I love love. Not in some sissy way or anything like that. I love love because it’s real and sustaining. I first met my husband when he and I were both 18. I know. We were terribly young. “Love, like youth, is wasted on the young.” It was love at first sight. Really. Neither one of us admitted it during the following years of our courtship, but I would have married him that first day if he would’ve asked. He was that good. And that real. And that solid. And that true. That’s how love should be.
We dated for four more years. Without kissing, without saying “I love you” too directly. Just by quietly understanding each other. We were both off to college at different universities. We both spent nearly two years living overseas in foreign countries, writing just enough letters to stay in touch, and gazing at the same stars in the Eastern Hemisphere at night. But between the lines we were living for each other, fulfilling our commitments, making ourselves better, learning about life — so that we could become a team when the time was right.
I know that marriage is outdated. But I still believe in it. There’s an incredible bond that comes through commitments and covenants, a becoming “one” that the Bible so aptly describes. For better or for worse. And the worse makes the better even better. Marriage is the icing on the cake of love.
Those who know both me and my husband often mistake our strengths and personalities. I sometimes outshine him in a public setting, my words are more polished, my charm brighter than his silver stature. I’m not conceited, just truthful. Yet the reality is that he’s the stronger person. He stays the course when I’m tired or moody or afraid. He’s the quiet strength in the background, which is the real substance of our relationship.
Because he’s without guile, his accomplishments in life will rarely be lauded on a public stage. Yet they’re worth gold to me. Last night, two different children cried at two different times. I stirred from a sleepy dream to hear him immediately leave the warm bed and comfort both children, taking a moment to rock the baby, and bringing a drink to the toddler. He always does that. Always.
I awoke this morning to find him already up, busy on his work assignments. But he shut his laptop when it was time for breakfast and made the toast without my prompting. He then left for an important meeting — the CEOs he met with will never know he fed oatmeal to the baby, unless they see a few crumbs on his suit coat.
And what about providing for a large family? He never complains, even though none of our school mates have quite as many children as we do. Like Adam, willingly tasting the fruit when Eve explained that she would be cast from the Garden, he’s worked by the sweat of his brow and considered it a privilege. To me, that speaks love.
In this world of ups and downs and loneliness and pain, I wish everyone had the satisfaction of sustaining love. On his deathbed, Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “I have always loved my wife. I have always loved my children. I have always loved my grandchildren. I have always loved my country.” I believe him, and I feel the same. (Except that I love my husband, and I don’t have grandchildren yet.) But I feel his meaning.
Life is about those we love the most. The evening before D-Day, Winston Churchill dined privately with his wife — a rare occasion in his demanding world, yet a sign of the strength he drew from her. The famous love stories go on.
To some, such gestures of love may seem sappy, yet those in a true relationship understand that one plus one can equal three. We’re a team. I give him suggestions; he proofreads my writing (except for this!) I fix dinner, he does the dishes. I book the airline flights, he drives during the snowstorms. I choose the carpet color, he installs it. We’re an extension of each other, and together create an invincible pair. God had it right when he created man and woman. We help each other. We enhance each other. Our combined value is worth more than the total of our separate sums.
“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be,” is deeply understood by those who’ve experienced life — bearing children, working together, enduring disappointment and experiencing joy. There’s an indescribable comfort as the evening falls and we sit quietly, together, reflecting on the day and sharing thoughts of the morrow — almost without speaking.
I love love. I’m not a sissy. I’m sincere. Love provides comfort, meaning and joy to an otherwise dismal world. And I’m grateful that I’ve found it. Do I believe in love at first sight? Absolutely. Do I believe in true love? Yes. Do I believe that love can last forever? Most definitely. It makes my world go ‘round. I love you, honey.