When Lisa and I were at the Love Song Couples’ Getaway in the Bahamas, we had a room large enough that, 45 minutes after checking in (I was still traveling in from Houston after preaching at Second that morning) Lisa texted me to say, “Ha! I just found a second full bathroom.” Troy and Marisha (the organizers of Love Song) always spoil us.
Mid-week, however, the large room meant Lisa couldn’t find her phone. She searched everywhere. We looked it up on “Find Your iPhone” and it seemed to point to our room. Lisa was tired and said, “Promise me you’ll help me find it in the morning.”
When she was out of the room the next day I tore everything apart and found it. She came back to the room, saw it plugged in and charging and said, “You’re going to get some special romance for that!” and then kissed me. I later found out the “special romance” was that kiss. It was certainly a nice kiss, but my mind had jumped a few paces ahead of that…
Anyway, it hit me that so often we hope marriage keeps serving up those endless and inexhaustible moments of “special romance,” whirlwind feelings, “carry me away” moments. But in reality, sometimes marriage is built on small things, quiet but splendid benefits, like having someone find your cell phone when you’re tired of looking for it yourself.
Can you think of other “small benefits” that make marriage so nice?
- I think of having someone who cares about your kids as much as you do, and is enthusiastic to talk about them and pray for them.
- Moments of ministry together. I didn’t arrive at the resort for the conference until very late Sunday and was scheduled to speak early Monday. My sinuses kept me awake, I had a huge headache, and there were multiple problems with the PowerPoint and video clips. It was a terrible morning on sub-par sleep and I thought, “Great, my first session is so going to bomb.” Lisa knelt in front of me, took my face in her hands and said, “This isn’t about how you feel right now. It’s about a lifetime of study, prayer, and your life. You’ve lived this. It’s going to go great.” Sometimes, marriage is just about encouraging each other in ministry.
- Feeling discouraged and having someone care enough to ask, “Are you okay?”
- Being known well enough that if you have sinus issues your spouse can tell without asking.
- Coffee in your room in the morning. I had brought Lisa’s to her at the Atlantis, then we sat on our balcony and watched a dad with two daughters bringing his wife’s coffee to her (the walk took ten times as long since the little girls were “helping”). It dawned on us that it is almost always the husband who brings the coffee in the morning.
- Someone to make the “first call” to when something good or bad happens.
- Someone who defends you when others attack.
- Someone to share a favorite quote, blog, movie, or television show with.
- Facing frustrating times together. Lisa and I had stopped off in Jacksonville on the way home for a visit with some friends and family, and on the way back our flight into Houston was cancelled due to bad weather. We were so ready to get back home and another night in an airport hotel seemed less than appetizing, but we went to a local restaurant, got takeout salad bar, and watched two “The Amazing Race” episodes on my iPad. After so many years of traveling alone, it felt like a special treat to spend a frustrating evening with your best friend, to the point that the frustrating evening became a good memory.
- Someone to take the kids or change the diaper when you’re just too tired to do it one more time.
- Someone to test out opinions or thoughts—on the sermon, books, political speeches, kids’ choices.
- That first hug in the morning.
These aren’t “big moments.” None of them on their own are exciting enough to sustain a movie, form a song, or carry the plot of a novel, but taken together, they’re really nice “side benefits” of marriage.
If you’re not carried away by infatuated romance at this point in your relationship, don’t discount the fulfillment and joy of simply living life together. Infatuated moments are nice, but sometimes what you really need is someone who can find your iPhone.
In the comments section, please share your own “quiet but splendid benefits of marriage.” Let’s see how long we can make the list.
This blog is not written for women in abusive marriages. The advice offered in these posts will challenge both husbands and wives, but the advice could be counter-productive if it is applied in an abusive relationship.