Wow, this really affected me; I had to pause in typing just now to swipe a tear that escaped down my cheek. I know so well the yearning of the heart for that perfect Love that only the Lord can give–so I’m sharing this in the hope it will touch someone else whose heart needed this reminder as I did.
To the one who asked “How do I really know what love is?” I believe I have some light to shed on your question.
As I sit here reading your blog I share the room with two girls; an almost eleven year old who dances back and forth while repeatedly listening to her favorite songs on an I-pad, and a two year old stacking Legos.
The pre-teen is my youngest child, a surprise package via a mid-life (unplanned) pregnancy. The two year old is the result of an unexpected pregnancy of my oldest daughter.
The vision I had for my life at this stage was to be secured in a career of my choosing. I envisioned wearing tailored skirts and classy pumps; manicured nails and properly styled hair.
I’m intelligent, articulate and creative. I looked forward to putting these and other personal attributes to work in a career environment after spending my 20’s and 30’s raising my daughter and son. Now was going to be my time, or so I thought.
Instead I found myself two years into a second marriage with a baby on the way.
The day my third child was born something died in me.
Instead of a beautiful healthy whole child, I held an innocent little baby girl with Down Syndrome.
My heart was breaking and fear of the future filled my whole being. Knowing nowhere else to turn I cried out to an unseen God-and wept.
It was over the course of the next couple years that I came to recognize what makes for real Love.
Because of my nature, I took home that little innocent; I held her, rocked her, hugged her, kissed her cheeks; I nursed (fed) her, diapered and dressed her, and, in short, I tended to every need I knew to tend to.
With time my depression lifted and fear left me.
Then came the spring day I stood at our patio door watching my toddler joyously explore the wonders of our back yard, when I felt a surge of joy fill my soul.
It was in that moment I recognized love.
Fast forward a few years to the day my granddaughter was born. I held her then and I’ve held her nearly every day since. Along with her mommy she lived with me so that her mother could finish college. Now I babysit her so her mommy can be gainfully employed.
Like with my own babies, I’ve fed her, diapered her, sang songs to her before sleep, comforted her, disciplined her, etc. etc.
The consequence of these sacrifices is I love her. Like with the children of my womb, I’d sacrifice my life to protect her if needed.
Recently I heard a pastor speak and instantly I recognized the truth of his words–Love comes from sacrifice. He used caring for an infant as an example, thus it is I instantly related. He pointed out how an infant does not give but instead requires the caretaker to give. Yet even without our receiving, because of our sacrificing we come to love the infant deeply. Apparently so it is with any form of love.
Apparently it is that as I’ve sacrificed my wants, some of my needs, a LOT of my time and energy, my return is the Love I feel for these people for whom I’ve sacrificed.
Some are the days I mourn the loss of what I’d kept as dreams for my future. Some are the days I complain that I’m “too old for this”, while envying my peers their free time, vacations and other ‘this time of our lives’ activities.
But when I consider the alternative, which would mean a life without these children I recognize that, given the choice, I couldn’t give up what I’ve got. Not now that I’ve experienced it.
And the more I learn I’m starting to believe this principle is true for all types of love. If I’m not sacrificing for my husband by giving up some of my wants, needs, or desires (aka giving up some of my selfishness) then it comes into question whom it is that I actually love.
I’m coming to see the reality is when I married; I married someone I wanted to love me and meet my needs. Sure I felt I loved my newly wedded, but I can see it was a romantic type of love, not the sustaining love the can come only with time and sacrifice.
The thing is, I think that is okay; I think it’s really pretty normal—to start out that way. Because if the marriage partnership goes the way it was designed to then eventually it will work out for the good.
If I go into the marriage willing to sacrifice my selfish desires in an effort to meet his needs, while at the same time he sacrifices his selfish desires in an effort to meet my needs the end result will be I give him honor, respect and love and in return he gives me the love I long for.
It’s a WIN-WIN.
This is NOT a concept learned by reading romance books or via the romance movies. It’s also not a concept I learned growing up.
Instead it’s a concept I’m being taught by wise and learned men who write or preach to teach.
And contrar to what the movies portray—The reality is: my beloved is NOT going to complete me—he can’t.
Only God can do that.
So what to do should I slam up against “the need”, that unmet need that could lead me to the grossly errant idea that the emptiness I feel could (which it can’t) be met (which in reality it will NOT) with the right romantic partner?
It’s then I need a sharp dose of reality to bring me back to my senses. For starters:
• There is NO such thing as a perfect lover
• I am and never will be (in this life) a perfect partner
• It’s NOT all about me
• If I want LOVE, I need to give LOVE and RESPECT
• And always, I need to pray… “Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil”….
A thoughtful read from the perspective of the one who cheated.
Affairs are like snowflakes. There is never two that are identical. If that premise is true then why do people think that all affairs will be healed the same way. Affairs are made up of at least 3 people and each of those people are completely different from each other so to say that they will view an affair exactly the same way and can be healed the same way is short minded.
I read religiously about a variety of things but one thing I have noticed is that there are many different parts that need to be healed in an affair from all sides. And they do not always heal in the same way, in the same time frame, nor in the same order. There are also other parts to the relationships that also may need to be healed as well.
Just pretend that the affair happened with a…
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It started out with conversation. Somehow, in that conversation it became apparent I have some fairly strong opinions and beliefs that are not accepted in the typical mainstream of society. He pointed out his opinion of my character for which I felt criticized and shamed. But I so wanted his acceptance, and apparently his love also, that I attempted to justify myself hoping he’d see past my flaws and determine I wasn’t so bad, and accept and love me.
Conversation seemed to evolve into physical intimacy. Next thing you know he was holding and caressing me. And the kissing… the kissing was fabulous. It was just the way I like it; no forceful trusting of the tongue; it was instead gentle, caressing, teasing and tantalizing.
I began messaging his back; lovingly running my hands over the planes of a structure to which I am so familiar.
And naturally it evolved.
Suddenly I realized I was at a crossroads. I felt torn over which way I should go.
I remember thinking ‘this is why we shouldn’t entertain sin—because when we are in the heat of passion we don’t want to turn back’.
But I realized to go forward would be cheating on my husband; I did not want to cheat on my husband. But this lover with whom I was in bed wanted to go forward. He made his feelings clear when he stated: “either put out or get out”.
Next thing I knew I was slipping out his door, glancing down the hall and wondering how I could slip into my bedroom door without my husband realizing I’d been absent. Somehow, in my mind, however, that didn’t make sense.
It was then I realized my husband was in the bathroom. I slipped past unnoticed and I headed towards a family room I’ve not seen since that house was sold almost 20 years ago.
We were at the breakfast table, my lover across and to the right of me; my adult kids were there, and my husband was offering what turned out to be an awkward prayer. My lover looked at me knowingly; I attempted to avoid eye contact with him. He made a move to come sit next to me so my adult daughter sat down in that space preventing his doing so.
It was then stress and feelings of guilt woke me up.
And awake I have remained, despite the early hour of dark before dawn, as I wonder what in the world prompted such a dream!
I’m baffled by it.
I think I need a qualified psychologist….