I had a realization today, the kind of realization that stopped me mid-step and forced me to think about a whole chain of related ideas. And to be honest, the realization scared me a little.
My realization came on the tail-end of all my thoughts relating to why I hate most romance movies. For one, I just can’t relate. No, I do not want to go make love with my husband on a whim in a field under the stars. First, we’d have to get a baby-sitter, and I’d have to pump a bottle for the baby in case she woke up while we were gone. Then, we’d have to find a field, and we’d have to make sure we had enough cash on hand to post bond in case we got caught. Who has the energy?
The main reason I hate romance movies, though, is that they do a disservice to the institution of marriage and give people a false idea about what it means to be ‘in love.’ I don’t know if Matt is the person God chose for me or if I chose Matt with my free will. I do know that loving each other isn’t about how we feel on any given day–it’s a choice we make daily.
As I was thinking about how stupid most romance movies are, I began to think how much hard work marriage requires of me. Every day I wear myself out trying to be a good wife and mother. I cook, I clean, I repeatedly grab socks and underwear off the top of the hamper and put them inside it. I affirm my husband that he is an excellent provider, and I close my mouth when I can sense Matt doesn’t want to talk. I watch football and have given up all rights to the remote. When I don’t feel like being married, I resolve that I will stick it out forever and find those lovey-dovey feelings, wherever they may be–Matt is so lucky! I am quite the catch!
While I was patting myself on the back for my commitment, it suddenly occurred to me that Matt might be committed, too. Just as I work hard every day for this marriage, he might feel he works hard, as well. Sure, he has the easier job of the two of us given all of the sacrifices I make, but he could just as easily walk out as I. Not that he would want to. I mean, who wouldn’t want to come home to a wife whose hair is standing on end by 5:00 every evening, her face somehow sloped downward into a permanent frown, her shrill voice piercing the ears of everyone within the walls of the house? Who wouldn’t want to come home to a wife who so thoughtfully points out all of the mistakes he has made in an effort to make him a better spouse? If Matt walked out, where would he ever find another woman who looked so good in baggy pajama bottoms, t-shirts, and wooly socks?
As I continued on in my thoughts, I became frightened. Why would anyone want to stay with me forever? Since Chloe has been born, I have not felt myself, and my emotions have been out-of-control. I have no idea what the word ‘sexy’ means. In fact, I had forgotten that I owned lingerie until I accidentally opened that unused drawer. I fall asleep any time we try to relax together, and if I manage to stay awake but Matt falls asleep, I get mad at him.
Suddenly, all of the ‘hard work’ I was doing seemed ridiculous compared to the hard work Matt was doing. For the first time, I didn’t see all the effort required of me to make my marriage work but, instead, the mental effort Matt must go through every day. I saw a man who is truly demonstrating unconditional love, and through his example, I saw what it means for God to love me, a sinner, as well. Despite all of my faults as a wife, Matt has chosen to love me every day, and having that realization today humbled me in a way I hadn’t felt before.
So…I going to stop writing now. I’m tired, and I’m not sure I even expressed my thoughts well, but my husband is upstairs waiting. I’m going to carry my baggy-pajama-pants-self upstairs and plant a kiss on my soulmate. And then I’ll probably fall asleep.