My wife and I have a great marriage. We rarely fight, we make each other laugh, and we’re a great team when it comes to raising our two daughters. I will admit a rough patch several years ago that nearly changed everything. But God’s eternal grace and mercy beautifully blanketed the situation, and our marriage came out of it stronger than ever.
There has been something missing in our marriage, though—the vital ingredient to a healthy, sustained marriage. A word that makes women smile and men cringe in utter terror: intimacy.
Intimacy. It’s also a word that means something different to a wife than it does a husband. Husbands automatically think sex, while the wives think honesty, trust, conversation, simple touch, cuddling and so on and so forth. It seems a universal truth that all men struggle with the non-physical aspect of intimacy in marriage. I know I do.
I’m an extremely reserved, quiet type of person. I would easily fall under the introvert label. I don’t like big crowds, and I become uncomfortable at parties. I would rather spend the day alone in my office writing than go anywhere. That’s just who I am. It’s difficult for me to engage in deep, meaningful conversation about feelings and all the things about which my wife desires to talk. But the other night, she hit me with a bombshell—a statement that made me realize I hadn’t been holding up my end of the relationship.
“I miss when you used to pursue me. Like when we were dating.”
Pursuing Marriage After the Wedding
I remember the dating process. It was exciting and wonderful. There were things to learn about one another. Likes. Dislikes. Favorite foods. Music. Movies. It was an adventure. I used to shake my head at men who would work so hard to land the perfect wife and then lose all form of romantic behavior once the knot was tied as if the battle was over, the prize won, time to relax.
Then, in a moment of unbelievable clarity, I realized that’s the kind of man I had become. I wasn’t the husband I promised to my wife nearly sixteen years ago in front of family and friends. I had conquered the dating world and was now reveling in the spoils as a victor in marriage. Somewhere, over the course of sixteen years and two children later, relationship became stale. We allowed life to get in the way of our romance. Our intimacy. We stopped taking time for us. We lost our sense of adventure and marvelous wonder.
I started taking for granted the unbelievable gift God had given me. A wife full of compassion, kindness and love. Her simple statement revealed so much truth about what being married means.
Marriage isn’t a final destination; it’s a continual journey. I began to study earnestly Jesus’ love for the Church, His bride, and saw that Jesus never ceases to pursue us even after our new birth into His Kingdom. So I began to exercise those principles in my marriage.
I started small. I left little sticky notes on the bathroom mirror. Messages like, “You are awesome,” and, “I love you.” Brief words of encouragement to help lift her spirits. I would also strategically place them in things I knew she would use—like her purse and morning coffee mug.
Now I send my wife a text every day when she is at work. I ask how her day is going and assure her of my immense love. It began as a habit I wanted to form. Now, I can’t wait to get her reply and experience that brief interaction during the hours we can’t be together.
This past Christmas, I started showing more interest in the things she enjoys, like watching Hallmark movies. It was something very simple where I had to sacrifice a little something I want in order to spend time with my bride. And to be honest, I enjoyed quite a few of them!
At night, instead of just zoning out on the couch watching sports, we watch shows that interest both of us, and I rub her feet. That gentle touch is one way to let her know how much she means to me.
Marriage is more than just a partnership. It’s a willingness to lay down my life for her. To sacrifice selfish desires if it means her needs are fulfilled.
My wife and I have a wonderful marriage, but we haven’t reached a destination. I want to give her the intimacy she deserves. I want to be the husband I promised on the day we spoke our vows. The hero riding up on a glorious stallion to sweep her off her feet and shower her with a love like no other. I want to be the husband she deserves. I want her to feel loved, needed, desired and protected.
I desire to be the man she dreamed about in her youth—the guy in the tuxedo on the wedding cake topper she wrote about in her diary.
More importantly, I want her to know she married a man who seeks to follow Jesus and the example of unconditional love He provided for us all.
I want to pursue her with reckless abandon.