Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fairytale Love

When I was growing up my mom had a bookshelf full of Danielle Steele & Harlequin romance novels. Around the age of 15-16 I started reading them.

I read about star crossed love, all consuming passion, feeling like someone was the center of your universe.. I read about fighting and making up, I read about overcoming insurmountable obstacles for love. I read about hot sex.... - well they were romance novels.

But the thing that stuck with me most in all of the books was the idea of what 'true love' was. What it felt like, what it looked like, how it made someone treat you and how it make you treat the person you loved in return.

I read that true love was all encompassing, breath taking, joyful and heart breaking... I read that true love always won... that true love conquered all.. and since that's pretty much what I'd been taught in church and reading the Bible it didn't seem all that unreal or unreasonable to me - in spite of never really having experienced that kind of love first hand or having seen it between my parents or family members.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant (5) or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; (6) it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (7) Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I believe to this day, with all my heart that I truly loved the person I was in a relationship before my husband. He ended up being abusive and it took me 3 years to finally walk away. I know you're thinking.. she probably said she stayed because she loveeeeed him and that is what most women in those types of situations do say. Well I did love him but I stayed because I was scared, and young and naive and didn't know any better. When I finally left it wasn't because I realized that I didn't love him.. I did.. it was because I realized that I loved myself more. Sometimes love means walking away - especially if it's one sided.

That relationship put a big dent in my view of love. I could say there were many other factors in there as well - my birth father was never a part of my life (abandonment issues).. I never felt like I belonged or fit in with my own family (never good enough).. or really that I was even liked, much less loved by most of them (unlovable)... I have always been different from everyone else I've ever known... I didn't have a relationship with my mother... the list goes on and on and while some, hell probably most of those things probably had and to some extent still have some effect on the way I love and allow myself to be loved they never broke the dream of what I, in the deepest part of my heart, believed love was supposed to be.

All the hurts and let downs I've had in my life never crushed me to the point where I gave up on or stopped believing in love.

After leaving my ex it took 5 years of being single before I even dared the idea of putting myself 'out there' again and even attempt dating much less opening myself up to loving someone or being loved in return, but I finally did and I met my husband.. whom I love dearly.. and who loves me dearly in return.

But even with that love being returned things aren't the way I dreamed they would be.

Lately I've been feeling lost in life...my joy seems to have gone missing and I'm having a hard time finding it. This funk, for lack of a better word, I've found myself in has resulted in me becoming much more 'needy' of my husband than I usually am and it's also made me much more aware and affected by things he does that I normally would be able to brush off. When I ask for your attention I want it NOW, not when you finish the level you're playing on your game, or when you finish reading a couple of e-mails or whatever it is that you're doing that doens't involve your very real human live wife! It's also brought me back to what my idea of love is...

My husband says that the kind of love I talk about only exists in movies or romance novels. He says that the husband I want him to be isn't reasonable, realistic or even possible. I say he's wrong.

This leaves me in a scary place... I believe with all of my heart and soul that the kind of love I believe in is real... and I believe that my husband and I are 100% capable of experiencing it and showing it to one another, but I wonder can two people who've never been shown or experienced that kind of true love find their way to it.

My husband's parents divorced when he was young - his mom and dad fought a lot and from what I understand didn't have the best relationship. His mom remarried as did his dad and while both are still married to their respective spouses neither of them have a kind of relationship I'd call normal or healthy. His mom & step-dad are pretty apathetic about life in general. I've never seen them be affectionate to one another or heard them tell each other I love you. His dad and step-mom are an uber Christian version of a Stepford house. His dad is the 'man' of the house and his step-mom does his every bidding and agrees with everything he says. Neither of those reflect the kind of marriage I want.

So neither of us grew up with great examples of healthy happy love... and where I'm apparently a romantic at heart, he's a very fact based, scientific reasoning driven realist. Which lately leaves us both in a not so happy place.

I believe that next to God your spouse comes first. I believe that a human living wife should take precedent over ANY electronic devise - well unless it's a defibrillator and someone is in cardiac arrest - and that it takes spending time together, communicating and cherishing each other to have a happy marriage.

I believe....I believe that I've come to a point where I'm stumbling over words and have no idea where I want or need to go with this anymore....

I guess that's the thing about using writing as a cathartic means... you just write until you get out what you need to get out and eventually - finished thought or not - you run out of steam.

Ladies and gents I seem to have reached that point... I'm spent. My heart is breaking, my soul is weary and I'm deep down to the bone tired.

I spent a lot of time crying today and calling out to God for some kind of peace... some kind of help to regain the joy I used to have in life, to regain the connection I used to feel with Him and a way to fill the emptiness that is currently devouring my soul... and while I didn't get an audible response I do think He answered.

We have rows and rows of books in our apartment and searching for something - anything - I came across "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. I'm a big believer that God puts things in front of you when you need them most so I'm believing out of all the spiritual and religious books we have that this one stood out most for a reason.

"The Purpose Driven Life"  is 40-day spiritual journey that will transform your answer to life's most important question: "What on earth am I here for?"

And I think that's just what I need.

God is truly amazing in ways I can't even begin to put into words... as I'm typing this, crying, feeling lost I had a thought come through my mind... a quiet thought that.. in trying to be the best wife I can I've forgotten how to be the best ME I can.... In getting caught up in the role of spouse, I've lost who I am in the role of ME. In trying to once again take care of someone else in my life, I've stopped taking care of ME.

I expect I'll write a lot in the next 40 days... and Praise God I also expect I'll find my way back to who I really am in Him.. and I'll find my way to being the wife my husband needs and finding the man I need in my husband. Because in Him I KNOW the kind of love I dream about is real.

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