When I met him I had just got used to being single and enjoying it. I had traveled to Europe, I had gone out on fancy first dates, and I had found a happy balance with work, school and life. I had ended a tumultuous 5-year off-and-on relationship about 6 months before and was having a hard time not comparing my ex with every suitable bachelor. Then I met him.
I instantly felt at ease with him on our first date and we rarely spent another night apart. Although most of time we discussed how we weren’t in a relationship, we were always together. We attempted to date other people. Once while I was on a date he and our friend took turns calling me, asking me to bail on my date and come hang out. I bailed on my date. Shortly after he told me that he really didn’t want me to date other guys.
I wasn’t in love. I just wanted to be with him all the time and do goofy projects, have Chinese food picnics in bed while watching movies, and talk about ridiculous things. And I didn’t want to do that with anyone else. He was the first man that made me not think about what’s-his-name.
After a short several months and with a twist of fate I became pregnant. We decided to join each other on a journey. We would become husband and wife. We would have a family. I wouldn’t have chosen it with anyone else but I wasn’t in love. I was enamored by the adventure that I was taking with a man that I adored.
I’m not saying that I married a man I didn’t love. I just really didn’t know what love was/is until I married the man.
We’ve had bumps in the road; sometimes those bumps were more like cliffs leading to sharp, dagger-like rocks at the bottom. There were times I wanted to walk away, or he wanted to walk away, and even times we both wanted to walk away. We’ve had people cheering for our successes and those hoping for our failure.
Last year on our anniversary we were standing on top of a dinner cruise ship in the rain, and I realized, ‘this is what love is!’ It wasn’t like in the movies. There were no symphonies and there were no dramatic moments where he chased me down and professed his love.
It started that one night when I was 120 months pregnant and we decided to go out to dinner. I was uncomfortable, overheated, and miserable. I ended up sick a few steps from the restaurant entrance as he covered me and told me that no one could see. I knew he was lying but I loved him for it.
It was the time he told me that he wasn’t comfortable holding hands all the time but still did/does it because he knows that I love it.
It was the time that he went to the store three times to buy the right vinegar for me and just smiled when I decided to abort the food project altogether.
It was the time after I had our son and saw my stomach in the mirror for the first time; he told me how beautiful my saggy skin and stretch marks were because of what we had created.
It was the times I have fallen apart and he quickly reminded me that he was at my side. As well as the times that he has trusted me to fall apart and need/want me at his side.
It was that moment when we both wanted to walk away and I cried and told him that I felt like he didn’t see me anymore and at that very moment, he saw me!
It’s the fact that I told him on our honeymoon that the only thing I knew was that I needed to laugh with him every day for the rest of our lives. We’ve missed a few but we’re pretty good at the laughter thing!
It was the time when I said that I couldn’t stand our dining room table for one more second and asked him to take it to the backyard so I could do something new to it…and he did! No questions asked.
It’s literally every time I see him engaged with our children. Every time.
It’s the many times that I have had a new idea or a new hobby or a new found passion and he encouraged it – and more importantly, supported it!
It was that time on top of a dinner cruise ship on our twelfth anniversary, standing in the rain, at the end of an exceptionally long Lupus flair up and telling him I felt damaged, broken, and felt like I was losing myself again. He held me and then swept me away on to the dance floor. (Reason #1,575,121 that I love him, he dances with me!)
The list is pretty long and I’ll spare you! I’m not too proud to say that among the moments of “I’ve got a good one,” there have been plenty of, “what just happened?!” And I know it goes both ways, despite my obvious perfection.
The point remains, love goes beyond the butterflies and weak-in-the-knees moments. That’s lust. Lust is wonderful but it’s not love. True love is the result of all the good things and all the challenges combined. It’s acquired by patience, forgiveness, tolerance, hardship, heart break, sickness, success – all of those things that can break you but ultimately bind you together even closer because you survived! Not only did you survive but you still like each other a lot and want to keep going! And at the end of it all, you too, can find yourself standing in the rain kissing the person you love, before being swept off of your feet on to the dance floor.