Pretty much everything these days makes me think of marriage. It’s like when you buy a new car and then suddenly you see that car EVERYWHERE! Some people describe it like being a hammer– everything around you becomes a nail. When I’m watching TV, reading a magazine, talking to my friends, shopping… I could be doing anything at all and somehow my mind wanders back to… Hmm, is this like marriage? Is marriage like this?
Since I’m always hoping for and looking for inspiration for my marriage, it is fun to come across insights in unexpected places, like a funny book written by a single woman. Have you read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling? She’s got some pretty brilliant thoughts for us married folks.
In her chapter titled, “Married People Need to Step It Up,” she tells a story of a married friend named Tim, who corners people at parties and uses the mantra “marriage is work.” She talks about how her parents are good pals– not best friends, but pals, and how she loves that about them. She also shares that her married friends are far more depressing than her divorced friends. Then she says this:
I don’t want to hear about the endless struggles to keep sex exciting, or the work it takes to plan a date night. I want to hear that you guys watch every episode of The Bachelorette together in secret shame, or that one got the other hooked on Breaking Bad and if either watches it without the other, they’re dead meat. I want to see you guys high-five each other like teammates on a recreational softball team you both do for fun. I want to hear about it because I know it’s possible, and because I want it for myself.
Married people, do you know that single people are watching you? Are you aware that the Mindys of the world are wondering if marriage is worth it? Yes, it’s become commonplace to talk about the hard work of marriage, and it is hard work. We even applauded Ben Affleck for publicly acknowledging that hard work when thanking his wife in his Oscar acceptance speech earlier this year. But, are you talking about it like a job you love to work at, or like a job you dread going to every day? Is the work of marriage something you are enjoying or something you are grumbling through? Are you and your spouse high-fiving maniacs with your own set of inside jokes or more like cordial colleagues giving each other a courtesy nod as you pass each other by?
Tony and I high-five all the time. It’s silly, we know. But we like each other and sometimes a high five is the perfect way to say, “Yeah! We got this!” We are a team and we love that we get to be together. It’s not uncommon for one of us to say to the other, “Can you believe we got married? Can you believe we have kids now? Yep, that girl from the bar married that guy playing guitar. How crazy is that?”
We are in love with our own love story, and we are also in love with the ordinariness of our life together. I love the way he plays goofy games with our kids and he loves the way I take my time making spaghetti sauce. In fact, we are hooked on Breaking Bad and we absolutely would consider it a betrayal if one of us watched an episode without the other. We are friends. You could even say “pals” as Mindy describes her parents. Although, I do believe being pals just skims the surface of describing our relationship.
Now that I think about it, I’ll be taking Mindy Kaling’s challenge to step it up. I want to make sure I’m sharing and living out the fun parts of my marriage in front of other people and not just bringing the buzzkill like Mindy’s friend Tim. I’m stepping it up so that the people around us, married and unmarried alike, can be excited for Tony and I to #staymarried. How about you? Are you ready to step it up?
You are reading Day 17 in our 31 Days of Loving on Purpose series.
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