I write this blog post with somewhat of an uncertain heart. Uncertain because the subject, when it comes to loving my husband, is something I don’t like to share with a lot of people openly. Perhaps some of you reading this might be able to relate, but I will write this from my own perspective and our experience as a married couple. When Bob (my husband) and I began our life together, first as a dating couple and then as husband and wife, we were passionately and deeply in love. If someone asked me ten years ago if I loved my husband, I would give that person a resounding “YES!” as my answer. Now, after ten years together, two sons (both of which have Autism Spectrum Disorders), my husband’s diagnosis with his own version of ASD and other health issues, and my evolving and hectic work and author schedule, life seems to have taken over. If someone were to ask me now if I loved my husband, my answer would still be “yes,” but now I would be more hesitant. While I do still love my spouse very much, for the past three years I have had to wonder if I was still “in love” with my spouse. Some of you may be able to relate, as I stated before.
Our life as a married couple over the past seven years were filled with diapers, tears, toddler tantrums, doctor and therapy appointments, lack of rest and sleep, etc. Every married couple who becomes a parenting couple surely goes through the motions as Bob and I have over these ten years. Bob and I have settled into a routine or a rut, and quite unknowingly and unwillingly at that. Our conversations no longer revolve around adult topics or even romance, but rather schedules and To Do lists with our kids. Pillow talk used to involve kisses and cuddling, but now they have turned into reminders for our kids to do their nightly routines before bedtime. While kissing our kids goodnight is wonderful, it would be even more wonderful if both Bob and I would remember to kiss each other before collapsing on our bed.
On my fortieth birthday, I realized my husband and I had lost the passion we once had for one another. Why? We simply got too comfortable in our routine with the boys, and let life dictate to us how we would spend our time together. This made me very sad and I broke down that night as I laid in bed thinking about what was no longer there. I felt I no longer knew how to be in love with my spouse or even with my own life. To this day, Bob and I have not had a real date together since the boys were born. Not even a lunch date in the middle of my work day. I sat in church this past weekend with both the boys in between Bob and I, and the tears simply came out as the priest gave his homily. I cried because I saw older couples around me who seemed so much happier than Bob and I ever were. I also saw younger “dating” couples sitting together with smiles on their faces, and I remembered what I seemed to have lost. I no longer seem to smile at Bob because I’m always checking to make sure the boys are behaving or that he hasn’t zoned out on me in the middle of the church service. It was an indictment on my part that I felt I failed.
All I could do at that moment was pray and ask… beg God to bring back that fire, that passion, that love that we once had as a newly married couple. I was missing the joy of being in love with my spouse and with my life. I even began to feel rather “ugly” for having these sentiments. That morning, after walking out into the midday sunlight, I felt the sun on my skin, the breeze wisp through my hair, and the sound of my children’s laughter resonate in my ears. I was reminded in that moment that love in itself is a gift. And what an amazing gift it is. Now, I mentioned love, not being in love. Although I might not “feel” like I am in love with Bob at every single moment, just loving him as the man I married is still an incredible gift to have. My sentiments may not be one of fiery and passionate desire for him, but I do love him deeply as the man I promised forever to before the Church and God. That love alone is more than enough as a gift. On more than one occasion, I know Bob has revealed that same sentiment. We might not be the couple that can’t keep our hands off each other… anymore. BUT, we are the couple that promised to love, honor, and cherish one another all the days of our lives. THAT is love, and THAT is the gift we are to each other. Through that gift of love, we have the gift of our children. The gift of our children is an added sign of our love. The boys are a product of the love we had and still have for one another as husband and wife. Only now we have that love all together as a family unit.
In The Last Prophet book series, our main characters learn that even the mistakes we make in the past have purpose in our personal development. It is natural to feel regret or sadness over bad choices we have made, but our main characters remind us not to stay there. Rather, we are told to focus on a solution and to move forward. Each mistake may be a setback, but these mistakes are also lessons we learn, and if we learn them often enough we grow into a wiser person. We become better for having lived, loved, lost, and grown beyond the mistake.
Love is an amazing gift regardless of whether or not I “feel” like I am in love. Do Bob and I fight? Yes, we do, but we make up. Does Bob get on my last nerve somedays? Most definitely, but I get on his nerves too. Do we have more grey hairs after the kids were born? Let’s just say thank goodness for hair dye. Would I trade any of the life I’ve lived to go back to the way things used to be BEFORE my husband and kids? No. I no longer have regrets for the life choices I have made. I see them instead as lessons that not only helped me have great stories to tell in my books, but life lived that has made me a stronger woman, wife, and mother. I am who I am today because I have lived a life and loved along the way. Love was, is, and always will be an amazing gift.
How have you shared the amazing gift of love? How has love shaped you into who you are today? Comment in the space provided.
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