Love, Actually

Me and Mah Honey in Venice, 11/2010

Ahhhhh Venice. Arguably the most romantic city in the world. I say “arguably” because the notion of romanticism is strictly a matter of opinion. My opinion happens to differ from the mainstream’s, whose ideal romantic city (as evidenced in the media) is Paris. Although I do love Paris, it is much too fast-paced and crowded for me to feel romance.

Because I was wondering what is wrong with me that (yet again!) the world-at-large and I don’t see eye-to-eye, I started by looking up the word “romance”. The dictionary’s definition is this: inclined toward or suggestive of the feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

Seeing spectacular sights doesn’t make me feel especially romantic. Excitement doesn’t really enter into my mind either when I think of romance. And mystery? Nope. Not that either.

Venice, November 2010

My idea of a romantic situation involves quiet contemplation, and purposeful thoughtfulness. As far as a location, Venice fits the bill perfectly.  The 2,000 year-old city seems to be in a constant state of disrepair and/or deterioration, and for me, this air of melancholy only adds to its intrigue. The non-perfection everywhere you look makes for a more interesting visual experience as well as causes one to think outside the suburban box, which is something my soul craves on a regular basis.  Even the feeling of antiquity is breathtaking to me.

Venice, November 2010

This dichotomy between what I feel in my heart and what educated scholars have defined as romance as has led me to dig deeper into my own thoughts about the subject this Valentine’s Day.

At the heart of romance lies love. I love my husband. I feel love in return. I am comforted by his presence. There is no mystery which leaves me wondering who he sees when he looks at me. It’s nice to be told what’s on his mind, but there is no uncertainty or jealousy or insecurity when we are with each other.

I don’t need a certain location to make me feel romantic.  I just need the ability to enjoy my husband’s company, preferably in quiet wonder.  Being with him, enjoying the same moment in time, with or without words.  Our bodies united by proximity, our minds are united in oneness of thought.  Knowing we are “on the same page”, whether running errands or wandering the streets of a city we have never been to before, is romantic to me.  Being able to enjoy each moment, however routine or mundane, fosters love in me for him.

My hubby and I will celebrate our 16th anniversary in June.  In our time together, we have moved several times, we have had children, we have changed jobs, we have had fun, we’ve had sorrow, we have aged.  We have experienced most every emotion a human being is capable of experiencing, both separately and together.

Our ages, our addresses, our waistlines, our feelings, our needs, our preferences, and our friends have changed over the years.  But one thing has not.  Our love for each other.

The credit for this cannot be given to us, with our ever-changing thoughts and feelings and whims.  All the credit goes to God, who changes not.  His way are not our ways.  The ability to let His love extend through me to my husband when my own frail human love fails, is the single most important trait I possess that contributes to what I consider our healthy marriage.  It is not perfect – nothing this side of heaven – is, but I consider it healthy because it is nourished and not stagnant.  It is protected and not ignored. It is alive and not dead.

And it’s all because God took two young, impressionable people who in blind faith and without knowing all it would entail, dedicated their marriage to Him, and did (and continues to do) a work in us for His glory.

I am honored to be a part of this kind of Love.  We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:18)

Happy Valentines Day to my husband, my soul mate, my other half, my help-meet, my KK. I love you!

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