Did anyone else set their alarm for 5:00 in the morning on a Saturday to watch Meghan Markle become a princess? I really thought I could hold out and watch it on my parents’ DVR later, but when it came time to go to bed Friday night… I just couldn’t. For some reason, the draw of a royal wedding is too strong. And so I found myself awake long before I normally am on the weekend, sipping coffee and enjoying the pomp and circumstance surrounding the royal wedding.
But something about it kept nagging at me… like something wasn’t quite right. Not that I felt guilty for watching it, but that I was missing something significant. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but every time I scrolled past a friend’s post on social media talking about how Harry looked at Meghan as she walked down the aisle… or the bouquet of flowers he picked for her himself… or how happy she looked… I felt like I was forgetting something. Why? I couldn’t figure it out. Until I came across this absolutely perfect social media post by Rachel Hollis, who very often says exactly what I am thinking:
How many of you woke up early to watch the royal wedding? Or spent time scrolling through pictures of Instagram of her wedding dress or the video of him crying? How many of you consumed this content because it’s romantic? How many of you thought the way she looked at him was dreamy? Or the way he looked at her was beautiful? Now let me ask my real question– how many of you spent more time in the last two days focused on the romance in someone ELSE’S relationship then you have on YOUR own relationship in the last two months?
Look, I’m not against enjoying the incredible occasion that was the #RoyalWedding. It was magnificent and beautiful both politically and historically and that’s something to be celebrated. But I also know so many people –married women especially– that spent a ton of energy consuming the romance of it all because their life feels dull in comparison. I can’t help but wonder what would happen in your relationship if you were as focused on creating your own fantasy romance instead of focusing on someone else’s. When was the last time you went on a date with your partner? And I don’t mean the usual dinner and a movie date– though those are awesome. I mean, when is the last time you planned something special, shaved your legs, put on a good bra, put in some effort? When was the last time you sat down and told your partner what you find romantic or sexy or exciting? When was the last time you asked them to do the same? When was the last time you treated your real life relationship like it had the potential to be the fantasy romance of your dreams? People with exceptional marriages don’t just luck into them. Couples who can’t keep their hands off each other 16 years or 23 years or 50 years later? That’s not an accident. This takes work and intention and communication and vulnerability. I love ya for wanting to see Meghan on her wedding day but I love ya even more for choosing EVERY DAY to remember the romance and promise of your own.
This is exactly something I have been deeply challenged about repeatedly in recent weeks. Marriage, as I know in my head but do not always practice, actually takes work. We say all the time “love is a choice,” but we don’t practice it. “Loving” someone and “liking” someone are two very different things.
Recently I was talking to a friend who’s first language is not English. She’s a very fluent English speaker, but occasionally gets tripped up on some words and we have to work together to figure out what she wants to say. She was telling me the story of how she and her husband met, and at the part of the story where she should say “I fell for him,” she said “I jumped for him.” I knew it wasn’t intentional – she just got her verbs confused – but man, it made an impression on me. Instantly, I made a vow to myself that I would jump for my husband.
I fell for him once… well, it was more of a long, slow slide. Nothing dramatic or sudden for us! But then we landed, and we got married, and we had three kids in four years. It’s so easy to cite them as three exhausting but cute little reasons to let our marriage fall by the wayside a bit. But we can’t let that happen… because if we slip bit by bit, we won’t notice that we’re slipping… and that’s the most dangerous kind of mudslide.
“Jumping” for my husband means putting effort into our relationship. It means making sure I pack his lunch so that he doesn’t have to worry about it. It means making sure our house is tidy when he gets home, since clutter is a big point of stress for him. It means weeding my little herb garden occasionally so that it’s one less “outside thing” for him to worry about. At Valentine’s Day, it meant planning a years’ worth of dates for us, so that we had special time set aside for the two of us with no excuses to skip it.
It’s amazing how making a choice to do something you don’t want to do can change your feelings on it. If you hold hands with your husband when you’re mad at him, chances are you won’t be mad for long. If you take a few moments to kiss him in the evening when he gets home – just as the Witching Hour hits it’s peak and you’re so mad at him for being 8 minutes late – you may find yourself relaxing and being more happy that he’s not 8 hours late.
I’m preaching to the choir, here. This is something I’m working hard to learn. This past Saturday, our morning could not have gone less like I’d planned. My husband’s idea of “spending a few minutes working outside” was about three hours longer than my idea of it. We had a miscommunication involving a trip to town and didn’t get home until 20 minutes before a babysitter arrived… and I still had to feed the kids lunch. It all worked together to make me super grumpy and irritated with my husband, but that babysitter was coming because we had a date planned. In my heart, as we pulled out of the driveway to go spend 10 hours together, I wanted to cancel. I wanted to stay at home, hole up in our room, and sulk while he just took care of the kids. But, I didn’t. And we had the most fun together. I even thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent at the beach, which is literally my least favorite place on earth. But because I made the decision to power on and act like I wanted to be there, I gradually DID want to be there.
I literally saw this on Facebook just a few minutes ago:
If you look at your man like that for long enough, he’ll become a prince.