“You know what?” she whispered to him. “I just love being near you, even if we’re just working side by side and not talking.”
Don’t we all long for the person who brings our souls comfort? Isn’t it the loveliest to have someone who is familiar with us and all our rhythms? The one with whom conversation flows naturally and with whom we just love doing life?
Some might think that’s not an exciting type of love story. I used to think it would be most romantic when you got all dressed up to go out somewhere, and he gave you compliments, and you got butterflies in your stomach from just looking at him.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized what is far more romantic – a moment where you glance up in the middle of a task and lock eyes with him knowingly and you understand the depths of love behind that one glance without saying a word.
The fairy tale I most cherish in my dreams is not the one where I’m “riding happily off into the sunset” after a pretty wedding. No, it’s the one where I grow old with someone who knows my heart inside and out and still wants to have an hour-long conversation with me. The roses will fade – but what will grow ever brighter is the way our hearts become even more entwined every day.
But growing old together with someone isn’t easy. People change as individuals, and this can create tension and conflict in a marriage. A husband or wife might feel “bored” with their spouse after spending ten or fifteen years with them – that the marriage isn’t exciting anymore – that they’ve fallen into a mundane routine together.
I’m not a marriage counselor, nor do I pretend to be an expert on marriage. But here’s what I will tell you from my observations of living many years alone.
The part of marriage I crave the most is living out those “mundane routines” with a husband who knows and loves my soul.
There’s a quote I discovered on Pinterest awhile ago that I’ve thought more and more about lately:
“Why is it that people get married? Because we need a witness to our lives. There are a billion people on the planet. What does any one life mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything … The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it. All the time, everyday. You’re saying, ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness” (“Shall We Dance” 2004).
There are moments when I catch myself with an ache in my throat because I’m suddenly aware that I don’t have a witness to my life – someone to share in each of those unimportant moments. When I’m unloading groceries onto the conveyor belt at the grocery store. When I’m standing over eggs to cook on a Saturday morning. When I’m nestling into a quiet Sunday afternoon.
All of these are also moments when I’ve felt profoundly peaceful and grateful for the smallest blessings in my life.
But there are times when the ache of the absence of another soul sharing in those blessings becomes too loud for me to handle.
God created husbands and wives to be witnesses to each other’s lives in unique ways that others can’t fill. This is why he said to Adam in Genesis that it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Thus, he gave him Eve so that the two of them could forge a life together.
When people are single and don’t have that daily witness with whom to build a life, they must lean more closely into Christ. Their dependency and faith in him grow deeper because doing life alone can be really hard. This is a beautiful thing. But even still, it doesn’t make the ache for a soul witness completely go away.
Instead, singles need to work to find those who will be their witnesses in other ways when that gap of spousal witness can’t be filled. And I want to commit to that for my single friends if I stay single for the rest of my life or get married someday.
I want them not to feel forgotten. I want them to feel seen and valued and cared for. I want them to remember that my house is always open to them – the tea kettle is ready to be heated, my ears are ready to listen, and my arms are ready to hold them close.
Even if we won’t share the everyday moments that spouses do, we can still share ordinary moments of grace together to remind one another that our lives do matter and that they are being noticed and celebrated.
And if you are married, I beg of you not to take the ordinary moments together for granted. When he takes your hand as you’re walking. When a kiss is dropped on your forehead. When you’re eating dinner together in contented quiet. When you’re sitting in the living room reading, and you shiver, and he gets up to turn up the heat. When you say, “Remember when – “ and he finishes the memory or the line from your favorite show.
So many marriages today don’t make it because the husband and wife grow discontent with what they have. But let me remind you that some of us would give anything to have what you have. So if you have a witness to your life—someone who makes life comforting and safe—someone with whom you share a beautiful rhythm—don’t let go of it. What a beautiful gift from God.
Picture gleaned from Pinterest.