A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.
As per normal my wife put it succinctly. She’s not one to go on and on. That’s a good thing because I listen to people for a living and it would be pretty hard to come home and have my wife gab about everything. It was one of the tests I had in my head when I dated her. I took her to the library at Moorhead State on a study date to work on a history paper that I really had to work on. It really wasn’t just a test of her. It was also a test of my own resolve. Could I sit with her in the library and really study or would we just gab and get lost in each other and let our responsibility slip by? Was she going to be put out that I was studying instead of showing her attention? Would I be preoccupied with her and not do what I had to do? Comfortable silence was my test. If I couldn’t be alone with her and be silent I figured I couldn’t be married to her. We, I, she passed with flying colors. We celebrated 34 years a few weeks back.
It’s just the opposite for some of my clients. They lament that they can’t go to the restaurant without experiencing silence. They have nothing to talk about. In contrast one of my favorite things to do is to go to a restaurant with my wife and both of us read the paper and neither of us HAVE to say anything. It’s just enough to be together. We can chat if we want to. No pressure. If we don’t talk for awhile it doesn’t mean one of us doesn’t love the other.
She’ll give me her opinion if I need it. But she’s not one to explore the nuances. Well, that’s really not fair. It depends on what it is. Nevertheless, on this blog thing, her comments have been sparse and to the point and given that I’m self-employed and don’t have to run these blogs through an editorial committee, having a candid comment here and there can really help.
I’d told her that one of my regular readers had said that my best blog (I’d posted around 50 by then) to date had been the one about Jeffrey (you can read it here). I wrote it about 20 years ago about how fleeting life is, but if we’re careful we can see the eternal in the mundane. Since then I’ve gotten this Ph.D, you know, and have nearly 15 years experience as a therapist, you know, and by now I should have something to say, and then my wife brings my feet back down to earth and says:
I agree with her. Your blog is kind of dark. I like it when you write about lighter topics, other topics, not just depressing things from therapy.
Ouch. That smacked a bit. Okay, if the blog is supposed to be about marriage problems and marriage therapy and I’m a marriage therapist, how are the topics not going to be a little negative here and there? People don’t come to see me when everything’s going well as a general rule, unless they are newly weds and want some info on how to make their relationship long lasting and fulfilling. I get those sorts of people every once in awhile. But not as a general rule. More often it’s affair issues or couples fighting too much or not talking or problems with sex or kids or alcohol or money or… And then she said:
I like the blogs like you are writing lately. I like the positive ones. You should do more of those.
What have I written about lately? I shared the one about Jeff I mentioned above (“Dandelions and Runny Noses”). Then I wrote about my experience in cancer surgery (“Spot Removal”) that ended up being a parable of how we need someone outside ourselves to remove our sin (frankly, it wasn’t about marriage at all per se except the topic of marriage and forgiveness is certainly relevant) and then my mom and dad celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and I wrote a Tribute to them.
And now I’m writing one about her. And what I’m saying about her is we don’t have to say much to each other about our relationship. I’ve got all these women clients who lament to me that their husbands never talk to them about their relationships. Why would we have to talk about our relationship? Isn’t this what insecure 13 year olds do or uncertain singles after a few dates when they don’t know the direction of the relationship? I suppose we’d have to talk about it if were damaged and it needed to be fixed, like after an affair. I image we’d have a lot of discussing to do then. But no, I don’t need to discuss it with her anymore. It’s a done deal. It works. It’s dependable. She’s dependable. I don’t evaluate her. She doesn’t evaluate me. We can spend time together in silence and that’s perfectly fine.
It’s a test of a great relationship. We don’t have to sit around and wonder out loud if we’re Okay.
Do you love me now?
Do you love me now?
Do you love me now?
We are fine. We just live our life. After 34 years….we’re still passing the test.