There are seasons in life and in marriage. Even smaller than seasons are moments. I am constantly trying to identify our current season, and though it’s futile, I still try to outrun it. That’s why sometimes it's helpful to go smaller and name the moment. We are in a Murphy bed moment.
A murphy bed, for those unfamiliar, is a pull down bed, hinged at one end so it can be folded up and stored vertically against a wall. Slim piece of furniture by day, comfy bed by night! We became murphy bed owners this fall to better accommodate our family of five in a two bedroom apartment. I joked to our friends, “This is going to make us or break us.”
I wasn’t kidding though. I kind of knew this could only go two ways. It took me several weeks to adjust. There are the obvious challenges (lack of privacy chief among them), but I'm happy to report a couple of unexpected upsides.
Making your bed is a thing of the past. Just place Murphy bed up like so. That may sound like a small thing, but if you are someone who needs to make a bed every morning, and are married to someone who doesn’t share this neurosis, the Murphy bed eliminates exactly one potential fight per day.
You have to get a little creative. I won’t expound too much on this one because I like to keep things PG around here, but thinking outside the box—or in our case, bed—has not been a bad thing for people who have been sleeping together for nearly two decades. (This blog post is making me feel really old. And vulnerable.)
Above and beyond the circumstantial pros and cons of Murphy bed ownership, this truth remains: We are lucky—perhaps even blessed, to have a murphy bed marriage. I wonder if it might actually be the goal. You see, HGTV, romantic comedies, and even our closest friends and family will argue a there are some fundamental basics a married couple with children should have; a master suite complete with luxury bathroom attached, a sizable savings account, and zero contempt for their spouse. And boy do I really wish all of those things were true for us. But what they don't convey is that you can get by with less. You can even thrive. One of the many hard truths of marriage is that you don't always get precisely what you want, not to mention what you think your deserve. As if this wasn’t enough to accept, you then have to say ok, I still choose this. And you. I still choose you.
And that’s what we have been doing for 17 years. Trust me, a Murphy bed season is not the worst we have seen. We have been through worse. And even then, we chose it. We stayed. And by God's grace, we have had seasons of struggle with moments of thriving. Seasons of flourishing with moments of doubt. It's a mixed bag this marriage business- like life. But progress is good. Movement in the direction of "less me" more you, is very good.
This year was the first year I didn’t hope Adrian would knock my socks off with an extravagant gift. (Another perk of the Murphy bed—a daily reminder that we want to save money for a bigger place!) It’s the first year I didn’t have a card ready for him on the day of our anniversary. The first year we were holed up in our apartment forced to make our own anniversary dinner. Our table was set for a rowdy party of 5 instead of a romantic setting for two. And it was magical.
There are years for romantic dinners, sexy getaways and black tie celebrations. (We managed to score all three last year for our sweet 16.) But there are also years to be quiet, to slow down, to allow for naps and colds and long walks with no destination. We had that this year and it was the best anniversary gift I’ve ever received.