It’s a tricky thing, marriage.
I’ve heard too many stories recently. The thirty-somethings sit across the table from me in the coffee shop and claim that they never really loved their spouses. They were duped, or forced, or manipulated, they claim. They were merely sexually repressed, forced into marriage by archaic notions of purity. Not in love, no. They merely needed to consummate, or copulate, or whatever. That’s what they claim.
Yes, I know this is risqué business.
Truth is, humans are revisionists. Always have been. History is told from a distinct point of view. Truth gives way to perception. The difficult here-and-now colors the beautiful there-and-then in shades of mirage. It’s easier to say “I never loved” than it is to say “I forgot how to love.”
I think it’s important to remember truth, to not get bogged down in alternative realities. We must remind ourselves of what we once knew—”love never fails.”
So today, I’m going to tell the truth. And I’m going on record to dispel Myth No. 1. And let me be clear: this is an active effort to protect my marriage.
Myth No. 1 – I never really loved her/him.
I had just turned twenty-one—a zealous boy who loved Enter the Worship Circle and hand-made acoustic guitars. I was a kid who craved an odd mix of hand-drums and economics. Uptight and laid back. A reforming legalist. A burgeoning grace wearer.
She was nineteen—a newborn Christian who had given up weed for Jesus. A ripped jean wearer. A sexy walker who made me quiver when she shook her hips. A girl who devoured scripture like it was fresh-baked. Like it was rustic. Like it was real.
She had this Alabama accent, the kind that said she knew Southern love’n. It made me crazy.
We once walked in sweater weather to the intramural fields, a fine mist hanging in the air. Only two weeks into love and she huddled close, clinging to my arm like a life-long lover. The drizzle blanketed us until it condensed and froze into ice chips on our wool hats. We made it through one-quarter of the football game before retiring to the coffee shop for Café Vienna, turtle cheesecake, and close talking. She shared her favorite new scriptures with me, reciting John 3:16 like it was fresh water. She was enamored with Jesus.
We went to this concert—Burlap to Cashmere, I think it was. She wore her ripped jeans, the ones that exposed her left knee cap when she sat. On Arkansas highway 64, I put my hand on her skin for the first time. It was dark in the car, but I imagine that she blushed hot pink. We awoke love that night.
We were engaged in two months. We were married in thirteen months.
We moved to Tulsa, hung tight to each other through the tight-rope of my new career. We suffered together through a murderous church experience. We clung tight in those early years, exploring the art of love.
And we explored well.
We snuck Champagne into our apartment—a blatant violation of our Baptist prohibition era. We ate strawberries and pretended that we could afford decadent hotel rooms. We lit candles. We said “I love you” in the dark. It was a bit cliché, maybe. But it was our cliché.
It would be a lie to say that I never loved you, Amber. I loved you from the beginning. Don’t ever let me spin an alternative reality.
Did you love your spouse in the beginning? Can you tell the truth? The lie is easy, but the truth will set you free. Feel free to use the comments to dispel the myth. Or, better yet, write a post on your blog dispelling the myth, then tell us about it here.
I would love to hear your stories.