I was recently talking with my newlywed daughter about marriage and the challenges that go along with it. We often hear that marriage is hard, takes work, effort, and sacrifice. If that is true, which I certainly think anyone who has ever been married would agree, is it worth it? It is projected that 50% of all marriages will at some point end in divorce. Of course, there are determining factors such as at what age a couple gets married, do they have children, etc. I shared with my daughter a little secret. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to share it with you too. I don’t know if I really loved my husband when I married him, and further more, I don’t know if anyone really loves that man or woman with whom they make vows. Now, alright, I admit that I don’t really know; I can only speak from my own experience, and I guess it would be dependent upon one’s definition of love. As I see young people get married, I tend to think they are more infatuated and sexually attracted to one another than they are in love. I’m sure there is some degree of love between them, but as I told my daughter, it is not that deep love that one has after being married for many years–years filled with ups and downs, smiles and tears, joy and heartache, accomplishments and failures. When the trials of life come into a marriage, as they most certainly will, the easiest thing to do is run–at least that is what is easiest in the short term. But, the sad thing about all of the running is that you never get to the point where the real love begins. In fact, instead of reaching a point where the two of you experience that greater and deeper love together, rather you might say we have fallen out of love. Notice that in this context love is a noun. Yet, in marriage, one should treat love as a verb. When a husband and wife don’t love each other anymore, perhaps it is because they have quit showing that love. If you want to fall in love again, “love” your spouse; treat it as a verb. Treat them and serve them as one who is loved. I think when we do this, a miraculous thing happens.
I remember listening to Charles Shaughnessy on a telephone interview for OutTakes. A caller asked him to what he felt the longevity of his marriage could be attributed. His answer was that the member of the clergy who performed their wedding gave them premarital advice. He asked the couple how much they felt they should give to the marriage. For instance is it a 50-50 deal. He counseled Charles and his future wife that if one desires to have a lasting marriage they need to, at times, be willing to give 100% without expecting anything in return from their spouse. Obviously, a whole marriage can’t be based on this principle; if it were there would be no need for the giver to be married. But, I agree that there are times in a marriage when this is certainly true. Sometimes one spouse has nothing to give. It doesn’t mean they don’t love their mate, they just may be at times empty with no energy or even will to give back. I’ve been very blessed, because my husband has embraced this principle whole-heart-idly. Truly, my greatest regret in life is that I have called upon him way too many times to give that 100% and I know deep inside that he has never called upon me once to do the same.
Why I have such a wonderful husband, I don’t know. I certainly don’t feel that I did anything special to deserve him. I look around and see so many wonderful women, women much better than myself, who have found themselves in such awful circumstances. Although, there are times that couples run too quickly from their problems, I know that there are also those circumstances wherein one should not just walk away, but run as fast as they can. My heart goes out to them, especially when they are in such dire straits with no one to support them financially and/or emotionally. (By the way, another reason I respect Charles Shaughnessy–when he played on Celebrity Jeopardy I believe his charity was a safe house for battered women). I’m one of the lucky ones! I don’t think I deserve my husband, but I certainly needed him. Now almost 28 years later, we celebrated our 28th Valentine’s Day as husband and wife and here are the top 28 reasons I love him.
28. He laughs at my jokes, even if it is obligatory (although he doesn’t laugh as hard as I do at myself).
27. He doesn’t complain about what is for dinner or if there is nothing at all for dinner.
26. He helps with chores around the house.
25. He is a good provider.
24. He is a hard worker.
23. He is patient with me when I get obsessed with projects (which is often).
22. He is patient with me when I get overwhelmed with life (which is often).
21. He is financially wise and saves us a lot of money through researching large purchases.
20. He doesn’t get mad when I spend too much money (which is not often).
19. He listens to me talk about exciting mathematical and physic concepts even when he doesn’t understand them (although I do have to admit that his eyes glaze over at these times).
18. He likes to shop, which means during the school year he goes grocery shopping often because I don’t have time.
17. He cares about me enough to have sufficiently large life insurance to take care of me if something happens to him.
16. He takes good care of his mom and dad, which means he’ll take good care of me in my old age (if he can).
15. He is kind and loving to others.
14. He respects my political beliefs even if he doesn’t always agree with me.
13. He doesn’t get embarrassed by some very stupid things I’ve done in my life including in public and even at church.
12. He let’s me watch “The Nanny” in bed at night when he’s trying to sleep (I have to admit that I kind of wanted to put this as the number one reason).
11. He sacrifices time with me so I can get an education.
10. He serves me and others.
9. He is very unselfish.
8. He is a caring father.
7. He sets a good example for our children.
6. He is a righteous man.
5. He forgives me of my weaknesses and mistakes.
4. He shows his love to me by giving me 100% at those needed times.
3. He treats me with kindness publicly and privately.
2. He makes me glow (That’s for you Nancy).
And the number 1 reason that I love him:
1. Well, that’s between him and me.
Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4 [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]