Monday, December 28, 2015

What Isaac taught me about love

I'm going to start at the beginning because as Julie Andrews suggested, "It's very good place to start." After our first date, Isaac was so sneaky and left a note on my car the next day thanking me for our date. I thought it was a hate note from my neighbors for parking in "their" spot (they thought they owned parking spots even though none were assigned). I was in shock. I can't tell you how many times that I had been told to "let him know you had a good time," "text him," "reassure him." I remember talking to my mom about two weeks after Isaac and I had started to go on dates and I started to cry. I felt so silly but the truth is no guy had ever treated me that way. Isaac was brave. He wasn't waiting for me to reassure him or decide for him. He was going to jump in and see what happened. So many young people hesitate to show love for someone. They want to feel certain first. But Isaac gave when he didn't know I'd give back. From the very beginning Isaac "loved" me. It's not that he had fallen in love with me. Love is a verb, and he decided to love me and see what happened.

When I first became friends with Isaac on Facebook I noticed that his profile picture was of his parents. I thought that was kind of strange but if you know Isaac, then you would understand that Isaac loves his parents, and Isaac is his family. Isaac really looked up to his parents and the love that they had cultivated through the years. I could see that Isaac really believed in marriage and that the greatest happiness in life would come from loving one woman really well. Isaac is a much more private person than me. If something good happens, I want to tell everyone. If I'm feeling love, I want to shout it from the rooftops. Isaac showed me that I didn't need to share everything for my happiness to be real. I didn't need to tell everyone on Facebook how much I love my husband or post each time he did something nice. He taught me that those things are personal and that I don't need the world to validate my happiness or love. It's not that he looked down on people who share these things but it did help create intimacy. Rather than sharing things with others, we became really good at sharing our feelings in person with each other. I can't really describe it but there is something really special about your spouse opening up and sharing his feelings with you for only you to know. 

Isaac was good at apologizing. When I first got with Isaac, I never saw an angry bone in his body. But kids change things. Ha! And he is latino, so I'm pretty sure he gets his hot head from all those hot peppers he likes to eat! Isaac would be stressed out from work and sometimes he would take it out on me. I would get mad at him for his attitude. And we had fights about real issues too. We went through a very difficult time after Rose was born. But Isaac was always good about apologizing when he acted in a way that wasn't loving. That built trust. I knew that I could trust that no matter what we disagreed upon, we would always come back together. I learned that even though we lost our cool or got lost in a fight, we both wanted this to work and we both loved each other.

Isaac always made me feel beautiful. Isaac never compared me to other girls. He never criticized my body. He didn't look at other women. It's so hard as a woman in today's world to feel like enough, but I always felt like enough with Isaac. 

Isaac cherished my role as the mother of his children. He was so great about being supportive through my pregnancies and expressing gratitude for the physical burden of carrying the children. Maybe because he wanted six more! But still, I'll give him credit for making me feel appreciated. 

Isaac has also taught me things about love through his death. When I look back on my marriage, I realize that there were times that I held on to hurt or amplified hurt because I would let a moment define our relationship. Sometimes after a disagreement, I would start to doubt that Isaac felt the same way I did. In marriage, you aren't always kind and you aren't perfect. I realize now that too often when we disagreed, I would worry that something was shifting in our relationship. And while that can happen in a marriage, I realize now that the worry was unnecessary. When Isaac died, everything in our relationship flashed before my eyes and now I'm not sure why I ever doubted him. I hope that if/when I remarry that I can be better about not letting the emotions of one moment define what I think about how my spouse feels about me. I feel like I could have avoided a lot of hurt if I had just taken a step back and looked at the whole relationship rather than focusing on what was happening in the moment. It's easy to feel good about your marriage in the good moments but it's more important to trust that your marriage is good even in the difficult times.

And now, I'm trying to learn another lesson about love. Maybe a broken heart doesn't love less. Maybe a broken heart can love more. In some ways, I feel that I love my children more now than I did before. They bring so much happiness and purpose to my life. I'm not sure that I needed that as much as I do now. I love my friends and family more as I've seen them sacrifice for me and support me. I feel more compassion for my clients. I am more aware of pain and the process that goes along with it. I feel more gratitude for the people and blessings in my life. I have felt of God's love more. So even though my heart aches, maybe the aches are just growing pains. 

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