I've had a couple of men in my life who said they loved me. And sadly I believed them. Often, there were conditions that needed to be met in order for them to really love me and I tried to meet them. Some even tried to change me and I let them.
As I look back, I realize I've only truly been loved once in this life. One. Time. That's it. (Quite sobering.)
The one man who loved me always showed consistency. He always stayed even when I asked him to go. He loved me even when I didn't deserve the patience nor kindness it took to do so. He supported me from day one. He has forgiven me over and over again. He. Has. Loved. Me. That man is my husband.
Over the years, our relationship was often overburdened by the expectations I had for it. So naturally it broke. We broke. And for a while I didn't think it could be fixed. Actually, I didn't want to fix it. I didn't want to own up to what part was mine and often he did the same. So we moved towards a life that would allow us to be separate from one another.
Gah! When I type this, my heart breaks because I can't imagine life without him being by my side. I can't imagine life with another person. I can't imagine listening to someone else snoring next to me. I can't imagine having to laugh at someone else's corny jokes. Or dealing with their basket of insecurity. Or their drama. I cannot.
However, during our most difficult days I did imagine those things and was excited to experience them. I thought I would find someone else who be the opposite of what I had. Someone who would worship me. Someone who wasn't him. Fast forward and I thank GOD none of that became my reality.
Today, I finally get it. I understand love and most importantly I understand my husband. He is a simple, quiet, humble man who loves me to the moon and back. I am his world and that is enough. I am enough. We are enough. Besides, he is FINE as frog hair and so easy on the eyes. WHEW! (Yes. I went there.)
Those around us know the struggles we have faced and yet think we are relationship goals. I am humbled by the thought, but I know even after sixteen years together, we still have a few mountains ahead of us. We all do, but this time instead of trying to go around the mountain we will climb it. Together.
I would never change our past as it prepared us for what we have now. There are days where I think there could be more, but those thoughts quickly pass. Most days I settle into our daily routine and plan the next phase of our lives. Sometimes that includes an awesome vacation and other times a pizza and a movie, but whatever day I'm planning I know that I'm loved and so my cup runneth over.
Looking back I would say the following about relationships:
When you find someone who forgives easily, stays by your side but has no reason to, and supports you even when you can give them nothing, keep them close.
Never worry about losing someone. Be more terrified of losing yourself while trying to hold on to that someone.
Never give up love for a maybe with someone else.
I know am loved. Let me say that again. I. AM. LOVED. So whatever phase you are in your relationship, remember the affairs of the heart are never tidy, but you must know you are loved. That is requirement number one. If they don't love you, then you will never be enough. Oh, and you'll feel that way too. (Red flag)
Remember, love is not just fuzzy, warm feelings. Real love consists of constant forgiveness, grace, thoughtfulness, patience, and compromise, which then leads to the "fuzzies". It's a slow burn- not an inferno. There are no uncertainties. No apprehension. It is crystal clear.
So, cheers to finding and keeping love.
P.S. I dedicate this post to my amazing husband who subscribes to this blog and reads every single post.
Michael, let me stay by your side forever and that will always be enough. You are home to me and wherever you go is where I want to be. (Maybe uptown. It's quiet uptown.) Thank you for loving me. If I could choose you in the next lifetime I would over and over again. I love you.