Love Is Beautiful
Twenty years ago today my young, dreadlocked, poet boyfriend, Adam, asked me to marry him. I remember thinking about how he felt like my home, and how much I believed in him and I said yes.
It’s so easy to think you understand love, and to decide that you're willing to sacrifice and find the rest of your life inside yourself to give to another person.
The first year you have the growing pains of people learning how to actually begin doing that when they've really never had to do anything of the sort. You're exuberant, but selfish, all will, and no muscle. Ok, so he watches sports a lot, and she wants to shop when you have no money. Alright, iron out those kinks. Adjust your expectations and your habits. Great! You're smoother now.
Then come the pregnancies. At some point in the young parenting stage, I remember sitting together at the end of the day, both of us exhausted, drained, disappointed in our parenting failures of the day, and stunned at how physically and emotionally demanding our life felt.
We looked at each other and had this surge of Grace, and talked about how this is it, this quiet desperate Tuesday evening, this hidden, blurry tomorrow, this is how God will make us strong. It’s wonderful to talk about noble ideals, but you have to live them in all the little, unglamorous ways or else those ideals mean nothing.
From that conversation we resolved to begin again, to embrace our life with all the generosity we could muster, to focus on all we’ve been given, and to laugh off the little pinpricks of each day. And when we failed (which was, and is, often), we’d begin again, again.
At some point life brings things that are harder to laugh off. You’ll need a deep well from which to draw in order to face those things bravely— sometimes bravely enough for both of you. Establishing habits in small moments sets you up to respond better in the larger moments.
At the heart of our faith is redemption. We can begin again, and again, and again. Being a Catholic means looking honestly at yourself, your ego, your selfishness, your vanity without gloss or deflection, and then speaking those failures in the confessional, and being set back on your course with new resolve and the strength that God’s Grace brings.
It’s humbling and romantic and hopeful.
This is how we should see our marriage: what better way to see your spouse than with humility about yourself, and romantic hope about the other. When you both love, really love, things aren't perfect but they become easy in a way.
It’s become easy to love Adam, because he's so lovable. He’d disagree with that as he’s acutely aware of his failures and limitations, but I see him so differently. I’ve always believed in him more than he’s believed in himself. He's spent twenty years proving me right.