Thursday, February 18, 2016

And I Thought I Loved You Then

Valentine's Week - the week of love and hearts and romance. Some people say that it's a "Hallmark Holiday" that's all about the money and while that may be true, I still love it. I'll take any excuse to be sentimental.

First picture as an "official couple"

This was our first year in a new location and, as is typical with any relocation, we were asked about how we met. It's a story we love to tell. We've been together as a couple for almost eleven years now (ELEVEN!!! how did that happen?).

We met at college but didn't start dating until after I'd already graduated and moved. We went from emails to phone calls, all long distance, before we "officially" started dating. By the time we made things official I already knew that I loved him and he was already much loved by my family
- a first for any of my relationships. A year later we were engaged and the year after that we married. With each of those events my love just grew and grew. The day I walked down the aisle and saw the way he looked at me I didn't see how we could possibly love each other more. Now I look back and think about what babies we were and how we barely knew what love was.

Just Married
Fast forward two years and I was sending my husband off to basic while pregnant with our first child. My heart was breaking and we had no clue how bumpy the next three years would be. Where our first two years of marriage were filled with absolute bliss with a few little spats here and there, our next three years of marriage would be a roller coaster of emotions with far more downs than ups. Days when I even questioned if I loved my husband romantically anymore at all. Sometimes I think that the only things that saved our marriage were the fact that my husband was one of my closest friends, that my husband loved me unconditionally, and a whole awful lot of God's grace.

Deployment was the real kick in the seat for me. I realized that our marriage simply could not survive the way we were going and it was up to me to do something about as my husband was already giving all he had to give to it. I set out to find the love and the romance I had once felt for my husband and, lo and behold, it was still there. I still remember seeing him in the airport when he came home for R&R and for the first time in two years feeling butterflies at the sight of him.
First time in his arms in 6 months!
I'd like to say that the past four years have been a lot of highs but that wouldn't be true. Our love has grown by leaps and bounds though. I still get butterflies at times when I look at him. He still takes my breath away when he kisses me (and not because he's sucking it all out of my lungs either!). He knows how to make me angry and how to make me laugh and how to scare the ever loving daylights out of me - hey, he's not perfect after all! He knows how to irritate me and how to cheer me up when I'm having a bad day. He knows how to make me feel loved and important and special. 

True Love's Kiss

It's like the more bumps in the road we face the more determined we are to hold on to each other and grow our love stronger rather than let it tear us apart. We've hit some pretty big bumps in the road; life took us a different direction than we had dreamed. As hard as it's been I'm grateful because it increased our love that much more. And sometimes I look at my husband and think how blessed I am that he's mine and I wonder how I could love him more than I do right now. But I look back at how many times I've thought that before and I know that the love I feel right now is just an inkling of the love I'll feel for him down the road.

I can't think of anything that describes how I feel better than these song lyrics:

"Now you're my whole life, now you're my whole world
And I just can't believe the way I feel about you girl.
Like the river meets the sea, stronger than it's ever been
We've come so far since that day,
And I thought I loved you then

I can just see you, with a baby on the way
And I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can't see is how I'm ever gonna love you more
But I've said that before

Now you're my whole life, now you're my whole world
And I just can't believe the way I feel about you girl
We'll look back some day at this moment that we're in
And I'll look at you and say
And I thought I love you then..."

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