Love is patient, even when we aren't.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
My husband and I recently celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. (We are in the infancy of our marriage compared to some, but I would like to note my biggest 10-ish year take away). We are super busy people, as most people these days, and we certainly do not have everything figured out. We have three businesses, three children, three dogs, and all of the busyness that comes with a full life and school-aged children (and a two year old!). I was thinking back to when we first met, became engaged, and were married. At the start, we were dreamers, talkers, selfish, naive, but we did have good heads on our shoulders, and I knew we could make a life together work. I knew it would be “hard work,” or so I had heard, but I never knew how hard. I didn’t know at that time that showing up for each other would be a daily, sometimes multiple times a day, decision(s). These two young people fought hard (and often) in the early years of marriage. Learning to live with each other and share every aspect of life together (including a bank account!) was much more difficult than I could have imagined. Now, I loved him fiercely, don’t get me wrong, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having preconceived notions of butterflies and rainbows.
In the beginning, our arguments were dumb. Most of them were petty and didn’t last too long. Some of them consisted of “get your foot off of my leg. I’m still mad at you.” We really don’t do this anymore, thankfully. Some people might be opposite to us—they might have it all together in the beginning and argue more often as the years go on. For us, the beginning was a bit rocky, and I really feel like we have found our groove now. He truly is my rock. He is the other half of my brain, and of my heart.
My husband and I are both good at being correct and opinionated (can I get an amen?!). ‘How could you feel differently than me about this?’ ‘We are married, we are supposed to be one.’ Here’s the thing: I used to think everything needed to be discussed. We needed to talk about why we have differing feelings, about why we had that argument, about why you said what you said or did what you did. I used to think “brushing it under the rug” was not a good way to handle things…newsflash: I am now so happy to brush things under the rug.
Hear me out, there is always a caveat to blanket statements like this one. Of course, there are some things that cannot be ignored. Having said that, 99% of things you don’t have to dwell on. I think one of the most toxic things in a marriage is bringing up “that one time you said _________ and it hurt so badly.” Or say we are in an argument, and I am out of words, but know I’m not done being angry, so I’m going to bring up that “thing” from 8 years ago. Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Stop it. It is ridiculous. I am so glad The Father doesn’t do that to us after we have dealt privately with our sins and asked for forgiveness. God truly loves us.
I literally bite my tongue sometimes. I move it over to one side of my mouth and bite it. For me, it’s a reminder to just not give in to Satan. There will be times that I will fall short and start an unnecessary argument, and hopefully at those times, my husband will show me grace by just not giving in to the fight. I have to do this sometimes for him, too.
A while back, Richard and I were doing some sort of study (I think?), and we came to realize that love is a verb. Love her. Love him. It’s something you just do, it is an action, not just an emotion. Do it when you don’t want to, or when you don’t feel like it. Do it. It’s a two-part scenario, though. You can’t show someone love all of the time and not get it in return. There will be easy times to love your spouse, and very difficult ones. There will be times that you don’t know how to love them, but try. There will be times when you feel distant, and times you feel really connected. There is always room for improvement. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Here’s my personal goal: talk about my spouse in public and with friends in a loving way. This is, after all, how I feel about him. I think when we get together, we can connect on a level of joking with underlying frustrations (“oh my goodness, my husband does ______all the time. I hate when he does that.” Etc.)…why do we do this? In reality, he is super helpful, does most of what I ask of him, and is a terrific partner.
I will end with this: there is no way I will let him get off too easy. He is as sarcastic as they come, and we will always have an eye-rolling, kick-under-the-table marriage. That’s just the way it is. And I’m thrilled about it.