When I was a young girl I imagined that life would be like a Disney movie. I would wake up one day and my fairy godmother would turn me into a princess, perfectly dressed and waiting for my prince to place a glass slipper on my foot. The older I got the more I realized that it may not happen the way I had dreamed of. I had been sure that God had the perfect man chosen for me, that he was waiting for me, that someone out there was ‘the one’. I searched for him in ever face I saw and even thought a few times that I may have found him.
I have now been married for 6 years and change, and what I have learned is that life is not a Disney film. Love is something that happens over time, true love is what you find when the squishy romantic feelings fade, when life gets hard and there is someone standing beside you at the end of the day offering a shoulder to cry on. Love is what happens when the bills pile up and you have someone there to strategize with. Love is what happens when you haven’t slept in months because you have a new baby who demands all your time and energy. It happens when you look at the person you have promised your life to and they don’t need you to say a word, they just know what you need. Love, love is cleaning up the kitchen for you in the morning before you wake up so that you have a fresh start on the day. Love is bringing you a cup of coffee to your bedside table when you have been woken up through out the night and can’t seem to muster the will to get out of bed. Love is coming home to find a clean home, dinner laid out, kids bathed and entertained, love is forgiveness, compassion, creative, hopeful, changing, dreaming. Love is faithful regardless of feeling, it’s action in the face of inaction. Love is commitment, love is a choice.
Love grows, it doesn’t fade. It’s work, often hard work. It is depth, intimacy, knowledge of the other persons flaws, it’s acceptance, and it’s at times painful. Love is a seed, it needs warm soil, sunlight, and constant watering to grow. Leave it undernourished for too long and it begins to die. Love is action. It’s thoughtfulness. It’s hope where there seems to be no hope, faith and belief in you when you can’t have faith in yourself or belief in yourself. Love changes you. Love changes your dreams, it is selfless, it hopes for only the best of your partner, it is protective, it can be fierce. Love stands by your side no matter what, not because it has to, but because it chooses to because love is a choice. Love is waking up in the morning and saying ‘I choose to love you today’, It says ‘I know we are having a hard time right now but I choose to work through it with you’, Love is saying ‘I made a commitment to you alone and I intend to work at it until I die.’ – and at the end of the day, if you continue to choose that love, to work out that love, then it grows deeper, more intimate.
Tim and I loved each other deeply when we married but when I look back on that day and think about how I felt then compared to how I feel now I am amazed by the capacity that my heart has to love as fully as I do. It’s grown so much deeper than I ever imagined it could. He has stood beside me when the worst that life has thrown at us threatened our footing, he’s held my hand and kept me standing. Together, through the fun and easy, the happy and joyful times, together in the heart wrenching moments, the tough calls, the sleepless nights, the worry, the anxiety, the fears… He has never wavered. Everyday he makes a decision to love me, to stand by me, to lead our family into a place of wholeness. Everyday he works to make this home a happy and healthy one for me, and for our boys. He is not prince charming, he’s not some hero that God sent for me alone; but he’s my miracle, my blessing, my best friend.
I thank God everyday that Tim chooses to stand by that commitment to love me, I am not always easy to love. I aim to teach my guys how to be men like their Dad, not the hero’s girls are told will come and rescue them from their ugly step sisters and give them a life as a princess, but men who will stand beside them through whatever life throws at them.