“Why did you want to marry your wife? I mean, how did you know she was the one?”
What would you hope your husband might say about you when answering a question like this – or what might you hope to say about your wife when answering this question?
It is no easy question to answer. Honestly – the answer that often makes me shake my head the most is the answer “….because I’m just in love.” Amanda knows that I would never say that about her because I think it is a weak man’s answer.
It’s a cop out – if you ask me.
You might ask why I would say such a thing, and the reason is simple. Devotion in a relationship that is purely initiated because of your feelings will also fade away because of your feelings.
When you date – the feelings are grand because – for the most part – the circumstances are grand. You see the person you are dating – as an escape from the troubles of your life. But when you get married, you are no longer an escape for that person. You are in the trenches of life together – for better or worse.
When things start getting difficult and life feels like it is overwhelming – it is then that you really see whether this person thinks you are worthy to be loved. If their love for you was based on the emotions – you will see that when bad circumstances rise, bad emotions will rise, and then bad behavior will rise towards you. When the good emotions return – they will love you again and apologize for saying things they really didn’t mean……. once their emotions tell them that they don’t really mean it.
“Ben – what I did I do to make that person treat me like that? Do you think I could have done something different?” Amanda asked me this question one day when she got home from VCU – after her adviser mocked her, insulted her, and told her to quit college.
In that moment – I knew Amanda was worthy of love – because even when people were at their worse, she looked to correct herself before she ever thought to place the blame on someone else.
It was that moment – and many other moments like it – that I saw a woman that I could trust to always be the same because I had seen her act so graciously in circumstances that most of us would rip someone’s tongue out. I saw how she was able to treat herself – in the worst of circumstances and emotions. I saw how she was able to her family – in the worst of circumstances and emotions. I saw how she was faithful to treat me – in the worst of circumstances and emotions.
I saw a woman who I could trust to be the same 50 years from now – and it made me want to be her greatest protector.
“But what about your feelings about her?”
“Amanda knows my devotion to her is stronger than my feelings – because my feelings are at the mercy of my daily circumstances.” In as sincere of a voice as I could muster – I paused and said, “No matter how I feel – and no matter what circumstances I have to endure- I am wholly devoted to her because she is worthy of love.”
I mean every word of it too.
Too many people find their families and relationships falling apart because they base how they treat one another solely on their feelings. You will find that relationships based on emotion is a yo-yo of passionate abuse – one minute you love, another might you hate. Eventually – because no one learns to love someone else in spite of their emotions and circumstances – the bad outweighs the good, and the relationships break apart.
Then you are left to pick up the pieces of love and hate that comes and goes at the mercy of your emotions.
I don’t always feel like loving my wife – but my love for her is greatest when I will even deny myself to love her. That is the battle few people are willing to fight – but that is the battle that is most worthy of fighting. That battle is the one that makes or breaks relationships.
She is the protector of my heart – the future mother of my children – and I will suffer great loss and harm to my own person before I allow a petty, unreliable factor such as emotions dictate how I treat my wonderful, beautiful wife.
Emotional love is unreliable love, and I want my wife -and my future children- to be able to rely on me to love them.