“All good music, whatever its date, is ageless – as alive and significant today as it was when it was written.” -Peter Warlock
*Disclaimer(s)* – yes, I have a couple.
- I plan to discuss all three of the topics indicated in the title. If you are uncomfortable reading about any of them, OR you are my dad, you may choose to stop reading now. Just a suggestion.
- I am not a counselor. This is not meant to be marriage advice. I write based on my own experiences – not yours, or anyone else’s. If this doesn’t jive with your experience, please feel free to write your own blog. Just so we’re clear.
Lets start with: Kids
My husband and I share the task (both pleasurable and painful) of rearing three children. They are our greatest endeavor, and our largest investment – in every sense. We were very cognizant of the decision to become parents – we signed up for this. We understand our responsibility. I wont’ say we underSTOOD the responsibility. It is impossible to know the infinite depth of what the title ‘parent’ suggests until you’re in the trenches. While I do think we are a good team, and our children seem to be growing into human beings whom I’m proud to call my own, we undoubtedly make mistakes, have glaring imperfections, and will always be imperfect parents.
I’m going to cut to the chase…
I believe if you are worth your weight in salt as a parent, you understand (and experience) the sacrifices made to accommodate your parental responsibilities. You as an individual, as a single unique entity, will suffer loss of the luxuries of time, space (both figuratively and literally), and money. Your marriage will suffer the same. I believe anyone who has the self-awareness enough to recognize they are a person set apart from the rolls they play, will have to work harder to satisfy both his/her individual needs as said person, and the needs required by the relationship with his/her partner after parenthood ensues – exponentially so the larger the family. Children are the greatest joy and the biggest challenge to decent, committed, and involved parents.
Point two: Sex
Sex is overrated. (That last statement made my husband choke as he read it). What I mean is – sex – the way our culture wants us to think of it, as a defining characteristic…to be sexy…to be wanted…to be powerful because of sex appeal. That sex is overrated…and also…complete bullshit. Power and sex do not the same make. Alas, that is another post.
What is not overrated is sexual intimacy within a marriage. Sex is a part (small part, even) of marriage. BUT sexual intimacy is absolutely, undoubtedly, undeniably, an important part of marriage. This is not to say it is the most important thing, and definitely not the only thing that holds a couple together…but, by God – you’re fooling yourself if you think it isn’t of crucial importance. It is often with intimacy of heart, through the vulnerable, open, and physical act of sex that we connect with our partners – isn’t it? That is what makes sex special. No one else is in on that part of who you (two) are – together in that way it is just the two of you. That is part of what holds two people together as a couple.
We (married couples) are, after all, two individuals separate from our joint goals. We have made a decision to do life together.
I will be so bold as to say, I don’t believe anyone wishes to do life half-assed, dispassionately, or lackluster…and if you don’t have sexual intimacy in your marriage, it’s a distinct possibility things are lackluster.
So, how then do we manage to find sexual intimacy among the demands of kids…a parenthood-centered-life, and all else that is required of us? Because…lets be honest, sex can happen anywhere in just a few short minutes, but sexual intimacy – the meaningful, marriage-building kind, it needs at the very least, time and space…and money helps.
This brings me to my third point.
Rock and Roll
I had a birthday in July. My husband gifted to me two tickets to a concert to hear one of my favorite bands. The concert wasn’t until November and would take place in Denver – a 3.5-hour drive from our hometown. He purchased the gift knowing full well, considering our obligation of three children, it was a possibility I would attend the concert with a friend – one other than my husband. He gifted it anyway because he is generous, loving, and he gets it – that we have to work to find time, space, and money for ourselves as people & as a couple. Thus, he was willing to give both the gift of time and space to me at the cost of creating less of both for himself.
Thankfully, we have amazing people in our lives (our parents to be specific) who love our children much the same as we do. They took over child rearing for the better part of three days to give us the opportunity to attend the concert together. It was also an opportunity to work on our marriage and apply those long lost concepts of time, space, and money.
I’ll spare you all the details, both for my husbands prudence and because my dad just might still be reading. There were hours of talking both in the car and at lengthy meals over delicious food (which I did not prepare). There were cocktails and a killer concert. There was a hotel room.
Above all – there was a man and a woman who remembered they enjoyed the company of the other – not as partners, but as individuals. That when joint goals and doing life as they’ve decided to define it – i.e. having kids and being parents, is stripped away, they have a relationship based on friendship and intimacy that when given time and space to reveal itself is anything but overrated. And much like a good rock and roll song, it is ageless – as alive and significant today as it was when it was written.