From the monumental day we say our wedding vows in front of God and all the people in our lives, our journeys together are generally marked by the big things – anniversaries, births, vacation trips, and even the tragic events that inevitably come our way. If each marriage had a road map of its own, they are the towns that lay along the road from the beginning to the time that death do us part.
But, in between all those, between those landmark events, the ‘towns’ along our marriage path, lie all the grassy fields, houses, fences, and bridges along the way, the everyday days, the routines, and even the ruts, all the little things that don’t so much stick out by themselves but nevertheless make up the bulk of our lives together.
From the wedding that takes so much planning and preparation, a long-awaited day that has to be ‘just so’ down to the last detail (at least insofar as the bride is concerned!), to our well planned vacations and beyond, we generally put extraordinary effort into and remember every detail about the big things. I’ll never forget the days each of my children were born. I’ll never forget our wedding day, or my grandmother’s funeral, or the time our oldest daughter spent three weeks in the hospital with potentially-deadly meningitis nine days after she was born.
Of course, it’s certainly important to ‘do’ the big things right. We all want our wedding to be a day to remember, and even the funerals we attend to be sweet times of fellowship with family we would otherwise never see.
But, what of the little things, those everyday days? There are far more of those than there are monumental days, far more than we think we can count, except that we can. Just as the hairs on our head are numbered, so are the days of our lives together. The best marriages are maintained, not once every so often, but every single day. Each and every day, the question we should be asking our spouse, but often forget, is, “Do you feel loved today?”
In reality, the bulk of our marriage stories are written in between the towns, in the long talks, the back rubs, the intimate times, the tender touches, the date nights, and even those countless, crazy, seemingly endless days of laboring together in that toughest of tough jobs, parenting.
It’s so easy to take those days for granted, to fall into what we might view as a ‘rut.’ Kim and I have four children. There were times when we thought the diapers would never end. Last summer, when our youngest turned three, we sold our changing table on Craigslist and said goodbye to diapers forever. It’s not so much that we miss the diaper changing (does anyone?), but we do miss having little babies around the house. At the time, in the middle of it all, I didn’t think I would, but I do.
There have been times when, traipsing through some public place with our four young ones in tow, an elderly person will smile at us and, with moist eyes, tell us with a voice laden with experience to cherish these days, because after we blink they’ll be gone. I think we’re finally starting to understand what they mean.
They say time flies when you’re having fun, and we’re definitely having fun. Maybe we might just slow time down, just a little, by remembering that those everyday days go by so much faster than we think.
“Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” Psalms 90:10 NIV