Photo by Robb Duncan of Pixxil Photography
Small One woke up at 6:10am today, Husband got up next, played with him, fed him, I think. I don’t know because I was asleep most of that time until almost 8am when I got out of bed. Even two weeks ago, we could not have done this without me lying there, racked with guilt that I was being a bad wife. Husband works hard, he has a job that places high demands on his intellect, his management and his skills, and he excels in all departments. Before we started our married life together, I thought he would come home to a clean apartment and wake up to a warm breakfast because I was going to be awake before dawn.
It didn’t happen. It is not happening. Instead for the past two months and what looks like the foreseeable future, Husband wakes up with Small One and cares for him while I get some extra sleep. Many days we have breakfast together as a family, but on a few days like today, I sleep until Small One’s morning nap at 8am, which means yes, I wake up and then have two more hours to myself. And yes, Husband goes to work where he has not time for himself until 6:30pm when he leaves to come home so he can spend a few minutes with his son before putting him to bed.
Making room for love in my heart and in my life has not been an easy journey. People talk about falling in love or being in love or just loving another person in ways that make it sound like a natural process human beings go through. Maybe it is for some, or maybe I’m a little abnormal in this way, but I didn’t just love people, and when it comes to the topic of romantic love for a man, I didn’t want to go there.
There’s no need to go into the complex reasons, the simple ones are obvious enough: Trust is hard. Relationships take work. Work is hard. Life on my own was easy, enjoyable even. “‘Til death do us part” is a long time. My commitments tend to have a four-year time limit. And the list goes on.
I can’t remember why I made room in my life for love; it wasn’t a conscious decision but one that evolved over time before I met Husband. Perhaps it’s the reason I didn’t run screaming when we stood at the bookshelf during our second meeting. I didn’t stay long, just five minutes. But it was enough for significant memory to form, an impression of him was made in that moment and a real connection ignited.
I think about this when I watch single people, men and women, and observe the choices they make. I read about university hookup culture and delayed marriage, and I think, What would happen if we opened our hearts to real love? Isn’t pining after a cheap version of it a sign that we’re afraid of the real thing?
I think about it when I think about my own life and marriage because making room for love isn’t a one-time decision, it’s a path I am forging, and it means daily decisions that cuts a bit of the brush out of the way, taking one step forward tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and so on. Love is costly, when Husband leaves in the morning for work, he has been awake for several hours with our son, meeting needs only to turn around and face a long day of thinking, working, acting. All of this costs him something but he pays the cost because he loves me. There is room in his life for me, for his son. And I make room in my heart for him by receiving the ways he wants to love me and serve our family.
Making room for love is one of the costliest decisions I have ever made, and from watching Husband’s life, I would say it is one of the costliest for him as well. We navigate our marriage daily through the joys before us, the traps laid by our enemies and the follies of our own selves, and there have been many conversations, tears, an ocean of grace, forgiveness upon forgiveness upon forgiveness, laughter, peace, agreement, humility and passion. But in paying the price, I have discovered this basic truth: Love’s expense makes it worthwhile. We treasure the people and relationships that cost us everything.