This past week was Valentine's Day here in the good ol' USA. So to all of you who have that special someone, I hope you took the time to let them know just how special they are in your life. My hubby brought me the most beautiful roses and the ever important chocolate. Man, I love that boy! I often refer to him as "My hunk of burnin' Who".
Over the 22 years (yes, years) that I have been married, I have learned MANY things about love and marriage. NEWS FLASH: it's nothing like they write in those "romance" books. In those types of literature it is the author's perception of "love". In many cases I wonder if the author is even married because the relationship is WAY out there and the situations seem almost ridiculous in nature. But on the other hand, it could be that the author has a rotten relationship and this is their "escape mechanism" to cope with their real life situations. Either way, you can't base your real life experiences on what is written in a book.
Life gets hard, we covered that in my last post. (If you need reminding re-read it for a bit of encouragement.) And when you take the "plunge" and combine your life with that of another person, you better be sure that it is something you are positive about cuz more people need to be of the mindset that divorce is not an option. You can't just runaway from your problems when things get hard. Running won't solve anything cuz when you get back the problem is waiting patiently for your return. Might as well face your problems head-on and get them solved so the problem doesn't get worse. What a great way to solve your problems though - with the person you decided to spend forever with! You couldn't ask for a better problem-solving partner.
For those of you who have not yet found "the one", don't stress. They are out there somewhere. Just be patient - but DO SOMETHING!!!!!! You can't just sit around on your hinny looking pretty thinking to yourself "one day my prince/princess will come". NO! You got to put yourself out there to see what's available. Another NEWS FLASH: There is no "one person" that is right for you. You can be compatible with several different people, it all boils down to which one you can't live without!
In the movie Runaway Bride, the reporter, played by Richard Gere, is researching WHY the bride, played by Julia Roberts, is always running. What it all boils down to is she is unsure of who she really is. She had defined herself by the likes and dislikes of the person she was with at the time and didn't really know who she really was. When it came time for the "I Dos" she got scared because she didn't know if she could live that lie for the rest of her life.
If you don't know what your likes and dislikes are, how are you gonna keep your identity when you join your life with that special someone? Do you really know what you like? Do you know what you want in life? Or are you like a butterfly that flits from place to place without a care in the world then gets caught in the storm and can't fly anymore?
Love isn't about just you either. Love is about making someone happy in both good or bad situations. Love means facing the challenges that life throws your way and coming out on top together. You are not always gonna have "fireworks" in a relationship. If you believe that "fireworks" have to spark, well, you're gonna be looking for a really long time cuz the world has sold you a lie and you bought into it hook-line-and-sinker!
True, at the beginning of the relationship, it will seem as if there is a "spark", after all, how else do you think you'll be attracted to someone. My challenge to all you single people out there is to see what's past the spark and look on your potential spouses' heart.
Ask yourself the following important questions:
- How do they treat their other family members?
- How do they treat their parents?
- Do they work?
- Do they have a plan for where they want to be in five years?
- Do they have goals in life?
- Do they sit all day on the couch playing video games or watching Netflix, or are they ambitious enough to get off the couch and make something of their life?
- Do they take responsibility to pay their bills on time, or do they spend their money as soon as they get it?
- Most importantly, how do they treat you? If you are a girl, does the boy open your doors for you? (I know this is old fashioned, but a major show of respect. Girls, I know you can do it yourself cuz you are independent and all, but come on! Let the boy shower you with kindness and respect once in a while!) Boys, is she respectful enough to say "thank you" when you treat her to a nice evening (and I mean with words - she DOES NOT "owe" you anything for your kindness. Don't expect a kiss on the first date either! If by chance you do coerce a kiss on the first date - put your hormones back in check and show some respect!)
- Is this special someone modest in dress, speech and actions?
- Would you be proud or embarrassed to introduce this person to your grandmother?
- Is this someone who would work a problem with you till the problem is solved?
- Do you truly love this person?
- Does this person make you want to be a better person than you are right now?
- Can you see yourself growing old together?
I know these are some really "deep" questions to ask yourself, but if you don't do the asking, who will? Set your standards as high as the moon and I know you will eventually end up with a star! Marriage is hard work. Anyone else who tells you different is selling you something. I will be the first one in line to tell you that it is hard, yes, but it is so very much worth the ups and downs of the marriage roller-coaster.
I really like the quote, or "marriage proposal", that is given in the movie Runaway Bride where the reporter says:
"all that anybody can honestly say is: look I guarantee there'll be tough times. I guarantee at some point one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it the rest of my life. Because I know in my heart you're the only one for me."
Great quote! Not to mention almost totally accurate! There have been several times that I just wanted to "throw in the towel" about EVERYTHING, but I knew that my hubby had my back and as long as we didn't feel the same way about towel throwing at the same time, we could get through any situation.
I was witness to the most tender moment between my sweet grandparents a few years ago. They were well into their 80s, but I could tell the love was still strong. It wasn't shown in their conversations, because they rarely spoke. He was very quiet and she was very outspoken and opinionated. They were also not as mobile as they had once been. But there was this one time that I saw them out and about which made me say to myself "I want a love like that".
You see, both my grandparents were on oxygen. When they went anywhere away from home they needed to take those small portable tanks with them. My grandmother needed to push a walker so she didn't fall and she would have difficulty pushing the walker and carrying the tank at the same time. When they would go out, my grandfather would walk right beside my grandmother and carry both tanks and make sure she didn't fall.
When considering your forever partner, can you see yourself with them like this? Old and gray carrying oxygen tanks? Expressing a mature love that doesn't need words?
I know that I have focused this post mostly for single persons out there. For that I apologize. For those of you who are married, whether it be for good or bad, take heart. Good marriages can only get better and bad marriages can improve if you choose to work on it. Remember, marriage is hard! Things won't come easy! You can't keep saying "I wish he/she would….." and expect a miracle. The only person you can change is you. So work with what you got and make a commitment to improve your situation.
I watched a movie a long time ago (we're talking years ago) that really hit home to me. It is titled Fireproof. It is about a couple who have a really crummy marriage and they both want out. The father to the husband gives amazing advise to the husband of the couple and the results are unbelievable! The husband was given a 40 Day Love Dare to improve his marriage. My favorite part in the movie was when he was taking care of his wife when she was sick and she was still unresponsive to his acts of love. She questioned why he was doing this and he kind of explained the challenge to her. She then asks him "so what day are you on?" and he responded "day 47". He never stopped working on the love dare. He just kept on until the couple were able to "fall in love" again. (Take a look at what the love dare is all about by going to http://www.shenzhoufellowship.org/main2/files/old/SpecialTopics/TheLoveDare.pdf)
How hard are you going to work to make your marriage work? Are you the type to throw in the towel? Or do you accept the dare to make it better no matter what?
I once heard a couple speak to a group of people about their marriage. They had been married for 65 years! The hubby got up and said that it had been the best 64 1/2 years of his life. The wife then looked at him questioningly and said "So which 6 months of our marriage didn't you like?"
Over the past 22 years I have had my fair share of ups and downs but I wouldn't trade any one year for anything in the world. I hope to have many more years with my sweet hubby. He was the best decision I ever made. I would have never realized what I was missing if I didn't take a chance on love and what it could do for my life. May each of you be blessed enough to find someone special enough to share a forever love with.