I fell in love with my husband while standing over an ant hill.
On a random fall afternoon, we decided to take a walk through a nature preserve in a small town in Mississippi. It was quiet, peaceful and serene – a far cry from the perennial loudness we experience with our little ones today. It must’ve been just a month into our relationship and I was still infatuated by this charming poet, a divorced father who still believed fervently in love.
He was 31 and I was 27.
We were in a long distance relationship. Every morning I awoke to his text messages and wore my earpiece for hours talking to him while running errands, watching television or cleaning the house. Within weeks into our courtship I knew he was ‘the one’. Oddly enough, I never believed in that type of kismet. I always believed not in fate, but in the power of one’s free will to become whomever they chose in life.
When I fell in love with him it wasn’t because he picked the perfect flower, wrote the most romantic poem or showered me with gifts and affection. I fell in love with him the day I made a mature choice to journey this life with a man who shared the same values, desires and dreams.
Very often, people believe that love comes first and commitment comes next. I’ve always believed that commitment comes first and love comes next. Afterall, love is measured through passion, passion is developed through trust and trust takes time to foster. You don’t know how much someone loves you until they see you at your darkest, weakest and hardest moments. Commitment will get you started but love and passion will push you through it.
Like any relationship, we have to work at it. Sometimes our marriage feels like “it’s all about him” – and I’m holding down the house, managing my businesses, taking care of the children and practicing soccer while he travels and pursues his passions. Recently, he’s been instrumental in my No Excuse Mom movement – ordering NEM merchandise, shipping them out and being a liaison to all business inquiries. When we share time together, our discussions revolve around our children, work or troubleshooting family issues. I admittedly shut down at times – and he knows when I do – because the last thing I want to do after five meetings and nonstop work is talk about more work, with him.
Last night I signed the kids up for a Parent’s Night out in our gym. We got a full four hours to spend quality time together without kids screaming, phones ringing and endless cleaning dividing our attention. As we sat in a quaint Thai restaurant he began talking about business and I purposely disrupted him to ask about our recent honey harvest from our beehive in our backyard.
His eyes lit up.
He told me about the short life span of a bee and their tragic population decline due to colonies collapsing. He described their challenges with pesticides, mites, moths and commercialization – with many companies feeding them high fructose corn syrup instead of allowing them to gather pollen and nectar from flowers. He taught me about Drones, Queen Bees and the role of worker bees. I was so engaged by his knowledge, in love with his compassion and enamored by his boyish curiosity – it reminded me of that day we were standing above the ant hill, nearly seven years ago – before kids happened, work happened and life happened….and he was talking about the nature of ants.
I knew little about him besides his youth in Hawaii, his decorated time in the Marines, his work in Iraq and preceding injury from a car bomb. I knew he was a deep thinker, a man who was beyond ego – and despite his failures in love, he still believed in it.
And despite my failures in love, I still believed.
Our union was created from a belief – and we exist today because of that faith. It’s not easy to choose love daily, when you want to choose resentment, anger or annoyance. I admittedly have chosen all of those in our past altercations, but at the end of my lifetime, I’m glad I chose him.
I love you David.