(my Valentines flowers)
I love waking up beside you.
for whatever the coming day brings,
you’ll be there to share my life with me-
both the big and the little things…
I love spending evenings with you,
talking over the events of the day,
enjoying each others company,
even if there’s nothing to say…
I love sharing my life with you –
There’s so much to look forward to…
And I know in my heart,
for the rest of my days,
I’ll be sharing my love, Still, with you,
This was the beautiful card I woke up to this morning, with a handwritten note that says:
“I’m going to grow old with you, Michelle. I know THAT for sure. And I can’t wait to see what we grow into. Rough spots, bad moods, who cares. You’re mine and I’m yours.”
I love you baby,
Oh… AND if that wasn’t enough to bring a tear to my eye, These were the first thing I saw! And Another hand written card
Valentine’s Day is usually saturated with cheesiness and false sentiments. It’s no secret that I used to hate the holiday.
(this is as close to my hubby as I could find quickly! lol)
(SO very much NOT me)
I almost dreaded Valentine’s Day. Why? Because my husband is a hopeless romantic and he EXPECTED so much from me, or at least I thought he did. It felt like I always fell just short of his picture of perfect. I didn’t pick the right card, I didn’t make a big enough deal.
I guess, in all honesty, my heart wasn’t in it. Our marriage didn’t start out on the right foot and for the first half of our life together. I resented him for not keeping our marriage sacred, like he promised before God, our friends, family and the whole church. Looking back, I don’t know how we made it. We both chose to stay. Again, why? Because there had been love, between us, before. SO much love. We both remembered the dreams we shared and the intense passion, friendship and above all else, we remembered the trust and the LOVE.
What we learned through the years of struggle?
Love is a choice.
I don’t think I could have stayed beside a man who didn’t trust me. Every time Ben looked at me, he saw the pain, anguish, tears, but mostly anger. Picture an earthquake. Now picture an earthquake ripping down the center of your soul, your very being. Yeah, that was me. Anger takes over and if you let it, it makes you bitter and mean. I let it take over and hurt ruled my existence.
I’ve heard once that anger is really just “sad turned inside out”. It’s true.
I don’t know how we did it. I don’t know what made me decide to stay or what gave Ben the determination to wait and to be Still. There’s that word again. He said during those years of hell, he’d pray to God and he could almost hear God say “Be still”. He felt like God was telling him that HE caused this pain and now his job was to be patient and wait, wait to reap the rewards of that long ago, unfaithful decision. Pain, the direct result of the paralyzing betrayal my husband bestowed upon me. He had to sit and be still while I gained my faith back and my trust, but most importantly the love and respect that I had once felt for him. My job was to breathe, and if possible, to let God heal my broken heart. As far as I was concerned, I only existed. I prayed for renewal of spirit, renewal of my marriage, I prayed to love again… I prayed, but I couldn’t FEEL what I was praying. It doesn’t matter, God knows your heart and even if you only have HALF a heart, He hears you and knows what you mean to say. He’s there to lift you and carry the dead weight of your soul, when you don’t have the strength to carry yourself anymore.
Which leads me to now… My spirit HAS been renewed. Thank God, Ben and I made the choice to love. NOW, we finally know what true love is. It’s not the glamour or the romance. It’s not the sappy, cheesy love song. Love is the knowing glance shared between a husband and a wife. The whisper without words. Love is time we share reading a book together. Love is the giggle when one of us makes a fool ourselves. Love is putting a worm on my hook when I SO badly want to go fishing but refuse to get my hands dirty. Love is sleeping on a recliner in my hospital room, day after day, not knowing if I’ll live or die. Love is seeing only the beautiful young girl I used to be, instead of counting the new lines of age on my face or the ten gray hairs that popped out overnight. Love is surprising me with a weekend trip when the week seemed 10 days long. Love is crying with me when I lost my daughter. Love is crying with me AGAIN when I found out my other daughter battled with addiction. Love is “having my back” when nobody else was on my side, even when I was wrong. Love is having patience with me when I make no sense at all or when I wake up, like I do EVERY day, on the wrong side of the bed. Love is encouraging me to follow my dreams and believing in me even when I don’t believe in myself. Love is raising my daughters, when their own fathers weren’t up to the task. Love is SO many things. SO many things but most of all, love is stronger than it ever was.
Together we chose to trust again. This was hard because what IF he hurt me again? He COULD. There aren’t any guarantees, BUT, now I know, I’ll live. If he hurts me again, he has to live with that. I can’t live every day in fear. That’s giving too much power to the bad. It’s also taking away my joy and my ability to live in the moment. We never would have known the depth or the strength of our love, had we never rode that long black train through hell.
My husband made a decision to not only be faithful to me but to become the man he was born to be. You know the old Cherokee story about the two wolves, right? We’re ALL a work in progress but I’ve had the pleasure of watching him grow into a man with convictions. A man I will gladly walk beside. He talks, not just to say “words” like he used to. He talks because there’s something meaningful to say. More importantly, he LISTENS. He tries to empathize. He does this because he loves me. We’re connected. We work at staying connected.
Life isn’t perfect and it never will be, but we have fun with the little things. We have peace with each other. He knows my mind and I try to know his. NOW, I’m in love, for real, with a man I will grow old with….