I’ve been down with a creeping crud for over a week now. And when you’re sick, you have lots of time to think in between sessions of much needed naps, hacking up a lung, medicating, emptying yet another box of tissues, and just generally lying around feeling awful.
And my husband…he who probably shared his contagion with me (although he did not have this crud as severely as I have)…he’s been his typical self. His serving self. His loving self.
And that has caused me to think about one subject in particular.
Love. It’s been defined in so many ways. Most think love is the ooey gooey feeling you get when you’re infatuated with someone. Others confuse love with lustfulness.
We humans romanticize love. Feelings, attraction, hearts and flowers and romantic gestures. Of course they all have a part in convincing yourself you’re in love. And that love leads a young lady in white lace and a young man with promises on his lips to the altar of marriage.
But what does love look like after decades of marriage? What is it like after the bouts of in sickness and health? For richer or poorer? For better or worse? Will it last until death do us part?
Here’s my definition of love, in no particular order.
- phoning home every night you’re away on business just to let her know where you are;
- sacrificing your wants for the welfare of your family;
- holding her hair back while she throws up every morning in the early stages of pregnancy;
- supporting her in every endeavor she tries and encouraging her when she fails;
- cleaning and dressing her 28 staples long incision from cancer surgery and caring for her during recovery;
- going to a steak restaurant for your anniversary because she doesn’t like seafood but you love it;
- getting up countless times a night to rock that third baby back to sleep even though you have to work the next morning;
- working hard and saving for the future just so she can stay home to nurture and care for your children;
- holding her tightly while she is wracked with sobs of grief over the death of her parents;
- bathing the children and putting them to bed because she’s exhausted even though you just got back from a business trip and you’re tired as well;
- undergoing a sleep study because your snoring keeps her up at night;
- dropping everything to assist her and the children when they need you;
- setting a godly example as a father by not just attending church with your family but praying and reading your Bible;
- never giving up when you’re suddenly without a job;
- standing out in the pouring rain/freezing cold/snowstorm to fill her car with gas because you know she needs it in the morning;
- taking off work to sit in a hospital waiting room with her while your teenage/adult child has surgery;
- listening to her pour out the things that scare her, trouble her, and cause her to cry out in heart-brokenness and reassuring her you’ll always be there to help;
- standing up for her, protecting her, providing for her, and caring for her;
- midnight trips to Wal-Mart because the flu is keeping her from sleep and she’s all out of cold remedies.
Love is putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own.
Love is my husband of 38 years.