Sunday morning, early hours, the sun’s barely awake, and Lane is out the door again, this time for three weeks. Back and forth, in and out. Are you here or there? Home or not?
Is it me alone again?
But this is what’s required and this is what we want to do and so this is what we do.
Is it becoming any easier yet?
So he leaves on that Sunday and I think he might have called once he reached his destination, but the conversation was so short that I don’t really remember. Monday passes, I get a text, he’s doing okay. I wake on that Tuesday morning with him on my mind, first thing.
Am I the first thing on his, I wonder?
And I can pinpoint it- it’s right there when I begin to question him that I can feel my heart change. I watch the hours as I watch my phone and there’s still no word.
Fine, I tell myself. If he still hasn’t called by 6:00 pm, I’ll be sassy with him when I answer the phone. Short, one-word answers will teach him. No! Even better. I won’t even answer the phone and make him think that I’m doing fine without him. We don’t even miss him! Give him a taste of his own medicine.
6:00pm comes and goes and still no word.
Okay. New deal. If he hasn’t called by 8:00, no 9:00, then I’ll call him. I don’t have to be a damsel in distress waiting on my man. It’s 2018. I can call him. I’ll call him and make him feel bad that he forgot to call me when he sees my name on the caller id.
Well 9:00pm comes and goes and still no word. I guess I’m calling him then.
Exhausted, busy, distracted, he answers the phone.
He’s at this course, you see. A hard course. A demanding military selection course. And on Day 3 it’s about to become even harder and even more demanding and he was about to live the hardest 30 hours of his entire life.
And I was back home playing games.
“What about me, though?” my heart kept asking. “What about me?”
Nearing thirteen years of marriage and still I play games. If it ever were to get easier, I’d have pegged right about now as the point in which that should happen. Thirteen years of marriage should make us experts, right? Isn’t that the thing- log 10,000 hours of any one activity and you become an expert in your field?
Well, we’re at about 109,000 hours of marriage logged and we’re still figuring it out.
Shouldn’t I be better than this by now? What have I become?
Not an expert, apparently.
What I have become good at though, (without even trying!), is pointing out deficiencies in my husband. I notice when he doesn’t clean up, times he doesn’t help around the house, ways he speaks to me in a tone I don’t appreciate. I note what I want more of and what I want less of, how I need more of him here and less of him there.
And I want him to read my mind to know it so I don’t have to tell him.
Oh, marriage feels impossible sometimes.
And I would love to point the finger at Lane- But what about him? I want to ask. What about his side of the marriage? Shouldn’t he do more, be more, be here for me more?
There it is again- I can pinpoint the moment my heart begins to change. It happens when I stop believing the best about him; it happens when I put my needs above his; it happens when I stop looking through the lens of love.
Here’s what I know for sure- We got married, we said our vows, and we became one. So deceiving, though, that little exchange of rings because now I know it wasn’t just a one-time thing. We become one on that day, but I’m finding that it is a process too. We are constantly becoming one every single day in every little moment as we live this life side by side.
So I begin to pay attention: As we become one, what am I becoming?
Because there are those moments, like that Tuesday evening at 9:00pm, where I worry that I am simply becoming more of what I always have been- selfish, self-centered, self-serving. Controlling, demanding, resentful, wandering, prideful, unforgiving.
The thing about love is that it’s more powerful than all of that though, I’m learning. It pushes all of that away. When my heart wants to keep the lens on myself- But what about me, though?- I just turn it around and take a step toward Lane. How can I love him first, love him anyway, love him always, love him more than I love myself?
And then I do that.
I’m learning to appreciate these pieces of our marriage- the pieces that are a little tougher than the others, not as shiny as the others. I’m learning that it is here- when we have to choose each other, when we fight for each other, when we learn what it actually looks like to love another above yourself- that love forms. The resilient kind of love is what forms there. The kind of love that has the grit to withstand anything together, the deep and wide and high and long love that covers everything.
It’s this deeper kind of love that marriage requires. To love first, love anyway, love always, love more than I love myself.
And so I’m learning to pay attention- as we continue to become one, what am I becoming?
The more I train myself to look through the lens of love, I can feel it- I’m becoming one who knows how to love well.
And sure, sure, there’s always going to be those miscommunications at 9:00pm on a Tuesday night when it is obvious that I don’t love well all the time but man, I’ll keep walking toward him as he keeps walking toward me and we’re going to figure it out together.
Love is big enough to hold it all.
And I’m becoming okay with that.
Looking for more encouragement in your marriage? I’ll drop a little love note in your inbox once a month but to get you started, here are five ways that have helped strengthen our marriage.