I’ve been thinking about how different our love looks 7.5 years into marriage. Sometimes I look at newlyweds and think, “ah how sweet is their love?” And it is sweet, and it should be. When you get married you are fortunate if your love can be uncomplicated and unweathered.
When we got married our love was so fresh, probably a little TOO fresh. Let’s be honest, we barely knew each other and it was very much a blind love. We had literally only had a couple disagreements and our love was incredibly idealistic. And then our love changed. Depression hit our home like a mack truck (from me) and getting out of bed was a challenge every single day. Love looked a lot like gentle nudging and understanding words. Sitting at home with me when socializing was just too painful and praying for me continually. From my side it looked a lot like trying really hard to be present, honest, and ,despite how I was feeling, I worked hard to be kind.
We made it through that year stronger and a bit weathered and then our love changed. After a year of searching for a job in the city we planned to move to we had to come to terms that our plans and our dreams were not becoming a reality. Our love looked a lot like praying for wisdom and sharing our hearts. Supporting each other through the changes that were inevitably coming and working to find excitement in the journey.
We moved to Austin, our first big adventure as a married couple, and a few months in the realization that we weren’t enough for each other was a tough pill to swallow. And then our love changed. We no longer lived with this fantastical view of love. I no longer believed we could do anything or go anywhere as long as we had each other. The fairytale love that everyone reads about was no longer a possibility for us, we now knew better, and our love changed. And it was in this time that we also learned I was pregnant (which we were really wanting) and I entered perhaps the darkest time of my life (pregnancy number one was not kind to me mentally). Love took a whole new meaning during this phase of our life. It took a lot of understanding and patience to love me. In order to accomplish this gigantic feat Andrew developed a huge filter which everything passed through before he took offense to me and my incredibly unloving attitude.
And then our Ellery was born and our love changed, it grew, and it got so much deeper. Love became teamwork and turn taking. Preferring the other person and letting them sleep, it was trusting each other that they knew what they were doing, and encouraging each other through the challenges of new parenthood and it was such a sweet time in our lives. For many people bringing kids into their marriage makes things so much harder, but for us we actually got along better and enjoyed life more as a family of three.
And then we got the fantastic news that we could finally move to the town we wanted to move to in the first place. It was so exciting for us, nothing but happy feelings going into year 5 as we were once again surrounded by friends and familiar faces. Before we moved I had NO CLUE the loving sacrifice Andrew was making for me to live in a place I loved. His love towards me was getting up and commuting 2 flights of stairs to the basement everyday, working alone in isolation and traveling a ton. He did so with very little complaint and I enjoyed the two years of living in the midwest again and being just a short 99 miles from my parents. And then it was my turn to sacrificially love him more.
Then our love changed. It became me setting aside what I wanted in order to give Andrew what he needed. We had to move back to Austin and I had to swallow my pride and do the one thing I said I would NEVER do again. This love forces me to support him in all he is doing, to delight in his accomplishments and cheer him on as he sets new goals. This love has enabled me to adore this man that I live with and enjoy his company everyday. Choosing to lay aside what I wanted for him has been a very rich experience for me. Our love has grown so deep on this newest journey and I adore my man so much.
And that’s the rollercoaster of love. I’m so very tired of hearing things like “we fell out of love,” or, “we loved each other when we got married and then things changed,” or fill in the blank with whatever excuse you have heard for why marriages are falling apart every single day. Sometimes love feels so good, and sometimes it is incredibly hard. Sometimes love is a feeling and sometimes it’s a choice.
I encourage you to take time, on this national day of love, to reflect on the things you love about your mate and appreciate the journey you have been on together. I would venture to say if you have made it through some rough patches you are better for them, and if you are still in the goo goo eyed phase, enjoy it, while it doesn’t last forever, it will come and go over time, I still get butterflies sometimes.