“There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate.” – Robert Brault
21 years ago today, my Senior year in High School, I got to hold my future wife’s hand for the very first time. We were driving my parents’ Ford Aerostar minivan (cruisin’ like the cool Southern California couple I wanted us to be) back to Cypress from Ventura (having just helped my sister move)… when I made the big hand holding move.
There was no center console in the van so I am sure holding hands was totally uncomfortable and my hand was probably sweaty and nervously cold all at the same time… but it was totally awesome! I think I avoided eye contact the whole time – focused on the road. Plus, I was afraid that might give her an opportunity to want to stop holding hands. I remember it like it was yesterday and still love to hold her hand as often as I can – just as thrilling today as it was 21 years ago and a lot less stress over… am I squeezing her hand too hard, not hard enough, did she just flinch, or was she trying to politely let me know that she wanted to stop holding hands? Can she tell how nervous I am? I am sure she knew.
It doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but I know for sure it was on that day, and I hope it always will be. I look forward to holding my wife’s hand for the rest of our lives together here on Earth.
Celebrate the Small Victories
In working through setting some of my goals for this year, each time I heard someone speak about goal-setting or read an article about it, they all mentioned over and over the need to celebrate the “little things.” You may have a year-end goal that seems pretty insurmountable right now, but that big overarching goal is probably a large number of smaller steps or smaller goals. To continually motivate yourself you need to celebrate the little things – the smaller steps.
In marriage – it’s the same principle that applies. We need to remember and celebrate the “little things.” We get so caught up in all of the “big stuff” that we forget to take a step back and just look at all the small things in life that are probably much larger in importance than we are truly cognizant of.
Holding hands with my wife was a HUGE thing at the time and so I still want to celebrate it and remember it as often as I can, because as little as it might start to seem after 21 years – it’s still HUGE!
Reminiscing is Good for the Soul
I think one reason to do this and especially to remember “small things” like the first time you held hands or your first kiss is, because things like that in marriage – we now take for granted. My wife and I are coming up on 17 years of marriage and we’ve been holding hands for 21 years. Do you know how many times we have held hands in those 21 years? A lot! I have no idea what the number is, but even if we just held hands a couple of times per week for 21 years – even that is well over 2,000 times – that’s a lot! Is there any chance that we might take for granted something that we have done 2,000+ times? Yeah, there is.
If I don’t focus on something as “small” as holding my wife’s hand and consider the significance of it and the fact that she chose to hold my hand, too – it might start to fail to be exciting to me. It might start to fail to lose it’s significance in our relationship.
Sometimes I grab my wife’s hand just out of habit, because it’s just what we do. Sometimes I make a special effort to grab her hand to show her that I love her and want to hold her hand. I don’t get quite as nervous any more, but there is something about holding her hand that is special and keeps that bond that we so desperately need in our marriages. Physical touch is especially important in keeping us bound together. Holding hands may not seem like a lot – it might seem like a small thing – but it’s a very important thing in my estimation. I think we give up caring about what we estimate as being the small stuff way, too easily. Celebrate the little things.
I think it is important to consciously try to remember how my wife used to make me feel when we were around each other when we first started dating. I think it is good to remember and focus on how nervous I would get, how jealous I would get, how happy I would be with her – if she just called me or wrote me a note or something as silly as that. Not so silly is it? That’s where it all began. I wouldn’t be celebrating any of the big stuff if it weren’t for so many of these small things.
Rekindle the Fire
We need to continually rekindle those emotions and feelings before they die completely. All of our marriages go through periods of time where that fire could easily be blown out, so we need to work on rekindling it or building it up whenever we get that opportunity. We might even need to force those opportunities. We might need to interrupt some of the big things in our lives to focus on the basics that got that fire started in the first place.
What are some simple practical ways that we can do that?
Maybe you could spend time talking to your spouse about certain memories and what is important to you. Your spouse may think that you don’t care about holding their hand, that it isn’t important to you. They may have no idea what something like that signifies to you or how good it makes you feel when they do hold your hand. Talk to each other. Even after 16+ years of marriage, I still can’t read my wife’s mind – we have to talk to each other – I am sure you are the same. And if you think you can read your spouse’s mind – you are crazy and probably missing out on a lot of what truly is important to them.
Spend time going down memory lane…
- Remember that vacation when we went to…
- Remember before we had kids and we had time to…
- Remember when…
Be intentional with your spouse – make an effort…
Plan time holding hands with your spouse. Write your spouse one of those silly love notes that sparked the whole journey that you have been on. Purposefully plan a date for just the two of you – the simple small boring dates that you used to go on that were so awesome at the time. Spend time dreamstorming – looking for and dreaming up opportunities to plan new firsts that you can celebrate later.
Celebrate the little things – they are so important…
“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault