When my dad toasted hubby and me at our rehearsal dinner, he pointedly looked at each of us and said, "Love is a decision that you make each and every day." At the time, I was so engrossed in the moment and celebrating with my family and friends that I did not really comprehend what he was saying, but years later, I am beginning to grasp its meaning.
To fully love another human being, you have to recognize that love is not just a feeling, it is a choice that you need to actively make. Each. And. Every. Day. Falling in love . . . getting that butterflies in your belly feeling, that feeling that you get when you are a little kid and you are swinging just a little bit too high on the swing set, that feeling that you get when you are just about to dive off the high diving board at the pool, that feeling . . . is the easy part.
It is the staying in love that is the hard part.
You see, once life takes over, the ability to choose to love takes over too. And, choosing to love your honey when every fiber in your being just wants to scream, beat your fists into a pillow, and just let honey have it, is so much more difficult than just allowing the hate and anger to consume you.
So, when hubby decided to scrape the snow and ice off of my window one morning before work and used our metal shovel to get the job done, I had to almost bite my knuckle raw in order to not kill him for putting 4 foot long scratches across my windshield with the shovel. When I found out that we would have to replace the windshield, I had to switch knuckles and keep on gnawing in order to maintain control. I had to actively remember that hubby was just trying to be nice when he scraped my windshield down. I had to choose to love hubby even when every little nerve in my body was so mad that I could strangle him. There was no rosy, pretty pink love feeling at that moment. Instead, there was a bold and cold decision that I knew that I had to make, even though I didn't feel like making it.
And when I recently messed up our bank account, hubby had every right to be downright ticked at me. I had screwed up and screwed up royally, and it was going to cost us extra money that we did not have. But instead of taking it out on me, hubby immediately recognized how terrible I felt, swallowed his angry feelings, and gave me a much needed hug. He chose to love me even when I felt completely unlovable. He made a decision to love me. A decision that, at the time, was not easy.
Hubby and I have to make these decisions daily. Whether it is his clothes on the floor or my penchant for leaving egg shells in the sink, if we let the little things bother us day to day, if we accused and used each other to get our petty anger out, then we would be chipping away at our own foundation as a couple and we would be in no shape to handle the big things when they inevitably creep up.
And they always do creep up.
By choosing to love each other, hubby and I are constantly reinforcing our foundation. With every choice, our wall gets a little thicker, and with every decision, we are just a bit more solid. Together. That's not to say that we don't have our cracks, either. We do. But because our focus is to be proactive in our foundation and in our relationship, we can weather the cracks. We can repair them. And we are that much stronger for it.
So, when we have to face a new life or an unexpected death, when we have to face financial adversity or a tragic loss, or when we have to face a success or a defeat, hubby and I are ready.
We have years of decisions to prove it.