On this particular day, there were more of them than usual. In fact, I had never seen so many! Maybe it was the sudden and unexpected burst of warm weather that brought them out of the woodwork but at every turn, I spotted another one! As I weaved my cart up and down the aisles of the grocery store, I passed what appeared to be one miserable couple after another. The forlorn men looked as if their “man-card” had just been revoked and, while it seemed the women had won the battle, they looked like they were definitely losing the war. The grocery store was the very last place either of them wanted to be so if one had to be miserable…the other one had to be miserable too!
Now, before I come down too hard on these bedraggled shoppers, I understand completely that grocery shopping is not the most fun thing to do. I don’t particularly enjoy it either and I do appreciate having help, so I get it. Deciding between tartar control and maximum whitening toothpaste doesn’t really bring joy to my heart and I can think of 100 other things I’d rather be doing than tossing toilet paper in my cart or digging in my purse for a dollar-off cat food coupon. But my observation made me question things on a deeper level. As I noticed each individual couple, I wondered if this was an exception or rule to their relationship. Was it the fact that they had to spend a few hours on a beautiful, sunny Saturday trudging through the grocery store or do they just not enjoy being together…at all?
My hope is that it was just too nice to be inside and not that they were truly as miserable together as they appeared. I wish I could have stopped each one and pretended I was taking a random poll with a few simple questions such as:
When was the last time you had fun together?
What was the first thing you noticed about your spouse that made you smile?
What does your spouse do that makes you laugh?
What is an activity you enjoy doing together?
What fun upcoming event is on your calendar?
Perhaps I could conclude my 'not so scientific' poll with the question: Did you know the essence of the wedding vow “to have and to hold” is friendship? When you spoke those words you were saying your partner is the one person you desire to be with more than anyone else and you are committing yourself to a lifetime of enjoying their company? Most of us start as friends but sadly life, in general, can cause couples to drift apart or worse, turn the person who was once our best friend into our worst enemy. We must continually be intentional about pushing back those forces that are working against us and look for ways to keep that friendship growing.
One way you can do that is to simply ask yourself those five questions listed above. Take a few minutes to reflect and allow good memories to drift to the forefront of your thoughts. Think about past fun experiences you shared with your spouse, things you enjoy doing together and then take the initiative and plan something fun! Be creative (maybe not grocery shopping) and remember, the couple that plays together, stays together!
“So I concluded that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to enjoy themselves as long as they can.” Ecclesiastes 3:12