This is going to be one of those painful posts to write and read because it’s going to be brutally honest, raw and real. Why do I bare enough of myself to write these posts? Because we’re all a lot better off knowing what life really looks like, instead of constantly viewing a bunch of people wearing masks and performing plays for the public eye.
Ready for the truth?
I didn’t love my husband when we got married.
I loved the idea of being someone’s world, being the princess in the story, feeling like someone was going to romantically spoil me for the rest of my life, feeling safe, feeling fulfilled, feeling accomplished, feeling – well – gushy, mushy, adoring feelings from the exciting process of dating and planning a wedding.
That’s not to say I didn’t care for him, and have intimate feelings toward him. Of course I did. But love? I was so clueless and didn’t even know it. By the world’s definition, I would have SWORE I was MADLY in love with him. And if love really means, “Finding someone who makes you feel like a million dollars” then well, I guess I did love him.
But once you say “I do” and REAL LIFE happens – you don’t always feel like a million bucks. In fact, you start to figure out that this incredible, handsome, funny and romantic person can really be a shallow, mean, and selfish man. And if you think this is some sort of husband bashing session – think again. If I could describe for you what he’s went through to live with me… I’d be forced to use profanity because “safe words for children’s eyes” can’t even do it justice. He’s been to Hell and back living with me.
I know it sounds drastically wrong to say what I’m about to say… but it IS the truth. I didn’t fall in love with my husband over the last 12 years because of all the good, fun and romantic things we’ve done. I fell in love with my husband by living out our vows…. all the negative sounding ones.
Hanging together when you’re tapping into the bottom of the financial barrel is what love looks like.
Being forgiven when you’ve been the world’s biggest jerk and you know you totally don’t deserve a second chance (or 100th) is what love looks like.
Forgiving someone who has crushed you in a way you didn’t know anyone ever could, is what love looks like.
Sitting on the side of a bed instead of being at work when the doctor says, “normally it would be too risky to perform surgery but we have no choice… if we don’t, your gall bladder will burst and we’ll lose you and the baby” is what love looks like.
Being so exhausted with a newborn in the house that you can’t even work up enough strength to speak nicely to each other, but going to bed together every night anyway is what love looks like.
Picking up clothes off the floor for 12 years that for some reason, can’t be put into a laundry basket is what love looks like.
Going to work at a job you hate to provide for your family is what love looks like.
Driving a piece of junk vehicle so your spouse can have the better one is what love looks like.
Packing his lunch every day is what love looks like.
((Take time to stop right here – grab a piece of paper, and keep going. What does REAL love look like in your marriage?))
I’m not saying that coming home with flowers, cuddling on the couch watching movies, attending a sporting event together, and holding hands on a walk isn’t love. It absolutely can be.
However, and this is the part that the world misses, it can’t JUST be that – or it’s not love…. it’s lust.
It’s easy to “love” someone who is lusting over you.
It’s hard to love someone who is living every day life, values sleep because of the job they must keep to provide for the family, and doesn’t have the time or energy to stay up on the phone all night long saying “no, you hang up first.”
And let’s be honest. We all secretly wish we could have that life long experience of being lusted over.
I still find myself broken over not being loved in the romantic ways of my dreams. Just two weekends ago I spent an hour crying my eyes out because what I think would be so simple to speak love to me, my husband is oblivious to – EVEN THOUGH I’ve spelled it out in about one thousand and fifteen conversations over the years.
It would sure be easy in those moments to say – “I want out. You don’t love me. You are so selfish. You don’t listen to me. You don’t even try. You don’t care. I’m trapped. You’re a dead beat of a husband.”
But that’s not true. My husband doesn’t show his love for me in just the ways I desire to be swooned over. He shows love to me every day living life with me, putting me first, providing for us, fathering our children, coming home right after work, listening to me talk, and a million other choices he makes every single day.
You don’t have to be married long to face this truth – either it’s time to give up on love and assume “you fell out of it” or realize that REAL love is hardly attainable before you live your life together and you’re going to choose to keep working at it.
Love is a verb. It’s a choice. It’s an action.
If we desire to be choosy – we should be a WHOLE lot more choosy BEFORE marriage instead of after.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say – but hear the truth in this statement.
I could have been a lot more choosy in finding a husband. I could see differences, but I threw that to the side assuming he’d change because I was smitten over his lustful eyes for me. (And I don’t just mean sexual advances.) When I say lustful eyes, I mean – his longing for a serious relationship, his excited attitude about spending time with me, his willingness to talk all night long, his constant compliments and long glances, the whole “I’m totally attracted to you” shebang.
I was smitten – hook, line and sinker. I don’t regret it. He’s a good man.
But – I hardly have room to complain that he’s not as outgoing as I am. I knew that.
Or that he doesn’t have a close relationship with his family. I knew that too.
Or that he didn’t shower me with gifts, love notes, and special events because I also knew that.
Or the secret hidden list that I rarely ever talk about with anyone but God of all the things I wish he did, said or cared about to fulfill all my dreams.
He’s a male, and he’s a type C personality — so he probably doesn’t have an organized list, nor could he sit and randomly rattle off a bunch of things he wishes I would or wouldn’t do — but those things show up too in different moments on his face.
I hurt him. I disrespect him sometimes. I fail to fulfill him in all the ways that would make his dreams come true.
But he chooses every day to love me.
And I love him right back.
Because we both know, love is about giving – not about getting.
And because we are making that choice, we actually will live happily ever after.
Practical Application -
Admit the false lies the world has spent millions of dollars plastering everywhere that love is a romantic feeling and if it’s missing, your spouse (fiancé, boyfriend) is a dead beat.
Make a list of what real love looks like in your marriage.
Talk it out. Thank each other for making the choice to love daily and for never giving up…. even when it feels like there’s move giving than getting in rough seasons.