My friend Mallory Redmond continues my four month series on How Do You Make Marriage Beautiful? The inspiration for this series emerged when I realized that regarding marriage, we all need a little help. Having a satisfying, joyful marriage is hard work and sometimes, we feel very alone in our struggles. I hope that as you read through the posts by these wonderful writers, you will not only feel less alone, you’ll actually feel encouraged.
by Mallory Redmond
We’re marriage newbies. My husband and I will be celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary this August. We did hit the ground running, however, moving more than halfway across the country just one month after our wedding day. If it is possible to ease into marriage, we did not take that route. We leaped.
We don’t have the sage wisdom and life experience of those who have been married for decades, but every day, we’re learning more and more about our marriage. It feels like we’re in a state of constant discovery.
“Mal?” My husband tries to get my attention, waiting until I make eye contact with him before continuing. “I like you, you know,” he says.
I’m surprised at how much it means to hear these words. People most often talk about finding love, falling in love, staying in love. Yes, all of those things are deeply important, but sometimes we have to remind one another that while we are in love, we’re also “in like.”
If we stop liking each other, we’ll lose our desire to continue pursuing one another. It’s not fun to be around people we don’t like. We rarely have the motivation to work on something we do not like. We savor what we like and put the rest down the garbage disposal. Dislike looks like blatant disgust or apathy—both are detrimental to a marriage.
My husband and I know enough to know that we don’t know much—and that is what keeps us grounded. Marriage involves a level of dedication that is second to none, but the discovery is the journey. My husband is this whole, unique person with 33 years of life experiences, relational wounds, and wild dreams. The minute I think I know all there is to know about him, we’re bound to grow tired of continuing the journey. After all, is a journey without new discoveries even considered a journey at all?
So we try to ask one another questions—and then listen to the answer. Both love and like help us to want to pursue more knowledge and deeper intimacy with one another. We make it a priority to eat dinner at the table together at least four nights each week, or else we can become like ships in the night, totally missing each other.
We have also continued seeing the therapist we met with before we got married. She helps us to make new discoveries, and to process the ones we make that don’t feel all that shiny, fun, and exciting.
The thought of journeying doesn’t sound all that effortless—and it’s not. Most explorers have to do the hard work in order to uncover the best discoveries. If all the treasures were sprinkled along Main Street for everyone to see, would they be all that special?
We’re finding that being in love is what keeps us moving on the journey, but being in like is what makes the journey so full of new discoveries, unexpected detours, and an abundance of laughter. We need both—the love and the like—if we are going to keep moving.
Mallory Redmond is a wife, writer, and pastor. She loves dry humor, clean sheets, sunny days, and frequent reminders of grace. These days, she hangs out at malloryredmond.com, where she tells her stories with the hope of uncovering places of connection in our humanity. You can also follow Mallory on Twitter: @malloryjredmond
Don’t forget! Each month I give away a free book to one randomly chosen new subscriber to my newsletter. (see box on the bottom right) To find out more about Making Marriage Beautiful, click this link. Thanks for stopping by.