Love, Anyway

On today, our 2nd anniversary, I think it’s appropriate to talk about all the reasons why I love my husband. 

I love DJ because he loves me anyway.

Wait, what?!?! How many times have you said “I love my spouse because…”? Yeah, I’ve said it a lot too. I even participated in the #loveyourspouse challenge on Facebook and had daily posts about why I love my husband, and there are lots of reasons why I love him. But we recently had a Sunday morning devotional that offered a different perspective about love. 

DJ and I have been reading “Devotions for a Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas as our weekly couples devotional. A few weeks ago, the chapter was entitled “I love him anyway.” Boy, was that a timely chapter. My response to DJ was, “I feel like you’ve been loving me anyway a lot lately.” As Gary Thomas stated, “In Luke 6:32-36, Jesus says we shouldn’t love “because”; we should love “anyway.””

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:32-36‬ ‭NLT‬‬

How true is that statement? I’ve heard people make statements like “my spouse doesn’t make me happy,” or “we’ve grown apart.” My personal thoughts on that are that we should not rely on a person to make us happy. My spouse is not supposed to be the one in whom I find happiness. That should be God. He is the One that I rely on. I believe He gave me my spouse, and I am so grateful for my husband. But if I expect DJ to “make me happy,” then I will be disappointed and my marriage will eventually fail. Marriage is hard enough without putting an impossible expectation on your spouse to keep you happy all the time. Loving your spouse as God has commanded us means more than loving as a feeling, but instead loving as an action verb. So what does this look like for us?

When I speak with “tone”…he loves me anyway. 

This is something I’m really trying hard to work on, but there are definitely times when I respond with an inappropriate tone in my voice. DJ does not hesitate to call me out on it. I usually don’t want to hear it and may even continue to try to justify why I’m acting the way I am. But ultimately, I have to apologize. I choose my response, regardless of the circumstances so I have to take responsibility when I act in an unloving way.

When I feel overwhelmed by our crazy life and respond in a less-than-loving way…he loves me anyway. 

This is really a continuation of the previous one. However, when I am feeling overwhelmed by six kids all asking a million questions at one time, or what feels like relentless bickering, or just the volume caused by the sheer size of our family, he asks “what can I do to make this better?” I really don’t know what is going to help me handle this life other than the grace of God. But knowing that he wants to help me brings me a measure of peace. 

When I am a perfectly imperfect wife…he loves me anyway. 

We all have our faults. None of us are perfect. DJ gives me the space to be imperfect without feeling judged, but also encouraging me to grow and improve. 

When my work schedule gets crazy and we see each other for less than 30 minutes a day for several weeks…he loves me anyway. 

I recently had to deal with some craziness at work that required me to be in the office a bit longer than usual. This meant that DJ had to step up and step in, even more than he normally does. He took the kids to school or to the bus stop. He made sure that they were bathed and fed and dinner was on the table, even when I got home just in time to eat or missed bedtime altogether. He did laundry and washed dishes, which are normally things I help with. He didn’t make me feel guilty when I went to bed at 8:00 or got up at 4:00. He continued to pray over me as I slept, keeping up with our nightly ritual of praying together. He made it “ok” for me to do what needed to be done at work, even when it meant missing out on a lot of family time for several weeks. He helped the kids understand why I needed to be at work so much, even on weekends. He never made me feel guilty, and made me feel at peace knowing that he was caring for our family. 

When my stress level is through the roof and I have a crisis of faith…he loves me anyway. 

If you know me at all, you know I don’t handle stress well. I think I have to be able to do everything all the time. He reminds me that God is the One in control and that I can trust Him to provide for us, even when I’m not sure how bills are going to be paid, or how we are going to be able to handle certain situations. Since there aren’t bill collectors knocking at our door, I guess God has provided. 😉

When I’m failing miserably at being a good stepmom…he loves me anyway. 

Being a good stepmom is harder on many levels than being a good mom. Building that relationship with my stepchildren is something that is going to take time. Even though we’ve been married two years, the time that we actually get to spend with them is only a fraction of that time. It’s been easier for DJ to establish that relationship with “my” kids because he sees them every day. It’s hard for me to not compare his relations with “my” kids to my relationship with his children, even though I know intellectually that it’s different. He reminds me that it just takes time, and asks how he can help. 

When I leave the dirty dishes for him in the sink because I just don’t want to wash them…he loves me anyway. 

Neither one of us like to do dishes. It’s a chore than often gets assigned to the kids on weekends, but during the week, they usually don’t have time so the task falls to us. These last couple of months, I’ve been slacking on my half of “you cook, I clean.” Not once did DJ say anything to me about it. He just left the dishes there for me. Hahaha. 🙂

When I think his ideas are crazy and hair-brained ideas…he loves me anyway. 

DJ is definitely the dreamer in our marriage. He has incredible ideas and thoughts for things we should do, as a couple and as a family. He thinks longer term. I get stuck in the “how in the world are we going to be able to do that?!?!” thought process. Generally, we balance each other out and are able to come to an agreement on how to proceed. If it had been up to me, we never would have started this Blended Family ministry or started The Blended Bakery. He encourages me to push beyond my comfort zone, and makes it safe for me to do so. Both the ministry and the business have helped to bring our family closer, and given the kids something to bond over. 

When I have to acknowledge he was right and maybe not so crazy after all…he loves me anyway. 

There have been a couple of times where I had to say “you were right dear.” 😉 

When I put my cold feet on his warm feet at night…he loves me anyway. 

I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg in describing all the times he has loved me anyway, and I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities for him to love me anyway in the future. That’s part of what makes our marriage great – knowing that he will love me anyway, despite my failures and shortcomings. We are both committed to loving each other anyway. Here’s to many more years of loving anyway! 

I love you anyway DJ!

(And I’m smart enough not to publicly state why I love him anyway.)