[New Blog] What Is Big Love?
First and foremost, I want to thank my lovely-kind wife Patty for sharing her blog with me. Truly this is an honor and a privilege. This blog is my second entry in our “He Said, She Said” series. I ended my last blog with “more to come later….” Now that it is later, here is more:
Like Patty, I too have gotten the question “How’s Married Life?”. In the past, when people asked me “How are you?”, my comfortable auto-response used to be: “Fine, just fine.” This sometimes spoke to a lack of authenticity to get the focus off me and on to something else. Often, my response “Fine!” really meant that my inner-self was “Fearful, Irritable, Neurotic, and Ego-centered!” I wasn’t eager to let others see the real me, nor really know what I was feeling internally.
I call this pretense. We all do it at times. Wearing a mask for different audiences. Not being transparent nor real. When I talk and act this way with others, it’s like throwing a masquerade party where no-one knows they are its participants.
There is a better way where we can live at our higher, more authentic self. Connecting more with God and with others helps us to do this. Over time, I have learned to practice moving forward with less pretense and more authenticity. And when I first met Patty, we agreed that a transparent relationship—no games—was a shared primary value.
So in an effort to expose my truer self to you, let me get back to the question, “How is married life going for you?”, and give you my honest answer.
The details of our married life have many facets to it: work, commutes, prayer and devotions, eating together (I am eating healthier than ever), lots of dancing (in public and private), stimulating conversations, fellowship and community. Majoring in the majors, practicing living in the solution vs living in the problem, taking walks, serving others, appreciating wonderful friends, laughing at ourselves and some of the absurdities of life, savoring our home (our sanctuary), enjoying our wonderful family and grandchildren, sharing burdens (Patty’s MS) and sharing victories (experiencing favor from God), watching movements of God around us and in others’ lives, and pulling down joy into our real moments of life no matter what the circumstances or situations are.
Married life for me has been consistent with the God-given “out-of-the-ballpark, grand slam and fireworks too, Big Love” that we have shared in previous blogs! The momentum of our Big Love that we shared on and before our Wedding Day continues to evolve into Patty becoming my lover, best friend, and wife whom I admire, adore, love and respect each day.
Patty hit a bullseye in one of her earlier blogs–“Life is Short, Love is Long”–that she shared with me when we were dating. I encourage you to read it, as it offers a behind-the-scenes look at the basis of what our married life has been so far. We call our love, “Big Love” because we knew from the beginning that God is in it, and it is the Love He has given us that we attempt to share with each other deeply and consistently each day. God’s love in us gives us the capacity and the power to love more deeply than either one of us could possibly love on our own. Truly, we try to live each day as if it were our last here on earth. That allows us not to focus on worry, but to live–really live fully–love completely, and laugh often even in the real moments of each day!
For me the most striking insight about our married life for the last 8 months is indeed our lack of pretense. Truly this is a gift from God. Without God in our life, we could never have experienced this, let alone become aware of this insight.
What does this lack of pretense look like in our marriage? For starters, overcoming pretense has meant our becoming more and more vulnerable to each other and living by taking risks of faith over and over again. Since pretense creates distance in relationships vs authenticity that increases intimacy, we’ve chosen transparency that allows us to grow closer as with each other. We utilize our faith, our values, our communications, our personal inventories and our sanctuary to work to obliterate pretension before it can root itself in us.
One of the many ways we are blessed is that my wife and I have strong shared-values. That doesn’t mean that we always see things the same way, nor do we always agree or hold the same positions. Yet, we take the higher way in embracing our love and respecting each other’s values. This way we don’t feel that we have to be right or defend our position. In contrast, I learn from Patty and respect her more, even when we hold different viewpoints.
Because our sanctuary is a safe place where we can and do talk about anything, we enjoy a growing trust and a lack of pretense that results in great intimacy! The intimacy we share today is beyond my dreams and is manifested spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, relationally, and physically.
Our story is not over yet. A new chapter is always being written. Your story isn’t already fixed nor near the end either. God is waiting for assistance for a new chapter to be written! Stay tuned for the continuing story of our Big Love, with more details, in the next edition of “She Said.”