Thursday, April 03, 2014

10 years - a letter to my husband

Hey babe,
I sat down to write you a song for our anniversary, but my fingers were rusty from disuse on the frets of my guitar and the words were halting, resisting my efforts to mold them into lines and phrases that said what I wanted them to.   There's just too much to say.  Our 10th anniversary is today and I am watching five marriages dissolve around me.  People who have been together as long as us.  It is heartbreaking and makes me angry, discouraged, and a little bit afraid.  If it can happen to them, can it happen to us?

The answer to that is yes.  It will always be yes.  Only three things stand between you and me and the devastating untangling of lives that we have witnessed; you, me and God.  Luckily one of those things will never fail.  I have a love song on repeat in my head.  It's one of our favorite singer/songwriters.  You know the one I mean.  He sang at our wedding before he hit it big and we have danced barefoot in the living room to his love songs.  The line from the song is "Love will be enough." and I am struck by how much that is not true.  I wish it were true.

Love is not enough to hold us together.

Kind of a crappy sentiment for this anniversary, but just wait a minute.  It's not the end of the story.  For the last 40 days I have been doing the "Love Dare", secretly, with women from our church.  Yes, it's cheesy and the movie I found out about it from, staring Kirk Cameron, is even cheesier.  But every day I was "dared" to love you better and given a task to practice unconditional love. You may have noticed a difference, but you may have not.  I'll admit, I failed left and right at loving you well.  But as the days went on, I saw again and again that love, the kind that makes us work, is not something that happens between us.  It's something I choose to do myself, again and again, even when I don't want to.  Even when I have to go hide in the bathroom and scream into a towel to keep from saying every nasty thing that comes into my head, while we are in the middle of an argument. 

I wish I could say that our relationship was somehow profoundly different as a result of this dare.  It isn't.  We are pretty much still us.  Hot tempered, Spirited, Passionate people, surrounded on all sides by kids who seem intent on never giving us another private moment together.  Sometimes, like a few weeks ago during that stomach bug, the only thing "hot and heavy" around here is the washing machine setting.  But I learned something.  A hard lesson.  The love I give you isn't about the love you give me.  It's a choice.  One that I have to make daily when I am tired, or about to go nuts because I gave up sugar for Lent and that has been my drug of choice for...oh...forever.

So I am just gonna shoot straight and say what I know you already know, I suck at it.  I really do.  But I am never going to stop trying.  Never going to stop laying down my pride and my right to be right, no matter how many times I may pick it up in some effort to feel in control of this marriage.  Never going to stop reaching to put my arm around you in the dark, even when of of the kids has snuck into our bed and is asleep between us.  Never going to stop fighting for us.  Never going to stop asking God it root out the character flaws in me that threaten to destroy us.

I love you.  Not with the kind from love songs that says when the "fire" burns out, it's time to move on.  The kind that requires me to become less of me, (not in that unhealthy way that requires therapy) and to love you in a way that will never be easy, but will always be good.

Happy Anniversary, honey.  Thanks for sticking with me this far.


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