Happy Valentine’s Day, dolls! I’m excited to let y’all know that Katie will be back guest blogging with us on a more regular schedule! Some of you long-time readers may remember our friend Katie, from the wonderful and hilarious blog Marriage Confessions, and some of you might just recognize Katie from MC, apart from SW! Katie drops by to share her funny, smart, and poignant perspective on life after the wedding, and we know you’ll love her as much as we do!
I know that Valentine’s Day gets a bad rap, as far as holidays go. I have friends who are violently against Cupid and his plethora of love arrows and conversation candy. “It’s a holiday invented by the card stores to make money!” they say. And I get that. But it’s a holiday that revolves around chocolate and jewelry. It just goes against my being to reject those kinds of themes. Diamonds and chocolates are the way to my heart. But diamonds hidden INSIDE chocolates are pretty much the way to my soul.
I’m shallow. I can’t help it.
As much as I love the candy, gifts, and general lovey-dovey-ness that comes with Valentine’s Day, I am actually a fan of the holiday for more than just those reasons. I think love gets a bad rap, especially in marriage these days, and so any holiday that stops and says, “Hey! Love is important, darn it!” is going to be fine by me.
I remember when Chris and I got married, we were told by so many people, “It takes more than love to make a marriage!” And, foolishly, we thought they were fools. We loved each other. We had each other. We could take on anything else. I’ve learned over the years that love don’t pay no power bill. And love don’t clean up no sick baby in the middle of the night. And love certainly don’t exempt a husband from a good butt whoopin’ when he forgets to call and say he’s going to be working late on your anniversary.
Turns out, there’s a lot of stuff that love won’t do in a marriage.
But there are a lot of things that love does do in a marriage. In my marriage, love is how we forgive. It’s the reason that this morning, after a blow up with my love muffin as I left for work, I couldn’t even get out of the neighborhood before I called him on my cell to tell him I was sorry. And love was the reason he said, “Me, too.”
In my marriage, love is how we learn patience. The first week that we brought our sweet, perfect son home from the hospital, we were giddy with excitement. But by 3:00am on the third day, I remember standing next to Chris at the crib, both of us just about in tears from exhaustion and frustration, and every fiber of my being wanted to turn and whack him in the knees with a hairbrush. HOW COULD HE HAVE JUST TURNED THE LIGHT ON IN THE HALLWAY?!?!? DIDN’T HE KNOW THAT WOULD WAKE THE BABY?!?!?! And yet, I let him live. Because when you love someone, you’re patient as they learn things. Like how to change diapers in the middle of the night without turning a light on.
In my marriage, love is how we make decisions. Love is that binding force that draws every decision we make back to our family. Should I take that job? Should we make that big move? Should I take a half day at work so that I can attend my two-year-old son’s Valentine’s Day party at his daycare? Love is at the center of all of those things. Because we love each other and we love the family that we have made together, everything else is done within the context of that love.
In my marriage, love is even how we fight. Isn’t that weird? It’s true, though. Love is what makes us so darn frustrated with each other sometimes. It would be so much easier to be married to Chris if I wasn’t in love with him. But that silly love thing means that I simply can’t live without him. And sometimes, that’s so inconvenient! I wish it didn’t make me mad when he worked late, or when we haven’t had a date night in a while, or when the weekend classes for my teaching certificate take up all my time. I wish we didn’t fight about those things, but we do. And when the dust settles, we find that at the very base of those little fights is the fact that we just love each other so much that we get irritated when other things get in the way.
No, love don’t pay no bills. And, yes, it takes more than love to make a marriage work. But at the root of everything that exists in a marriage, there is love. So, I celebrate Valentine’s Day. I buy the cards and eat the candy and make those slice-and-bake cookies with the little red hearts in the center. I’m a sucker for it all because I believe that there should be a day that makes us stop and say, “I love you.” Because as important as everything else is in marriage, love is how it all started and how we keep it going.
(A note to my husband: While love is important, so is that beautiful necklace I showed you last weekend at the jewelry store…)
Isn’t Katie awesome?! Check out her past columns for Southern Weddings:
Change is the Name of the (Newlywed) Game
My Wedding Registry Changed My Life
Working it Out With the In-Laws
Managing Your Money
Come on Baby, Light My Fire
All photos by one of the most romantic photographers we know, Elizabeth Messina
P.S. Congratulations to Katie for being nominated for the 2012 Bloggies awards! This is a huge honor, so be sure to give her some love and vote for her here!