I was having a conversation the other day about relationships, particularly romantic ones. I had shared a bit about how my husband and I met, my initial thoughts on him, and how my perspective about him changed the more I got to know him.
When we were dating, the things that attracted me most to him were observations I made. I knew he worked hard, and had strong work ethics. I knew that he went to church, regularly, and had read the entire bible many times. I knew that he was very respectful of his parents, and cared for his family deeply. I was able to witness him interacting with a little girl that his sister was baby sitting, and I knew that he was amazing with children. While he was certainly attractive, it was his character that brought me to a place of falling in love with him. I knew that he would be a good husband and father.
Seventeen years later, and I am still in love with him…. but for such very different reasons.
I felt it when I walked in on him painting his daughter’s toe nails.
It stirs when he is hanging up hurricane shutters, protecting his family.
I am reminded of it, when I see him drop everything for a family member in need.
My heart swells in his small gestures, like bringing home the kids’ favorite candy bars as a treat.
Every day, this man puts us before everyone else in the world. Including himself.
He goes without, so that our kids don’t have to. He works overtime, to bring extra income in for our long term security. Broken things are repaired and replaced promptly. He supports all of my crazy designs, notions, and ideas because he has confidence in me & my abilities. Even when he can’t see it for himself.
He comes home every night. Turns down opportunities to travel for work, even if it would pay more, because he can’t bear to be away from his children for even a day. He doesn’t escape from them, but TO his family.
Sometimes, in the every day moments, we can take for granted that the other person will be there. We may lose the feeling of butterflies in our tummy when we see them walk into a room…
… and it is replaced with the knots of uncertainty.
When he doesn’t answer his work phone.
When he should be home but is late, and he didn’t call.
When they wheeled him into surgery.
No matter what kind of frustrations and difficulties marriages face, even when you feel like you have “lost that loving feeling”… in the face of uncertainty and risk, suddenly you feel something immeasurably greater…
The despair that accompanies the notion of losing him.
True love doesn’t happen the moment you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone. True love is revealed in that moment you realize you can’t imagine spending a day without him in your life.
As I spoke about “practical love”, found in the every day motions of our marriage… I got teary eyed. It was like my wedding day, but sweeter. On my wedding day, my tears were over what was in store for our future. That day, my tears were over the many things that I take for granted, and how I fail to let him know exactly how much he means to me. The realization of all the ways he shows us, myself and the children, that he loves us… puts us first…