I have been no stranger to storybook romance. Marrying at twenty-one to an Army Officer, I am blessed to be familiar with this form of love — love as a falling and a pursuit and a passion. We were introduced for the first time on a cold March afternoon, bundled up as we stood outside in snow-covered woods with our cherry-red noses and mittened hands.
Nine months later we were engaged. We were married a year after that, with vows breathed smack-dab in the middle of his two weeks’ vacation stateside before returning to Afghanistan.
From the very beginning of our relationship and even early on into our marriage we were almost exclusively separated by physical distance due to the nature of his job. Our relationship spanned many miles those first years, based upon his duty station. There were several hundreds of dollars spent on phone cards that paid for thousands of pieced together minutes that stretched from the Midwest to the Middle East over the course of twenty-six months. There were stacks upon stacks of handwritten letters tucked into envelopes and mailed across war zones and continents and 14,000 miles of worries and dreams strung together.
It is within those cherished letters, mementos I have since arranged chronologically and tucked away meticulously in the corner of an upstairs closet, that I find confirmation that this love of ours has, without a doubt, changed over time.
It isn’t merely the friction caused when fond memories of our past collide with the weariness and the just-plain-hard that this season of life holds. No, this is something altogether different.
The two of us were joined in a distinct and measurable moment in time, marked by music and vows and candles and, again, snow.
But the everyday love of marriage is a daily joining, a daily vowing, with words and actions that we still “do,” even now, especially now.
And it’s in the everyday hard that we keep building us and keep choosing the other person.
Everyday love is strung together choices. The feelings — make no mistake — those will ebb and flow as surely as the sun will rise and fall, rise and fall again and again with morning mercies. But marriage is not meant to be a lifetime commitment to romantic love alone, with its conditional bent and fleeting tendencies. Marriage is designed to be a holy and repetitive “I do”, an over and over again, everyday commitment of choosing “us” over “me.”
Marriage is being committed to intentionally looking for love, because, frankly, with all of the ways this life wears me thin and weighs me down day after day, it can be hard to recognize love in the moment.
But if I take a brief minute to pause and reflect on the millions of little things that comprise my days, I am flooded with displays of love fleshing themselves out right in front of my sleep-deprived eyes:
- It’s in his too-early alarm that goes off in the darkness of what could, what should, still be considered the middle of the night.
- It’s in the short texts he sends to see how my day is unfolding.
- It’s in the cheerful way he greets our son and me after enduring a full day out in the world.
- It’s in his offer to take over the bedtime routine so I can get a head-start on cleaning up the dinner mess.
- It’s in his work ethic and cheerful spirit and the fact that he has never, ever, literally not once, complained about the humdrum monotony of being the sole provider for our little family.
- It’s in his support and validation of my work as a stay-at-home mom.
In these ways and thousands of others, he shows me, he tells me, he loves me.
Maybe someday the two of us will be able to escape on romantic weekend getaways again or get fancied up and share a candlelit meal at a reservations-only restaurant. But in our current season, I’m learning to cherish the subtle, to see and appreciate self-sacrifice humbly embodied. And to be honest, I’d choose this love over will-wilt flowers any day.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I love this, “Everyday love is strung together choices.” Amen! If we were always just guided by our feelings, we would have some pretty lackluster marriages. At our marriage ceremony, the pastor issued us a challenge to try to “out love” each other every single day. That includes days that our spouse is grumpy, tired, distracted, over-worked, etc. I have tucked that in the back of my mind to try to live out each day. Also, this is my second marriage. My first was emotionally and mentally abusive mixed with infidelity. I KNOW what a good man I have now and I thank God every day for him before I rise. Thanking God for my husband helps me stay focused on the good man he is and helps me to overlook the flaws that we all have. Great post!
This is so good for my heart right now. We are in a season of small children, temper tantrums, lots “why” questions and diapers! It leaves little time for each other and grand I love you’s and really no time or budget for dates. However to take the time to see the I love yous in the small everyday things is a game changer. Thank you so much.
Brittany, this is simply beautiful! Sometimes the hard is so hard, it makes us forget the everyday displays of love. I find for me, keeping a running list of these is such therapy for the difficult days, when choosing us isn’t an easy choice.
Lisa-Jo Baker says
Everyday love is my favorite too 🙂
Michele Morin says
“Strung together choices.”
That is such a beautiful way of describing the day to day hard job of loving and saying in 10 thousand ways, “I’d choose you all over again!”
Blessings to you, and thank you for all the sacrifices and adjustments that you have made!
Beth Williams says
I love the flashes of love shining in my eyes. My flashes include my hubby working various shifts 45 minutes from home. He never complains about work. He has also put up with me and my aging parents. They have had multiple medical issues over the course of our 13 year marriage. I’ve had to quit a good paying job to care for my dad. Finally late last year I was able to go back part-time. He is the exact kind of person I prayed for. God does know best! We can’t go on feelings all the time because they ebb and flow. Some days I’m grumpy and tired from running around helping my dad and working and other days he’s tired from working 12-13 hrs. Yes we love each other, but love is a choice!
Sweet love story, Brittany. 🙂 Thank you to your husband and family for your sacrifices on our behalf. — A lot of everydays gather together, creating a lifetime, don’t they? — Blinking is not advised. I blinked and woke up in some twilight zone where it’s the year of my 25th anniversary. Crazy! (Not ’till Oct. though.) — Sweet post, Brittany, thank you for sharing. 🙂
Congratulations on almost 25 years of choosing to love , Brenda. I wish you many many more decades together and pray for that same kind of love and commitment for myself someday.
Thank you Brittany for your wonderful post. It really hit home since my husband is a Navy Reservist and travels often. He also has gone to Afghanistan and has changed because of his tour. We have been married 20 years now and it hasn’t been easy. A lot of ups and downs. I hang in there because I feel God wants me here. This post is “His” way of letting me know that my ebbs and flows of feelings for my husband is normal. Thank you for that reassurance..
Thank you for your husband, you and your family’s sacrifices for us. I know that military life isn’t easy on us.
I love your quote, “But the everyday love of marriage is a daily joining, a daily vowing, with words and actions that we still “do,” even now, especially now”.
I have a hard time choosing to do daily things of love for him. I am burnt out, tired and need to do some self care things for myself. I am past due… we do kiss upon leaving and arriving home, snuggling. What is a good way to do something daily for him? I do small things but I guess in my mind I am thinking it needs to be bigger things. Anyone else feel that way too?
Become an expert on what things he likes, even making a list for yourself to draw on when you need an idea. My husband loves for me to just walk through the woods with him or go for a drive, (which doesn’t sound that exciting & often I’d rather clean up the kitchen), but I’m always refreshed & thankful I stepped away from my “Martha” self to focus on just being together. Think back to when you were dating – it was never difficult to spend time together & it didn’t have to be a “big” event to be special, right? You can always ask him for his top 5 ways to be loved & be ready to share yours. Even after 20 years you can’t ALWAYS read each others’ minds, right? That’s what keeps things fun. Finding things to laugh about (even if you have to find a Redbox movie you both enjoy during stressful times) can remind you why you married each other. Choosing kindness & gentle responses when you feel most fragile can help you to maintain a peaceful heart for yourself as well as others in the home. It doesn’t seem fair, but the “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” adage is often true & we have more influence over the atmosphere in our home than we admit. Hang in there & most of all ask God to give you inspiration & His strength to love the people in your life.
I really enjoyed this Brittany! Thank you so much for sharing! I hope to one day get married to a godly and loving man and I thank you for sharing some wisdom on marriage! Blessings and love! Xoxo
Kristin Vanderlip says
Love this Brittany. Thank you for sharing! I always especially love reading the words of a fellow milspouse. I have been where you have been and I love your words and how you see the expressions of love. Also, I’m not sure how long y’all have been married for but this year my husband and I will be married for 10 years (and have two boys 2 and 5), and we’ve made it this year to intentionally seek a romantic getaway together, a long dream come true I never thought possible. Praying this is in your future soon too!
Leslie Gore says
Help I bought the book left it on the buscan’t get another one anybody have a extra book please