Gratitude Day 567
John 15:17 – So this is my parting command: Love one another deeply!”
The card and letter showed up so casually in our mailbox one day. It was addressed to both Hubby Rick and me. A later birthday card from a beautiful and dear friend.
The message on the card was short, sweet, apologetic for being late. But it was the two-page letter tucked inside the card that filled my heart so deeply. Actually, it almost made my heart bawl.
This friend had been dating a person for a while. When it came time to move into the next phase of their relationship, she realized that she couldn’t. In fact, she shared that she and her cat sat down on the living room floor and cried when she realized it was impossible for her to move forward.
And then, she said why she couldn’t move forward. She has observed our marriage … and she wants what we have. She doesn’t want to “settle” in a relationship. She wants a person who has the same values, that also loves God and fills her with all the good things a relationship should have.
WOW. The words stopped me dead in my tracks.
Someone wants what Hubby Rick and I have?
Let me be very clear. We don’t have the “perfect” marriage. I’m not sure there is such a thing as a perfect marriage. What I do know is this: my husband LOVES ME. He demonstrates and lives this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Are there days when I frustrate and irritate him? You bet. Are there days when I shake my head and wonder, “Why?” Of course!
But at the end of the day, I can crawl into bed and know that he has my back.
He’ll stick up for me.
He only wants me to know that his heart is my heart, day in and day out.
Yep, I’m still learning about this man, even after 20 years of marriage.
Yep, he still causes me to laugh in amazement.
Yep, he can be so loving and caring while also being frustrating in the same hot minute.
Marriage and relationships aren’t about us. They are about the other person. I’ve had enough people sit across from me and complain or wish that their partner were different. There are things I’d like to change about Rick at times. But a long-term relationship isn’t about making someone into who you want them to be. It’s about loving them how THEY are, warts and all. Because they are also trying to love you, in spite of your idiosyncrasies. Your pet peeves. Your crazy habits.
So, when people have asked me how to get someone to change or do something differently, I simply suggest that they love them they way they are. Or shore up how they love them. Interestingly, when this happens, the other person is far more likely to change their behavior then when we nag them.
It doesn’t matter if this is a marriage or a partnership relationship. Your child or grandchild or close friend. We are more likely to respond to a positive re-enforcement than a negative one, as much as we really prefer to point out the negatives.
Yes, I know there are times when it is more necessary to go the preferred changed behavior route. When we feel we must ask them to do something differently. Even in these moments, it’s OK for us to ask ourselves first, “Is it me that needs to change … or the other person?”
I’m glad my friend is holding out for the relationship that makes her heart stop and sigh. I’m proud of her for not settling when sometimes, it would be so much easier. It took me a long time to meet Hubby Rick. He wasn’t anything like what I thought would be my husband. He was divorced, had grown children and had barely left Sauk County in the previous 20 years other than to follow one of his children’s events.
Yet, his heart was so in love with God and desperately wanted God to be the center of a future relationship. He was at a place in his life when he felt ready to explore a relationship for himself. And he wasn’t afraid to share his heart with me, the exciting and good things as well as the challenging areas.
Daily, we make mistakes in our relationship. Regularly, I’m sure I drive him crazy. But he’s there. And he’s not going any place.
Hubby Rick and I regularly express how blessed we are. We’re blessed in so, so, so many ways. My life is better because he’s a part of it. And I hope/know he feels the same way.
I think this happens when we love each other deeply. I know this works when this is how you love those around you. Sometimes we say it with words. Other times we express this with behavior. Both ways, it assures and comforts another that you care for them. Deeply.
I pray that my friend will one day discover a relationship that fills her heart. It’s a great feeling when it happens. If I could encourage her and you today, love each other deeply. It doesn’t matter if it’s Valentine’s Day or not. Just love each other deeply.
For the deep love I have experienced from Hubby Rick, I am grateful.
Dear God – “Love one another deeply.” These were some of Jesus’ parting words to his dearest friends. They are simple words but oh, so difficult to live day in and day out. May we learn to love each other deeply because we have experienced and know the deep love You have for us. Amen.
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