Love When I Don’t Like

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Pictures say a thousand words…

Wedding-210

…this one just says, “They’ll have some strange kids…” 

Man I love my wife.

Besides the fact that she is the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever met, inside and out, and the fact that she knows all corners of my life and loves me regardless and the fact that she lives with my OCDness and still loves, she’s just plain awesome.

Today, we celebrate being married for two months. Yes, two whole months, just twelve days short of a Kardash. Clearly we have marriage all figured out, so if you need any advice let me know.

Right…

Before our marriage, though, my wife and I often took part in a Bullock family tradition. When we encounter someone who has been married 50+ years, we like to ask them what the secret to a good, long, happy marriage is. Over the years, we’ve heard a lot of responses that range from overly sweet to overly realistic:

Just be faithful and take care of each other.”

Find something you like doing together and do a lot of it together.

Happy wife, happy life.”

Communicate.”

“(For the men) Learn the most important words in any relationship: ‘YES, DEAR.'”

My favorite response, however, came from a couple who’d been married 55 years. We asked them what their secret was. She smiled and looked at him. He smiled and looked at her. Then she turned to us and said:

When I wake up in the morning, do you know what the first thing is I see? His handsome face. The light streams in the room and lands delicately on his face as he just sleeps ever so peacefully. And I think to myself… I could kill this man right now and no one would know. But I don’t. And that is called love.

He just smiled, nodded, and said, “Yup.”

And that’s the secret to marriage.

I could speak all day about the key to a happy marriage or loving relationship. The truth is, from what I’ve heard from successful marriages, it’s pretty simple: resolve. Resolve to love somebody long after the butterflies leave your stomach.

Perhaps the greatest pre-wedding memory my wife and I have is a lunch we had with a couple married 72 years. That’s no typo – we’re talking about 72 years of faithful commitment to one another. They’d seen a world war, civil rights reform, 9/11, and the invention of the internet. He was a preacher who was one of the first white men in west Texas to preach at a black church because he genuinely loved the people there and they had no one else to serve as a preacher. They had survived the death of friends, family, major illness, outbreaks, and natural disasters. These two are tough ol’ folks who still hold hands and hold deep, deep love for each other. Their secret to marriage, the advice they gave us:

“Love, no matter what. Keep God first, your spouse second, and care for the other before you care for yourself. “

No matter what background you come from, I reckon that’s pretty solid advice. If you doubt that it is, I’d say it would be pretty hard to argue with 72 years of faithful marriage, but if you want to try and argue it, be my guest (I can only wish you luck).

We often look for tips, tricks, strategies, and methods we can try to improve our relationships. Certainly there are some good ones out there, but they hardly come close to the power of a steadfast resolve to love, even when you don’t like the person. Perhaps that is where we start, day by day – a decision to love somebody regardless about how we feel towards them that day. Who knows what such resolve would do for our relationships (though I think I have a small idea).

So today, I take some sage advice from a couple of old, wise, resolute, loving people:

Dev – I promise to love you, no matter if I like you in that moment, am frustrated in that moment, or am tempted by an overwhelming desire to be selfish and prideful. I resolve to love you always
Sincerely,
Your number two (not poo)

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