Back in November, Ryan and I celebrated five years of marriage. We spent the weekend hiking and enjoying time together at the place where we met: a secluded campground and conference center that hosts summer camps every year. It’s located around the Turner Falls area in Oklahoma, and during the off-season, they have a hotel/lodge you can stay at for a pretty reasonable price. The autumn colors were on full display and we enjoyed a little weekend getaway there to reconnect with one another.
During our getaway, we reminisced about the night we met there 5 years earlier as we walked around camp. The camp has a prayer garden, and we got up early on Saturday to hike up to the garden and check out the sunrise. While we were there, we re-read our vows to one another, and we spent some time praying together about our marriage and our commitment to one another.
It was such a refreshing time together. I loved looking back over our vows and reflecting on how we had or had not fulfilled them over the last 5 years. It was a good exercise, to be honest with one another on where we are in our marriage, how we’ve grown, and in what areas we can work to grow more and improve.
I’m sharing about this now because we are just a few weeks away from Valentine’s Day – a holiday known for grand romantic gestures and displays of affection. Ryan and I don’t usually make much of Valentine’s Day – he may get me some candy and flowers, but there are no expectations or requirements.
This is typical of our relationship as a whole, as well. We don’t have regular date nights – sure, we go out occasionally – but date nights have never been a regular thing. We have never felt the need, and I’m okay with that.
It’s not that I believe date nights, gifts or getaways are wrong. I love to go out with Ryan. I enjoyed our weekend getaway for our anniversary, and I delight in an opportunity to get a night alone with him kid-free.
For us, though, our marital intimacy is built on the every day – the support we give one another in pursuing personal passions, the way we share parental and domestic responsibilities, the comfort of being in the same room with each other even if we’re doing separate activities. I enjoy just going for a walk with Ryan or wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart with him as we run household errands. I especially enjoy when he plays the piano while I’m in the kitchen prepping dinner, and then he’ll do the dishes while I give the kids a bath. I love getting cozy on the couch together after the kids are in bed and watching Sherlock or Parks & Recreation or whatever other show we’re into at the time.
What I’m trying to say is, I just plain enjoy him. I enjoy doing life – normal, ordinary life – alongside him.
Another writer put it this way:
Marriage is made up of date nights and romantic weekends. But far more it is made up of those million mundane little moments. More than it is dancing and candlelight and bed and breakfasts, it is doing chores together, driving to church together, watching a miniseries together, eating meals together. It has been my experience that the more we enjoy those ordinary moments and the more we find satisfaction and significance in them, the less we need or even desire those extraordinary occasions.
This is the biggest thing I’ve learned in our five years of marriage: the value of a million mundane moments. They aren’t grand, they’re rarely Insta-worthy, but they are the most meaningful for us. And they’re the marriage moments I cherish.
So as we go into Valentine’s Day, my encouragement to you, friends, is to be thankful for those million mundane moments of normal life. Delight in them and celebrate the ordinary ways you and your significant other love one another every day.
The images above were taken by The Bell Photography Co. for our engagement in 2011. I’ve re-used them here because I just love them so much. Also, Ryan read this post before I published it and stamped it with his seal of approval.