The first time I told him I love him, Mr. Free thought I was joking. lol
I remember it like it was yesterday. My mother, forced to move out of her condo, needed a place to live in a hurry. Mr. Free and I had been dating less than a year, but he came through in a crunch and arranged for her to move into a house that a friend of his owned. On moving day he even gathered a couple of friends and loaded all of her belongings up and relocated her. I can't remember why I only stopped by instead of assisted with the day's move, but I did and, as I was pulling off from the condo, he was in another car filled with mom's stuff and it hit me that he was one of the most wonderful people I'd ever known. I mean, to go out of his way and help her, not just find a place where she paid nothing to move in, but to also spend his afternoon moving her without even being asked. My mom had been in a bind, but he came to her rescue and it was at that moment, watching him pull off with another load that I decided that I loved him. When I pulled up next to him, rolled down my window and told him, he laughed at me as though I didn't know what I was saying, but I did and I still do!
I can remember quite a few times in our relationship that an ordinary person would have walked away from it all and never looked back. We've BOTH done some crazy stuff in our youth and in learning how to exist together. Once, I remember being really hurt...I mean to my core by something that had occured between us. I went to my best friend's house for solace and Mr. Free was flooding my cellphone with unanswered calls. I didn't want to talk to him, but when I arrived at my best friend's I had her answer just so that he would know I was okay. As upset as I was, I didn't want him to worry. When she hung up the phone with him, she expressed to me the sadness in his voice and the regret he expressed to her over the way things were between us in those moments. I had her immediately call him back because I didn't like the idea of him beating himself up over something concerning me. Regret was one thing, but I just didn't like to hear about him hurting because I was hurt. I can't explain it, but when you love someone, like I love Mr. Free, you'll do anything in the world to spare them pain (even when they deserve it! lol).
There's a line in a movie (Lackawana Blues) where one of the main characters, when questioned about why she just didn't walk away from her marriage in rough times, replies that, "Some times a man and a woman got an understanding that only they understand." So, so true...so true!
In my immaturity I would often relate to select others the details of our arguments and disagreements. Of course, I only told of those where he was clearly wrong. LOL It was a few years before I realized that he didn't do the same. There have been times when I have dealt devastating blows to our relationship, but not only has he hung in there with me, forgiven me and stayed by my side, but he's also kept his mouth shut about my shortcomings and wrong doings. From him, I've learned that our issues are between us and that it's not necessary to air our dirty laundry to others (unless it will help them, which we do believe in sharing our experiences in that regard to help other couples).
I think it's important to understand your lover as a person... to relate to them as a human being, and not just as your lover. When you do this, it's sometimes easier to understand their motives, misunderstandings and moods. Mr. Free and I do that pretty well, I think. It took us a while and we do still sometimes take things personally, but we each try to take into account the other's upbringing, insecurities, past relationships, personal issues and so forth when trying to understand what makes the other tick. Sometimes it's just not about us, sometimes we react to things based upon similar past experiences or fears or any host of other reasons. Doesn't make our reactions always right or the best way to deal with things, but it's comforting to know that your partner isn't going to run, but will excuse, forgive and do their best to help you understand and avoid negative patterns in the future.
Recently, we had a little public tiff. Nothing too major...was over before it started in fact, but not without a few, quick verbal jabs first. Days later, after we'd discussed it, made up and all was forgiven, somone commented on what they would have done in that situation (their reply involved a little literal head bashing, lol) and, when I thought about it, I can see that once upon a time I probably would have reacted in the same way they suggested. However, when you know a person and have really learned what motivates them to do what they do, you learn better ways to handle situations. You learn that sometimes there are hidden reasons behind their actions and your own reactions. When you understand this, you learn to cut a short path to a better solution. Doesn't always make things easy, but it helps in not making them worse.
It's also funny how little things can mean so much. Things that some others may not even notice or think all that important, but to you they mean the world. One of Mr. Free's most affectionate moves is when he anoints my head with oil and says a prayer for me. Might sound corny, but that trumps a dozen roses and 40 kisses a day (not that I don't like roses and kisses, lol)! When he does this, I know he's not only concerned with my heart or my feelings, but he's deeply concerned with my soul and my spirit. He asks Our Father to watch over me, to help me and to show me His ways.
I could go on for days about why I love him, but really it comes down to the choice to do so. Yeah, he's handsome, smart, deeply spiritual, wise, funny, strong, a great provider, a great father, a caring individual and an all around cool person. And, yeah, he's a great cook! But none of those things matter much when he has me so angry I can hardly see straight. No, what keeps me loving him is that, a long time ago, I made the choice to do so. It's when things are going great and he's going out of his way for my happiness that this decision is an effortless pleasure, but it's in the difficult times that I call on the most strength to put his feelings, wants, needs and thoughts even before my own. See, I've learned that, in love, when you sacrifice and put the other first is when you're loving your best. Easy to do when you feel good about them, not so easy to do when you want to push a button and eject them from the planet (lol). Still, it's a decision, a discipline and a lot of effort, but it's all worth it. And when it comes to Mr. Free he's DEFINITELY worth it!
May you all experience true love...begin with the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that the Father shows us and spread that to others, especially your spouse, and experience love you will definitely do!
Take care of yourself and each other,