Monday, April 26, 2010

Where I Talk About Love

From Wednesday to last night, Mr. C. and I were in California with my parents and three younger siblings. Every day was wonderfully jam packed with activities ranging from art exhibits to buying Max the cutest Dumbo in the world to riding a four person bike. Now that we're back, I am exhausted... in a good way.

Yesterday morning, Mr. C. and I woke up early, got ready for our last day, and went for a long, barefoot walk in the cold sand as the sun broke through the early morning clouds. While we walked along, I thought about my husband and how sometimes our lives seem too good to be true.

It's not a secret that, before I met Mr. C., I only dated men who, to put it nicely, had a knack for making me feel bad about myself. Though some of the boys I dated were nice, I often found myself in unhealthy relationships with much-older boys that typically ended sourly and dramatically. When Andrew and I started dating in January of 2009, I was so used to being neglected and bullied that I often asked him "Why are you being nice to me?". Looking back, I now realize how sad such a question was, especially when I continued to ask it for months.

I'm not trying to air my dirty laundry here. Besides my ever-loving husband and my mom, no one knows the details of my past relationships except the people who were directly involved. What matters is that a couple of my bad relationships created major milestones Mr. C. and I had to overcome together. This really frustrated me at the onset when we decided to get married, but in a weird way we've been so blessed to overcome the obstacles that were placed on us. They made us stronger, and as Mr. C. put it to me a few weeks ago, we're lucky to be a couple that's centered on love, not the excess benefits of love and marriage many choose to focus on.

We're still students. We're poor. We're having our first child at the age of twenty-three and he's going to be in a one bedroom apartment (sans a dishwasher or laundry facilities) with us for the first year of his life. Our entire apartment is full of hand-me downs, gifts, furniture bought from our wedding budget, and decorations that I've refashioned or created from scratch. We seriously discuss every small purchase we make and sometimes my heart breaks when I have to put back a ten-dollar baby romper in order to buy one on clearance. We live on a meal plan. I sew and shop at thrift stores not just because it's fun, but because it's a necessity. And honestly? I love it. We won't always be students but we'll probably always be penny pinchers.

I'm not one to sit and type about how we save our money, how we find time for love, or how we make our marriage work. I guess I could give my advice, but what works for us won't necessarily work for other people. I think that marriage, and life in general, is an enormous blessing and that you take what you get and make the best of it. Since I had horrible experiences with men prior to Andrew, I'm able to appreciate my husband in a way I never would have been able to otherwise. The fact that our relationship is built from love and well wishes for each other and the future means that the monetary doesn't matter to us. We have more than enough to make ends meet, which is not as hard as people make it out to be.

Another reason we are happy is that Andrew and I have never really romanticized love. We both love that love is shown in small ways throughout the day. Though sometimes we bicker and disagree, we always start and end our days praying together and giving little kisses whenever we are around one another. We're both motivated and driven, but we also like to find time to kick back and relax- something we can do in the comfort of our little apartment or in a nearby park. I strongly believe that love should be integrated into every aspect of every couple's relationship and though implying it can be hard, I feel so much happier and lighter when I treat Andrew with the love and respect he deserves.

Lately I've just felt extra lucky to have such a wonderful husband who does all he can for me and our future family. I love waking up before him and snuggling close to him so I can be there when he wakes up. I love being home when he gets home from work. I love cooking for him, I love cleaning the apartment we live in together, I love that he is mine and I love that I am his. We have such a simple, young life together, but it feels so full and rich, not because we're anything special but because we want the best for each other and we let ourselves love each other completely. I love my husband and I hope I never forget how lucky I am to have him.

P.S. I'm not saying that I think everyone should operate the same way we do. Everyone has different wants, needs, and priorities. And honestly, we're still figuring out ours. We're only twenty-three and we have a long, love-filled life ahead of us.