The Wine Drinker’s Guide to Marital Harmony
3 minutes to read
Have you noticed how harmonious your marriage is after being away for awhile? When I got back from deployment Chana and I had a virtual second honeymoon. We looked at each other lovingly. We ate dinners together alone. We took care to be gentle and understanding with each other. Of course, things had to get back to normal, right?
The Two Modes of Marriage
Marriage falls into two modes, everyday and unusual. You know what the daily grind is like. Reunion or health crisis times look different:
- You’re glad just to be with your spouse.
- You focus on connecting.
- Affection and lovemaking happen more often.
- You avoid conflict or creating bad feelings, if only because they disrupt the first three.
But then life gets busy or the crisis passes, you go back to everyday reality. Your focus turns back to work and kids. Who has time for a weekly dinner date? When your attention peters out, arguments begin to happen. The hours spent dealing with conflict crowd out any time for positive interaction.
Yet if you think about handling conflict during unusual mode, you’d have said, “Let’s not waste time arguing honey.”
But, is conflict during everyday mode somehow less wasteful?
Your Spouse Is Like a Bottle of Fine Wine
Amidst the time pressures of daily life, allowing your marriage to move out of unusual mode actually consumes more time.
As friction and bad feeling accumulate, they damage communication. You or your spouse may withdraw. Conversations that don’t take place allow problems to fester. Often what could have been solved quickly now takes much more time and resources to resolve.
Lax communication can also lead to fights. You have to take even more time and emotional energy to work out the problem. Rather than permitting your marital mode to shift from unusual to everyday, create the habit of treating your spouse like a bottle of fine wine:
- Carefully monitor its storage temperature. I have a special refrigerator for storing my best wine. When our power went out a few months ago, I fretted about what would happen if my wine got to warm.
Likewise, take a little time each day to keep an eye on the temperature of your marriage. Check out my post on how to do this in a minute per day.
- When you shake it up you disturb the sediment. Often great wines have dregs. It’s nasty to drink if it hasn’t settled. So when you pour it you’re careful not to shake it up. Or you use a strainer to keep the sediment out.
In your marriage, treat old arguments like sediment. Be careful not to stir them up. Strain them out of any communication with your spouse.
- Embrace the bottle so it doesn’t slip out of your hands and break. I pick up a $100 bottle of wine with care. The thought of dropping it distresses me. So I cradle it. My focus never wavers from it.
Treat your spouse with such gentleness. A hundred dollars, even thousands, pales in comparison to the value of your marriage. You wouldn’t risk swinging an expensive bottle of wine over your head lest it slip out of your hands and break. Your marriage is as fragile.
- Savor it. Every sip of a fine wine is its own experience. One glass can last an entire meal. You examine the color. You breathe in the aroma. You relish the taste. Sometimes it doesn’t measure up. You get angry with disappointment. But then you realize that once in a while it’s bound to happen. You don’t stop drinking wine because of a few unfortunate experiences. You don’t attack or insult the next bottle because the one before it was bad.
Sometimes you or your spouse will slip into everyday mode. Communication becomes strained. You may argue. Are you going to give up on marriage because sometimes your expectations aren’t met? It’s bound to happen.
Now’s the time to merge your spouse and a bottle of fine wine. As you savor the bouquet, color, and flavor, move back into unusual mode and connect. So you can’t have an extraordinary bottle of wine daily. Who says your marriage can’t thrive in unusual mode every day?
How do you build the habit of treating your spouse like fine wine?
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