The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller
After 27 years, Mary Beth and I have done just about everything to improve, sustain and even save our marriage. We have attended marriage counseling, renewed our wedding vows, and we have raised our children as a team.
We understand to make our marriage work; we must work on it every day. There are no days off, no free passes and no shortcuts. A marriage is what each person invests in it. I’m fortunate to have a partner who is looking to make investments that yield the same rate of return as me.
Beyond the personal challenges that can test a marriage, there are plenty of external factors that put a strain on a marriage, too. Mortgages, illnesses, and unexpected bills can create walls that keep the problems in and the intimacy out.
After spending nearly three decades building a life with Mary Beth, I’ve found the one secret to making our marriage work despite these challenges: Take time to enjoy the simple connections as they happen.
Welcome Words With Friends
My wife looks forward to her nightly baths. While I’m writing, she’s soaking and playing Words With Friends. She enjoys finding the high-valued words. But to be honest, I think she enjoys texting smack talk to her challenger a little more.
When I purchased an iPhone a few weeks ago, Mary Beth asked me to download the Words With Friends app so we could play together. I resisted because I didn’t think I would have time to play. But my one secret tugged at me, so I agreed.
The first few games were brutal. I had no idea there was an entire underground vocabulary specific to the game. Words like Qi, Xi and Azido felt like I was learning a foreign language. And what does TL or DW stand for anyway?
In her usual way, Mary Beth was patient. She walked me through some of the game’s finer points (and more obscure nuances). After playing a few matches, she helped me get the hang of it.
It’s a welcome distraction when my iPhone notifies me of her latest move. Seeing her face pop up makes me smile. Through the busyness of our days, Words With Friends has become a simple way to connect. Through this virtual connection, I see the 20+ point word she always seems able to play and then I can sense her smirking. Sometimes I’m the recipient her smack-filled text message. And I love it.
A 27 point connection
The challenges that crop up happen simply because we are married. They wouldn’t exist if we weren’t building a life together. While uncomfortable, at least they are reminders that we have decided to team up and fight the challenges together.
Every connection, no matter its severity, size or significance, is savored because we understand the alternative would be to face life alone, and we don’t want that.
My iPhone provides the welcome cue that our marriage is alive and well. I unlock the phone and tap the Words With Friends app to reveal the latest update: Words with Mary Beth Russo Blackwell… ‘AXES’ played 2 minutes ago
The challenges will be there tomorrow – just like they’ve been for the past 27 years.
A simple connection is waiting right now.