Thursday, February 10, 2011

All Things Love: Effective Love

Psst. Sorry, I didn't realize that this wasn't scheduled to post in the morning. I'm back-dating it so everything will be in order. Thanks!

*This is the fourth installment of All Things Love week. If you'd like to start at the beginning and work your wait through, you can read about how we have to change our thought process on love, here. Day two of ATL week is all about the breakdowns of romance. If you are looking for romantic ideas for Valentines Day, click here.

In October of 2009, I married my high school sweetheart. Whenever any couples decide to get married, people give advice and tell them what books that should read to help them out and how to effectively love each other. One of the books that was recommended to us was "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. I had heard about this book and I was definitely intrigued by it. So, I bought it and we started reading it together and then I just kind of read it on my own and I never finished it. (The book is about all the different languages that are out there and how to tell which one you are and which one your partner is. It's a great tool. I haven't even read it all and I recommend it. I'll add it to my reading pile.)

The reason being was that one, I was planning a full blown wedding in five weeks and two, I was in the love stage where I felt like we would be living happily ever after and would know how to love each other. How wrong I was.

Have you ever heard that marriage is hard? Because it is. It's really hard to get a routine down. To figure everything out. Bryan and I are in our second year of marriage and while most people say the first year of marriage is the honeymoon phase, is euphoric and the best - ours was decidedly not. Our first year of marriage sucked. Whenever I say that Bry always gets mad because it sounds misleading.

The first year of our marriage was one of the most busy and blessed years of our lives, but that doesn't change the fact that all of those blessings put a ton of weight and responsibility and burden on our new and fragile marriage. In the first year of marriage, Bryan's truck broke down so we had one vehicle. Some crazy lady T-boned me and suddenly we had no vehicle. Half our family was living at a different house due to a no-pet policy at our rental and for the first eight months all of Bryan's stuff was at the same house our pets were at. We tried to find a house to rent but all of them were so expensive and so unattractive that we started to look into buying a house. We bought a house. More specifically, we bought a huge project house and supervised months and months of construction... While living at Bryan's Dad's house. Bryan was blessed to get a every weekend gig at Harris Ranch and then later it was doubled to two nights a weekend, so we never saw each other. I had health problems with some medication and ballooned to a weight that I can't seem to shake off. We moved into our house only to find that the contractors had done a shoddy job on the painting and that we didn't have the time, effort, or desire to unpack all of the boxes that had been in storage. We got screwed over by a dishonest guy who was supposed to paint our house and lay our wood flooring.

Some of what happened was really good and some was awful. Regardless of if it was good or bad, we were a brand new married couple and we were having a hard time processing everything that was being thrown at us. On top of that, we were trying to find a balance of being together and not arguing over whatever we were going through at that moment.

Living with someone and trying to maintain some type of intimate relationship while everything around you is complete chaos is hard. We bickered and knit-picked at each other a lot during these hard times. We were juggling so many things at once that we hardly had time to 'date' each other in our marriage. We were too busy, too tired, too stressed. During those times, I did find myself wondering if Bryan and I were going to be okay, if we were going to make it. I wondered what we would have left when everything slowed down.

After the initial shock of actually being in a house that we owned wore off, things started to slow down. We had a few months that we blew a lot of time and didn't really accomplish anything. Now, we're getting involved in church and in Bible studies and Bryan is still booking gigs right and left. We're trying to go to the gym every weekday night. But the things that occupy our time are easier to deal with because they are things we want to do. Not things that we have to do.

So, our life together has a calmer aura to it this year than it did last year and now we are left with the fall out from last year. Unfortunately, we didn't make it a priority to focus on the intimate details of our relationship so now we are having to sort through a lot of junk to get back to where we were.

Love is a feeling. Beyond that it is a word, an action, a promise. Love is only effective if you use the tools that you have to convey your point. Love is never effective if you always let fear or resentment stand in the way. If you are able to learn from other peoples mistakes, learn from ours. It will be a long road to gain back the intimacy that was lost while we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Take the information you've learned (hopefully most of it was helpful!) and apply it to your relationship right now. Start being deliberate and effective in your love life. You'll be amazed at what you get in return.


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