Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes
But it’s the only thing that I know
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive
~Ed Sheeran, Photograph
Little love notes in my lunch were things my husband used to do for me. Recently I found an old shoe box during my Spring Cleaning decluttering frenzy. It was overflowing with these sweet little love notes and my first thought was: Why doesn’t he do that for me anymore? Occasionally he’ll leave me a card…every once in a while a note…but they are very few and far between. And then I reminded myself I hardly do the same things I used to do for him when we were first dating–I used to sneak notes into his car so he’d find them when he left for work in the morning. On my lunch break I’d write a little poem and email it to him so he would know I was thinking of him during the day. It’s different now. Married life of 11 years and four kids later.
Our love isn’t shown in big and extravagant ways. It’s little things we do to show we love each other deeply–serving each other through acts that say: I love you without any conditions placed upon it.
One night I was exhausted. After all the kids were tucked into bed, I curled up on the couch next to him–our usual routine–he reads and I work on My Fit Family. Or I always have the best intentions to. Usually I put on a movie for background noise. I still can’t get out of that habit from my college years–needing background noise when I ‘study’. But that night instead of at least staying up for an hour, I felt my eyes drooping right away. 8:30 and I knew I’d be asleep soon–unable to keep my eyes open. I shut my computer and curled up into a small ball letting myself fall asleep while I told him: I never got my coffee. I wish I had gone earlier. My plan was to go to the store after the kids went to bed but I had no idea just how tired I would be that day. The neighborhood dogs were up all night barking, into the early morning when finally at 5am I decided to get up and start my day–with a raging allergy headache that no meds would touch. So it should have been no surprise to me that I couldn’t stay awake.
I remember waking up about an hour later, kissing him goodnight–he was still reading. I tiptoed into my room where baby was already fast asleep and crawled into my bed–thankful for no barking dogs this night and my headache had finally gone away. I slept well but when I woke up with a start at 6AM I was kicking myself for not having gone to the store the night before. My morning routine consists of waking up well before the rest of the house—a sleeping house–where I get to sip my coffee in silence. I grabbed some clothes knowing I should at least have the decency to change out of my pajama bottoms if I was going to go into the store. I grumbled to myself as I changed out of my pajama bottoms, cursing myself while I tried to find a matching shoe. I headed to the kitchen to grab the keys when I saw this:
Love. So simple. So kind.
There wasn’t a need for a love note. No need for a card filled with sweet nothings–because this, my unmarried readers, this is love when you are married. And it meant so much to me. Knowing he went to the store well after I went to bed without me asking–after he had already gotten comfortable and settled onto the couch–I felt like crying–so grateful for this small act of love that completely filled my heart.
And when he came home from work, while baby was napping and the big kids were riding their bikes in circles in the cudesac I was waiting so I could head out for a run–longing to feel the pavement under my feet and the wind against my face. But then I saw him change into his running clothes. Without a word, I hopped on the treadmill in the garage—knowing he also wanted to have those same feelings I longed for–especially after a day of work. Especially knowing what demons he’s been fighting about his childhood–I knew a run outside would do wonders for his soul. Small love. To show him I care. To show him through actions that he is loved big by his wife.
Little love becomes the biggest love of all when it’s repeated over and over. When you continue to serve the person you love, they can’t help but want to love and serve you in return. His servant’s heart was never more apparent than when he supported me in my training for my first 100 miler. And when the big day came, Chris stayed at the start/finish line–making sure I was the first person I saw when I would complete a 20 mile loop.
I can’t look at this picture without tearing up. Knowing Chris was out there, waiting for me after every 20 mile loop, was the biggest comfort my heart could have. After every lap completed he was there– waiting for me–and seeing him after miles 20, 40, 60, 80, 100–it made me feel like I was coming home. Chris is home for me.
Marriage is so much about having a servant’s heart for the other person and when we get that, our marriage shines….but when we don’t, we have to work really hard to get out of that rut and not get stuck there.
Never Give Up,