This week, Phil and I took a road trip in his mini-cooper convertible to Victoria, BC. It’s a romantic, European-style city sitting on a busy harbor, surrounded by breathtaking countryside. We went to celebrate 35 years of marriage— three and a half decades.
And while we were there we talked about how we’ve seen our love grow and flourish— and we talked about those not-so-nice times when we’ve been at each other’s throats, cranky, self-centered, off. Because two strong-willed, opinionated, passionately idealistic people like us most definitely have those “off “ times too.
And we talked about the fact that not every one of those twelve thousand seven hundred and seventy-five days of married life has been smooth and peace-filled or even close to the way we would have scripted…
We’ve lived in four different cities and moved thirteen times. (stress!) We managed four pregnancies (stress!) and raised four children (stress!) through sleepless nights, (stress!) toddler tempers (stress!) and teenage worries (extreme stress!).
We’ve had a few hardships too— my unexpected and unexplained deafness, Matt’s juvenile diabetes, difficult bosses, relationships gone bad.
We’ve been swindled, criticized, hurt, misunderstood.
Real life stuff.
So how is it that I can say I am honestly, really, more in love with my husband today than I could have possibly imagined on July 15, 1978?
The answer is so simple.
I wish every man knew this secret.
I wish every girl dating the guy she thinks she might want to marry knew it.
I wish every couple struggling to stay married and stay happy knew it.
I wish I could brand it across the brain of every married man so that he had to see it before he made a choice that could unravel and wreck his wife’s love…
I am passionately in love with my husband after thirty-five years of real life because I respect him.
That’s it. Simple. Basic. Doable. Truth.
He’s far from perfect- a big personality like his comes with certain side effects. And though goodness knows, I’ve tried, I’ve never managed to quiet him down or neaten him up. He’s not a man to be controlled or coerced into doing things my way.
No, I don’t feel all this passion for him because he’s reached the pinnacle of the Ideal Husband, or followed Ten Steps Guaranteed To Make Your Wife Happy Forever.
My feelings of love for Phil are rooted in days and weeks and years and decades of watching him relentlessly, doggedly align his steps one at a time to follow Jesus. Not perfectly, but persistently. Every day.
And I’m not talking about rule-abiding, moralizing, rigidity. Every attitude, every decision, every emergency, every heart-ache, every disappointment, every bump in the road of real life, gets wrestled to the foot of the Cross. Surrendered.
And that’s why I am more in love with this man today than I ever would have thought possible 35 years ago.
I wish every man realized that a woman’s feelings of love are wrapped up tight in her respect for him.
I wish every woman knew that a man who is good and godly will grow more and more attractive and compelling and sensuously appealing as the years go by.
One choice at a time… that’s all it takes to win the love of a woman for a lifetime.
From my heart,
PS. Girls- can you leave a list of why you love your husband/boyfriend/fiancé? Might just be an insightful read into the way a woman loves.
Next week, we will talk about the "Secret Switch" I mentioned last week!