I don’t know about you, but for me, reading is like breathing. If I don’t read, I would die… or at least want to! Thankfully, I can read very quickly, so I can manage to read a book and still not neglect my responsibilities, but if I added up all the hours I have spent reading over the course of my life, it would be a lot!
So if I spend so much time reading, what is the benefit to me – or to my family – from it all? Well, if I don’t learn something from it, making me a better, more well-rounded person, there isn’t much benefit.
Thankfully, books teach me so much! I shared with you about “War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation” in my last post. The couples featured in that book have been married for 60-75 years! Wow. What a testimony to love and commitment. Thinking about their stories got me thinking about my own love story.
My husband and I missed being ‘college sweethearts’ by about a week… We were friends for three years before he left to go to pharmacy school after my junior year. That next year we had long-distance ‘friendship’ that deepened into an official relationship right after I graduated from college.
Needless to say, we’ve been together a long time! We’ve weathered the birth of three children, a miscarriage, and an adoption, along with the deaths of family members, a cross-country move (while I was 35 weeks pregnant!), financial difficulties, job stress, and all the various other things that are just part of life.
What has thirteen years of marriage taught me about love?
True love isn’t selfish.
There. That’s it. That’s the main point. It doesn’t matter whether you are working on a relationship with your spouse, your children, your friends, or even your mother-in-law, if you want to demonstrate true love, you will put them above yourself.
The hardest point in our marriage was soon after we moved up north from South Carolina – in the middle of winter! We had a fourteen-month old little girl, I was 35 weeks pregnant, my husband had a new job with a stressful learning curve and a ridiculously long commute, we had taken a pay cut and money was tight, and we didn’t like the rental house we were in very much.
Then our sweet, precious second daughter was born. She had digestive issues and colic and cried ALL THE TIME! No, I take it back. She stopped crying long enough to vomit, preferably all over the person holding her. And I developed severe anemia that made me exhausted, with an extra perk that I would fall down when I stood up quickly.
So there we were. Both of us stressed and tired and selfish, thinking only of what the other should be doing for us, rather than how we could serve each other. I remember being so mad at him and almost all our conversations turned into sniping at each other very quickly.
Then we took a trip down south to see his family, and we looked at each other, facing this long car drive with only each other and two baby girls, and we promised not to fight on the trip.
God blessed us and the long periods of silence (since we weren’t allowed to fight! LOL) turned into good conversations, and slowly, our marriage got back on track.
That difficult period turned out to be good for us. It taught us to love one another truly, unselfishly. I learned that when times get hard, I tend to look out for myself first and expect my husband to serve me and cater to my wants. He learned that he does the same thing, so we both have actively have to fight against this in our marriage.
When I am serving my husband and children and thinking about what I can do for them, I am the happiest. When I am serving myself and thinking about what they ought to do for me, I am miserable.
True love is unselfish.
It doesn’t matter who you are struggling to love. If you put that person above yourself, you will be blessed to see the relationship that was floundering start to grow.
I hope this encouraged you, as it has encouraged me to meditate on what true love really is.