I wrote this post 2 years ago when my hubs was about to leave for Afghanistan. Sometimes it’s good to remember what you have been through and what you have learned. If you’re anything like me, I easily forget things. Enjoy this post, it’s one of my favorites.
From January 2013:
I am spending as much time as I can with my husband. He is leaving on deployment soon and I can’t get enough of his laugh and his goofiness and just how loving he is towards me. I am going to miss him dearly; as any wife of a deploying soldier would.
As we were getting ready to hit the hay tonight, I was thinking about what love really meant. If I had thought about this question a year or two ago, my answer would have been completely different. Why? Because I have been force fed a steady diet of romantic comedy, cliche love. I have thought that love should be full of risk, sacrifice, and will always have a perfect ending after exactly one week of “dating.” While true love does have elements of these things (maybe not the perfect ending every time), this is not all it is. It is so much deeper than a grand gesture and a romantic walk into the sunset.
Of course, these things are every adolescent girl’s dream. No wonder the divorce rate is 50%. We are being fed lies; lies that I had believed until very recently- tonight even!
A few years ago, I dated someone who I cared very deeply about. I was head over heels in “love” and I was absolutely devastated when we broke up. And when I say devastated, I mean devastated. I missed classes, cried myself to sleep for months, even wrote journals dedicated to him. I was a mess. But in my mind, I was just doing what anyone who was truly in love would do. I decided I wouldn’t go down without a fight. I would win him back and then all my prayers and all my tears and all my journal entries wouldn’t be in vain.
Now I do truly believe that God used that time of my life for something very special. I know my prayers and my tears are not forgotten, and I know that my time in pain was not in vain. However, I do realize now that my grand genstures and eloquent words were not the secret formula for love. Everything in my few years on this earth had taught me that if I just believed enough, said just the right thing, made just the right gesture, and loved him just enough; that I would be the one walking into the sunset with him.
I based my entire future on a myth.
Love is not that one grand gesture or how long I can hold out for that one person that I believe in the most or that perfect letter given at the perfect time. It is so much more than that!
Love requires patience. Not just patience in waiting, waiting is very important, but also patience in listening, in responding, in arguing, in laughing and in everything in between. Love is openness. Openness with your hurts, with your baggage, with your hopes, with your dreams, with your disappointments, with your anger. Love is kind and gentle. Love is slow and ever changing and evolving. Love is waking up every morning knowing that you will probably do or say something that is going to hurt the other person, but you get out of bed anyway and always choose to say “I love you.” Love is bringing your baggage along, knowing full well that it will rear its ugly head more some days than others, but still moving forward with the person that looks at you and carries it with you. Love is unselfish, always putting each other first. Love is accepting. And not just accepting the hurt and the past, but accepting the future, no matter how scary. Love is accepting little things like an open door or an open hand.
But most of all, love is filled with grace. And the greatest thing about grace is that it makes life not fair.
Looking back, I had plenty of love to give, but none to receive. That was the difference between my “love” for my boyfriend, my LOVE for my husband.
My husband loves me, but it goes so much deeper. He accepts me, challenges me, says “I’m sorry” more than I deserve to hear it, he says”I love you” more than I think to say it to him and gives me an abundance of grace. And its not fair. But that is the beauty of it.
To my first “love,” thank you for continually teaching me what LOVE really is. I pray that you will find it too, with our precious Savior at the center, guiding each and every second of it.
To my precious husband and my true LOVE, thank you for taking a chance on me. I love you more than words can say and I will miss you more than I could ever express.