Ryan and I have been married for over 16 years. We get asked quite often how we’ve “made it that long.” I don’t feel like it’s been “that long,” but I suppose it is when the average marriage these days lasts fewer than eight years. We’ve given a lot of thought to that question, and we’ve discussed it at length. We’ve brainstormed multiple theories. Recently, we were alone in the car for almost four hours and that topic was what we talked about for most of the trip.
After about the third hour, Ryan wondered, “How many other couples do you know who talk like this?” And that is where we found our answer.
We talk. A lot. All the time.
We’ve written before about our nightly coffee time. After our kids go to bed at night, we brew a pot of coffee and talk at length about anything and everything. We discuss politics, world news, work, children, upcoming events, sports, TV shows, articles, fears, dreams, and anything else that pops into our minds. Not only do we talk, but we also listen to each other.
I learn a lot about Ryan during our coffee time. I learn what is important to him really. I learn what he’s struggling with. He tells me what’s on his heart and what’s on his mind. I do the same. That’s why we are best friends. We truly know each other– the good stuff and the not-so-great stuff. We are real with one another.
We are vulnerable with each other, but we protect each other’s vulnerability. Ryan is free to say whatever he thinks or feels without worrying about my reaction. So am I. We both respect each other, and we trust each other.
Those nightly coffee breaks are vital to our relationship, but we talk like that more often than just during coffee. We talk during car rides, dinner dates, weekends away, plane trips, and even while we’re doing mundane housework. We talk when we go hiking in the summer and while we snowshoe in the winter.
We talk, and we listen.
I suppose that is one major factor in how we’ve “made it this long,” and it’s a major factor in how we’ll make it even longer. It’s a major factor in why our marriage is so much deeper than the surface level it was when we first got married. I seriously thought I loved Ryan on the day we got married. At that point, I couldn’t even imagine how much more I could love him.
Now I know.
It’s hard to believe we’ll reach even deeper levels of love as the years go by. I can’t even imagine that!
If you’re married, I really want to encourage you to make time with your spouse on a regular basis for conversation. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. No fireworks are required. Seriously, just brew a pot of coffee and put the kids to bed. Shut the television off. Then, talk and listen. Reminisce about the goofy things you did early in your marriage. Laugh about the mistakes you’ve made. Dream together. Pray together. Do these things over and over and over again.
Your marriage is worth it.
Have a great day!