Happy Valentine’s Day!! (Yesterday) A day we celebrate “love”, or more accurately; romance, platitudes, flowers, candy, and materialistic shows of affection. I am usually all about these things. I love going out and showering my family in red and pink hearts, flowers and setting up lots of surprises. Yesterday I was ill all afternoon. Not a specific kind of ill, just off, tired and feeling like I was not well. I slept most of the afternoon. Hubs came home to bring me the car and found me curled up in bed. He took the boys to work with him for the last hour, went shopping for a gift, bought them food and had them all fed and pretty much ready for bed when he had to leave for Bible study and some more work. It was heavenly to be so well cared for and not have to worry about the kids or dinner. I felt so loved.
This morning I woke up expecting a worse day, day two of sickness is usually worse, but no! I felt off, but had energy enough to clean my house and focus on just getting stuff tidied. When I woke up I was greeted with a lovely card and potted rose bush!! I was so excited, and felt so bad that I had not made it out to purchase gifts for Hubs and the boys. This card and thoughtful gift made me feel so overcome with humility and love. My husband truly gave me a gift of true love without any expectation of return. Selfless love. This should be a big deal, and also maybe it should not be. I mean, aren’t marriages supposed to be all about unconditional love and giving each other love and intimacy without expectations of return? Ummm, in the movies and books maybe this seems fair. In real life we all enter into a relationship with some form of unrealistic expectation or misinformation.
Here comes the reality I promised you. If you had asked me around this time last year how my marriage was you would have been met with tears or laughter and a verbal diatribe of ranting about how marriage was a battleground. My husband and I were living separate lives and realities in the same house. I felt alone, he felt alone. We couldn’t connect. We were each unable to look past our own personal needs because we were both so hurt and emotionally poor. I hated my life. I cried myself to sleep often. It seemed any time we tried to talk openly we just fought and I felt more hurt and rejection. Last year in the Spring I came to Hubs with a desperate ultimatum: we needed to seek help or I needed to leave. His response was to immediately agree to seek help, personally and as a couple. I had begun therapy and counseling on my own prior to this and knew that we needed to get on a similar page. We found an amazing counselor. It was very slow going. Our lives had become so riddled with hurt and bitterness towards each other that we could barely have a conversation without it breaking into war. Our home was full of tension. We agreed on very little and talked about even less. Our counselor encouraged us to attempt to make time to sit and just talk for ten minutes a week. Take turns talking and listening. We failed. We couldn’t even complete this simple task. I was sure we were doomed.
Slowly, ever so slowly, with prayers from friends, heart searching, lots of crying out to God and friends, many hours of therapy, some pretty difficult fights and baby steps, we began to feel safer in each other’s presence. We began to be able to speak about tense subjects without blowing up, crying, or me running away or shutting down. We still work every day on communication, making our real intentions and thoughts understood, and thinking about each other’s needs.
I am going to admit right here that I know my selfishness, unwillingness to change, lack of self discipline, and unrealistic expectations were definitely a large inhibitor to us growing closer. My desire to blame shift, and inability to own my own issues, led me to a great chasm of loneliness and despair in my marriage. It takes two to make or break a relationship, and I was one of these two. I had to own it before I could do anything about it. Over the ten years of our marriage I blamed my husband, spoke badly about him and complained about him in front of his face and behind his back. I still struggle with this often. I hate confrontation. I never wanted to actually talk with him about how I felt and work through our differences. It has taken ten years to get to a place where we can at least attempt an open and honest line of communication with little judgement. I can honestly and sincerely say that I credit God and His intervention with my marriage still being here and being a loving place again.
This is what brought me to this honest post today:
My Hub’s sweet words and smart wit brought forward a very important truth: We are striving towards a Zero waste marriage! Let’s not throw out what can be saved, let’s not waste the moments we have together, the love we have been given.
Love. I’m back to this. What is Love? “Baby don’t hurt me..” just kidding!!! It is kind of that though. Our perception of love “Here’s my heart, don’t hurt it!” Reality hits: Love hurts. It hurts to give when you have nothing left. It hurts to choose love when you don’t feel loved. It hurts to offer your heart expecting your own idea of love and receiving another person’s interpretation of what that is. It’s confusing to grow up with the fantasy of romantic love, perfect passion, a partner who knows exactly what you need and only desires to give you that, then you meet a person, fall in love and get married. Life kicks in. This person has a different background, a different idea of what a relationship is, what the ideal partnership is. They love you, you love them, but suddenly that is not enough. The little things you differ in begin to put holes in your romantic happy love.
I was nineteen when I married my Hubs. That is young! I din’t think so. I knew everything. I was nineteen. My goal was to be married at nineteen because my mom was. My parent’s marriage was “Perfect”, in my eyes, of course getting married young means your marriage will be perfect. HA! Well, now I know;) There is no secret recipe for a perfect marriage except hard work, communication, give, give, give, and be vulnerable when you need to be, and strong when they need you to be. I think vulnerable is something that I suck at. Honest I can do, open, sure, vulnerable; I HATE IT!!!!! That has been a really tough thing to learn.
Life is interesting, love is a choice, a work of art and sacrifice, and marriage is choosing each other EVERY SINGLE DAY.
There is the Reality. Now a little photo montage of our little family Valentine’s day:
Boy#1 and Hubs wanted to see the new Batman Lego movie tonight. Boy#2 did not and I was impartial. We split up. Boy#2 and I headed to my mother’s house for spaghetti dinner and video games, and Boy#1 and Hubs headed to the movie for a daddy son date. My Mom, Dad, Brother, and Grandfather all live together in the same house. Boy#2 likes visiting my Mom because Funcle Stew resides there. He also likes that Grandma shows love with carbs. “Peeny butter” on bread is always available. Mostly it’s that Funcle Stew has “Bideo” games. For Valentines day I played Mario and watched Paw Patrol It was fantastic. Don’t worry, Hubs and I have plans to celebrate together Friday. Tonight was pretty amazing. I love my boys.
Well, I’m off to bed my dear readers. Hope you don’t mind my big messy life being painted up here a bit larger than ever before. Well, mess is life. Honesty and raw humanity has worked for me so far. Here is where it sits. Good night.