Intimacy in a marriage is fascinating to me. When it's there, and it's working well, each marriage is like a secret club that only two people belong to, with quiet rhythms known only to the husband and wife. When it's absent, you feel the loss as keenly as a death, and you notice everyone else's patterns of intimacy in a new way because you are off kilter with your own spouse.
Long marriages have seasons, both good and bad, and if you can persevere through the hard times, the good ones come again. When we were newly married, I found myself in panic mode when any disagreements would arise between us. I viewed conflict as the ultimate enemy for far too many years, and worried we were splitting up when the easy intimacy between us was disrupted for any reason.
I'm so glad now to have ridden out those early storms to arrive at this place, where we have built a base of security where I can flee when the cold winds blow. Every valley and mountain top in marriage adds another layer to your relationship history. Your stories end up weaving themselves effortlessly into the fabric of your past, and that blanket sustains you as time goes on.
I have hammered marriage choices into my kids from the time they could talk. A good pick for a husband or a wife determines your daily quality of life from the moment you begin living together. Every person has qualities that will eventually drive you around the bend, but I've reminded my kids on a near daily basis that they should pick someone kind, with a good sense of humour, when they are ready to fall in love.
I recognize that you can't choose who you fall head over heels in love with, but you have to involve your head when you are in the process of losing your heart. I am a child of divorce, and therefore I polled my friends and family mercilessly when Jason and I were dating, to be sure I wasn't making a mistake. They all gave him a 100 percent approval rating, but I was overly cautious in the early days of our relationship, and I think that was a good thing.
I have never once regretted my choice to marry Jason, and we have slowly built a relationship which is satisfying to both of us over the course of the fourteen years we have been together. We have had many detours on the road to intimacy, as every couple does, but when we are both moving in the same direction, and placing each other's needs ahead of our own, and laughing at one other's jokes, we are moving forward a little each day. I don't want to forget to be grateful for the intimacy we have at this moment, and be aware of its fragility so I treat it with the respect it deserves.