I (choose to) love you.

12 Sep

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.



19 Responses to “I (choose to) love you.”

  1. peacefulwife September 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    This is REALLY, REALLY GOOD!!!!! Thank you for sharing your heart, Kayla!

    • Kayla Gulick September 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      You’re welcome April. Thanks for reading along and doing life with me!!

  2. Stephanie September 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    Thank you. That is all. Just thank you.

    Oh… And maybe this… You rock!

    • Kayla Gulick September 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

      Love you girl. Standing in the gap together with you makes getting this marriage stuff figured out a whole lot easier! Hugs!!!

  3. justme September 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Fabulous! Just perfect! 🙂
    Thank you for being “real”.

    • Kayla Gulick September 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      Thank you for reading along – commenting – and helping make real life a little easier to walk tonight.

  4. Gleniece September 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    What a beautiful, tears-in-my-eyes, nodding-with-a-smile-on-my-face post. Thank you, Kayla.

    • Kayla Gulick September 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      Good to know we can wipe tears together – even with miles between us 🙂 Anytime friend!

  5. carmenseekstruth September 13, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    I love the way you describe how love is a choice. I chose to love the father of my children until I knew it was time to choose again. In my case, his verbal and emotional abuse was crushing my children’s Spirit and mine. It took me years to conclude that I could walk away and choose to send him love.
    It’s been over six years now, and I continue to choose to love him. I send him love every time I see my children. We ‘loved’ each other since we were 15, got married at 22, and divorced after almost twenty years in the marriage. And with all of the hurt we endured together, I still know that choosing to love is the best way to love…

    • Kayla Gulick September 13, 2013 at 6:58 am #

      Wow Carmen! Thank you for sharing your heart in that way with us here. I do not have your experiences in an emotionally abusive relationship and I am glad you posted for two reasons –
      1.) Abuse trumps this post and demands immediate attention and other aspects I won’t even dive into fully here.
      2.) As you’ve so beautifully wrote, you can still choose love even when you need to protect yourself.

      I love this comment. Thank you SO much!!

  6. Mandy September 13, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    I so appreciate this post Kayla. I (like many women, I think) have seen 1 too many romantic comedies, and have this picture in my head of exactly how my husband should treat me (read: shower me with gifts and perfect words and nights of endless passion). And that’s not reality. But I’ve still been holding my husband to the fire, demanding these things. God is opening my eyes to so much sin and disrespect toward my husband, it’s humiliating. But it’s also humbling, and posts like this give me hope. It reminds me that I have REAL love with my husband, and that’s worth working for.

    • Kayla Gulick September 13, 2013 at 8:21 am #

      I agree whole heartedly about the romantic comedies.
      I’m a bit of a TV/Movie Nazi. I prefer not to watch anything. It seems nothing is safe for me. My husband doesn’t exactly get that — and that can be a sore subject for us. Quality time for him is watching a movie together and for me – that is literally HELL. In fact, you just gave me the topic for my next post. Thanks girl! Much love to you!!

  7. learning1 September 13, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    This. was. FABULOUS!! I am totally printing this as a keeper!! You’ve gotten to the bottom of some very difficult thoughts in my head here! Thank you for this honesty and realness. The world may not like this post but I LOVE the truth in it!! Thank you! I really needed this too. 🙂

    • Kayla Gulick September 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      You’re so welcome. Thank you for the feedback. It’s such an awesome feeling or me to have people understand and walk this road with me!

  8. BROKENBUTNOTFORGOTTEN September 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    I really loved this post, it brought tears to my eyes. It made me realize how much my hubby and I really do love each other! I never had real love in my life and I did not realize that until now when I read your post. What I had was lust all those years before I meet my hubby. I have been searching and looking for those same feelings I had with others before I meet my hubby with him and I was wrong for doing that! Because we have something that is far more precious than lust and that is genuine love for each other. It will be two years for us this October that we have been married. It was also one year and eight months of hell my hubby and I went through together with emotional abuse, verbal abuse control on both parts, me hitting my hubby, me disrespecting him and it even got to a point he finally hit me, but we both have dealt with each other. Through it all we have let God deal with us individually and we are now seeing the fruit that when we listen to Him and not ourselves things go a lot smoother. They are not perfect but my hubby and I are nothing like we was in those almost two years. We have since learned how to love each other through His love and not through our selfish love.Thank you for helping me to see that my husband does love me even without all the mushy ga ga goo stuff I want. God Bless……

    • Kayla Gulick September 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

      LOVE THIS!! And thank you for being honest that marriage can look really awful sometimes. Even Christians struggle getting it ironed out to run as God intends it to be. I’m so glad you can see love from your husband in all the choices he makes every day…. and can lay down the falsehood that if it doesn’t look a certain way, he doesn’t really love you. Congratulations on two years next month! What a bright future you have together 🙂

  9. Jaki September 16, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    i associate with every word you have written Kayla. Very very true.. Esp.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.
    Or that he didn’t shower me with gifts, love notes, and special events because I also knew that.

    • Kayla Gulick September 16, 2013 at 6:49 am #

      My heart wants to say to some degree, I’m so sorry you can relate. Because you and I both know — there is disappointment in having to accept these things.

      But at the same time through the dying to self process — I want to jump for joy with you that you’re love is deeper than selfishness and you’re working toward a marriage most in this world never get to experience — one of REAL love!!

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