Early in the morning, rolling in bed, fluffing the covers, your soapy husband scent tickles my nose and wakes me. I inhale the familiarity and think to myself, “home.” Comfort. My home is where my heart is and you hold my heart. You’ve held my heart since I was a teenage girl.
Sure we’ve had our movie romance moments with flower-filled gestures, candle-lit nights and poetic star gazing. Those are moments I have journaled about since we started dating during those innocent, simple times. Back when being a teenager and being in love meant putting our best foot forward.
And now, years later, I look at our son and my growing belly with our daughter. I look at myself and see a disheveled wife who is not the teenage girl you chose. I think to myself “when did I stop putting my best foot forward for you? When did I let the fire die down?”
I wonder when the flame faded and life became more real.
Was it when date night became a distant memory?
Was it after our first year of marriage when we realized that saying “I’m sorry” was one of the hardest lessons we’d have to learn as a young couple? Or was it learning to say “I forgive you”?
Was it when some of the lies we had told tried tearing through our vows to love each other for better or worst?
Was it when I desperately longed for you to change? For us to change?
I think of the many nights I laid in bed, crying, wishing for things to be different. I think of the days filled with anger and selfishness. I think of all the times when all I did was think of myself.
I think of when I would pull away from you, full of myself and you never strayed. You always moved towards me as I tried to move away from you.
Sometimes I worry about the comfortableness that comes in a marriage. Sometimes I worry that when you feel like my roommate, we’ve lost something.
And then I see you wrestle with our son after a long day at work and I see a love so full and pure, that I can’t even remember what I was worried about.
I see you wrap your arms around me when grief hit me like a freight train.
I see your commitment to work and partner with me as we provide for our family and all doubt I had is lost in my new breath.
Instead of a list of all I want to change, all that is wrong, I have a list of all I hold dear and take for granted. A list of all you do that is right.
When I stop looking at my own selfish self and look to the One who created our union, I begin to see.
I begin to see love as more than just a flame we try to keep burning. Our efforts to keep something going are all in vain as we long for a selfish return.
It was when God shook my world and removed my earthly lens to see what love really is.
I saw love as a sacrifice. A sacrifice when the Creator extended his arms to this world and gave His son to die for me so he could have a pure relationship with me. So we could have a pure relationship together.
What a great calling God asks of us in our marriages: to give up ourselves and live a life that serves your spouse in love. A life that reflects God’s love for each one of us is to be captured in our marriages.
It was when my heart wrestled with this truth and realized it was I who needed to change. I needed to surrender my heart to the One who truly held it.
It was when I started seeing our marriage as a true partnership and not a “meship.”
It was when I started seeing you with God’s eyes.
It was when I started seeing myself with God’s eyes.
I don’t want us to have a marriage that thrives on a flame we are perpetually running in circles to keep burning.
I want us to have a marriage that stays the course, and moves towards the fire of truth, reminding us of where we’ve been and where we are going.
I remember the times when fighting over the dishes seemed so perilous. I think of the fights over who should do laundry. I think of the fights over when to start a family or when to buy a house. The sleepless nights filled with tossing and turning about our finances.
Conflicts that diminish as I start to look at you for who you really are. I see you as a flawed, forgiven child of the King and then I look in the mirror and see that our true identities are the same.
We are messy, sinful humans who live daily by the grace of God and we are on this journey called marriage together.
Things are not perfect and never will be but that’s OK. With each season comes hard times and challenges and what ifs, but with each season comes a step forward that we make together, side by side, holding hands. And on the other side of those challenges comes something that is sweeter than the aroma of a sacrifice.
On the other side comes a love that is real, raw, messy, and beautiful.