I found my life partner in the most mysterious and miraculous of circumstances and it is now 7 months since we are married. Our days of courtship were, as any other young couples would be: simply amazing. We both felt that we had found the dream partner and were madly in love. She worked abroad as an air hostess and I would stay up nights just to talk to her because of the time difference. I would send her letters, cards, small surprises and much more. She reciprocated through letters and gifts when she came down. We thought that loving each other wasn’t that difficult. However, marriage has made us realise that love isn’t about “what we can get the other” but rather “what we can give the other”
Once our honeymoon phase passed off, the reality of chores, bills, prayer meetings, family time etc began to kick in. We began to realise that as a mere emotion, love is a drug with euphoric side effects of a distorted reality of the loved one. As our daily life began to pan out, the lovey-dovey romance that movies depict was replaced by a love that demanded sacrifice, commitment and perseverance.
Being a surgeon, a lot of time is demanded from me at work. While I was single, I would spend the free time I had either sleeping, reading or writing. Now, I realise that my wife needs my time and I make it a point to spend as much time as I can with her. She has moments where she feels low and during such times I tend to get irritated rather than be compassionate and understanding. As in every marriage, we have our fair share of disagreements and arguments. While my pride forces me to remain angry and not apologise, choosing to love her, humbling myself and apologizing is a grace that I pray for on a daily basis.
Through marriage, I have learnt the true value of love through the great sacrifices that my wife has made for me and for our marriage. She left her high paced life and job in Qatar to come to lead a rather mundane life in “Sussegado” Goa, simply because she chose to love me above every other comfort. She gave up a life with plenty of friends to come to one with none except me.
Love is a choice, not just a feeling. The problem with feelings is that they’re always changing. Feelings aren’t bad but they come and go. The valiant part of marital love is the choosing part. Christ didn’t feel like dying a painful death on the cross but he did it for love.
St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians writes,
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy.”
~ Ephesians 5:25-26
St. Teresa of Kolkata wrote,
“We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Time does not always permit me to take my wife out on a date or have elaborate dinners regularly or even sit down on the couch and catch a movie. Yet, I make it a point to do small things on a regular basis to show my love for her. I will often speak genuine words of affirmation to her, write cute notes for her, make some craft item, tell her humorous stories from work which she loves and much more. I recently managed to plan a trek with our close friends and followed that up a couple of weeks later with a movie night at our place. I saw the joy and excitement on her face and realised that my efforts to genuinely love her were a success.
My wife is no exception. She loves doing small yet elaborate things to make me happy. She is a wonderful cook and spends considerable time researching new recipes to “try out” on me. She truly believes that the way to my heart is through my stomach. I celebrated my birthday in August and I was rather astounded by my wife who decides to give me a small gift every single day; be it a card, a note, a gift and much more. The effort she took taught me that to love another, one must be willing to make sacrifices even till it hurts.
As St. Teresa said,
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Pope Francis said,
“An ‘express marriage’ doesn’t exist. We have to work for love. We have to journey in the relationship of love between a man and a woman until it learns and until it grows.”
We have just begun this journey of love and have many a mile to go. We are both broken in our own way but it is only in accepting the brokenness of each other that we can love authentically.
As St.Teresa aptly puts it,
“At the end of life, we are going to be judged on the basis of our love for one another.”