So when you come to me and tell me that one of the kid locked the keys in your truck — again — I see how your shoulders sag.
How life wears at a man, weighs at a man.
We do that, you and I.
We let the bulk of the details of a life press us down, drag us down.
The vet came last week Thursday. You had a production report to finish. Unopened bills stack on the desk by the phone with it’s blinking messages demanding answers. One of the kids is emotionally imploding. It’s taped to the one chalkboard: “Jesus answered them, Do not grumble among yourselves.”
This is hard.
There are 3 kids with piano lessons on Mondays, 2 with pick up basketball on Wednesdays, and one kid who has get to back to the doctor this week to have his stitches taken out, and when do I just get to take you out?
When does a woman get to sit across the table from the man she gave her I do to — and not think about her to-do list?
When do we get to re-member why we fell in love and re-member us in a world that tries to dis-member us with the sharp edge of a thousand little things? When do we make it stop: Death by daily things can be painfully slow.
When is there time for us to do what will undo our coupled stress?
Because who needs conscious uncoupling when life seems to be trying to unconsciously uncouple us all the time?
What we really need is conscious coupling. What we really need is intentional coupling.
What we really need to do is to make time.
Yeah, I know: Time is a supreme gift — and the one thing nobody really wants to give to anybody.
But I’m slowing down for you. The way the waves slow down to kiss the shore. The way time used to slow down when you looked into me and I looked into you and our hearts about stopped, ridiculously alive.
The way there are hands on the clock but they are always hands bound by our free hands and we always get to decide the day’s only decision — what will we do with the time we’ve been given?
I decide you. I decide us.
Because marriage is about making all the minutes tell the truth of the glorious gospel.
There is always time for us to find one another again.
I meet a guy last week who only refers to his wife as his bride.
It struck me — a man with 4 kids calling his wife of decades his Bride. Like he remembered a moment when he wanted her and he had never gotten over it, never stopped wanting her.
I think about this as I fold your underwear, swish our toilet, pick up our kids’ shoes and all this chaos that our love has made.
And I whisper it to you in the dark, why that man calling his wife his Bride struck me:
When you call the woman that you’re married to your wife it can sound like you’re naming something that you own.
When you call the woman that you’re married to your Bride, it can sound like you’re naming her your beloved.
Call the woman that you’re married to your bride and you remember the moment you kissed her slow.
Call the woman that you’re married to your wife and you can forget to kiss her at all.
And you whispered it back in the dark: Bride.
And then the kiss came long and slow.
And you’ve done it every day since.
You grin and call me Bride. And I roll my eyes and blush but don’t think for a moment that it doesn’t do something or I don’t remember and you don’t look wildly young all over again.
And what do you do but kiss a bride?
And ain’t nobody here talking about a quick peck on the cheek either.
Pecks on the cheek can leave you feeling more hen pecked than anything else.
So we’re the married fools committed to it now everyday, like our dance step through life’s minefield: Bride. Kiss. A long and slow 10 seconds.
[The Real 5 Second Rule Times Two]
Bills. Laundry. Kids.
Groceries. Kids. Dishes. Kids. Garbage.
No Grumbling amongst ourselves.
Errands. To-Do lists. Kids.
Bride. Kiss. A long and Slow 10 Seconds.
[The Real 5 Second Rule Times Two]
It could be the vow of the married: The 10 Second Kiss for Wedded Bliss. And yeah, a kiss may not mean bliss — but it may mean a beginning? So there’s that: Every day we’ll kiss each other 10 seconds or longer — like we did at the altar. Like we have the time to be living sacrifices for each other.
Like there isn’t time to go to sleep at night until there is time for The Real 5 Second Rule Times Two:
The 10 Second Kiss for Wedded Bliss.
Why we didn’t frame it and title the moment before? Because every married mother, every married father, ever married wage earner, mortgage maker, bill payer, needs to remember how they are still a married lover.
I have no idea why we haven’t done this before. No idea why they don’t tell you on your wedding day that there is a ‘disproportionate amount of brain space taken up with processing information from the lips compared to the rest of our bodies,’ how even a light brush of the lips lights up a large part of our brain…
How didn’t we know that cortisol levels, which determines our stress levels, decreases after kissing. Who knew that the 10 Second kiss of Wedded Bliss nixes hours of stress?
It’s our Conscious Commitment that keeps us from unconsciously uncoupling.
Conscious Conversation —- you take the one second longer to make sure our eyes linger when we’re talking.
Conscious Serving — you take the two seconds longer to make the bed. I take the 5 seconds longer to rub the back of your neck at the end of the day.
Conscious Gratitude — you take just a moment to thank me for dinner, I take just a moment after the kids are in bed to thank you for helping us get through. We take a moment, many, to bite our tongues and not grumble, a moment to bravely focus on gifts.
Conscious Affection — and we take the 10 seconds longer to let go of everything else and to just give each other the ministry of presence, the longing of the slowing kiss.
The Conscious Coupling of the The 10 Second Kiss for Wedded Bliss. [ #10SecKissVow ]
We could be the winning fools living this:
Love is more than simply a warm feeling; Love is ultimately a daily forging. Marriage could live the heat of a love like this.
We could the be the ones telling the kids, the ones living it because we believe it:
Your body should only be shared with someone who is covenanted to always love your soul.
Your body needs to shared with someone who is covenanted to always love your soul.
So that day you share that sigh with me?
Share that one of the kids locked your keys in the pick-up truck again? The business of life doesn’t get in the way of the business of our marriage, but rather the business of a life becomes the way in which the tender work of our marriage unlocks us into free.
Yeah, our life is hard. And our love is stronger.
And we slip of arms around waists and we’re conscious of our coupling and there is always time to share this unlocking and a locking of us.
This brushing against the warmth of glory.
[The Conscious Coupling Series will be unfolding here, Lord willing, over the next several months]