Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

The Truth About True Love

Sometimes true love expresses itself in surprising ways.

I realized this the other day when Peter did something very utilitarian for me. It  caught me off guard to feel my heart warming and skipping a beat over something so small.

Young girls, listen up.

There are days when true love just changes the litter box.

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That’s what you’ve come to, you ask? I know that sounds unromantic. When I was younger, I would have thought a statement like that was a sure sign that our love was on life support just waiting to be buried, but hear me out, because the movies, magazines, nor music teach you this. They highlight the big, bold, and beautiful moments, but that’s just the infancy of love, not full-grown.

I started dating Peter at 15.

I, too, was excited by first love and all that it entails. I took my cues from my all-wise 15-year-old friends, Seventeen magazine, and the movies. I was clueless. I just knew that we were in love, always wanted to be together, and I was convinced that life was going to be one big date.

It wasn’t like I didn’t have any good examples in my life. My parents had a good marriage, but my 15-year-old self thought that surely there was more to true love than a farmer-husband who worked long hours to provide for his family who came home to a wife and house full of daughters (and their friends who were all chattering about everything that happened that day, and what it meant, and what might happen tomorrow and who said what) to sit and eat dinner every.single.night.  Where’s the spontaneity in that? Where’s the whirlwind? How did they become so ordinary, I wondered? What happened to their love?

I wanted a love that would drop everything, do anything, go anywhere because isn’t that what love does? I wanted the guy who would always be there for me (work never came into my mind), understand me completely (read:mind reader), and never let me down.  Me, me, me. (No pressure there, right? I wasn’t looking for love, I was looking for a god.)

This is what Hollywood pumps out because this is what we each crave. They sell what’s marketable.  Boy meets girl. Drama ensues. There are tensions, attraction, misunderstandings, but just like that they’ve fallen into some kind of crazy vortex and against their will and they are falling in love. Happily ever after and swoon.

But when the misty fields clear and youth fades and real life sets in and trouble comes, true love still beats strong in ways you’d never imagine.

True love winks at you from across a sea of kids at the kitchen table.

Holds your hand when your heart is anxious.

It fills your car with gas or picks up milk at the store.

It works three jobs to provide for the life you’ve created together.

It holds the sarcasm and speaks kindness instead.

True love looks you in the eyes and tells you are dead wrong. It pushes you to be a better person.

True love lets you sleep in the morning  or sends you to bed early when you are exhausted.

Oh, there are still romantic dinners and times away. Wonderful times.

But true love matures and the whirlwind of youth is replaced with steadiness and faithfulness in the mundane. Kindness in the little things, which you now realize are the big things.

Younger girls, when you think about love and are wondering if Mr. Wonderful is Mr. Right, think about little things he does, because they’ll make up your life.

How does he treats his neighbor?  How does he talk to the waiter in the restaurant? How does he react when hurt? Is he in control of his actions and emotions? Is he approachable, correctable, and “easy to be entreated”, the true sign of wisdom? Does he help the hurting and less fortunate? Is he generous to the needy? Does he cut corners and break rules,  because if he’ll do that for you he’ll do it to you one day.

Look for someone who loves God more than you.

It’s easier to notice the big man on campus, so don’t overlook the good guys on the sidelines, plodding along, doing the work, serving. They’re not as loud as the guy who is center stage, so keep your eyes on the perimeters.

Oh, and look for someone who wants to come home and eat dinner with you every single night. Twenty five years from now, you’ll thank me.

 

 



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