Sunday, December 28, 2014

Eight Down, an Infinity to Go: a Love Story

This is not a sponsored post. This is not a post about crafts or recipes or special deals available only to readers of this blog. It's a post about love. So if that's not your thing, check back again tomorrow. If it is your thing, hopefully I don't mess this up too bad.

While we're busy going through disclaimers I should probably clarify this post isn't written by Debra, the owner of this blog. This is her other half (I won't say better because we all know that's not true).

I decided to take over posting today for one special reason: love. You see, eight years ago today, a much younger, dashing and handsome version of myself married Debra and she became my beautiful wife. Ah, cute, right?

Eight years is a long time. It really is. If there weren't this important date to reference I probably wouldn't even remember what I was doing eight years ago. But that's the beauty of love and marriage, isn't it? It gives us reference, perspective and aligns our life priorities with the things that really matter.

While I realize eight years are a drop in the bucket compared to those couples who have been together for 30+ years, these have been the most meaningful eight years to me. And it inspires me to work toward those 30+ years with my sweetheart.

In eight years, we've been through a lot together. We worked together. We graduated college on the same day. We had our first child just days before graduating. 

We dealt with the stress of having a new child to care for without a solid job (thanks, recession of 2008...). We spent weeks apart as I received training to become a teacher. We moved to Texas together to start a new life. We had no friends or family there, but we had each other. We survived the rigors of teaching and the bizarre world that is South Texas. 

We clung together as my wife's health steadily declined to the point where she was bed-ridden and the doctors had no clue what was happening. We rejoiced when a nurse figured out the problem and my wife's health returned. We shared grief at the thought we wouldn't be able to have another child as a result of the complications of that long illness. 

 We struggled with leaving Texas, moving back to Utah and looking for a new job. We moved to a city we never thought we'd like, only to find we really love it. Just as things were solid, we figured life was too boring so we decided to try for another child, even though we knew it wasn't likely. Miraculously we had our second daughter, but not before a challenging and extremely painful pregnancy. Now, eight months after the birth of our little one we are feeling the effects of eight months of sleep deprivation.

We've been through a lot together and through each challenge, success, birth, job and move, there's one thing that's changed: our love.

Wait, wait, you dummy, that's supposed to be the constant, don't you know anything about love? 

Probably not, but let me explain.

I used to think love was a constant, but it's not. Love changes. It can either increase or it can decrease, but it rarely stays still. It's also directly proportionate to the amount of effort you put into it. That’s right, to the amount YOU put into it.

When we were first married, I thought the measure of love was how much the other person devoted to you. But you can’t control that. The only thing you have control over is how much love, time and commitment you are going to invest in the other person. Is it possible then that you devote far more than the other person? Sure. It’s a risk. Love is risky business. You expose your heart and have to trust you’ve chosen to be with a person who sees your heart as precious and will take care of it.

And thankfully I have.

I can easily say I love my wife more today than I did when I married her. Geez, there you go again, being unromantic…

This isn’t to say I didn’t love her then, because I did. But love increases or decreases, and my love has increased. In the shared challenges and experiences we’ve had, our love has forged solid links binding us together. Perhaps this was no more evident than during our three years in Texas, isolated from most other support systems. We had each other. Was that going to be enough? When we started, we didn’t know. But each day, as we relied on one another, our love became so strong. We knew we could weather any challenge, and there were plenty of them.

We’ve both changed over the past eight years. Sure, we’ve physically changed, but our personalities have changed too. I once heard it said a woman goes into a marriage expecting her man to change, but he doesn’t. And a man expects the woman to stay the same, but she doesn’t. It’s a rather cynical way to look at marriage, but it does highlight one important thing: some things change and some things don’t, but your love MUST change — it must increase.

My wife has changed over the years. Some things have been difficult for me to get used to. This blog, for instance. As she got more and more involved in this blog, I found myself resenting it, hating it. I felt this pulled her away from me. While I’ll admit I still feel this at times, I’ve also come to realize this blog allows her to express herself and to showcase the amazing things she does. It brings her great fulfillment. So even though it’s a change I wasn’t expecting, it’s one that our love has still grown through.

I do love my wife. I love her more today than eight years ago, and I expect to love her even more eight years from now. If not, what’s the point of this journey called love? I also think she’s more beautiful today than eight years ago. To be sure, she was radiant and exquisite eight years ago. She looks at herself and the scars that mark the advent of our children into the world and surely must wonder how this can be, but I don’t wonder. I know. She’s beautiful. She glows. Her eyes sparkle. She gets that wicked, mischievous smile that makes me grin. She makes goofy kissy faces at me.

She’s my wife and I love her.

So as we celebrate eight years, I propose we tip that eight on it’s side and continue on our journey toward an infinite number of years together. Because anything short of that’s just not enough.

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