Monday, May 10, 2010

Truly, Madly, Deeply - Redux

Today is our 19th wedding anniversary. Nowadays being together that long is somewhat rare, being happily together that long is really rare. I am crazy, madly in love with my husband and best friend, and in honor of this special day I am re-running a post I wrote on an ooey-gooey feeling day a few months back.

Happy 19th anniversary babe, I love you!

Truly, Madly, Deeply

I was making our bed this morning, and had one of those ooey gooey waves of love for my husband wash over me. I was able to move around at an easy pace this morning and was tucking sheets under the mattress and I was overwhelmed with what a lucky girl I am. I am crazy in love with my husband. I don't always act like it, but I am.

I'm proud of my marriage. Looking around and watching so many of them fall apart, I am very proud of the fact that ours is going strong. But I don't take it for granted, you have to work hard to keep a marriage strong.

That was one of the first lessons I learned, marriage is hard work. It's a fact, and one most young couples don't realize when they first sign on for what they imagine will be some great romantic adventure meant to last the rest of their lives.

I look at the picture above, two (kindly) pudgy, middle-aged folks, those madly in love 19-year-olds had nothing on this couple. And although there was a time when our inseams were longer than my waistlines, that's just about the only advantage those two cool kids had over these... grown-ups.

It's been a hard road to get "here," but I'm so glad we took it.

No, it's not our anniversary, and it isn't Neal's birthday - I just really found myself counting my blessings this morning, and he is without a doubt on the top of my list. I know a lot of women adore their children and tolerate their husbands, but I would not count myself a member of this very large club. I don't just tolerate my children, but they are second to my husband, and I honestly think that's the way it is supposed to be.

I don't wonder, "what will we do?" when the kids are gone. I look forward to those years with great anticipation, knowing an empty nest will someday mean more time for "us," with less family business to partner over and more time to just be together and connect. That will be the reward at the end of the challenging years of our journey. I hope Neal and I are both blessed with long lives so that we have a lot of those years together. (Maybe working on those waistlines would be a good effort to make.)

We aren't attached at the hip or anything. We both have our own interests and things we like to do, but we connect through them when we can. I like to write and read and blog. Neal isn't much of a fan of reading, he'll probably never see this, but he supports me, lets me share the occasional blog I wrote, or listens as I drone on about the latest book I'm reading. He has his softball. I have left Monday nights untouched for 17 years, even when it meant I had to pull double parent duty at times, because I know he loves to play. And when our schedules allow, I go and root him on from the stands... LOUDLY of course, it is me after all.

I grew up going to baseball games incessantly as a kid. My dad was an umpire and I went to high school and college games as well as lots of Angel games. By the time I met Neal I was BURNT OUT... and if I never saw another baseball game again I would have been great with it. But a couple years into our marriage when Neal came out of the "closet" as an Angel fan, I came back around too. When he turned into a hardcore fan, I jumped on his bandwagon. It wasn't long before I found myself watching the games even when he wasn't around, because it became something we could share. I love it now, because he loves it.

Our romance quotient is great. I will keep it at that to spare you all pink cheeks, but it is our friendship that truly sustains us. I LIKE my husband. I like hanging out with him, I like talking to him, I like the person he is.

It took a lot of years, but regularly praying together cemented our relationship even more. I believe the most intimate thing we share together is seeking the Father together. When we let it lapse because of life and its schedules, we can feel it, we suffer for it. We bicker more.

I say more because even when things are good, we bicker. The other night I asked Jake if it bothers him when we fight. He adamantly told me it REALLY bothers him when we fight. So I asked him about our recent camping trip. We had a couple "incidents" on our family outing. He laughed, he said, "you didn't fight on our trip, that's just bickering. That doesn't bother me."

I make no apologies for bickering. You take two different people from two different backgrounds with two different ways of communicating, and there will always be conflict. Bickering shows my kids that when things get a little rough, you work it out.

I wonder how many marriages are cut short because couples give up too quickly when the waters get rough. I know there were lots of times in the last 20 years when I thought it would have been easier to walk away than stick it out and work it out. But I'm sure glad I didn't.

If love is an action, marriage is a commitment. You don't base the love of your marriage on what you "feel" but you choose to love your spouse, and you act it out... "fake it till you make it" even if you have to, but you need to spend a lot more time concerning yourself with how you can love better than how you can feel more loved - it will change your marriage. And as far as the commitment goes, well, there are no deal breakers. You decide in advance that it is "until death do us part" long before the trouble comes (and it will come) and when it's tough, divorce isn't even an option... (and even though I said "til death," murder isn't an option either... )

Yeah, I am a blessed woman - I am so in love with my husband - truly, madly, deeply; but credit where credit is due... it's had a lot to do with wise investments, of God and self into this incredible adventure called mariage.

Don't think me prideful, but I am truly proud....

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