If you haven't been keeping up with the "What If. . .?" Series, you might want to start by reading weeks one and two before continuing on to this week's installment.
Welcome to Week 3!
I hope you and your spouse spent some moments of together time this week. Chris and I had a few moments of together time this week, but I spent half of my time away from home at my job only to hand off children last night because he had a lock-in at church. So, this is day 4 that we haven't seen each other for more than 20 minutes. Luckily, my mom has agreed to take my kids for a couple nights this long weekend so maybe, just maybe, we can squeeze in a little movie date while they're away. Any suggestions on a good (adult) movie?
Week 3 is all about decency.
When I was growing up, "decent" was always the bare minimum of acceptable behavior and dress. For example, when one was going to Walmart (we weren't blessed with a Target until after I graduated high school and returned from college), one would try to look ok enough that if you unexpectedly ran into someone you knew you wouldn't have to hide behind the rows of doggy kibble and bunny cage liner (easily the most smelly place in the whole store) until they passed into the outdoor garden section.
When preparing for this outing one would usually say, "I'm not trying to dress up or anything, but I at least want to look decent."
Decent grades were Bs and Cs.
Decent behavior meant you avoided bodily noises in public.
When you graduated college, you looked for a job with a decent salary.
It was all about maintaining the status quo, being regular, doing what you were supposed to do.
Just being decent.
At times in our marriage, we are satisfied with decent. We are ok that our marriage is apparently fine. We get along relatively well with our spouses. Our children seem to be well-adjusted and nice individuals. We settle into daily routines and life is on auto-pilot.
We do the bare minimum to maintain our relationships and lifestyle and by the looks of things, this type of behavior isn't going to hurt anything or damage the relationship in the long run.
If being "decent" hasn't hurt things, why change now?
Ever heard the stories that begin with the phrase, "Everything was fine and then OUT OF NO WHERE. . ." or "I thought things were going well and then he just left me. . ." or "She never gave me any indication that things were wrong. . . "
Sometimes "decent" is as fun as vanilla.
And even people that like vanilla want a little chocolate once in a while.
So, this week's challenge is to find ways to improve your decent marriage. Find one way to spice things up from "decent" to "better."
Do not settle for complacency.
Your marriage is something guard, to tend to, to cultivate, to grow. If you had a garden with plants that never produced vegetables, you wouldn't settle for tall, beautiful, leafy plants. You would figure out how to make those bad boys produce red, juicy tomatoes!
It's the same with your marriage--just because it's ok from all appearances doesn't mean that it's as good as it could (or should) be.
Chris and I have been married for almost 9 years. We don't know everything there is to know about marriage in general, but we know about our marriage. We have our shares of ups and downs like everyone else, but I would say (and I feel he would agree) that we operate a lot on autopilot. We get along relatively well, we know (and usually) avoid the other's hot buttons, and we have a pretty regular life. But, we need to remember that our marriage is more important than being regular. We need to avoid settling for comfortable. We need to make our marriage a priority and get out of our ruts and routines and make time to cultivate it.
What do you do (or need to do) to move your marriage past the decent stage?
Photography by the lovely Lauren Thorn