I have two small children, which means I have seen the Disney movie Moana approximately 3,504 times, which is fine because that movie is great. The animation, voice work, the music: all top-notch. But what I keep coming back to is the movie’s message.
On one hand Moana is a celebration of the tradition and culture of the Pacific Islands. On the other hand Moana warns that those traditions can become confining and repressive, leeching the life out of those trapped in them. For awhile I thought the movie was contradicting itself, but as I was thinking about it today (and yes, I sit around thinking about the philosophical import of cartoons) I realized Moana captures a tension relatable to every area of our life. This is especially true for our marriages.
On one hand so much of what makes a marriage beautiful are the traditions: the running jokes, the celebrations, the dinner rituals, the Netflix binging, comfortable silences, the familiar meal at the familiar restaurant with the familiar memories. The tapestry of a marriage is mostly made of these traditions. On the other hand, a marriage that only leans on those traditions becomes stagnant. The food gets old, the jokes aren’t funny any more, the dinner rituals become ruts, and (most horrifying of all) your show on Netflix has no new episodes.
The message of Moana is that it’s important to have both traditions and new adventures, it’s important to have the old and the new, and it’s the same with our marriages.
Some couples are adventure junkies, constantly taking on new tasks, joining new clubs, traveling to new places, making new friends. Everything is new, new, new, but there aren’t many quiet moments where the husband and wife build a quiet familiarity and comfort with just being still together. They’re so busy doing together they aren’t being together. Other couples can’t remember the last time they did literally anything different. They’re missing out on the magic of exploring something new as a couple and loving (or hating) it together!
So as you head into the weekend consider as a couple where you’re at. Are you so busy doing things that you’ve missed the beauty of resting in the familiar? Or are you so listless that you’re missing the excitement of enjoying the unfamiliar? Share this with your spouse and discuss which camp you fall in. It’s important to remember that both tradition and adventure are good, so celebrate where you’re strong as a couple, but also discuss some ways to inject the other side of the equation in your marriage.
If you come up with any good ideas leave them in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!