Thursday, June 10, 2010

 On choosing

When Dave and I had only been dating for a short time we began talking about lasting love. How to make love last. What it takes. We both expressed our beliefs to one another that love is a choice.

The feelings of infatuation, admiration, (dare I say) lust, attachment, companionship - these are all good, fine, and fun in the appropriate time and place. But alot of these? They are feelings, or at least based on feelings and emotions. Feelings and emotions can change like the weather. They are not lasting.

Revealing my naivety big time here: I was so wrapped up in the "feelings" of love while Dave and I were dating and engaged that even though I declared my beliefs on love being a choice, I secretly held to the ideal that surely I would never have to make that choice. It would always just be there. It would be different for us. It was all just so...right. ;)

And it was good. And we held on to a fun love for each other. Until it wasn't.

And the same year that we celebrated our second anniversary and I turned 22 we became the parents of twin boys that had combined weights of less than 3.5 pounds. We faced decisions regarding our children that ripped our hearts out. We watched our son die. We buried him. We faced the intimidating prospect of raising a son with special needs. We would grow closer and then further apart. We grieved together, and yet we grieved so differently. We found some things out about each other that we hadn't known. And we didn't like. We held tight to each other and then we hurt each other - and then we reached out to one another.

And I will never forget the first time that I had to choose.

I remembered it. I remembered it all. The conversations about love being a choice.

The smug smile.

Of course it is a choice - but...

Not us.

Not me.

Not this.

This is so, so good!

And there I sat on the edge of our bed. Tears blurring my vision. Trying to pray and having no words.

It hit me square in the stomach. Like a punch I wasn't ready for and couldn't defend myself from.

I don't feel love for him right now.

I shuddered inside and I felt guilty and I felt like a failure and I kind of wanted to throw up.

But then I chose.

At that moment I didn't have infatuation and I had anything but admiration.

But I had loyalty and I had love. I didn't have the kind of love that says "You are the sweetest guy in the universe and when you touch me I forget to breathe!" It was a love that was saying "I entered into a covenant relationship with you that only death can break. In our vows we said that we would be loyal to one another in all things and in all circumstances. We made those vows before God. I'm going to love you. I'm going to love you. I'm going to love you."

And heaven knows there have been countless times when he has had to choose.

Choose me and my selfishness - all of the sin nature one can think of wrapped up in skin - striving for victory and named Wendi... he has to choose to love that every day.

And he does.

Over and over and over.

And the more we choose, the more we feel. The more we feel the less often we have to choose.

Choosing can be hard. It can seem impossible sometimes. And every now and then - well, sometimes we will choose and then "forget" . Or more likely refute our own choosing. And we have to consciously make that choice several times per excruciating hour.

This kind of choosing requires a selflessness that is not possible in and of ourselves. It's all God - it has to be.

And the rewards? I can't even find the words.

It's exquisite.

Right now I feel alot of love for him. Infatuation even. Admiration - you bet!

But I know that there's going to come a day when I will be sitting on the edge of the bed with my vision blurred on account of the tears. Because my imperfect husband is married to an imperfect woman. It's going to happen again. And I am not going to like it one bit.

But see? I am going to know that it's going to be okay. I am going to know that we will be okay. Because of the choosing. We have the tools to weather the storm.

Will we use them?

It's all a choice.


Alyssa said...


this is why we like you two.
and we look up to you.
thank you for being that example.

Katie@The Baby Factory said...

Praise God!

What a fantastic example. Thank you so much! My grandmother in law said to me one time "Pray for love for your husband"....and I totally didn't think twice about it, of COURSE I loved him--I wanted to MARRY him didnt I?!?

I have used that on several occasions. Praying that GOD would help me choose to love him.

Leslie said...

beautiful honest post .. like usual.

isn't God amazing to allow us to love someone else that fiercely, Im always blown away by that..

Amy@My Front Porch said...

Wendi. WOW. So good. Every couple, married or seriously thinking about should read this!

Sara said...

Rob and I have been together nearly ten years now. I remember people saying year 7 was the hardest (7-year itch and all) Never had that. Then last summer came and all hell broke loose with the inlaws. I was SHATTERED. I remember Rob's words clearly "I don't want to have to choose..."
My words were: "I'm not going to make you choose. It's YOUR choice, nobody can tell you what to choose."
Things blew over, were swept under the rug, waiting for the day they need to be cleaned away, not just out of sight...
I loved this post! LOVED it. You are correct that vows were spoken. I know I am far from perfect, loving ME is not easy. But I can say that loving Rob has been one of the best CHOICES I've ever made.
I plan on sharing this with him. I hope you don't mind.

Amber said...

Thank you so much for shareing your heart. We all have days like this and its nice to hear it.

Rachel said...

So true and such a timely reminder from God to me. Thank you for sharing your heart. It has made a difference in my life today.

une autre mère said...

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. You have such a great way with words.

And thank you for your oh-too-sweet comment on my blog. ;)

Anthony and Ashleys Mommy said...

ummmmm WOW! Seriously! Were you in my house the past 3 years? You could of wrote the things that were going on in my head!

Larry and I both grieved so differently. In some ways be both felt like neither of us were there for each other. I know it was sometimes very hard for us to even LIKE each other. But the love was still there. We just had to find it again. And its still a daily battle sometimes. But I just have to remember where we started out and who we use to be. And all we've gone through together. And its worth it to fight for it sometimes, when the easy thing would be to give up. Its so true what "they" say. Love is a on going circle with different seasons. I try to remember, that at times we maybe feeling the dead cold of winter, but the sunshine of summer is on the horizon if we work toward it.


Kristen said...

Your exquisite words expressed that perfectly in a way that so many hearts can connect and understand to it! I know mine did!

The Sneaky Mommy said...

Beautiful! You have such a gift with words! Makes me wish you lived in my town! :)
I remember thinking the same thing--I will never have to choose--but then my sinful nature rears its ugly head!
I sat by a lady tonight who had 54 years of marriage under belt and she was radiating love for her husband. I want to be that and then!

Tina said...

wow, that is absolutly amazing, and oh so true! we all have the choice!
Thank you for being true and sharing your realy heart.

Heather of the EO said...

Amen, my sweet sister. The tools. I love this.

Rebecca said...

this was beautiful. and something i needed to hear. thank you for your honesty in sharing.

Trisha said...

Thank you for you honesty. This is beautiful, and so timely for me.

{Jodie} said...

Okay, two things:
1. Thank you for your precious comment on my blog. I left my response in my comment section of that post. :)
2. This post is so good. I think most of us go into marriage thinking that it only gets tough like that for other people - for the people who married jerks! But what WE have is special and we'll never be like that. And all the older married gals laugh and laugh after we leave. Until we're one of them. Like now. :)

Okay and a third thing - SOMEHOW, I followed the wrong "every day miracles" and was missing your posts... for like, months. The skull... it is dense. :) Sooo, now I'm following the right one so I won't have to miss out on you anymore, and the whole of the world rejoiced. The End.
xo Jodie

~beautyandjoy~ said...

I've reread this three times now (I think) since you wrote it. It's that good.