Nearly ten years ago I walked down an aisle in a white dress and made a promise about forever. Twenty-one years old and certain I was in love, I had yet to understand true love.
True love is not a desperate clinging, mad dash of passion and tears, an unwillingness to part. It is the choice to let the one you love be free.
Free to be who they are, not to try and force them into a mold of what you want.
This is the lesson I’ve learned these last ten years: True love is freedom.
No ball and chain, no holding each other back, but support, encouragement, helping each other reach our goals.
Sometimes our goals coincide, we’ve had many adventures together and are planning many more, but other times our goals are separate. We allow each other to have our own adventures, to travel on our own and experience life in our own unique way.
It’s the beauty of trust. The quiet understanding that, at times, we will have different ideas, different world views and it’s okay. We still support one another, we respect each others experiences and reasons we’ve come to this understanding of life.
True love believes in the abilities of your loved one. I feel loved when he believes I’m capable of making decisions concerning our family and our future, or when he knows I’m able to set up a campsite, start a fire, catch a fish and prepare it for dinner. I return the favor by trusting he can provide for us, understanding his need for space to create and spurring on his ideas and projects, by knowing he will always come home after a night out with friends to climb into bed and kiss me good night.
A trustworthy man is worth his weight in gold.
True love is freedom, selflessness, encouragement, two lives joined together not by an unbreakable bond, but by choice.
True love is found in adventure, in the mundane, in the good-byes and in the coming home.
It’s knowing you’ll not be alone in the bad times. Like when he carried me to the car and drove me to the hospital because I was so sick I could barely stand. He stayed by my side and held my hand and whispered how he loved me, told me I was beautiful and strong. All this when just a day earlier he’d been diagnosed with cancer. Then, when I was well, he let me care for him after surgery and radiation.
Then, he let me fly to Africa.
True love is a give and take. If my only concern is what love can do for me, I’m lost. There’s joy in serving and caring and letting go.
We decided to make a family. After months of classes, interviews, paperwork and cross examination, we were given two small children. We learned how to be husband and wife as well as mom and dad. We had a routine, a schedule. We had movie nights all together on one couch. We had a family.
Then, I let him fly to Mongolia.
It’s true that separation makes the heart grow fonder. Our love is made sweeter by knowing we are free and knowing we’ll always have each other to come home to.
Our next adventure will be a road trip to Canada. Together.