Love Is: An Ode to Our Marriage

When we were married 19 years ago, I knew about love. I did. And I wasn’t wrong because love is, in fact, gentle and love is kind. Love is a two-way street. And love is a choice. And love, it’s true, is what conquers against all odds. I knew. I did. And I wasn’t wrong. 

But I didn’t know that love, also, was made up of failure. And of bruises. And of falling down. And of getting up. Sometimes. Eventually. And of a thousand thousand tiny moments and little sighs and brief caresses and small hurts and exhaustion and healing and time. 

I didn’t know like I do now, in part, what love is for us. What it was going to be. What it has become. Which is always evolving. And made up of this:

Love is. 

Oh, dear.

Love is.

Love is magic and mystery and mundane and madness.

Love is painful and peculiar and pathetic and perfect.

Love is deep and wise and shallow and foolish.

And love is…

…love is made from more than I ever imagined. 

Love is using weapons of mass verbal destruction and rebuilding together anyway and then trying – trying – not to strike with such precision next time.

Love is a million dishes in the sink and watching the washer flood and knowing you can’t afford to paint the house this summer after all.

Love is fighting about money and trust and children and in-laws and priorities and then buying Thin Mints together even though you’re broke.

Love is calling him to say, “I’m OK, but I’m at the hospital. I lost the baby. Again.”

Love is emailing and texting and instant messaging. Sometimes in the same room. Sometimes about things that matter.

Love is that time you had to call him for help because you sharted in the closet while you were pregnant with twins and couldn’t get all the way down to the floor by yourself to clean it up.

Love is like water in all its forms. As still as the snow. As sharp as the ice. As raging as a river. As endless as the ocean. And as muddy as the puddle your toddler will find on the drizzly day in the parking lot right before family pictures.

Love is taking each other for granted and every once in a while remembering not to.

Love is bailing each other out and listening well and forgetting to listen at all and succeeding and failing again and again. 

Love is watching him choose to love you more than he fears getting it wrong.

Love is the memory of the silhouette of him above you by the light of the voyeur moon.

And love is telling the kids who are pounding on the locked door that you’re having a “meeting,” and dad will be out in a second (“sadly, literally,” he says), and then trying to find an explanation for what’s so funny.

Love is watching him watch your children and knowing there’s one person, as impossible as it seems, who just might love them as much as you do.

And love is discovering – knowing what you know now about pain and desolation and fear and anger and falling apart and coming together – that you’d choose to do it this way all over again.

 

What is love for you?

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
16 comments
  1. I saw him for the first time, not knowing much about him, and I felt a pull of energy within like nothing I have ever experienced. My mind began to grasp at something, a vague memory, a slight impression of something that felt familiar. I felt a warm sensation within my chest, my heart understood something that my words had no way of explaining. I felt close to myself, something I can’t explain or understand. His eyes, his presense, awoke something within myself I never knew existed. As strange as it may sound, I see myself in him. I have been thrown into a spiritual journey, seeking answers that I will never find. Knowing that he exists has filled my life with a sense of peace. Great peace, like I’ve never known. I also feel a loss for something I will never understand. Something much greater than my human brain could ever comprehend. One thing I know for sure, the day I leave this earth, he will be on my mind.

  2. I really love this because even tho I don’t have any bio-kids (just fur-kids) your marriage rings so true to what I have been struggling with in my own marriage recently, and all the things that I appreciate in it. Thank you.

  3. I have been married for seven months and am four months pregnant. This post was great…we haven’t been in all of these places, but it was still a great read. I especially liked the meeting one. I laughed out loud and read it to my husband. He also thought it was great…we’ll have to remember that line for the future!

  4. We don’t do Valentines Day. We do love. Love is when I hear:
    “You’re just crazy right now; I can’t even talk to you, but I’m not leaving.”
    “Be right there.”
    “I’m just glad you’re ok.”
    “I’m glad you gained the weight; I missed the curves when you were sick.”
    “Let’s order Chinese.”
    “Ok, you weren’t sexy when you projectile vomited on me, but you’re still sexy all the time.”
    “No, I like them hairy.”
    “Want me to give her a bath?”
    “You should buy yourself a new book.”
    “I’m sorry.”
    “I forgive you.”

  5. Even after 24 years, I don’t feel like I have a handle on exactly what love is. I think what I’ve learned is that love requires lots of self sacrifice, choosing to give more than to get. It also accepts, overlooks, and tries to bless again and again and again. For me, I think learning to love better has meant learning to think of my loved ones first, more than I would normally do. It also means appreciating what I have and letting it be enough. Acceptance of what is, is a huge part of love for me, in all the ways that presents itself in our lives–accepting people as they are, accepting my own life as it is, accepting the tough stuff without making it everything, accepting the sweetness and not looking for more and more all the time, accepting the shape of my life and the personalities of my loved ones, accepting myself and my flaws even if I try to improve them, and mostly, acceptance of all that God has given us knowing it’s what we’re meant to have in our lives. Acceptance leads to peace, I think.

  6. Trust and patience and forgiveness, oh yes. What a beautiful and honest post. Glad I’ve found your blog, Beth.

  7. Oh, Beth, you are such a gift. Thank you for this. You’re a poet of love.

  8. After 31 years together I have boiled it down to this Love is Forgiveness(daily).

  9. Thank you Beth for another amazingly beautiful post. You are a wonderful writer and I know you are an awesome wife and mother!! You have no idea how you are touching and helping people, but I hope every once in awhile you get a glimpse into what you are doing for some struggling mommies out there! Thank you always

    1. Totally agree!

  10. Love is a force of the unknown. However much we may want we cannot command, demand, or disappear love. Love is bigger than we are. You can invite love, but you cannot dictate how, when, and where love expresses itself. You can choose to surrender to love, or not, but in the end, love strikes like lightning, unpredictable and irrefutable. Love doesn’t come with conditions, stipulations, addendums, or codes. Like the sun, love radiates independently of our fears and desires. Love is inherently free and cannot be bought, sold, or traded. You cannot make someone love you, nor can you prevent it. ( I know from experience ) Love has no territory, no borders, no quantifiable mass or energy output. Love is its own law.

  11. Awesome.

  12. I feel this way now and we are only 4 years in, I hope I still feel this way after 15 more years 🙂

  13. Awesome! Much of this applies after our 10.5 years of marriage as well. Well said!!

  14. Beautiful. Don’t you love “why is the door locked?” My recent epiphany about love is being able to think about all of my own faults (there are so many!)and say “but he loves me anyway.” (and then in reverse, of course)

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