Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How Do I Love Thee?

What my husband loves best about me is that I ask deep, thought provoking, long-conversation-igniting questions in the dark, as we are lying in bed waiting for the Sandman to lull us to dreamland.

Yeah, probably not.

I can't help it--as I lie there, nestled on the pillow-top mattress, the thoughts just come, and I need to give them a voice, for fear of forgetting them.

So, I ask him, "How do I love you best?"

His reply, "You tell me."

Followed by, "Do I need to take that quiz again, or something?"

I try not to laugh. My poor husband. Early on in our dating relationship I made him read The Five Love Languages, and take the "quiz" in the back. He didn't know what he was getting into when he chose to love a girl with a degree in counseling.

"Nope," I say.

There's no question about it--he loves with words. He always has.

Love drips from his lips like honey.

He compliments.

He encourages.

He lifts me up.

I am adored.

Cherished.

Here's the snag--I struggle to receive his love. I often shrug off his words, argue with him, and even tell him he's wrong.

Love pours from his soul like wine. The best wine. And I don't want a glass, not even a drink. And--seriously!? This girl does NOT say no to a glass of wine!

So, what's the hang up? We're talking about wine here, people!

Truth--I just can't believe my husband.

I look in the mirror, and I see stretch marks, extra skin on my stomach--all flaws from carrying our twin daughters. In my head, those flaws, somehow, make me unworthy of his wooing and his praise, because I'm, physically, no longer the best version of myself.

Since words are how he loves, I'm essentially telling him not to love me. I'm stuffing a rag down his throat and telling him that the way he loves doesn't cut it. I'm throwing that really good, best wine back in his face.

I recently read an article by Aaron Traister, which speaks of this from a man's perspective. He said that the woman he
...married eight years ago looked like an alluring, 26-year-old blank slate waiting to be filled with stories, aglow in the possibilities of youth. But I imagine that staring at a blank page for the rest of your life would get boring, which is why it's so hard for me to understand how she can pinch and grab and criticize the parts of her that tell the best stories of our life. The scars on her belly, the changing shape of her breasts, the lines that are starting to appear on her face — these aren't imperfections; they're what keep me wanting to find out what happens next.
So, this is what I'm thinking:

God declared that I, his creation, is very good.
God saw all he had made, and it was very good.
 Genesis 1:31a
I am so very good, in fact, that he died with my sin on his shoulders, because I am worth saving. Then, for good measure, God blessed me with an incredible husband, who loves me with words that pour out like my favorite drink. 

So, here's where I'm at:

I am going to love my husband by letting him love me, his stretch marked bride.

Letting him love the very good woman, God created.

Letting him love my body for the stories it tells.

Letting his love-words soak into my soul.

Letting his best wine dance on my tongue and run down my throat.

Cheers!
_____________________________________________

As Melissa and I have begun our conversations about True Beauty. I've felt like I have work to do in my own life--this is part of that work. My journey to loving and being loved fully and completely.

How do you love your husband?

19 comments:

Angela said...

Really beautiful post!

Jennifer N. said...

I like it, too!

Shell said...

Crazy gifted you are!

I love my husband through physical touch (holding hands, hugs, etc. ). He also loves through words and I would have to say it has been very difficult receiving those sweet words post-baby but thankfully he doesn't give up and just loves harder.

Robin ~ PENSIEVE said...

"Letting him love my body for the stories it tells." Love that. LOVE IT! THIS is fantastic! I am the "words" girl in our family, so my husband doesn't exactly speak love naturally the way I need to hear it. But I think God typically puts together people with different primary love languages so we DON'T get bored.

Thank you so much for writing this, for exploring true beauty, for sharing your experience and faith. I leave your blogging spot greatly encouraged (and wanting to return!!).

:) So glad I found you through (in)courage :).

Anonymous said...

How do I love the? Let me count the ways...

First, there is me on top and him on bottom; then there is him on top and me on bottom; then there is....

Wait, not what you were going for?

jjiraffe said...

Lovely, beautiful post. Weirdly, I felt more attractive after having the twins (even though my body looked much the worse for wear). My body had finally done the one thing that meant the most to my husband: it bore him two children at once! Today's ridiculous focus on our bodies being ornaments and not the strong vessels they are built to be is not right. How beautiful your body is for doing the particularly arduous task of carrying two babies at once! You should take great pride in what your body has done for you both :)

Craig said...

I’m here from Ann’s.

Amen – the marks of your childbearing are LOVE - nothing but love. Believe your hubs.

This was a really good thing to read today

God Bless and Keep You and your husband and your marriage

Susan Evans said...

I love it!! When our husbands love us, we just need to let it sink in...

Branson @ Reflection of Something said...

This post made it into my top 10! Thanks so much for sharing! =) http://blmerrill.blogspot.com/2011/02/best-of-best-feb-18th.html

Christy said...

Absolutely beautiful. You are gifted. Thank you for sharing this with others.

Karla Campos said...

So poetic, so romantic, I love it!!!

Karla Campos said...

So poetic, so romantic, I love it!!!

Christy said...

Absolutely beautiful. You are gifted. Thank you for sharing this with others.

Susan Evans said...

I love it!! When our husbands love us, we just need to let it sink in...

jjiraffe said...

Lovely, beautiful post. Weirdly, I felt more attractive after having the twins (even though my body looked much the worse for wear). My body had finally done the one thing that meant the most to my husband: it bore him two children at once! Today's ridiculous focus on our bodies being ornaments and not the strong vessels they are built to be is not right. How beautiful your body is for doing the particularly arduous task of carrying two babies at once! You should take great pride in what your body has done for you both :)

Jennifer N. said...

I like it, too!

Angela said...

Really beautiful post!

Natalie said...

SO Beautiful...did your husband read it? I'm sure he absolutely adores your words :)

Thank you for sharing this with me!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

This is such a beautiful post, Julia! And I just now realized that it was written two years ago!

I just read The Five Love Languages of Children, as I'm trying to figure out B, in particular. A friend loaned me the original 5LL book, and I look forward to reading that, too.

I find it interesting...I think I know what Hubby's love language is, but I'm not really sure what mine is. I think it's such an interesting angle as we think about our relationships, though. It feels like it *should* be second nature to know how to love and be loved, but I think it's an awesome thing to explore.

You are such a beautiful lady, inside and out! I so appreciate your insight. :) :)

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your loves!