The Ebb and Flow of Marriage: A Time To Strive and A Time To Be


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There was a time in my life when I was seriously a bit too intentional in my life and in my relationships with people. I still kinda am that way. Every conversation has to be meaningful. Every person I need to connect with on a deep level.  Every decision has to be spiritual. It’s both my personality as well as my convictions that motivate me to always be striving in my actions and in my relationships. Exactly for what, I don’t know.

And then I met my husband. And he changed everything.

He taught me how to laugh more. To chill out. To relax. To not always have a reason for doing things. To let things unfold gracefully. To receive humbly. He taught me that there is a time for everything. And that much of true success in life is finding the wisdom appropriate for the moment.

He is still teaching me these things, and I’m still very much learning. Especially at this point in our marriage. You know, transitioning from just the two of us, to the little threesome family that we now are. When energies are spent mostly on our little one.

There is a time for striving, yes. For being intentional with your time. For being purposeful with your actions. For having meaningful conversations.

But not all the time.

This season in our marriage, I’m learning how to just be with him. Without expectations of talking about the grander things in life.  Or doing anything spectacular.  I’m learning to enjoy going on hikes with him and my little one without much heart-stopping conversations. Just us, the freshest whiff of mountain scent filling the air, and the quiet trails welcoming our presence. I’m learning to let the dirty socks stay on the bathroom floor for a few days. I’m learning to appreciate all of the things he is doing, instead of wishing and fuming over all the things he isn’t. When he remembers to take the trash out, I focus on truly appreciating the gesture. I’m sure he is also learning to accept many aspects of me he doesn’t find all that appealing. It goes both ways.

Last week, I talked about learning acceptance and respect and much of that is also learning to simply be. To simply be me, and to let him simply be, well, him. I think that sometimes we don’t need to work on getting better and that to be okay is well, good enough. There seems to be an ebb and flow in married life that we learn to move with. And when we pay attention to the cues of when to stop striving and just let things fall in their place, life feels a bit lighter and joy seems to be closer at hand.

How about you? Do you think there is truth to this? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. says

    What a beautifully written post!

    My husband and I had our 10th anniversary this year and there have certainly been some ebbs and flos during that time! I used to refer to them as ups and downs, but ebb and flo sounds much nicer! After 3 kids, we tend to be more in danger of not quite ‘striving’ enough and just ‘being’ too much. We all have our challenges!

  2. says

    I absolutely agree with the idea of a real ebb and flow in marriage. Even though I write about marriage (and having an extraordinary relationship) often, I would never assert that my wife and I need to *always* be striving for a higher level.

    There are definitely days when we are low on energy (especially with two little kids and one on the way) and we aren’t looking to do anything spectacular. But even on those days, we take a little time to talk, affirm each other and “just be a couple.” It’s those simple acts that make our marriage great.

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