Friday, July 22, 2011

What's Love All About Anyway?

     It’s comfort and acceptance for both parties. I chose a man 36 years ago not really knowing what love was all about.  I came from the most loving family on earth. Observed the most wonderful marriage of my parents, but I still didn’t have a true understanding of how I was going to live with love.
    We did have one deep conversation (well, mostly Wayne did the talking that night)  just before the wedding about revealing who he really was. It included his doubts about religion, and that marriage for him would be a one time thing. He had previously gone several times to church with me, suffered through pre-marriage counseling with my minister, just to win me over, because religion was so important to me… then. The other part of his revelation conversation was also a bit scary, because  although I believed too that marriage should be a one time only affair, In the back of my mind, I thought, hey, if it doesn’t work out…. So within 72 hours I was going to marry a man who really wasn’t as religious as I, and might keep me a prisoner in a marriage I wouldn’t want to stay in. Well, that was the worst case scenario. I married him anyway.
It was the most hellish moments that forged our marriage together. It makes sense to use that analogy. Heat melds anything together. Those are the times when everything around us, or as individuals seem to fall apart or go into a melt down. We cling to each other in comfort, or the stronger one holds on the neediest one. We don’t always agree, get along or even communicate accurately, but we know who comforts us and we feel secure that the other will not put his/her needs first if the other needs that security. I don’t think we have ever uttered the words, “Hey, what about me?”  I’m sure I’m being a little selective in my memory here and probably a bit sanctimonious . Like when you hear people say, “oh, we never fight.” Or “My child doesn’t lie.” But the truth of the matter is, we do comfort each other in the darkest times.
That comfort is present in our daily lives. Even when we were separated for days/years, and the only comfort we had was a short phone call at the end of the day. That comfort is never more obvious than at night when we go to sleep. The need to reach for each other, just a touch, a hand is needed. Wayne can fall asleep in 2.5 seconds (I‘ve time it!), whereas I may not get to sleep for hours. I may toss and turn, but he never notices; except when I get up. He has become used to my insomnia, but checks on me occasionally, finding comfort that I’m all right but still wanting me to come back to bed. We “spoony cuddle” for that infinitesimal minute, and soon he is snoring again. This is the one time that I am grateful that I have so little hearing. The muffled sound lulls me to sleep.
Acceptance. This one takes a lifetime of working to get it right. I can’t say we have mastered it, but I know that when we do accept the other, life goes so much smoother. A bride is always thinking that he will change after the wedding, and the groom is hoping that she will never change. Funny little quip that I heard recently. Both dreams are quickly dissolved before the honeymoon is over. But many marriages go on with that hope in mind. Ours did. I’m the bigger culprit here. Wayne seems to go along accepting me whatever I do. (I admit that I do spoil him and usually go along in the same direction) Except for my hormonal rages and not putting things back where they belong, he pretty much let’s me be me. But, I wanted him to spend more time with the family, stop drinking, communicate with me more, make love to me more, ask me more about my life rather than talking only about his… more, more, more…I wanted these changes. Still do, but I have accepted that it probably will not happen and I can still love him.
Maybe this is too simplistic, and I would love to hear what others have to say on the subject, but this I know for right now… finding comfort and acceptance with each other has made the rocky road of marriage a smoother path.


  1. Suzanne - This certainly hits a few nerves and feelings - some fragile but mainly grateful for a dear partner. He's a big job though! Of course, I'm not... With a family commitment this afternoon, I will compose my thoughts and look forward to reading this again - and probably, again. Plain talk from you. Good stuff. Elise

  2. Relationships are hard work, aren't they? I really like what you say about acceptance. So many times in life, Ive had to surrender and realize that acceptance doesn't mean I have to like things, just to accept. I often continue to learn the lesson that I can take everything personally. Your take on things is so balanced. Thanks for sharing so much. I appreciate your ability to spiritually share.

  3. Suzanne, Reading this piece and not being in a hurry is much different than reading it quickly over the weekend. Plus, in the meantime, my husband and I had a series of conflicts and disappointments that can stress a relationship, just when you don't expect it. Your words are perfect and right to the point. My husband and I have been through life and death times that truly don't seem to happen to others, especially within our families. You've written about loss and yet are not bitter. In our case, they happen over and over. Just recently, I've quit wondering why. All of a sudden, it finally hit me that it's "Life on Life's Terms," - just happens to be my life. It also made me realize the lessons are custom picked for me - but, not that God punishes in any way. Not in a masochistic way, I always see the reasons, even though the pain can still remain. If I understood Him, He wouldn't be God. He is Good and all Loving and deserves all my love. Over the years, church organizations have been less than adequate for me. From childhood, I sought involvement, even to the ridicule of parents but it motivated me more. It was when I quit in recent years to find the right building and dogma that I felt free to really seek. I love what you say about faith as opposed to religion. I hope I find an organized faith community again one day but things are all right for now. What has hit me is that I have a God of my understanding, the blessing of feeling entirely safe with my husband, no matter what happens. I value more than anything, having a partner who is a Christian. No one can annoy me like he can, even enrage me, make me laugh, fix anything in his perfectionist way like he does and is a wonderful father. My parents didn't have a happy marriage and so I learned about a happy family from my husband. My problems and some sadnesses and losses may be more dramatic than many I see but I also have a person who is a blessing when these times come. I agree that those of us who go through fire like swords being forged are stronger. I don't seem to learn as much from the good times as the bad. My husband also snores, the sleep deprivation sometimes making me almost psychotic. I use high decibel blocking ear plugs! It beats putting a pillow over his face or pinching his nose! Walgreens. Elise


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