All these while I thought my dad and my mom stuck together without love.
For so long, I have tried to make sense of how my parents have lasted this long. They are the rickety Toyota Avalon that never looks like it will last a mile but the drivers it has carried are very certain they don’t need an oil change today even if they should get it one.
Let’s just start with what I think both words mean.
Love: the root of the reasons to keep choosing a person or a thing.
Romance: the actions and thoughts that communicate and evoke love for a person or thing.
Yeah, I made those up. But if you can give a better definition or see something missing in those working definitions, leave a comment.
Why would people tolerate each other for 35 years. Tolerate. You know, deep in their eyes people see hate and pain and sorrow and sadness. Yet all they see is hope that the one they have lost their life savings ok will come around and if they don’t, there is no better bet.
I know I want my parent’s kinda love but until now, I couldn’t Figure out why. Literally the only reason I want their love is because they stuck together. I want their love is essentially me saying, I don’t care for a fancy car, I just want a car that gets me there everytime.
I mistake the two. I assumed that love is only present when romance is proof. In other words, if a man calls his wife all sorts of terrible names and flips her button constantly; and he never buys flowers or cooks for her or kisses her. Then surely there is no love. The one piece of the puzzle that also didn’t make sense to me then was how do you have five kids together and clearly sex was involved if you don’t like each other, forget even love.
Here is what I challenge myself today. A man who retains deep commitment from his wife when he has no romance in him, had more than the man whose love is conditionally hinged to his ability to express the romance that fits his beau.
If romance is not love and romance is the root of your “love”, then it is not love because it is conditional. There is no security in conditional love, maybe enjoyment and satisfaction but no security.
So many of us want love. I want love. But so few want to find out what happens when the conditions that we meet and satisfy change.
I’m not saying it’s time to go test your spouse or lover but I do know that those who never had sex but in old age chose to just be each other’s companion knowing that dementia is setting in and the other is an irritable animal with it; those are more loved and loving however raw and crude than those who have never found out what the other would do without them fulfilling the contract of their conditional love.
I know my mom will be my dad’s care taker in old age even if he develops dementia and beats her everyday. Do you know how I know? Because with a sane mind they have gone through worse together and sometimes with no dementia to excuse away each other’s actions, and their love has never really come close to the brink. I have feared for their love evaporating but it’s never been at the brink because there has always been this quite confidence, this rare commitment that in the face of being stuck in 50ft poop deep pit, they will sure a bed when they get home and maybe have poopy sex. I assume the sex part anyway because there are 5 kids proof but you get my point.
This is ONE thing the last generation got right. They married. Really and truly married unconditionally. I dare say, they loved.
I have an unpopular truth, if you will leave her because she slept with another man, you don’t have love. If you will leave her because she worshipped another God, you don’t have love. If you will leave her because she likes hugs and you like space, you don’t love her. I can go on and on but the gist of it is, love NEVER leaves. You can take your time to arrive or not at the altar, but when love gets there, it never leaves.
I know this because Jesus wanted to not die, He wanted the cup to pass over Him but when He prayed, He returned to embrace the love He came to die for. The love, unconditional, spoke back; yes we really do choose humanity, even those that will not love back.
And He went a little farther, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
I wasn’t at Golgotha but I want to ask, was — “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” — one of the reasons He wanted the cup to pass? Looking into the eyes of people that will beat them and choosing to have love for them that they did not deserve certainly not in that moment.
Love, unconditional, that is the trial of marriage. When God instituted marriage, He knew the frauds that men were but He must have seen the need to teach and showcase unconditional because there is nowhere else in humanity that it exists in. And even now, marriage the very pillar of unconditional has become the greatest transaction in human history. Marriage is now the most lucrative union.
I find it ironic
Romance has become the solution conditional love.
Let’s do what pleases the other for as long as we can for it’s all we have to base our dying affections on.
Newsflash, you can sustain romance for a while but the nature of every finite thing is end. Love takes its DNA from eternity. It’s time we give it an unending try, again.