Tuesday, December 16, 2008
New Love or Long Love?
I read an interesting article on the plane home from New York the other day, that you should check out. Read it here. I know, you may be getting tired of talking about gay marriage, but there is something here I want you to notice.
There is something bigger here than the topic of gay marriage (at least in my mind), that is present both in the article and the video. See if you can spot it. I will come back to it later this week...
Meanwhile, I just had to comment on my trip with Amy to New York this weekend. We had a great time, she was totally surprised, and I'm the husband of the year so the rest of you can stop trying.
As we were walking the streets of Manhattan, I was contemplating how great it was to be able to fulfill a wish that Amy has had for years - to go to New York at Christmas time and see the tree in Rockefeller center. I had looked forward to her response since I bought the tickets over a month ago. I planned the surprise meticulously, trying not to forget any detail that could make it more meaningful for her. Now that we were there, I was loving it.
But what made it even more special was the fact that there were 15 years of memories together walking with us on those streets. There was 15 years of knowledge of what she likes and dislikes, what means the most to her and what she can give or take. Knowledge that a year or even five years of marriage doesn't give you.
New love is exciting and fun, but there was something about the trip that was deeper, more special because of our long love. It's hard to explain. It's hard to give the feeling a name. Part appreciation, part gratitude, part reminiscent, part "make every moment count because we're not promised tomorrow" (something I had no comprehension of 10 years ago). I don't know what to call it, but it was deeeep.
New love gets all the attention, but it's that same love fostered over time that is like a priceless jewel that you have to dig to the middle of the mountain to retrieve. It's a lot of work getting there, and you might be tempted to settle for a lesser jewel along the way, but if you can make it, the reward is exponential.
What about your marriage? What have you done to foster that long love in your own home? What have you done to treasure your spouse(especially you, men - God made your wife to need to feel treasured by you)?
It's really not that hard, once you decide to do it. It doesn't have to be a trip. I just used Amy's likes and dislikes as a springboard to make her feel special. For instance:
--I can deal with a little mess at home, but she likes it clean (no dishes in the sink, floor vacuumed, pillows arranged correctly on the couch, etc.). We used to argue because she felt like she wasn't getting any help and I thought she was being unrealistic about how clean the house should be all the time. Now, when I get home from work, I spend 30 minutes or so swiffering the floor (it's wood), doing the dishes and making the house look like she wants it so that she can walk in and relax instead of feeling like she has to clean. The difference in her response to me has been amazing. So, why didn't I just shut up and do that before? Good question.
--She wants to know that I think about her during the day. I used to say I did, but there was no real proof of that. Now, I try to find ways to let her know. Sometimes I show up at her work with lunch, sometimes it's just a text that says I'm thinking about her. Whatever. You'd be amazed at the power of the words, "I missed you today."
Basically, for Amy, every time I go the extra mile for her I am proving that I love her. Maybe your wife doesn't have those same needs, or maybe she wouldn't feel the same way about those things if you did them. Find out what her "extra mile" is and do whatever you can to fulfill it.
We saw 2 couples get engaged in front of the tree. They cried and everyone applauded- one guy raised his hands in victory when she said yes. It was pretty neat and I'm sure it's something they will never forget, but I couldn't help but wonder if they will make it to appreciate the benefits of a love that lasts.
Don't spend a second of time daydreaming of what it would be like to start over with someone else. YOU be someone else! Change how you relate to and treasure her and become what she has always wanted. You CAN do it, you just may not WANT to or see the NEED to.
Well, I dare you to do it for a month. You just may end up wondering what took you so long.