My wife and I have been married for over 30 years.
That’s unique for sure, but we’ve spent most of it happily married—which is even more special.
Our home has a small galley kitchen, and we are one of the only couples I know who have a queen-sized bed.
As a result, we often get into each other’s way. And, we celebrate it.
Often, when we are both in the kitchen, we will intentionally reach through the other person to get something off the counter or the fridge. One of us will stand in the middle of the kitchen just so the other person has to notice us and do something about it. Maybe its just a smile, or a quick peck of a kiss. Sometimes it’s an embrace that changes the energy in the room. The acknowledgment and shared intimacy always make both of us smile.
I’ve seen other couples who have been married as long or even longer than us in action. Sometimes, when they are close to bumping into each other, they do just the opposite of what we do. They avoid eye contact and purposely back away. They act like the other person is toxic. Either they or the other person is not worthy of the attention.
They miss an opportunity to bump into each other and share a moment. That little casual bump followed by eye contact is what has helped us build a happy, respectful relationship.
It wasn’t always this way for us. Many times, we were in our own world, with our own challenges. When someone was in the way, it was just that—getting in the way. There were many times when the whole house wasn’t big enough. We didn’t want to be in each other’s lives, much less in the same space.
Eye contact is one of the most powerful ways we have to connect with each other. When I look into my wife’s eyes now, I see love, acceptance, and my future.
Looking into our love’s eyes is great, but some of us have a hard time looking into our own eyes.
I know when I was struggling with depression, I wasn’t able to. I remember walking up to the bathroom sink to brush my teeth, and I only saw sadness and disappointment when I looked into the mirror. The idea of looking lovingly into my own eyes was out of the question. Neither one of us deserved it.
The first step to a successful relationship starts with yourself. If you can look into your own eyes with love and acceptance, you are well on your way to being able to build a successful relationship with someone else.
The person in the mirror looking back at you can see right through you and knows your deepest hopes and greatest fears. They love you more than you can possibly imagine. The only question is: are you open and willing to accept that love?
Once you are open and begin to love yourself, you can begin sharing that love with others. The more love you give and accept from yourself, the more you can give and accept from others.
It took time to understand this—but it’s been so worthwhile. It’s enabled me and my wife and to rebuild our relationship after those very difficult times.
Today, with all that love packed into our little kitchen, we can’t help but feel more love each time we gently get into each other’s way.