More than Fireworks
February was a rough month at our house. Illness and increased work stress brought normal functioning to a stand-still as we just battled to keep our heads above water. So, Love Month blog posts were put on hold.
I’m playing catch-up with this . I don’t want to let this one pass – it’s one of the few where I mention my man, since we mostly discuss our Big Kids on here. Isn’t he cute? (See below) Of course, we were both young and cute here – who isn’t in their early twenties?!
“Know your man. Know him almost as much as you know yourself.”
That was the best advice I ever got, as a new bride. Through those early years, although we had dated for four years before we got married, we still didn’t really know the deepest parts of one another.
Some things you can only learn by living it out, in the same place, year after year. By going through hard things together – such as how you will care for one another through illness or how you process job loss. Some things you learn through experiences you share – such as parenthood.
But I did study him – raised in a “boy home”, by a dad who had been raised in a boy home. So I, who had been raised in a girl home – had to read up on how the male brain thinks and responds. It was eye-opening! If I hadn’t, I would’ve been furious when he processed hard things by retreating into his “cave” instead of talking it through, for example.
Some things I “expected” a man to do – such as know how to fix things around the house – he could care less about. I expected he wanted a from-scratch meal every night, but he was perfectly happy with Hamburger Helper. So those were things I couldn’t learn in a book. (Thank goodness, because Betty Crocker I am not!)
The older we have gotten, I have learned not to expect him to stay the same as that 20 year old I first met. He was never interested in travel – who needs to travel?! We live in the best place in the world!
Yet this man loves to travel now. He likes to take the kids – he wants them to see it with us, while they can. Because life is hard and finances as a young person can be tight. And experiences mean so much more than things.
My favorite quote about being married a long time was by Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, of all people. She said she never considered divorce, but she did consider murder a few times! I so relate to that.
You can love your spouse more than you ever imagined and you can hate your spouse more than you ever imagined. It’s just how it goes when you are committed to sticking this thing out together.
Romance looks different once the butterflies wear off. Valentine’s Day around our house is honey roasted peanuts for him and a mushy card for me. And then – done. We aren’t about gifts or fancy dinners. It’s not in either of our love language DNA.
But he brings me flowers on a random Wednesday and we send funny memes via email during rough weeks. I learn to not text him (too much!) during a work day and he cleans up when I cook.
We hold hands during TV shows and I sleep on the couch when he snores, rather than poke him like I once did. Even if the rest of the house is a disaster, I keep the living room tidy for his OCD self. He encourages my love of learning and books by buying me book-of-the-month memberships and photography classes, even though he might consider them “wastes of money.”
No, it’s not very exciting. But it’s real life love after 25+ years. And I wouldn’t have it any other way…
Resources that helped me not kill him in the early years
- Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus, by John Gray
- The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron (I lied – this is a recent one that helps me understand my men even better)
- The Power of a Praying Wife/Husband by Stormie O’Martian
- Why Did I Say I Do? by Stephen Schwambach
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
- Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas
- Becoming Complete by Marion Duckworth
- Any humorous audiobook – for road trips, to avoid the grouchies