More Than Words

 

June 24, 2006: At 104 degrees, it was the hottest day yet to be seen that year, and my groom patiently stood in a full three piece suit and tie waiting for me under the barely refreshing shade of a tree. In the air conditioned room I waited in, my dad gently took my arm for our walk, and I felt my heart slam in my chest. Not from fear, but from sheer joy in anticipation of marrying my best friend. It’s eleven years later and I still feel my heart slam in my chest when I really think about this man I have the privilege of being married to…and who sometimes still patiently waits for me to make my grand entrance.

{Just a quick note: There are a few people who I know and love that are going through a season of loss and/or loneliness. It has been on my heart for awhile now to make it abundantly clear that none of my posts are ever intended to make anyone feel “less than”, or like they have failed in some way because their life doesn’t look like mine, or like I know all of the answers to the “hard things” in either marriage or parenting. I do not. My heart for this blog has always been to encourage others while writing about life as I know it, and all I know is what it feels like to be married to my particular fella, and raise my particular babies. If you are reading this particular post, know that you are loved, and valued, and I am honored that you are here taking the time to read my heart}

As I have written about before (here), that first year of marriage was a learning experience to say the very least! Even after over a decade though, to say that we know what the heck we are doing would be a lie. I think even long time married couples would tell you they still haven’t figured it all out. But in honor of making it eleven years and still liking each other, I thought a blog post was in order!

A habit that we have developed over the years is to say ‘I love you’ all the time. All. The. Time. When we first wake up and when we go to sleep; anytime one of us heads out somewhere; at the end of every phone conversation; just because I walk by him and feel like saying it-  we say it a LOT. Some might say we are a bit obsessed. But it’s about more than just words. As nice as it is to hear him say them, I already know he loves me simply by the way he treats me, by the way he lives his life. I hope that he can say the same of me, I do my best to show it with more than just words. (No babe, that’s not a hint ;))

Marriage cannot survive on words alone, though they are important. My husband has been known to say that he likes coming home from a family trip because he likes seeing how well we work as a team. When that car pulls in the driveway we each just dive in and get our job done, working in tandem, sometimes without ever saying a word to the other.

We recently went to a wedding where my husband (sorry, saying ‘my husband’ still gives me a thrill so I say it a lot!) was a groomsman and I was a guest. Maybe it will sound strange to some of you, but I was at loose ends all day. My person was occupied in sharing the special day with our good friend, and I felt like I was missing or forgetting something most of the day. When his duties were done and he was free to roam, he was by my side the rest of the evening, dancing, laughing, sneaking another cupcake, indulging my need to take selfies, and holding my hand.

As we recovered from heat exposure and exhaustion the next day, I just kept thinking about our couple dynamic. I couldn’t remember the last time we went somewhere together where we didn’t sit together, or stay next to each other the whole time. At first I kinda wondered if that made us weirdos, or co dependent, I mean, who wants that? But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t function without him, as it was about the fact that I simply enjoy being with him. To be seen with him, to be known as his and to be the one who gets to sit next to him and be loved by him. I miss him when he’s not with me.

There is this great line from the Jennifer Aniston movie Rumor Has It. The only good thing to come out of a movie that otherwise sucked in my opinion. Seriously, don’t watch it unless you have exhausted all other entertainment options, but there is this moment when she has come to reconcile with her fiancĂ©e played by Mark Ruffalo. He is skeptical about her sudden reappearance and renewed interest in their relationship and he says, “So what, you decided you can’t live without me or something?” Her response is just the best to me: “No, I can. I can live without you. I just don’t want to.” That is gold. As harsh as it may sound, I have quoted that to my husband numerous times. To me, hearing someone is choosing me not because they need me, but because they want me is the truest form of love.

But again, it’s about more than words. By nature I am not a cleaner, I tidy, but I don’t tend to deep clean. My man however is a neat nick to the core. Our big anniversary plans include deep cleaning the house. Seriously. A way I have learned to show my love for him is to make sure the house is clean at night when he gets home. With four kids I fail at this often, but he appreciates it all the more when I have made the effort. Same with having his dinner set aside for him when he gets home late from work. Knowing I thought about him, and planned for him makes him feel loved and appreciated. It took me quite a few years to figure that out, but man, it makes a difference!

This only works well because it is reciprocated, he actively looks for ways to show me he loves me. We read a couples devotional once that talked about the phrase SHMILY (See How Much I Love You), and the goal was to put that in places your spouse would find it. He crushes it at this game.  I have found it scrawled across the top of my To Do lists, scribbled on a note left where I would find it, and written in the steam on the bathroom mirror. I am terrible at remembering to do it, but I can usually find a note somewhere at least once a week, and it makes me smile.

Eleven years with this guy and it just keeps getting better. Not just because of all the things I mentioned, but because at the end of the day, we have the common goal of putting God at the center of our relationship, and doing our best to love each other the way we have been loved. Forgiving the way we have been forgiven. At that wedding we went to, our friends chose to have the passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 read. It’s a common choice for a wedding (for good reason), but one I never get tired of hearing:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

This is a love like no other. This is how I want to love. More than words.

Happy anniversary to my other half!

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