I fell in love with my wife again. Right now, my mother has to go through some rehab and the other night Jeannie was helping her do some of the exercises. My mother is a very strong person and if she doesn’t want to do something, well, good luck. . .
Through it all, Jeannie was loving but firm, compassionate but determined. As I watched them, I was more and more impressed with my wife. She was really good at this.
But what caught me by surprise was her smile. Jeannie has a beautiful smile, but this smile was different. There was a joy in her smile I hadn’t seen before. Her smile seemed to be saying that Jeannie couldn’t have been happier doing anything else but helping my mom.
And then, it happened. I fell in love with her all over again. This isn’t surprising. I have fallen in love with her over and over again throughout our marriage.
I fell in love with her watching her take care of our sons.
I fell in love with her again when she cared for me during my diagnosis, surgery and recovery.
There are countless days during our years together when I will catch just a particular glimpse of her and I feel myself all giddy inside. . .like the first time I saw her.
You would think after almost 34 years of marriage, there wouldn’t be any more surprises.
Nothing could be further from the truth. And here’s why.
When you’re young, you don’t even know yourself. The only way you find out about yourself is through a lot of trial and error. If you don’t have the safe place of a committed love, you don’t ever take the risks necessary for you to learn new things about yourself. Your spouse never gets to discover new things about you or themselves. This kind of safety – knowing the other will stay even if you fall flat on face – has to be proven over a lifetime of love. There are no shortcuts.
This is one – among many – things our hook up culture is missing.
Authentic love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. It’s the choice to stay…no matter what. Feelings are great, but they aren’t strong enough to make you stay.
You have to choose and you have to choose every day.
And here’s the reward. When you choose to stay, the other person reveals more and more of who they are and you fall in love all over again. . .
. . .just like I did the other night.