Everlasting Love

Feb 9 2015

 

 

The month of February always symbolizes love. We all have read the statistics about divorce rates and I am sure many of you have experienced heartache and may be part of the statistics. I am certainly no expert on how to keep love alive but as we near our 10 year anniversary there are certain things I know for sure have contributed to our happy marriage.

 

One of my first love lessons occurred during a season of loss. Just before our wedding and a day before my birthday, my husband to be, lost his father after a long battle with Leukemia. It was a sad time for everyone. I wanted to comfort my husband and during that process learned a profound truth that we still rely upon to this day. We are in this relationship together, we have each other’s back and working as a team is better than going it alone. Difficulties either drive you apart or bind you together. One of the most prolific pieces of advice we received before we were married centered on our vows. A dear friend said, “You know there will always be a worse, a poorer and a sicker.” As an optimist I really had not thought of the opposite side to better, richer, and healthier until that poignant reminder.

 

During our engagement, I wrote a love letter to my husband recounting all the things I loved about him. My husband did the same, we still have the letters and the list we created with simple adjectives that described our most cherished qualities.  Once a year, we review our lists which helps us both remember why we fell in love. This reflection exercise takes us back to the beginning and softens our hearts toward one another. Bitterness struggles to exist when there is no fertile ground.  Love and compliments are lethal weapons to deploy against anger.

 

Right after we married, we signed up for a couple’s weekend. Over the course of the weekend we learned a great deal about each other and how to manage conflict lovingly. The Weekend To Remember conference provided us with tools that we keep in our arsenal and use when needed. One of the biggest Ah Ha moments for me was pertaining to self-centeredness. They talked about how so many people underestimate selfishness and how it can destroy your relationship. Selfishness leads to a critical spirit, which leads to disappointment, bitterness and finally isolation. One way to counteract going down the rabbit hole is to concentrate on your spouse’s positive traits. Once you shift your focus off your spouse and on to yourself, you can often catch bitterness before takes over. When you start to become critical of your spouse, inevitably there is something within you that needs to change. Turning the microscope of perfectionism and cynicism inward creates a shift in understanding differences along with a commitment to resolve them in a mature way.  

 

There is no secret formula or magic pill that creates everlasting love. If you opened my husband’s wallet today, you would find a tattered and torn piece of paper that contains his handwritten heart felt, wedding vows. Here is an excerpt, “I devote myself to creating a marriage of affection, love, laughter, encouragement and understanding.” Those are not just empty words, staying in love requires a great deal of work and commitment. We plan to stay the course.

 

As we approach Valentine’s Day, think about one small thing you can do to compliment your partner and breathe new life and love into your relationship.

 

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com