Learning to Love Completely

In all of my posts of my husband and I, I think it’s pretty evident that I love him and appreciate him for who he is, what he’s done, and how he encourages me to be a better person. He’s a good man, a man with strong morals, a deep faith in God, and love for his family he was born and raised with as well as the family he gained and helped create with me.

He’s taught me so much and just when I think I’m closer to being the kind of person God expects me to be, he reminds me that I have more to learn by teaching me something else, encouraging a more positive belief in myself.

Through the days, the weeks, the months, and the years of our relationship I have given to him, encouraged him, believed in him, while still pointing out faults that he needs to work on. I was very immature in a way that he was not when he and I met and vice versa. We learned from one another and loved one another and cursed one another, but I can honestly say in all of our years together he has only a few times belittled me in such a way that could not be forgotten. I am the kind of person that one doesn’t even have to apologize to. I will forgive you your trespasses against me, for myself more than for the one trespassing because it helps me to move forward and it’s just healthier.

But….

I love to hear an apology and receive a hug from him after such nonsense because being me, it’s what I would do, have done, and will continue to do. I am ever so slowly coming to the realization that his gestures to me after our tidal waves are the consoling words my ears want to hear. For some people, admitting a wrong is not so easy. I know this. I was raised with it as a child. Some men can do it without question and some cannot. My husband is one of the latter. I do credit him that he, more-than-likely, will apologize with words in his own time, but to ask him for one or cry for one is not one that he will give with sincerity.

What he does give with sincerity is his trust, his love of me and our children, his logical thinking, his shoulder when I need one, his support of our family and his loyalty to me. I know he’s got my back. I know he will continue to do what he does as a husband, father, but also as my friend.

I’m not sure if it’s true, but I’ve always heard that relationships can last even if only one person is putting in the effort if a person puts their trust in God. I’ve also always heard that one spouse in the relationship gives more than the other. I am not sure if one or either of is these is true. But I believe if I give it my all, and we trust in God, God will lead us into a better marriage. I believe He will be our shoulder in hard times, he will be our strength in weak moments, He will be our guide and then we will not fail. Our marriage will get stronger and endure for many more years.

Back to giving and taking in marriage, like I said, I’m not sure if that is gospel for every marriage, but it has been in ours. When he walked into my life 11 years ago, I was attracted to him, but scared of love. I was fresh out of, in my young mind, a crappy relationship, but in reality, it was not really a relationship as much as it wasn’t one, if that makes sense. It was more in my head than in my heart and it produced a baby which didn’t help matters. If you remember though, from the time I was a child, I had that one dream common among girls back then, marriage and family. So I clung to what I thought it was, what I wanted it to be, what I have now with my husband. So fear hindered where I would let my involvement go with my husband now back when I met him.

To make matters worse, he was the epitome of night in shining armor and I could not resist him. And, alas, we enterwined our lives. I spent the first few years trying to be the woman I believed I should be…..happily devoted to husband and children, spending hours every day running after them and meeting their needs. By don’t let that discourage you about him because guess what he was doing. He was busy trying to give me a life that had never been within my reach, a life I only dreamed about or, more importantly, thought I wanted. You know, the spoiling, the constant attention, that want to be with him 24/7, and the expectation that he should want the same thing.

Throughout our years together, as one can read on my pages, we’ve been passionate in everything. Disagreements were like two waves thrashing together creating a wake large enough to flood the whole country, not with that much hate, but that much intensity in our beliefs and expectations. And when we love, encourage, support, and everything else good in our relationship, we do so with just as much intensity, just as much passion. Through all our passions, we continued to work for our relationship and a brighter future, not full of things money can buy, but of happiness and love as the dominant trait in our relationship, the driving force.

But included in our relationship were my three children that he lovingly accepts as his own. Their fathers are involved, but my husband is a man that has earned their love and respect here in our home through loving them, teaching them, encouraging them…you know, the dad duties he inherited when he decided to make a life with me. And it’s stressful. Everyone knows stress will be present, even expects it, but not to it’s fullest extent. That comes later. That is something a married couple learns to do together over the years. It’s not something that just falls into place the moment you make a commitment to someone. Later, among the life we already had, we welcomed our twins into the family we had built. So there’s even more stress, more love being doled out, unconditionally as parents do and without feeling it in return because truthfully, babies are selfish. The learn love later after parents have been compassionate and loving toward them in the early years of their life.

Stressful!

Hell yeah.

Every. Freaking. Day. of. Our. Lives.

at that point. We didn’t know if we were coming or going for the most part. It took all we had to care for the kids, provide their home and everything else they needed. There wasn’t much time left in there for the ‘us’ in the relationship. And as every couple knows, if you don’t work at the ‘us’, every day, it starts to fold. We clung to it for a long time. We brought more babies into it. And our love magnified x10, x100, x 1000 even because we have so many lives to be responsible for, that were dependent on us….remember our total: eight kids.

So here we are, through all of our failures, hardships, blessings, and joys still hammering away at it because we refuse to give up, but more importantly, because we still have love for one another in our hearts. As for the giving and taking, I have finally come to the conclusion that he’s given me more than I’ve given him. I love him and give to him every day, but I’ve been selfish in giving him what he really needs, but what I have demanded from him and he’s given, not always with a happy heart, but given none-the-less……time to re-energize, time to un-wind, time to check-out and gather his bearings. We had a very heart-felt conversation last night, one in which we delved further than we have in previous conversations into the love that we feel for one another, into the commitment that we’ve made, and our wants, desires, and expectations for our marriage, for ourselves as friends, and for ourselves as parents. Don’t get disheartened, despite the roller coaster we’ve been on throughout this marriage, this is not the first such talk. We both realize, me more than him (one of the trade-offs in marriage, remember: some can have these deeper, heart-felt conversations better than others), that these talks, these quality, endearing, marriage-strengthening conversations are one’s we need to have more frequently. Because upon my realization that he gives more than I (and it just clicked, he’s been telling me for sometime but it only now just clicked and the awesome part is, we were not in any kind of a disagreement), is the realization that emotions, although he has them, (he’s human, made that way), are not easy for him. And again, he’s told me this before as well. Multiple times to be honest, but in my mind, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Being the emotional bubble-will-pop-any-moment person that I am, I can’t fathom how emotions are hard for him to address. And the silly thing is, I haven’t always been so quick to pull my emotions from under the bubble wrap they are in. I spent a good portion of my younger years keeping my emotions within. So, now I really don’t understand why I can’t wrap my head around his let’s-talk-about-emotion phobia.

Emotions: The BIG FAT elephant in the room!

So in essence, what I learned last night is a turning point for me, a point in which I need to improve, a point that has a large impact on our marriage thus leading us in whichever direction I/we focus on. No, it’s not me alone, he’s the other lifeline, but these are things he needs from me that I haven’t been giving. Out of selfishness, out of cluelessness, out of my own fears that have been tabled in my mind but not my heart, out of frustration, out of my ability to ignore the blaringly obvious and quite possibly a combination of it all. It doesn’t matter why, how, when, but it matters what changes now. What contributions do I start making to fuel his feelings of appreciation, to encourage his belief that we love him for who he is as a husband and a father, not what he can provide as such. The two go hand in hand and I have spent some years deceiving myself into thinking I was giving enough.

Now when I say he’s my husband, he’s my friend, I truly mean he’s everything to me, I need to relay my love and appreciation more visibly to him. He’s a logical person and I am an emotional person, years spent decoding myself and making the connection of emotion from heart to head or both. His logic works quite well with my emotions when I understand and he connects the emotions with his logic. And his emotions are encouraged by mine, tapped so that they can support the love that we feel. Marriages benefit, relationships grow stronger when the emotions are regarded, respected, and considered.

And that’s why communication is so very important between a husband and wife. Both have to believe their contributions make a difference in the life they share togther.

Can a marriage work when only one person is giving?

Yes, it can, but without a doubt this type of union must involve God, the presence of Him in the heart of the one giving. This creates an avenue for forgiveness, no doubt due to bitterness one may feel, leading to the strength to carry on in the relationship.

Can a marriage work with two people giving?

Most certainly it can, and it may even work without God, but for ours, God is present and we are thankful for that.

Like I said, we were each mature in different areas and slowly, surely, sometimes with a zest we want to have, but cannot muster from our weary, tired souls, we are learning the places we lack and working toward bettering those areas. As always, I pray for 30, 40, hopefully 50 more years with him to hone our skills to reach that place in which we look back on our marriage to know that our life without the other would have become almost unbearable. I love him that much. I need him because I love him that much. Without him, my life would continue, I wouldn’t just suddenly roll over and boom!, be dead. But I want that ending in which we have spent a lifetime loving one another and the sadness consumes us upon our loss.

Again, I want readers to know that this is not a know-all, fix-all for every relationship. It is for ours, it’s what we’ve worked toward. It’s what we’ve committed to as the people that we are, the minds we have, and the hearts that control us. I am in no way a marriage counselor, advice columnist, or mental therapist. I have had no schooling in the behaviors of people and I push no religious beliefs of mine on anyone. I am simply a woman learning to share a life with someone I love, someone I’m committed to with the person who feels and believes along the same lines. These are not opinions or beliefs that every couple should adhere to. They are for us, taylored for us, worked on and repeatedly tweaked by us. Please remember that your marriage, your relationship cannot, will not, and should not be based on the beliefs of our marriage. Please do not use this as a reference to lead your relationship or marriage. Enjoy it, learn from it, use it for encouragement but don’t put the possibility of your relationship succeeding or failing into this information. So the adage goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Thanks for reading and lots of smiles for you today.

 

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