The first real conversation I EVER had with my husband did not take place while we were dating.
It did NOT take place during pre-marital counseling.
It did NOT take place on our honeymoon…Or even the year after that.
The first real conversation I EVER had with my husband took place 15 years after we had been together.
And the only reason the conversation took place was because our marriage was at the point of pain.
Which is funny, because two years after we were married, Richard and I were camping in the Austrian Alps. We were in a tent, and it was our first summer living abroad. We didn’t have any money—maybe like $200 to our names, and we decided that we needed to leave Poland for a bit. So, even if it cost every penny we had, we knew we had to do it. Therefore, we hopped on a very Eastern European train and said, “Take us away!”
We literally threw our bikes on, and we were off for a little over a week.
And while we were in the Alps, sleeping amongst such beauty, we decided to play a very childish game.
It is one that I recommend all married couples play.
Truth or Dare.
Oh my! We had so much fun asking questions and hearing answers, chiding each other into doing something dumb if we didn’t want to answer, and learning things about one another that we never really knew.
But the thing is…that conversation was also very shallow. Everything we learned was all in good fun. So, I guess you could say that even though we were trying to play a game called “Truth” both of us still had parts to our lives that we had yet to share.
It wasn’t until 10 years after that fun game in the Austrian Alps that Richard and I actually sat down and had a true conversation from the heart. One where we actually learned about the other.
Fifteen years after being together.
Today, our lives are far more beautiful because we actually know one another. And, although the Alps were full of lots of hilarity and laughter, I wouldn’t want to go back to that superficial time in our marriage for anything.
When we were at a conference once, one of the sessions was on marriage. And the elderly couple, slightly disheveled, walked up to the front of the stage. Before they even began speaking, I thought—Really? They are the ones that will present on marriage? They look slightly out of place.
That’s when they spoke. And it hit me. They did not look the part of professional speakers—but their words hit the hearts of the core of marriage.
In marriage you each come carrying your own suitcase. It is not a bag of packed clothes and toiletries. It is a bag of your past.
Your past choices. Your past actions. Your past hurts. Your family’s past.
And, no matter what, this packed bag comes with you into your new life.
What many people try to do is shelf this suitcase in their closet.
But the thing is…the suitcase never goes away. It remains there. In the closet. And when your life is going one way or another, you may wonder why.
The answer, most likely, lies in that suitcase that you have tried to hide. In the back of your closet.
And until you pull it out and share with your spouse what items you have packed and brought into your marriage, you will never ever really know one another.
Because to know one another, you have to know everything.
I was in awe with their presentation. I don’t even recall their names. But I wish that I could thank them again for sharing something that is so true.
Today I ask you, “How many others are out there like Richard and I used to be? Never really having an honest conversation with one another through 3 years of dating and 12 years of marriage? A total of 15 years and multiple children together.”
How many of you actually KNOW your spouse?
Perhaps you are lightyears ahead of the rest of us.
For those that are like Richard and I were, I pray that you will find the time to really sit down, open your suitcases, and get to know one another.
Because that is when you will truly fall in love.
xo for now,
There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. 1 John 4:18, The Message