On October the 7th, my husband and I were married for four years. I could say so many things that I’ve learned being married to this man in that time, but the one thing that sticks out more than anything to me at this moment is that for the first time in my life I understand that love is hard. I always had this crazy idea that when you found the right person you would marry them and that everything would be fine after that. From what I understand that is a classic idea in this country because of the way the media that tells us that is how love goes. The rising divorce rate is caused in some ways by the fact that when people hit that hard place where they no longer feel “in love” they just think that means they never loved this person, get divorced and move on. I have done that before. I have also left plenty of men and have been left. Not once did anyone think about trying to be better in their own life to make the relationship work.
I think that everyone knows how attraction works, you meet someone and you like them, then you want to spend every moment with them. You stay up late at night talking and laughing and enjoying every moment with each other. You talk about them to your friends so much that you friends are sick of hearing about how awesome this person is and how they are perfect for you. In those special instances when you end up in the wedding of your dreams, you think that is it. You have found your prince charming and life is going to be dreamy. I have found that my wedding day, as perfect as it was, was the beginning of me learning what love really is.
Love for me was always about me getting a man to protect me, work for me, take care of my kids and make all of my dreams come true. I never thought that day would come, but then I married my husband who is the best man a woman could ask for and he did every single one of those things. The way that my husband looks at me makes me feel like the prettiest girl in the world. I married a real prince and he is everything that I could ever have asked God for. Pope Francis said that when you marry someone you should never forget that they are a gift from God and say thank you as much as you can. I have failed to do that for the last two years. My husband has dealt with so much pain and all I cared about was whether he was making me happy.
At some point our marriage seemed to come crashing down. It has taken therapy, a priest and a lot of self-examination for me to see just how much I have been a spoiled child and not a wife to this wonderful man. Is he perfect? No, he has plenty of flaws, flaws that man him who he is. Flaws that I never thought to see the beauty in. They are beautiful because they make him human. I was too concerned with myself to see any of it. Until I thought I was going to lose him.
That is when I began to love him, because I realized that he was not made by God to be my wish granter. He was made by God to be himself, and it is a privilege to have him call me his wife. He has his wants and his needs and his opinions and his way of doing things. All of the romantic movie crap that I had built my idea of love on burnt right down to the ground until there was nothing left except me and my husband looking at each other and me making a choice to stay in this marriage. Not because I am stuck here, but because there is nowhere else that I would rather be.
I came to that place in my relationship with Christ too. That place where He asked me if I was going to leave and I could only answer by saying “where would I go?”. The same thing happened with my husband. Where would I go? Who else cares about my well-being like this man? Who else loves my children the way that he does? Who else snores like he does? Who else drives me bonkers like him? Nobody. Nobody else was given to me by God Himself to care for, make bacon for and to love when he feels that he is alone in this world even with me sitting right next to him. Nobody else is a rugged Texas country boy who looks good in wranglers and a cowboy hat while jamming Lil Wayne in his truck. Only my husband is that person. He is a unique thought of God and I should never try to make him anything else.
After four years of marriage I am finally accepting him for who he is and loving him the way that a wife loves a husband, which is a choice not a feeling. Through good times and bad, this is where I will be, standing next to the hottest man on the planet.
There will be more hard times, there will be more fights, there will be more late night trips to Adoration when I ask God why the hell He ever thought that I could be this man’s wife, but I know for a fact that God always keeps His word and that my marriage will be filled with Grace that neither one of us can earn.
My wedding day was great, but my marriage is beautiful. Just like Christ intended it to be.