If I'm going to be completely honest with myself, and everyone else, I can be challenging. I don't handle stress well. I am moody. For the most part, he handles me pretty well in all of my moods. I can be funny, dramatic, anxious, sensitive, snappy, happy, and emotional, sometimes all the same 5 minute conversation. He just rolls with it. I came with some "baggage" in the form of a 5 yr old and a 7 yr. old at the time we got married. I came with a lot of hurt, and pride, and one hell of a broken heart. He stepped right up to the plate: Good thing he is always up for a challenge, and good thing he thinks I'm cute!
In the past five years, I have learned a lot. One of the most important things I have learned is something my mom always told me, but it took me experiencing it to fully understand what she meant. That lesson is this: love isn't a feeling, but an action. Love is a choice. Love is a verb, an act of doing. Loving someone, and being "in love" with someone are two completely different things. "In love" is a feeling, those famous butterflies. Butterflies die. Feelings come and go, and come back again. Feelings sometimes fade.
Love, however, is an action. It is a commitment. It is a choice. It is choosing to wake up every day, and honor and support this other person, even when they are at their worst. It is showing them understanding, and acceptance, even when you may not wholly understand them, or their NASCAR obsession. It is choosing to put them above all else in this world, even when you want to run away. It is supporting them when they are unsure, and and reassuring them when they are scared. It is being the light in their darkest days. It is keeping them grounded, when they are getting a little big for their britches. It is putting them in check when they need it.It is building life, and a family together. Russ chooses to love me. And I choose to love him. And it isn't always easy.
The whole "don't go to bed mad" thing is a crock. That's going to happen. I have gone to bed so mad at Russ I can envision myself flipping him right off of the side of the bed once he is in a good deep sleep. There's going to be times that you go to bed mad and that you wake up, still mad. But you can still love that person. When I come home from work on a Tuesday night with some shopping bags, having spent more money than I made that night, I'm sure he has gone to bed a little on the mad side, but he still loves me. When we have skipped date night so he can watch the end of the game or race, I may have stormed off to bed mad, but I still love him. I would still be there in a heartbeat for anything he needed. I am still committed to him. I am not going to walk away from him, from our marriage, our kids, the life we have built, because I may be angry with him about something. I still choose him. No matter what. I choose the man that I committed to love before God. Every. Single. Day.
Marriage is clearly not all rainbows and puppies. It is sometimes yelling, and fighting over money, and baby puke, and a messy house, and busy schedules, barely seeing each other throughout the week. It can be exhausting, emotionally draining, and frustrating. But it is can also be worth it. It is a partnership that if treated like the sacred covenant it is, is meant to make both people involved the best they can possibly be, together.
Thank you, Russ, for loving me at my worst. Thank you for this crazy/beautiful life we have built. Thank you for being the husband and father you are. Thank you for being my partner in crime for the last 5 years... Here's to many more! Happy anniversary!!