After 14 years together I suppose it’s easy to get into the routine, to forget about the small things, and for the little resentments to fester because we’ve gotten into a routine, because we’ve forgotten about the small things, and because we know life isn’t what we expected it to be. And then I blame myself while she blames herself, each of us certain that we’re the reason we’ve fallen into a rut. It would be so easy from there to just throw up our hands, to call ‘FOUL,’ and give up on ever thinking things will be better.
But we haven’t done that. Instead we’ve begun looking inward, but also communicating those thoughts and feelings to each other. You see, that’s the one thing that can doom any relationship, the lack of communication, and we realized we weren’t talking, really talking to each other. It’s still hard to admit now because I always prided myself on communicating, but those things that are hardest to do are usually the most fulfilling precisely because of that difficulty. Every relationship goes through ups and downs, but we should never forget about the show.
What’s the show? Well, it’s alive and well at the beginning of the relationship. You know the butterflies you got when she called and you heard her voice? Remember the first time you held her hand, the electricity that flowed through both of you at that smallest of contacts? At the start it’s easy to remember the show, to do the small things because everything’s brand new and inherently fascinating. If the love is what brought you together, then the show is the glue that holds you there with each other, and helps you grow.
Too many people say that love is enough, that you don’t need those actions, but the actions — the show — is what translates the love into something you can truly see and appreciate. I’m not saying that the things she gets or does for you are more important than the love she feels for you. On the contrary, they’re just the outward display of that inward affection. A simple kiss when you come home from work, or her just asking how your day was, a surprise date night when you least expect it, or that book you wanted but never asked her for, that’s the show. And too often as relationships progress the show gets left behind.
We need to show us each other how we feel, and often, because we are all only human. We have doubts and insecurities, even with those who have been there for us and with us. It’s the nature of being human, but too many of us won’t admit to it, instead letting those insecurities pile up until we don’t trust our partners or ourselves. There’s that communication piece again, and one part of communicating is showing that you still love and appreciate the other person you’ve chosen to share your life with.
A friend asked me what she should do for her husband’s birthday, and I told her to think about what truly makes him happy and give him that. She said he didn’t have enough time with her, that he often complained about her being too busy for him, so she set up her schedule so it was free the entire day, and they spent it being lazy, just basking in each others’ company. He said afterwards that it was the best day of his entire life. That’s the show, the ability to understand the other person’s needs and give that to them, knowing that they will do the same for you. It’s the give and take, the outward shining of that inner glow.
And it’s beautiful.