I will never forget when I realized that whatever I had called love paled to what I was experiencing. Mark didn’t sweep me off my feet. In fact I felt more planted, more secure than ever before even though I was on the edge of the most important decision of my life.
Our love grew by leaps and bounds the more we talked. Mostly it was by phone since 700 miles separated us during our dating life. He lived in Bryan, Texas and I lived in Kansas City, Missouri. We talked from heart deep places of hopes and pain and fears and belief. We didn’t enjoy the option of a slow growing relationship. Our experiences catapulted us into some of life’s most difficult questions. By not skirting them, we found each other in authentic ways. Love broke through in every honest place.
Our marriage hasn’t been perfect because we did not bring perfect people to it. However, Mark has shaped me in ways I could never have grown by myself. I like to think I have done the same for him. It is a truth about true love that commitment trumps emotion, that equality is an attitude not a right, and that only as each surrenders to the other does onefleshness emerge.
In our 35 years, I have learned important lessons that burst my immature bubbles about what true love meant.
I learned that it is more important to love another the way he/she wants to be loved rather than to persist in loving the way you want to love.It forced me to learn Mark’s love language before there was a book about it.
I learned that you can never say "I love you" too many times.There is a wonderful renewal that occurs each time one begins the echo of these three words.They affirm.They warm.They secure.There is no substitute.
I learned that trust is the most important growth enhancer for love.There is no quick substitute for it. Without honesty, trust is artificial and short-lived. No secrets.No cover-ups. Not ever.
I learned how important it is ask for forgiveness . . . first. Humbling though it may be, forgiveness restores the way you grow together. Without it, growth stagnates.
I learned that my child’s needs could not take priority over my husband’s needs every time. It forced me to find a balance that prevented enabling. It kept us growing together rather than apart.
I learned that when love grows every day, it becomes a gift more precious than gold. It is that gift I celebrate.
We don’t go overboard on Valentine’s Day because we try to celebrate our love all year long. Instead, we use the day to focus on each other, thank God for inviting us to learn His model for love, and relish the sheer joy that we have found in each other a shared life that has helped us become together what we could never have become by ourselves.
Love stories abound all over the world. I don’t care.
I have the only one that matters to me.