By: Rebekah Miller
I was nineteen when I publicly said yes to forever. I DO. Those simple words, for me, were connected to the vision of two aging souls being blended together in such a way that couldn’t separate one apart from the other. At the beginning stages of our relationship there was an old couple that we often crossed paths with. They probably had been married for a good forty plus years. There was nothing overly affectionate about their relationship, yet something about them always drew me in.
The husband had a military, raw, “this is the way it is” about him that was perfectly balanced with his wife’s tender spirit. He would often say things that lacked sensitivity, yet one look from his wife was strong enough to break his shell and reminding him of who he was. She too gained a little more strength in the company of her husband. It wasn’t because she seemed weak without him, but an “All is well with the world” sense followed her when together with him.
Before saying “yes” to my husband, we fought so much people around us worried as to whether or not we would make it. We were young. Away from home, we met in a small bible school tucked away in the Adirondack Mountains. Sets of rules and guidelines were put in place by the administration for students in regards to dating. One of those rules required a couple to be accompanied by a third wheel unless given permission to go on a date. My need for privacy always publicly conflicted with my husband’s unashamed alliance with transparency. This left me with an abundance of unresolved frustrations as I refused to solve our differences in the presence of listening ears. Despite the building tension that stuck through our engagement, there was an unwavering knowing that this man was the one I would commit to loving.
I actually ran the opposite way tirelessly testing how real his love was for me. I was quick to present or even create obstacles that I could foresee being potential threats for a breakup. I wasn’t looking for him to keep me weak in the knees fifty years from now. I just needed to know that he’d stay with me, forever. I needed to know he was willing to conquer any fears of commitment.
Well, it wasn’t long before I had realized that this old blended love that drew me in wasn’t going to be built overnight by a simple “I do”. The struggles, the discussions, the tears, the disagreements, the differences, and annoyances, all together trumped by commitment would later sand our marriage into something beautiful.
I once heard someone say, “You don’t have to be in love to become love.”
So many are so quick to give up when the fresh highs of being in love fade. I’ve learned through marriage that love is a stubborn choice to persist rain or shine. Love is a decision that goes beyond the “me” or “now.” Love is taking his name, and leaving my own. Love is the choice to make love when you’d rather sleep. It’s about doing laundry when the basket’s getting full. It’s being punctual because being late drives him crazy. It’s initiating reconciliation when you don’t feel you were wrong. It’s attempts towards giving your spouse undivided attention with demanding kids. The list goes on…
Love means stepping out of our comfort zone to continue conquering a conquered heart. The roses and chocolates of a mature love are found in the willingness to both learn and adjust. It’s agreeing to serve someone after knowing both the beauty and the beast in them.
From the moment I said “I DO” up to now, I can see the evidence of this blending that first drew me in. It’s continuously happening little by little, day by day. This subtle yielding to change is persistently working to grind the both of us into the couple we are. I am committed to a forever kind of love, because love is not love if not forever.