Love is an Action Verb
If you know me, personally, on social media, I post a lot of positive mushy gushy so-in-love-with-him-it-hurts crap about my husband. I just want to let you in on a little secret: it has never been easy.
We've been through a lot together and not all of it has been good - not even close. There are some secrets I have learned through our journey about making marriage work and being loving. Here are some of them:
1) When we are angry, frustrated, fed up, have issues with one another, we talk about it to each other, we don't bitch about it on social media or bad-mouth one another at work, or in the pick-up lane at school, or even to our closest friends.
2) When we hurt the other's feelings, we apologize and try not to do that again. This requires the injured party to be honest and say, "that hurt my feelings" or "I don't like it when you do that." And it requires the injuring party to listen and acknowledge the often unintended consequences of our actions. It seems simple, but resentment is born from a lack of communication and a lack of compassion.
3) When we are at work, or a party, or a get together and all the other spouses are separated along gender lines and complaining about their spouses, we hold hands, hug, cuddle, and joke with one another, lovingly.
4) We are realistic about who we married and what they bring to the table and we focus on those gifts and how they enhance our lives. We are also honest when called out on our less flattering personality traits.
5) We talk through things. This is an art form for us because I am an external processor, I like to talk in order to think. He is an internal processor, he needs quiet time to formulate a response. It took my over-talkative self more than a few years to learn to give him the space he needs, but we figured it out – mostly.
6) We take time to connect, sitting next to one another on the couch, which often takes an act of God or Congress because space next to me is prime real estate for the kids, but taking that time to sit near one another is crucial. He likes to sit with me on the porch swing and play sappy country love songs that remind him of me.
7) He's not always great with words or a quick thinker, he takes his time, but when the chips are down, when it matters, he brings his A game. I try to bring mine, and he loves me for my efforts.
The underlying themes of all of these things are communication and respect. I respect how hard he works to be who we need him to be, and I show my respect by making him coffee, by supporting the things he needs to do to stay sane, and by stating my expectations and asking for his feedback. He shows his respect by stretching himself to be what we need, and by treating me as an equal, a partner, and a best friend. He always hugs and kisses me before he leaves the house and he usually calls me in the middle of the day just to say hi. When something funny happens, I always search the room for him, because he is the first person I want to share laughter with.
Don’t get me wrong, I AM gobsmacked-head-over-heels-in-love with him, because he gives me reasons to fall for him again every day, and it's almost never flowers or candy or jewelry. It's being present when I need to talk, it's holding my hand when we are walking together through the grocery store, sometimes, it's grabbing my butt when I'm in grungy clothes and haven't had a shower yet. Relationship maintenance is work until you make it a habit. It is really hard when you have kids, even more of a challenge when you have a medically fragile kiddo, or when your partner has health issues, but it is so so worth it.
I love you him for everything that he is and everything that he is not. He is my hero, my partner, my lover, and my best friend. I am thankful to him for never making me feel broken or crazy, even though we both know that I can be both.
You see, love is an action verb.