The Spaces Between

When I used to think about marriage I often thought about the big moments in life in a shared life together. The happy moments — raising children, buying a home, family vacations, anniversary milestones. I also thought about the less-than-happy moments — dealing with loss or tragedy, struggling with finances, managing any number of big life disappointments. I figured that it was the big happy moments that got couples through those big less-than-happy moments.

Though CBG and I have only been married a little over a year now, I am realizing that a marriage is so much more about all those little spaces in between those big events. Those are the things that get two people through the big, bad, ugly moments of life. Tiny little moments that, for the most part, aren’t often even given a second thought. The flicker of forgiveness in your partner’s eyes after a misunderstanding. Stolen kisses in the middle of the night. Laughing until your sides ache at mutual silliness. Hearing the slow, steady pace of your partner’s breathing in the dark. Silently offering the last cookie. Giving a hug after a rotten day.

It is these small, seemingly insignificant moments that are the glue that holds a marriage together. They cement those big moments, giving them context and meaning. Sure, we may remember the big moments first, or even the most, but it is the wordless glances of understanding, the scent of your partner on the pillow in the morning, or the random reach for your hand in the park that allow those big moments to happen at all.

Without those tiny shared moments, the big moments mean nothing at all. And when you have a marriage rich with those miniscule twinkling demonstrations of love, commitment, respect, passion and friendship, you know that you don’t really need to ask for anything more.

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