I love romantic movies. I’m a sap, it’s how God made me. During those early pre-teen and teen years, I watched movies like Jerry McGuire, Legends of the Fall and The Princess Bride. Thinking my Prince Charming would ride in sweep me off my feet, maybe save the day and we would live Happily Ever After. Whatever that was. The movies didn’t show that part.
The universe didn’t do some amazingly, unbelievable acts to get us to meet. There wasn’t a whirlwind of romantic settings and declarations of love in our dating years. Just a lot of time hanging out together, driving around our city streets and often times, the back roads. Some heartaches mixed with tears of forgiveness.
He didn’t swoop in with a grand proposal. It was a passing comment with me responding with a sarcastic reminder that “nobody has asked me”. Tree branches did not magically open to reveal the jewelry store doors when he surprised me to pick out our rings. There were no twinkling lights and soft music playing when he slipped the ring on my finger in the parking lot. Actually, I am pretty sure Guns and Roses was in the CD player. Even the wedding was a rushed event – having less than 2 weeks to plan before he was to go away for 6 months.
My Prince Charming never prepared with Iocane laced wine, setting out on a dangerous mission to reach me.
We have fought with the best of them. Sometimes with harsh words and raised voices, other times through the overwhelming silence. We have been separated by distance, in the physical way and of the heart variety. Our love has been a mix of tears of joy and exhilarations with tears of hurt and brokenness. That (sometimes slowly) turned into tears of forgiveness and acceptance.
But he has never battled the Cliffs of Insanity to find me again.
He has held my hands, believed in me and focused me through 6 births. He has delicately and nervously held the tiny new life in his big, strong hands. He crumbled beside me when we were told our 12 week old baby’s “heart is very, very sick and immediate surgery is the only option”. He rose up again, the rock that kept life going, balancing a demanding workload with ensuring the children were at ease and not fearful while his wife was falling apart, consumed with the baby’s needs. He has stood beside me for things I felt were non-negotiable, fully trusting my heart and convictions.
But he has never saved me from R.O.U.S’s (Rodents of Unusual Size).
He has snuggled babies to sleep, taught baseball and transformed into the Big, Scary Tickle Monster until children were out of breath, begging for mercy. He has acted as a doctor to nasty boo-boos I could not handle, a dentist to loose teeth, a supporter from another room when a child has a stomach bug. He has cooked countless meals and cleaned house when I have been unable to. He has put in 80 hour weeks for years to provide for us. He worked through roll-over accidents, roof mishaps and a reconstructed knee to give us a comfortable life even though he was physically in pain himself.
But he has never saved me from Flame Spurts.
He came into agreement with me that we should drastically change “The Dream”. He stepped out in Faith of God’s prompting, mercy and love. He has cut down hundreds of trees, leveled land, shoveled tons of rocks and gravel. He has stuck it out, lifted me up when I fell, believed when I couldn’t and talked with me for hours over every new detail to work out. Nail by nail and board by board, he has built our New Dream.
But he has never saved me from Lightning Sand.
Our Love Story is not a romantic tale that movies are made of, at least not yet. But true romantic tales do not take place in the couple of years surrounding the courting and wedding. A real love story is played out over decades – the highs, the lows, the joys and sorrows. It is played out in the compromises and sacrifices, the being strong when one is weak and everything in between. It is played out between juggling bills and babies, mowing lawns and washing dishes.
What the movies do not show, is that love is not in the large heroic acts but in the thousands of small moments that bind two hearts together.
Today we celebrate 15 years of marriage.
Happy Anniversary Mr.! I love you more now than I did then. You are my rock, my hero. Here’s to continuing our Mostly Happily Ever After.
That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying "As you wish", what he meant was, "I love you."