There comes a time in every relationship when it’s do or die.
And by that, of course, I mean, it feels like there is a point in every relationship when you have to do something or the relationship will die.
You know, like the times you’ve been completely neglecting your better half, “pretending” to fall asleep at night or ignoring any romantic advances.
When you’ve stopped shaving and grooming efforts because, well, what’s the point again?
When the house is such a disaster you couldn’t even light a candle for a romantic dinner if you wanted … because it would be a health hazard.
It feels like love and relationships are a constant, shifting balance of merits and hurts. Sometimes, I imagine one of those old-fashioned tipping scales to keep track of my relationship health. OK, if I add two selfless deeds to the love side, will that make up for that massive fight we had last night?
It’s like I feel the need to keep score. Am I doing a good job? Is my husband happy? Am I doing enough to keep this relationship alive?
But the truth is, I think I have it all wrong.
I can’t earn my husband’s love any more than he can earn mine.
How foolish it is to think I can keep track of our love like the score of a ridiculous ping-pong game, adding a little extra love here when I’m sick and feeling ugly or taking a little out there when he’s making me really mad.
Love is not earned. It is simply given.
“For years I’ve been rowing this boat, chanting along the way “earn love! earn love!” -
all the while putting on a circus of charades – bending over backwards, swallowing fire,
wrestling tigers with my bare hands all in the name of ‘LOVE MUST BE EARNED.’
Lately, my spiritual director has been encouraging me to let God love me through my husband
(+ my children). To see it. To mark it down. To relish in the fact that LOVE is given in spite
of EVERYTHING: the messy hair, the burnt pancakes, dirty bathrooms, or the fact that I stayed
in my pajamas ALL day long.
Just you. He loves just you.
My husband could not care less about my teapot. I mean this man could drink his tea out
of recycled aluminum cans and not bat an eye. But he DOES care about me. The little things.”
There is so much wisdom in Brittany’s words because deep down, don’t we all feel just a little bit unworthy of being loved by someone? Don’t we all feel just a little too flawed, too ugly, too something that doesn’t quite measure up?
We can believe that we have to become something — the perfect weight, the made-up girlfriend, the ideal housewife — before we will be loved, or believe in the truth.
That love is enough.
It can be in the form of a parent, exhausted yet rocking the baby through the night; a wife fearing her husband won’t love her new postpartum body, a man fearful of the proposal he is planning.
We are afraid that we aren’t worthy.
But the truth is, love is enough. It’s always enough.
And maybe none of us are truly deserving of love.
Or maybe the truth is, love is always there. Whether we realize it or not.
Image via j&j brusie photography
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