Sometimes, I’m not sure I actually know what love is.
Luke and I have been married five years and sometimes i’m afraid i’m not loved or loving.
In the early days of marriage, I suspected my husband didn’t truly love me at all, because even though I knew I wasn’t perfect, he NEVER once sat me down with a list of things I was doing badly and encouraged me to do better and repent. Not a single time did he shout at me for selfishness.
I was truly disturbed at his refusal to be a godly leader who spoke the truth in love to me -(by giving me verbal lists of how badly i was doing). I figured he was just bottling up all that anger inside. (as a matter of fact, he does have a tendency to bottle up anger, but also he really just doesn’t get angry that often).
I sincerely believed love meant, in part, picking someone else apart, judging their motives, and encouraging them towards godliness by letting very little slide by unmentioned – because that wouldn’t be kind, and it wouldn’t be rejoicing in truth. Hate what is evil.
i was also under the impression that as an underling (daughter then wife) for ME to love meant to stay fairly silent. Love covers a multitude of wrongs, you see.
That love was unselfish and that I should therefore not even mention what I want unless asked.
That being a good wife meant belonging, body and soul, to my husband – always sexually available, a great housekeeper and general ‘helpmeet’ jumping at his whim, but actually trying to guess his whims ahead if time and fulfill his wishes before he asks if possible – otherwise i wouldn’t be a loving wife but a reluctant servant. Being a pretty wife, so he won’t leave (and it would be all my fault). He never asked for any of this from me, he only wanted me to be my own person but for years it didn’t matter. I tried to just merge the two – be me while subjugating every part of me to what i thought would make him happy, in the name of biblical womanhood and love. but eventually you lose track of who you are and find yourself just trying to earn love. Forever insecure and forever trying to earn something that is best just given.
And now…. now i don’t feel like I know what love is anymore.
I’m pretty sure love doesn’t mean picking people apart to make sure they never make god angry. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean losing all your boundaries to the people you love. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look like burnout or codependency or denial of feelings.
So what is love? and do i love luke, actually? or am i really incapable of loving and being loved?
Here is where i should probably insert 1 Corinthians 13 on love. But you see, that’s been coopted, reapplied, to mean specific things in my mind I’m now doubting. It won’t be very helpful.
So…. To the Dictionary!
The dictionary has spoken, Luke.
I guess I do love you.
Although i still find it more meaningful to say “I like you”
“I like cleaning the kitchen with you (I like sitting on the floor while you clean the kitchen)”,
“I like discussing books with you”,
“I think you’re really attractive”,
“i enjoy being around you”,
“I need you; you make me happy”
“I demand a date night this week”
“I want to help you when you’re sad”,
“you’re my favorite person”.
Happy Anniversary, my Luke. I have a strong liking for you.