I have been married for over 5 years and I can't believe I am able to type that. Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship knows that the only thing constant in life is change. Individual change, relationship change, and life change are all part of the normal cycle of sticking by someone through the years.
When I was in high school I was the girl who showed up late to school every single day so I could park in the staff parking lot (sorry, Mom!). I was the girl who graduated as valedictorian but got many frustrated comments from teachers that I wouldn't stop talking during class. I was the girl who, when we first got married, would roll out of bed at the last possible minute to wave goodbye to Nathan as he left to work - then sometimes I would jump back in bed before I, too, had to leave for the office.
That girl is but a distant memory. Today I woke up earlier than Nathan and got up at 5:25am, right when my alarm rang. I grabbed my pre-packed gym bag and headed to Planet Fitness. When I got home I used the banana I had frozen the night before to make my usual - a chocolate protein smoothie - while coffee was brewing for the day ahead. By 7:45am I was hard at work, typing out emails and blog posts while I sipped on my second cup.
I could talk more about my changes another day, but what I will say is that personal change always affects your marriage - for better or for worse. In some ways, this new disciplined person has been wonderful for our marriage. I am much more organized and tidy (whereas I used to be the messy one), I stay on top of what's going on in our lives, and I never keep Nathan waiting when we are trying to get out the door.
At the same time, a schedule can become a strict, unbending regimen. With a fairly detailed schedule of the day in my head, I have often found myself working while Nathan is home (whether before or after his long day), checking emails at odd hours, and not allowing space for a whole lot of nothing in our relationship. I will tell you in all honesty that this was not good for our marriage. It took awhile for me to realize just how much this was hurting us and I can only wish I had seen it before.
So with that in mind I have made some drastic changes this month. While I still have a schedule, sometimes I let that go for a little while. In the mornings I get done what I need to - unless Nathan wants to just hang out and talk. In the evenings (and the mornings) my phone is often on do not disturb or in another room. I get no social media notifications and I do not check social media when I'm not working. And finally, I don't reply to texts when we are intentionally spending time together.
Of course I'm not perfect in this. Of course sometimes I inadvertently read or respond to a text when we are in the middle of a conversation. Of course there are times when I need or want to work and he wants to talk - and I don't always make the right choice one way or the other. But the biggest change that has happened in our marriage is that I'm not living a distracted life when I am with him. I can multitask all I want for every minute of the day but when I'm with Nathan my focus is on him. It's on us. Our marriage. Our relationship. This journey that we are in together for the rest of our lives.
It's the most precious thing in the world to me, and it's time I started acting like it. And if this sounds anything like you I'd encourage you to put the phone down (texts can wait), turn your email off (clients don't expect a one hour response time) and live an un-distracted, intentional life in all your relationships. I promise it will make a world of difference to you and everyone around you.