The relationship of lifelong love

I often see the same senior couple walking when I exercise. What strikes me about them is that they are always holding hands. Not just a loose touch, but a firm grip on one another. I am captivated and curious as to why.

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This particular morning was no different. There they were, walking without words, yet holding one another. As my dog and I trailed at a distance on the same familiar path, I watched them and wondered, Why the tight grasp?

I’ve thought all along that what makes this couple hold each other’s hands so tightly was their lifelong love for each other. Hopefully so, but there is something more so subtle that if I blinked I would’ve missed it.

It isn’t only because they want to – they need to.

As they walked, each took their turn ever-so-slightly losing their balance. Time and again, I watched as one of them began to lose their footing, the other one pulled them into their side for support through the strong grasp of their hand.

It was beautiful.

This husband and wife know a truth many marriages never learn. They not only want each other, they need each other. They not only need each other, they want each other.

Too often, marriages side with one or the other: I want you, but I don’t need you. Or, I need you, but I don’t want you. In either case, the relationship is doomed to stand the valleys and victories of life.

If a marriage is based solely on wanting each other, what happens when those wants change as time passes and we change with it?

Or, what if we need each other without wanting each other? This is more of a business partnership than a marriage. People use each other up until there is nothing left.

What I saw this morning was the idea that it’s both – want and need. Not out of selfish gain, but of selfless giving. Their actions gave new meaning to the vow, To have and to hold from this day forth…

That’s a vow, and a hand, worth holding on to.

 

 

Favorite Fifteen! 15 things I love about being a wife

I had so much fun last week writing about the simple pleasures and pure joy of being a mom. Today, I want to give a shout out for some of the reasons I love being a wife.

15 things I love about being a wife

*  After 22 years of marriage, I am still learning new things about my husband and myself.  Life is never boring!

*  I can say anything to him, but because I love and respect him, I watch what I say and how I say it.

*  Wading through the sea of parenting together.  We pool our strengths and weaknesses together and, hopefully, create a pretty cool family experience.

(Our family)

*  I love going to the movies with my man.  He’s the best movie partner!  He willingly abides by my absurdly anal and strict movie standards – no talking, no cell phones, no texting, no crunching, no slurping, no snoring, no rustling of plastic candy bags during the show – oh, and have a great time! 😉 (Who else would tolerate this??)

*  Serving with him on mission.

*  Keeping the house quiet on Saturday mornings so he can sleep in after a long workweek.

*  We can agree to disagree on the small stuff and that’s okay.

*  I have freedom to be myself with him with no walls built around me.  He has seen me at my very best and very worst and still loves me. I can let my guard down and be who I am without the fear of being rejected.  He gets my weird sense of humor, respects my boundaries, understands my weaknesses…yet still accepts me.

*  Dreaming together.

* He brings me flowers just because, on special occasions, and in remembrance of my mom’s birthday – though he never had the opportunity to meet her.  We met exactly one month after she died.

( Happy Anniversary)

*  Sharing the journey of life with my man who has promised to walk every step of the way with me till death do us part.

*  He can convince me to try new things: Thai food (yum!); snow skiing (his passion, not mine); computers (yep, years ago, he’s the one who showed me how to befriend these little monsters); driving go karts so crazy they almost kick you off the track (Ha!); a wicked-scary, fast air boat ride to see alligators up close and perhaps a little too personal (so fun!) – the list goes on.

*  We laugh with, and at, each other.  Most times we know when to do which. Ha!

*  He tells me I am beautiful – even if I have a hard time believing it.

(From the Empire State Building)

*  As a little girl, my two biggest dreams were to be married and have children.  I had other dreams – some I’ve accomplished, like graduating from college, being a published writer and traveling to Africa; and some I haven’t, like working as a photographer for National Geographic. But, my heart has always been passionate for being a wife and mother. I am reminded every day that God heard my prayer and answered it in an incredible way.

Marriage is hard. It takes work. It requires dying to one’s self, seeking the spouse’s best interest and considering the other person’s needs before my own. Many people won’t give up the control, their wants or their ambitions. I used to be that person. But, the beauty of marriage is discovered when both people put each other first. Oftentimes, this means someone has to go first. It creates a peaceful, loving atmosphere rather than dog-eat-dog. Trust and vulnerability are not easily attained in our wary world, but when God has put a man and woman together, and each of them have resolved to live by His standard, it works. Needs and wants of both people are met. Fun and intimacy are a part of regular life. We can work with each other and not against each other.  After all, in a marriage, both people are on the same team.