We got married at a ripe 19 and 20 years old and had no idea what marriage would look like. 

As we are closing in on the fifth year of marriage, I can’t help but reflect on our relationship thus far. We are out of the naive, you are so perfect and don’t annoy me stage and have fully entered into the you make me crazy but I can’t live without you stage. 

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The past few years we have dealt with work stress, tons of moving, extended family stress, and relationship stress.

We have learned it is healthy to have arguments. 

We have learned we are two totally different people but that we are an unstoppable team when we work together. 

We have learned our love is so much deeper than the newlywed us. 

We have learned how to communicate and love each other despite the many flaws between us. 

We have learned that the connection and strengthening happens in the ordinary, mundane, run-of-the-mill moments.

The mundane moment when an $8 ping-pong game helps our relationship. 

I was browsing in Ross one day looking for a stocking stuffer for my husband. I stumbled across a tabletop ping-pong game and thought it would be great for his man cave. I bought it and went on with my life as most people would since this wasn’t a life-altering moment.  

Unbeknownst to me, I purchased it and didn’t think about it helping our marriage. You see, we had fallen into the same rut of watching a movie and passing out before 10 p.m. There wasn’t a lot of deep conversation going on and we had grown too comfortable with the usual. We have two small children and a very limited amount of alone time. It would be a dream to go out on an actual date in real clothes. 

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After he opened his stocking that morning, we played ping pong for hours upon hours and laughed our heads off. We chatted and giggled and played a lot of cutthroat games betting that the loser had to give our two young kids a bath that night. Ahem . . . I won and got out of bath duty. Can I get a hallelujah?

The silly purchase reminded me of our friendship and how I am madly in love with my guy.

For a short time, the stress melted away and it was just us goofing around playing a silly game. It was magically mundane. 

I often read books about marriage and how you can strengthen your relationship. Oftentimes, these books urge you to make date night a priority. I agree that date nights are great, and I love the thought of being able to one day go on a standing weekly date night. However, in a season of littles and no babysitters, date night isn’t always practical, and you have to make the extra effort to connect with your spouse in some way after the kids are asleep. 

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Sometimes you need to stop feeling bad about the lack of date nights and purchase a cheap game to keep that friendship fun and magical. Don’t let your romance die simply because you don’t want to get creative. Marriage doesn’t always look elaborate or sparklymore times than not, it looks like sweatpants and almost peeing your pants from laughing while playing an $8 ping pong game.

I believe the strengthening of marriage happens in these magically mundane moments. Perhaps we will look back and see the best moments of our marriage were indeed the magically mundane moments.