In honor of Valentine’s Day I thought I would write about two of my favorites, love and marriage. Now, once the tune from Married With Children is out of your head, let’s focus on this post 😉 You know you were singing the tune! Anyway, if you have been reading my blog at all you know that I have been married for ten years. It’s hard to believe it has been a decade (using the word decade sounds like a really long time to me)! A good “long time” of course.
I remember the very day I first laid eyes on him as if it were yesterday. He was walking in the mall on the opposite side of me with two of his friends. He was wearing jeans, a blue and white letterman jacket with baseball, football, and hockey on the back, and a blue Yankees hat worn low right above his eyes. I was in looooooove the minute I spotted him! For the sake of that comment you must keep in mind that I was two months shy of my fourteenth birthday. When you are a teenage girl and the opposite sex even looks your way and smiles you start writing your name with his last name on paper the minute you are in the privacy of your bedroom. Oh you remember, don’t act like you never did that! Back to the story… I thought he was HOT! I mean Super-Hot!! Whoa…who was this guy and where did he go to school? I must find out! Well, anyone who knows me knows I am not shy about going after something I want. So, what did little Miss Priss (that would be me) do? I followed him around that mall for a good twenty minutes watching him and taking mental notes of his behavior. I mean I had to make sure he wasn’t a weirdo! I needed to make sure his actions aligned with his looks. Of course I could never ever let him know what I was doing. I had to remain incognito. Well I did just that and was pleasantly surprised. He was cool. No dorky dance moves or obnoxious flirting with girls. I liked him. Well like a lioness about to attack her prey when opportunity struck for me to talk to him, I did. The rest is history…
There were three things my mom always told me when I was seeking a potential lifelong mate. She would remind me when I began talking about a guy in a somewhat serious realm, “Now honey, just remember, every date is a possible mate.” She also advised me to find someone who could make me laugh. “Laughter is like medicine honey, it is good for the soul,” she would say. Also, she encouraged me to marry a MAN in every sense of the word, not an immature lazy boy who did not understand life and responsibility. Last, but certainly not least she stressed (and I mean stressed) the importance of marrying a man who loved and honored the Lord. When you are fifteen or eighteen years old you don’t realize the importance in that last statement until years later (more often than not). At that age you seem to focus on the wrong things.
Over the years we have built an amazing and loving friendship which is the foundation of who we really are. He is my very best friend and my biggest cheerleader. When I am in one of my moods, no one is better at pulling me out of that mood than him. He knows me better than anyone else. I love to be with him no matter what we do. I truly appreciate his hard work and dedication to our family. Never once have we wavered in our love for each other. Divorce has never been an option and has never needed to be. We have always gotten along very well. Yes, we do have our disagreements like every other couple in the world but we are well-balanced in most areas. If you have ever read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman then you know the awesomeness of his book! If you haven’t then I give you my personal recommendation to read it, as it will help you understand your spouse (and even children) better. I read that book years ago and so many lightbulbs came on for me that I felt somewhat dumb for not already knowing those things about my husband.
One of the secrets to our amazing marriage is my husbands willingness to love me more. Everything he does he does with me and our family in mind. Every decision he makes he thinks of us first. You ask, well what about your willingness to love him more? Your previous statement sounds a little one-sided? Well, this has been a work in progress for me. I can admit that he has done a better job of thinking of us first than I have of him. I have learned, and continue to do so, about how to love him well. I have always loved him with every ounce of my being but I haven’t been the best at showing it in his love language (again, read the book!!). I think he would agree that I am much better today than when we were first married. On the other hand, he has always been very good at loving me in my love language. It seemed to come natural to him. Now, for the sake of keeping it real… Yes, we argue! He is Italian and I am a hormonal woman (we could really just stop there and everyone would understand but for the sake of this story I will go into a little more detail)! Our arguments can get pretty heated and he has slept on the couch a night or two. Hey, I’m not giving up the bed. I gave birth to four children and breastfed for thirty-six months. Need I say more? He gets on my nerves so bad sometimes I want to slap him into Tuesday. I drive him nuts daily with my never-ending line of questions about everything! I’m a girl it comes with the territory. I need details!! I’m selfish and I like my time alone, this hurts his feelings. When he just wants to sit and deflate from his day that is when I will decide it is the perfect time to bring up a subject that definitely should wait until later. Sometimes I just want a good fight. Not always, but occasionally. Hehehe… So, see we are like everyone else. We are human. But we are two humans that have been privileged to spend our lives together. God knew what He was doing that day when that young man decided to venture out to the mall. I was not there by accident. It was all in His plan. A plan that is still being carried out today. This morning when we were talking about Valentine’s Day, we decided I should write something about marriage. He suggested that he write from the husband’s point of view. I thought it was a great idea. So hear you go. Allow me to introduce you to my husband.
In his words…
Ball and Chain, old hag, old lady, the boss, control freak, the nagging one – these are all names I have heard others call their wife – and to this day I just do not get it. I believe that when you say “I do”, you say “I do”, to be, well “the one”. Yes, the one – and that is “the one” that loves, cherishes, is happy for, understands, is patient with (most of the time), longs for, and competes with – that is what I want to hit on today – the love competition.
We have a saying, “I love you more than you love me,” and in most cases people would assume we are being fake. Reality is, we are not. See, we truly believe that our relationship was established by God and for His will. We know that He offers some pretty amazing benefits if you include Him in your marriage – I will hit on that in a moment. In saying that, it really does start with you. You are the one that makes the decision to honor what has been granted to you. Why would you not cherish that with all your heart? I know some do a great job at this, but truthfully some really don’t. Now do not get me wrong, there are plenty of times that we look at each other and wonder what has happened to the other person we married, but ultimately we know that we were made to be compatible and together .
To those benefits I mentioned a minute ago – I look at her every day (even when I am mad) and think I cannot believe that she is my wife. In my eyes, she is the most beautiful, smart, sexy, honorable, honest, funny, sexy, witty, interesting, sexy, and very sexy woman on the planet. Also, I was blessed by the Almighty to take care of her and make her feel important. I always wonder when I see a struggling, or untrustworthy marriage on how it got there, or what efforts did that couple make to maintain that longing for one another that they felt from the moment they laid eyes on each other. I also know that it does not start in just one day, be it loving or hating it takes an effort to do both. So, again, why chose to hate when loving is so much better. In saying that I do also believe it is harder to love than hate. Think of it this way, and I test this all the time. But ask someone how they are doing, the usual response is, “Fine – well Johnny is sick and Deloris has an ulcer blah blah blah” – negative, and not “fine”. It is human nature to focus on flaws, what one is not doing, or does not have. Not to mention how much the media, internet, society etc. play into this notion. People always need more, and everything needs an antagonist, but truth is – it is all bologna – a lie. Try this, when someone asks how you are, respond with, “Great – I am grateful for this day, for my family, for my job that provides me money for food!” The person (guaranteed) will look at you like – ok nut job. Because – They are NOT used to a positive response.
I believe this concept applies to your marriage. My wife always tells me I need a hobby because I am always in need of her. But the truth is I do not need her, I want her and she is a hobby for me of sorts. Her stories and interests (I am writing in HER BLOG aren’t I) are mine as well. We have FOUR kids, hobby enough for me. I love what we have and what she offers – these are the benefits that I am talking about (yes I know there are more, but not for this blog). My job is to ensure she knows that I love her more than she loves me and most of all know that our love grows stronger every day. C’mon, I want to be able to look at her when she is 91 and think…..MAN she is one hot momma! So my advice – for what it is worth, practice what you want and desire, stay clear from the “Ball and Chain, old hag, old lady, the boss, control freak, the nagging one” name calling to her or with friends. Go and tell your wife how she makes you feel, how good she looks. Recollect your wedding with her, relive the “favorite” moment you had with her. Tell her about how excited you were to share this with her – give her a hug and do not LET go, take a deep breath and smell her hair, look her in the eyes and tell her she is singly the greatest thing that has ever happened to you (perhaps the other benefit may occur thereafter)…remember God has a plan, and we all have a shelf life – love like today is the last day and again love her more than she loves you. Happy Valentine’s day – I love you honey.