(This post is going to talk about my husband, and he has requested that I not use his name here. So for brevity and the peace of not having to say “my husband” over and over again, we’re going to call him CA, because I’m pretty sure he’s this generation’s Captain America.)
I’m sure you probably thought you were done seeing sappy relationship posts now that Valentine’s Day has passed. Not so fast, though! The truth is, I don’t really care for Valentine’s Day. But there has been a beautiful spring-like heat wave rolling through Virginia for the last few days, and that definitely has me in a loving mood.
My husband and I are in a comically odd relationship stage because, after almost four years of marriage, we are living together with consistent schedules for the first time. It’s odd, because for our entire relationship, we have had to scratch and claw our way to quality time. CA was always working out of town for weeks at a time, then finally getting a new job that required less travel, but a 6 month training stint in a different state. I have transitioned from job to job, always working weird hours (sometimes even in the middle of the night). Now, I am on a Monday through Friday, 8-5 work week for the first time ever. So what does this mean for us? It means that we’re going through the stage that most people experience in their first six months of marriage where we learn to live together, to appreciate the special moments and to get through all the demands of life as a team.
And let me tell you, it’s been hard work.
We’ve spent years learning how to function in a non-traditional marriage, and now we’re having to unlearn habits that are harmful to a “normal” lifestyle. On the days that feel more about the to do list and less about affection, I’ve learned to listen to music that played at our wedding or that we listened to together when we were dating. It helps take my heart back to the fall on 2012 when I feel deeply in love with the strongest man I’d ever met. One of the songs I love is “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last.
If you’ve heard this song and know in which movie it was used in 2011, I need you to reserve judgement. It truly is an amazing song, and describes the awakening a soul feels when it finally meets the one person it’s meant to be matched with. My favorite line from the song has been running through my head all week:
Nothing could have prepared me for what the privilege of being yours would do.
So much of a relationship, especially at the beginning, revolves around how the other person makes us feel or what they do for us. The truth is, though, that it is a privilege to love someone else. It has been a privilege to live life with my husband for the last three and a half years. The lessons I have learned and the joy I have experienced far outweigh the challenges that come from taking on illness, job transitions, big moves, and general life shenanigans. This man enriches my daily experience and keeps me moving when the world tries to slow me down.
It’s been said time and time again, but love is not a feeling. Infatuation, affection, joy – these are all feelings. Love is the action of willfully surrendering yourself to another person over and over again. It’s denying your wants to meet someone else’s needs. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and the action that makes us most like Christ. To me, love is the action most in conflict with human nature, because it is the one action that requires us to give up who we are. Sometimes love is very big, like when I happily packed up our apartment and agreed to move 14 hours from everything we knew. Sometimes it’s small, like when I go to bed early so CA can get plenty of rest before waking up before dawn. Love includes a thousand moments through the day, and it builds the affection so desperately needed in marriage. I honestly didn’t know any of this on the day I promised to be his wife and love him my whole life. However, it has been an amazing journey learning together, and I know we’re still scratching the surface of all we’ll come to know about love during our years together.
I encourage you to listen to this song today. Hopefully it’ll remind you of that moment when you first knew you’d met the person you were going to travel through life with. There really is no better privilege.
The photos from this post are all from our wedding day. They were shot by the talented JRamon Photography.