I can hear the melodious voice of Louis Armstrong reverberate in my mind. It transports me to another realm altogether. As it blends with my heart beat, I begin to smile. A smile that ushers in another soul into mine. My beloved wife…
“Hey baby, how about this dance?
Why? ’cause it takes two to do this dance!
Takes two to tango, two to tango,
two to really get the feeling of romance.
Lets do the tango, do the tango,
do the dance of love.”
This is the most ideal place for any couple to be at. Where you are in harmony and your moves synchronised. However, the reality is that we on occasion step on each others’ toes. Our vision as a couple will become obscured in the quest to be financially ‘stable’. The busyness of life overtakes us. Weeds of discord and being self-centered entangle our hearts and choke our life-sustaining breath.
We get lost in a pageant of vanity. Metrics that supposedly measure us against others. Where we live, hang out. The label of the clothes on our back. Our physical address becomes our identity. We stop living and start existing.
The statement that changed our perspective on marriage
A few weeks ago, my wife and I attended a full-day marriage seminar. There were three great sessions and we were amazed at the things we learned. By the way, we are into our eleventh year of marriage. Of all the great stuff we heard that day, one phrase was ingrained into my memory and seared on my heart. “Of what relevance is it on eternity?”
I felt like the air had been sucked out of the room. It left me light-headed. Here we were working hard to earn more money. We have had our disagreements that did not make sense, yet they brought pain to both of us. Many times, we focused too much on our three children that we forgot to take care of ‘us’. Many times we felt like we had drifted apart, lost in our busyness.
The more we thought about relevance and eternity, it finally dawned on us, we had become so vain. Instead of focusing on life-giving issues, we chase after checking boxes in order to fit in.
As we thought of Louis Armstrong’s verse above, we knew we had to get back to our tango. We had to find something that we could both do to kick-start our dance again. And we have started our journey with listening and walking.
Re-learning to listen to each other
I can be impatient. I thrive in short conversations, my wife doesn’t! I am now conscious of that fact and working to become a better listener. Sometimes, the listening could be just sitting and watching a movie or a TV series. It can mean silence. I am also learning that she does not necessarily need a response when we are talking. She just needs me as her sounding board.
She, on the other hand, realizes that I need to be in my cave from time to time. She is appreciating that silence in the cave is not a bad thing. Rather, it is a time for me to retreat and regroup.
Physical exercise opens new doors
Walking together has been a great way to reconnect. Furthermore, it is helping us to regain our fitness. Walking gives us time to be alone, just the two of us. We get to talk about life and bounce ideas off each other. The physical exertion of a 10K walk has other benefits too.
When I walk, my breathing rate increases, my heart beats faster and the brain is flushed with more blood. Research has shown that this leads to better attention and memory. This is definitely welcome since it will go hand-in-hand with listening. I bet my wife will be the most appreciative of this!
Here are some insights I’ve taken from our walks.
- My pace is faster than my wife’s. I would love to max out my strides, but it is hard for her to keep up. It gives me time to think of her. Sacrificing my pace for time with her is invaluable.
- Love doesn’t mean we’ll not disagree. During our last walk, we had a ‘breathless’ discussion around homeschooling our kids. It was great to pick her mind and hear her thoughts while in a different environment.
- Our kids are also enjoying the walking journey with us. They love to see us spend time together as husband and wife.
We are not perfect parents. We have not yet found the potion of eternal love. We are just two human beings committed to make our marriage thrive and have more meaningful influence in our parenting…everyday.