Friday, February 12, 2010

My Valentine

"Love, love will keep up together..."

I don't know about you, but I grew up believing that love was this special feeling we had for special people. I believed that being loved by someone special would make me happy. And yes, I believed that love was enough to keep us together.

I could blame the media, the Harlequin romance novels I read by flashlight under my covers, or the fact that my father was out of the picture and I was desperate to be loved. Combine those factors together, and the result is one reckless teenage girl. The sad thing is, no matter what I was willing to do to make a boy love me, none ever did.

Eventually, this one boy/man came along. We became a family. We thought we were "in love." And when it got so hard and hurt so much to be together, I kept asking myself, "Why isn't love enough?" The special feeling of being in love was rarely there, happiness was out of reach, and it seemed there was nothing we could do to stay together.

Somewhere in the midst of our mess of a marriage, I looked elsewhere to find a love that filled my heart and brought me little glimmers of happiness. I began to realize that I was wrong all along - my husband loving me enough to make me happy would never happen. There was only One who could answer my heart's desperate plea of, "Won't somebody love me?" As I spent more time in church learning who He was, I noticed that my aching heart was being soothed. I realized that it was okay for my husband to not make me happy. That wasn't his job. And I turned that job over to the Lover of my soul, Jesus.

Our marriage did not miraculously get better. Much time had past as hurts and resentments built up. We continued to talk of divorce - giving up. It seemed hopeless. Though we knew we loved one another, we just didn't feel in love anymore!

Again, somewhere in the midst of the mess, we resolved to make it work. How would it work? We didn't know. Would we remain unhappy forever? We hoped not, but thought it possible. Could we get past the damage we had done? We had no clue. The only explanation I have is God. The God that my husband did not yet know, the God who soothed by broken heart - He spoke to us. Miraculously, my man and I both heard the same message. Love is not a feeling, love is a choice.

We chose to love. When I felt overwhelmed as a young mother and he was away for work, I chose to love him for sacrificing that he might provide well for our family. When he came home and just wanted to relax and I hounded and nagged and begged for him to do what I wanted, he chose to love me for holding down the fort while he was gone. We chose love, and deleted the "d" word from our marital dictionary. We chose to say, "I love you" even though, more often than not, we didn't really like each other. Over and over, through five years of pain and emptiness, we just kept choosing to love.

The choice to love is not choosing to feel in love. It is not pretending to be happy when things are bad. It is not being a doormat. The choice to love is a choice to THINK loving thoughts, SPEAK loving words, DO loving things - regardless of where your feelings lie (and often, in spite of those feelings).

Ten and a half years ago, my valentine married me. Seven years ago, my valentine chose to love me - in spite of the fact that I did not and could not make him happy. My valentine and I have been "happily" married for about five years. (I put the word "happily" in quotes, not because we're not happily married - we are. But I believe the phrase happily married is a misnomer. We are happy that we are married to each other, absolutely! But even now - in a good marriage - we are not always happy. And that's okay.)

And I would not change one single moment of those ten years. If not for those years of mess and hurt, we never would have known how amazing it feels to be in love because you chose it.

Thank-you for choosing love. Thank-you, my valentine, for choosing me.

1 comment:

  1. Awwww! You pulled at my heartstrings on this one Tyler. Even though we don't have the "years" behind us, I have felt this way on certain days that is for sure. Our Heavenly Father is the One we can count on and how He loves us for the jobs we do, especially those in supporting our husbands and raising our families. Because the reinforcement for our jobs isn't right in front of us, we have to step out in faith and put our trust in the One who can fill us with love, patience, kindness, goodness, joy, peace, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. As our fruits grow and ripen it comes out in all we do, including loving the "man" we share our lives with everyday. Oh how I needed to be reminded of this! Love you, see you soon!


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