I think at the core of every human being is the desire, the need, to be seen. Not to necessarily be praised or worshipped (although some do!!) but just to be seen and acknowledged. Even the extreme introverts need acknowledgement in some way, to have communicated to them that they are valuable and of great worth.
I see it in myself. I see it in my friends. I see it on social media, and in the media. I very much see it in my kids. Usually when they are playing up, it’s when they are most needing “to be seen and acknowledged”.
It’s getting harder with so many kids, to make sure they are all feeling valued and validated, but Sime and I (and our village) do try. However I feel I come up short in my own marriage.
One of my favourite movies is Avatar. The special effects and cinematography is amazing but the message behind the film is what truly makes it. It’s the way the natives truly value life and all creation, even the uglier parts, is what really spoke to me. Part of why I wanted to start a blog was to point out the beauty in this world, even in the struggles and challenges. But it was the line in the film “I see you” that is buzzing around in my head of late. The natives used the saying in replacement of “hello” and “goodbye”. They would place there foreheads together as a sign of intimate connection and acknowledgement, communicating that I truly see into you and value all that you are. That I see the beauty in you. I just love the sentiment behind it.
I think it would be great if we all slowed down to communicate this to each other, but it’s marriage that’s on my heart in this post. With our marriage partners it is just so easy to get all too familiar and complacent with each other. We go from dating where all we can see is each other and it’s a slow slippery slope down from there. Life gets faster. Kids come into the mix (even 8 of them if you are crazy enough), financial pressures and responsibilities. We get older and possibly more tired. We forget to start seeing each other. Even worse, each other’s flaws become often becomes the focus. We are no longer meditating on the beauty in each other.
It takes such intentionality to reconnect, focus on each other and drown out the noise. I have been finding of late that my ultimate goal everyday is sleep, so priotising connection has not been high on the list. In the past, date nights and a night away has always been a good ‘reset’ button, but that is getting harder with how many children we have. We are finding now, with teens, priotising us is even more challenging. It comes naturally to Sime to encourage and offer verbal affirmation . But me, not so much. That might require me to slow down, or worse, not get through that never-ending list in my head.
But does it have to be that hard? Something I read a while ago from the BabyCentre website (written by researcher Barbara Frederickson) really spoke to me on this topic. It actually put things into perspective and eased the burden of keeping your heart tethered and open towards your spouse. The author explained that “it doesn’t have to be big chunks of time for it to be impactful to your relationship”
She described something she named Micro Moments.
“Micro moments are really taking the smallest of opportunities to connect. I encourage couples to find the smallest opportunity to signal to each other that they care and love one another – it may be ensure a proper greeting and farewell, a quick cuddle as you pass in the hallway, holding hands as you fall asleep, saying I love you face to face, an expression of gratitude, a small gift like their favourite bread or tea. The main principle is that if we wait for opportunities of grand gestures, it often means that this is unattainable or too long between opportunities for connection. So take what you can get. Make the most of the small moments.”
I love this. It probably spoke to me mostly, because small moments is about all we have for each other at the moment. I often like to imagine what it will be like when we are retired. When all these 8 little birdies have flown the nest. I want it to be a joyous and romantic part of our life. I love it when I see retiree couples truly enjoying their time together. So beautiful. But we have to keep our hearts tethered to each other in the meantime, in the busy meantime……
So micro moments it is. For Sime and I it is a simple stopping for a quick kiss with goodbyes and hellos. He is better at this than me. It is coffees ordered or prepared to each other’s taste. He is also better at this than me. It is hand holding if or whenever we have a hand free. It is a moment stolen before the kids are up to read together…… nearly 17 years of marriage it took for us to realise how strengthening this is for us. It is also asking about each other’s days, even if it is the same boring, Groundhog Day answers. Why? Because it is communicating that “I see you, and all you do and I value you”. The more kids we have and the noisier life is, these micro moments are more important than ever.
Each couple is so uniquely different. We connect and value each other differently, but our core needs stay the same. I’d say the happiest couples are not just the ones that love each other, because love is all encompassing, you can love someone even when they mistreat you. Happy couples, from my own (expert ????) observations are the ones that intentionally value each other and communicate it well. If you are feeling crabby, undervalued and disconnected from your spouse, it is likely that they might be feeling the same. The sum of micro moments can save a marriage, well any relationship really, whether it be with a child, a friend or other family member. So it’s time to crank up those micro moments!!
What are your micro moments? How do you communicate value to your nearest and dearest? Let us not undervalue those who are so very valuable to us ❤️
Greta, the Butcher’s Wife…… and officially a mum to 8 (Lord help me!)