When I was young, I romanticized love. I thought love would act as a protective bubble against anger, doubt, worry, fear and confusion. It wasn't until shortly after I was married that I truly began to understand what true love is.
Love is the first thing needed to make a marriage work.
My marriage is not perfect. I would be lying if I said there is nothing that my husband does that annoys me, disappoints me or makes me angry, but I also know that I love him and he loves me.
How do I know that my husband truly loves me? Here are the ways:
He cries in front of me
The first time my husband cried in front of me, I knew he loved me.
All of his walls were torn down and he was completely venerable to my opinion. He let me see a rare side of him, an emotional side that opened a window to his heart. I appreciated that and never took it for granted.
I knew it was hard for him to show that side to me, and it was only through having a comfortable, loving relationship that allowed it to happen.
He challenges me
My husband knows my comfort zone, and he doesn't let me hang out too long in there. He challenges me to get up and be better.
One time at Walt Disney World, my husband suggested I try out for the American Idol Experience. Of course I said no. I hadn't planned on it, I hadn't prepared anything and there was no way I could do it. He took me by the hand and led me to the attraction to find out how to audition.
After standing there for a moment, he turned to me and said: "I know you can do this, but if you don't want to I understand." I knew my husband would love me if I made it or not, so I swallowed my fear and auditioned.
I actually made it, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. If my husband hadn't challenged me, I probably wouldn't have tried. He always has my best interest at heart, knows what I am capable of and pushes me to exceed expectations.
He fights with me
Yes it is true, my husband argues with me. When something is wrong we tell each other, and often times it results in an argument. That is how we express our feelings, work through them and eventually resolve them.
Fighting does not mean that you do not love a person, in fact if I did not love him I wouldn't fight with him. I wouldn't care what his opinion was and whether he was right or wrong. It is through trying to understand his point of view and allowing him to understand mine that makes our relationship stronger.
Once I told my husband that I always wanted to be the shoulder he cried on. He didn't understand the saying (because he is from another country), so I explained that a shoulder to cry on simply means someone to wipe away your tears and support you through the hard times. He asked if it would make more sense to say "I want to be your Kleenex" instead. I guess it does.
My husband knows the right way to comfort me when I am upset. He lets me cry, yell and feel hurt, and he is there to help me pick up the pieces and overcome my sorrow. When I am hurt or upset, the only person I want is my husband. He is my warm blanket, my bear hug and my Kleenex.
He supports me
When I have a crazy idea, which I get a lot, my husband is always 100 percent supportive of me. He makes me feel like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
From the moment I start, he encourages me, motivates me and helps me get through the hard times. He also knows when to call it quits and supports me through the emotions involved with that as well.
When my ideas don't work out he never belittles me or makes me feel like a failure. We talk about what went wrong and what we can change for the future.
He makes me a better person
There are some people in this world that pull you down, and some that lift you up. It is important to marry someone who lifts you up. I feel like I want to be a better person when I am around my husband. I want him to be proud of me. I want to be deserving of his love and friendship.
My husband also is not afraid to stand up to me when most people wouldn't. If I have done something questionable he calls me out on it. Not in a mean spirited way, but in a way that only someone you completely trust can do. Not only do I want to be a better person when I am around him, but he makes me a better person as well.
So often I hear people say they just fell out of love. I don't believe that is true as much as perhaps they got tired of making the daily effort needed to have a successful marriage. Perhaps their view of love was the same as mine at first, a feeling that would make all negative feelings simply not exist.
In reality, love cannot cure all problems, but if two people are willing to allow love to help them through their imperfections, instead of pretending they do not exist, then they will have a successful marriage.