I recently was talking to Noah in the car about relationships. He was telling me how he didn’t mind being alone, spending time by himself. He shared about enjoying fictional characters in shows he favored or books he liked, over the company of strangers.
I could relate. As an introvert, I have always been the same. Growing up I had one, good friend, and that was enough for me. I preferred the company of one, genuine relationship over the company of many. Even as I grew into adulthood, I was very selective in my friendships. I mean, life had shown me how cruel girls can be. I preferred an afternoon alone with a good book than an evening out with acquaintances who didn’t really know me, or care to see the real me. The hard truth was people could hurt you, badly. They could misunderstand you, never seeing your true heart. I think that’s where Noah was coming from that day. But the truth is, we are all made for relationship.
I explained to him that I understood his feelings and preferences, as they were mine also, but I reminded him to not close himself off from the people or person who did exist out there. I encouraged him that his tribe, his best friend was out there somewhere, and to have an open heart for that experience. I reminded him of his father and me.
I mentioned my introverted nature above, and it still holds true. I will chat up the grocery store clerk who looks like they’re having a bad day, and I will easily spill my life story to the family member of one of my critical care patients, as we exist in that environment of trying times and intimate illness, but I have trouble desiring a girls’ night out. It sounds exhausting. I’ve come to discover, though, that true relationships are not exhausting. They’re actually quite the opposite. They’re a breath of fresh air in the monotony of a routine life, and they’re the comforting embrace when trouble comes. They’re covenant, a promise to be there, without expectation, but only in unconditional love.
I reminded Noah of the gift I have in my husband. I said, “a good relationship does require both people giving 100% of themselves to it, but a great relationship doesn’t require hard work. It just is.”
I went on to share how Ben and I can simply exist together. We can be in a room together, and never feel the expectation to speak wondrous words, yet simply feel the peace of being near one another. That’s not to say we don’t talk about everything; we do, but there’s not the insistence to be all the things for the other. We simply are those things. Had I given up on that type of friendship, I would never have found my other half.
And that is truly what we are. I fell asleep last night telling Ben that he was the other part of me. He was my gift from God. I had never felt the way I do about him for another human being. We are one in everything, built together in Christ, and loving one another in this perfect way I never knew existed until we came to be.
I told Ben that I don’t take our relationship for granted. I know it’s this amazing thing, something not all marriages experience, sadly, and I thank God for him each day. Every day with him gets better. When my world feels like it’s falling apart, he holds me close, reminding my heart what it already knows. God is with me. He understands my mood swings, as I understand his too. He expects nothing from me but my love, but he always appreciates the way I show that love in the natural. As I do with him.
He’s selfless. He cares for me in ways that are inconvenient for him, I’m sure, yet he enjoys the sacrifice. As I do with him. He doesn’t expect me to be the woman he would dream of me to be, but through his unconditional love I become the woman he could never fathom me to be. And vice versa. We expect flaws, and we forgive each other their faults, while also celebrating their strengths. He is my biggest supporter, and I’m his personal cheerleader.
Today we celebrate 13 years of marriage. Words can never express how happy I am to be his wife, and again, vice versa. He tells me so. Wink, wink. I don’t understand how each day together gets better, and I can’t explain how my heart so full of love for him continues to fill with more, but it does. I told him last night, 100 years of marriage wouldn’t be enough. He is my person, my best friend, my anchor in unsteady seas, and the very best part of me. I loved him then, I love him now, and I will love him forever. I am so thankful for us. I pray my children will know the true love of Jesus through our covenant we share as husband and wife, and most importantly, seeing Christ at the center of us.
Happy Anniversary, to my best friend, my lover, and the other piece of me.