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For Your Marriage

Josh and Stacey Noem have been married for almost 20 years and have three children in middle school and high school. They blog about parenting and their adventures as a family.

Every Day Is Day One

Stacey has been remarking on my introversion lately.

This hasn’t been a problem for many, many years. We’ve shared a job and graduate school studies for a decade, so we’ve always been thinking through things together. Theology, work, ministry, workplace politics, social interactions—these have all been common topics for us because we’ve shared the same contexts.

For the first time, we no longer share a context. Stacey goes to work, and though I know what she does, I don’t know the ins and outs of everything she does. Likewise, I am starting part-time freelance writing work, and she knows what I am doing but not the how and why.

Moreover, because I am naturally introverted, it is not my proclivity to jump in when we do have time together to initiate a conversation about how the day has gone. In fact, writing is an intensely introverted activity, so it only reinforces my inner dialogue.

Both she and I have caught myself starting sentences or introducing topics out of nowhere because they were a natural expression of my inner thought process, but had no anchors in anything I had actually verbalized.

For so long, we’ve relied on a shared context to build a sense of togetherness. For the first time in a long time, we have to work on building that sense of togetherness intentionally. We have to set aside time just to catch up on the ins and outs, the hows and whys.

So many details have to be attended to in a move—there has been a lot of busywork to do. It is not difficult to fill an evening with researching schools or arranging calendars for baseball practices and violin lessons. We have to set aside the urge for productivity to simply play together and enjoy one another.

Every marriage begins with good intentions and earnest efforts at building togetherness. It comes easy when things are new. Not every marriage succeeds at establishing the feeling of togetherness beyond the honeymoon phase. It is tempting to let things run on autopilot, but the work of marriage is to re-establish togetherness every day.