10.11.12

I could cry. I could sit down as I write and weep with gratitude.

My marriage is far from idyllic. My husband and I are two flawed people. Each of us has a ton of issues on our own that we have acquired through the course of our lives. And fourteen years ago today we decided to bring our brokenness together. For life.

Sometimes I wonder if there is a link between being in love and being insane.

He married a cheerleader. I only wore the uniform for a year in jr. high and a year in high school, but it’s more who I am than what I wear. I encourage. I cheer.

But something happened after we got married. All of the sudden, my husband became an extension of me. I think it’s pretty common. And while I cheered everyone else on, I picked myself apart. I focused on my imperfections and criticized. So I started to do that to him, too.

I didn’t mean to. I was just working out my issues. And unfortunately he paid the price. I don’t think he could have put into words what was happening, but I know he (and our marriage) felt the effects.

But he was patient with me. He hung in there with me. He gave me time. He gave me space. He gave me love. It didn’t always look pretty, but that was in fact what happened. He stayed with me.

And a few years ago, when I really broke down, there wasn’t much he could do to help me. But he gave me understanding and compassion. He gave me time and resources and support to get myself the help I needed.

And I am so humbled to have chosen him fourteen years ago when I was insane with being in love.

Don’t get me wrong; he’s had his own demons to fight along the way, too. No one is perfect. Happily ever after doesn’t exist.

But to have been given the gift of commitment is immense. A gift of an imperfect marriage that has space and room and freedom for each of us to grow and change. Together.

I still remember my wedding day. It could not have been better. I stood there in my beautiful white dress next to my handsome knight in shining armor with people saying, “Congratulations!” And I also remember saying, “Today is the easy part. Congratulate us 50 years from now. Then we will have done something special.”

Fourteen is a far cry from fifty, but we are making our way there. We are growing. We are changing. We are learning how to be a team. We are doing the impossible job of raising a family together.

And I can sit down and weep. Because the hard and the pain and the joy and the imperfect come together with love and commitment to make something so incredibly beautiful that I stand back and shed tear after tear after tear of gratitude for this man and all he has given me.

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hyperventilatng

If yesterday was “trying to breathe” then today is definitely “hyperventilating”.

Yeah. That’s is my husband’s new car in the picture. The one that I was driving to the conference. I hit a pole as I pulled out to come home. Mostly drive-able but somewhat banged up.

I am the car.

My one-on-one appointments didn’t go as well as I had dreamed them in my mind. I knew that was likely to happen, but it didn’t make the dream less desirable, thus less painful to part with.

I fought back tears now and then in the following few hours. There was more learning to do so the emotions would have to wait. I am not sure my emotions are used to waiting.

But by the end of the night I thought I had moved passed it. The agent I pitched to during the social time who asked me to send all of what I had (when the revisions I told her about are done) helped a bit for sure.

Then I hit the pole. A four-letter word may or may not have passed my lips. As I drove home I battled myself just like I did in the era my book is about. Because of the plot seminar I took today I can now articulate the “faulty belief” I held in those days. Love is earned.

And ever since my one-on-one’s that didn’t go how I dreamed, I struggled with a feeling that I had not earned the right to be loved by my husband (who sacrificed time, money, and a weekend as a single parent for me to be there).

I know this isn’t true. In my head, anyway. It was just hard to convince the rest of me. Especially after that pole.

Love is a gift…….a gift of grace.

My husband does not love me because I make his life easier or better or more comfortable. He doesn’t love me because I am such a wonderful wife and avoid poles when I drive the car.

I was just so frustrated that I was dealing with this old issue. No matter how my husband might respond (because let’s give him some grace and remember he is a human husband and doesn’t love to spend a long hard day with the kids just to have his wife come home with a banged up car) I want my reaction to be one of a person who knows that love is not earned.

But like the car, even though there were some hits today, all is not lost. I certainly have made some wonderful friends and connections at this conference. My understanding of the book I am writing and the audience I am writing it for is clarified. I have WAY more tools to practice to become a better writer. And after moving through some emotions and lots of Kleenex, I remember that love is a gift of grace, impossible to earn.