destroy a marriage – breaks can be beautifully repaired. But I’d rather avoid the pain & damage if I can… so I take precautions against it for us both. For myself, I don’t hang out too closely or frequently with anyone I’m sexually attracted to (a girl is only human after all). And re hub, as well as the private detective and secret tracker in his boxers (kidding!), I utilise the best defences I have: observation & communication. I pay diligent attention to our relationship and, just like checking one’s breasts or scrotum for monthly changes, I check in on the quality of our relationship frequently and both of us try to share & listen to any concerns or unhappinesses creeping in.
Importantly though, I think understanding why people cheat is a valuable protection against adultery & the damage it can cause, so here’s a short, humorous but erudite animated talk by the oh so wise Alain de Botton: https://youtu.be/d079McwlBRE