Dennis and I love our life together. We have built a solid, loving relationship, and we laugh every day. Some of you may think that is impossible, but I assure you, there is laughter every single day. Dennis makes sure of it! He is always doing something to make me smile or laugh. He would say that one of his favorite things is that I laugh so easily. But really, he is so dang funny. He has a very dry sense of humor, and he is so quiet in public that when his wit does come out, you can’t help but laugh. He has such great timing! He is also not above goofiness. I think I’m one of the few lucky people in the world to witness his “Barton Bop” dance moves. Or his “old man” walk. Or how he talks to our dogs in a made up language. I could go on….
But what is on my mind today is how we intentionally decide every day to love each other. We talk often about “what it takes” to make a great marriage. This was one of the things that attracted us to each other in the first place. We both had thought about what we really want in a relationship, and we talked about that in our first conversation. It was a great start and we are grateful to have that foundation.
There’s a poem by Hartley Coleridge that asks, “Is love a fancy or a feeling?” I say it is neither. Love is action. It is service, it is sacrifice, it is selflessness, it is forgiving, it is kind, and it is glorious.
And it takes work. Love does not happen by accident.
We firmly believe that no one “falls” in or out of love. That implies that will and choice are not involved. But love is a choice. We choose to give our heart to someone. We choose to be in love and we choose not to be in love.
When you are just too tired to move and your spouse asks you to let the dogs out and you do, you choose love. When you see that your spouse is too tired to move and you let the dogs out yourself, you choose love. When you choose to spend time with someone, learn about them, trust them with your secrets, hold their secrets, and speak kindly to and about them, you choose love. When you avoid conversation that is sarcastic and biting, when you bite your tongue and wait a minute before saying something that might be hurtful, when you see your whole spouse (warts and all) and focus on the good in them, you choose love. When your spouse lets an unkind word slip out and you forgive them, you choose love. When you take out the garbage or do the dishes or organize the garage or replace the toilet paper or do a load of laundry, you choose love. When you actively and consciously avoid even a hint of infidelity, you choose love. When you kiss at red lights because it is tradition even when you are having an argument, you choose love. When you tell your spouse what you admire and appreciate about them, you choose love.
The magical thing is that when you choose love in those moments when you may not feel love, your heart softens and the feelings of love come flooding back. Strong marriages are built on choosing love over and over and over again.
This is what Dennis and I have chosen. We choose to be madly in love. We choose to live happily, ridiculously, madly in love. <3 We choose it today and we will choose it tomorrow.
I think that may be a good start to being decent parents. What do you think?