Sometimes we get confused on what love is. We think it’s this strong emotion where you can’t imagine life without your spouse. Or we think that it’s a constant adventure where adrenaline and oxytocin are constantly pumping through our veins. I have thought those things myself, and sometimes they can be true. But then, when our marriage didn’t seem that adventurous anymore and I wasn’t always feeling those strong emotions, I questioned whether or not I was still in love.
I’m happy to announce that I am still in love, although love looks different than it did when we were engaged. In fact, I can confidently say that I love my husband MORE than I did when we were engaged because love has taken stronger, deeper roots. We have weathered storms together, brought children into this world together, and had to CHOOSE to love the other more times than we can count. Because more than anything, love is a choice for the good of your beloved, and thus it requires sacrifice and service.
As we say in Marriage Prep, “sure we get married because we love each other, but mainly we get married TO love each other!” And as Pope Francis writes in Amoris Laetitia, “the grace of the sacrament of matrimony is intended before all else “to perfect the couple’s love.” AL 89
Pope Francis goes on to write, “Throughout the text [of 1 Cor 13], it is clear that Paul wants to stress that love is more than a mere feeling. Rather, it should be understood along the lines of the Hebrew verb “to love”; it is “to do good”. As Saint Ignatius of Loyola said, “Love is shown more by deeds than by words”. It thus shows its fruitfulness and allows us to experience the happiness of giving, the nobility and grandeur of spending ourselves unstintingly, without asking to be repaid, purely for the pleasure of giving and serving.” AL 94
So what exactly does love look like then?
I’m so glad you asked!
Here are some examples from what love has looked like in our home the last few weeks.
– when my husband quietly brings over lotion and starts rubbing the feet of his tired, pregnant wife
– when my husband is thankful for his wife at prayer time
– when my husband wakes up with the toddler who is up at an earlier than usual hour to let his pregnant wife sleep longer
– when I get up to get the toddler breakfast and let my husband sleep in because he has been working hard all week.
– when we clean up the kitchen and dining room together after dinner
– when I straighten up our room before he comes home from work, even making our bed (and I hate making beds).
– when my husband reads the kids a story and puts the older kids to bed so I can lay down a few minutes early
– when I make my husband’s favorite meal, even when its something I don’t like
– when my husband is willing to make diet changes with me
– when I’m carrying his child and he gets to feel a kick
– when my husband asks me at night what I want to do instead of browsing the internet on his own
– when we have a united front on discipline with the kids
There are many more moments like this, but I assure you that I do still have flutters in my gut when I watch my husband wrestle the kids or winks at me from across the room! I feel safe, cherished, and loved when he takes time to meet my needs, and I desire for him to feel loved in the same way as well. It’s nothing a romance movie is made of, but I’m okay with that, because I know this love is the kind that is lasting.