My parents just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. Several of their long time friends are also celebrating close to a half century of marriage. I have known these 10 or so couples most of my life and my best example of course are my parents. Not only are these marriages filled with love but so are their lives. These couples have taught me…True love is a beautiful mess.
It is beautiful but it isn’t always pretty. Love isn’t just about the best moments in life. It isn’t about all the rainbows and bouquets of roses. It is about every moment in between. It is about weathering the storm before the rainbow, and keeping the love long after the roses have wilted and died. It is about celebrating the small victories and cherishing the little things, it is about compromise and sacrifice. It is about always seeing the best in your partner even when they are at their lowest or worst. It is carrying them through their grief and dusting them off after their failures. It is knowing they are all you need and showing them they are so much more than they ever realized. It is being their sounding board, their shoulder to cry on, their strength in weak moments and their cheerleader as they chase their dreams.
It is wanting their happiness, safety and comfort as much as your own and learning patience, understanding and acceptance. Not just of the good moments, the successes and the achievements in life but especially during the moments they stumble, the nights filled with ugly cries and frustrated actions. It is forgetting your own pain in the loss of a child to comfort the pain of your grieving spouse. But your pain is not forgotten…because they are also selflessly comforting you. It is being strong in the moments they are too weak to stand and being safe enough to share your pain with them as they carry you through your personal refiner’s fires. It is learning to laugh through the tears and to see each moment with love. It is sharing every moment of pain, joy, shame, defeat and victory. It is mourning when they mourn and finding joy in the moments they can’t. It is helping them reach their potential while accepting their limitations it is seeing them through tender eyes and listening with not only your ears but your heart.
True unconditional love is the most beautiful thing in the world. It is a beautiful mess of excitement, hardship, success, pain, laughter, heart-wrenching loss and indescribable joy. When I have moments of pondering why we are all here I look to the couples I have known my whole life and realize they have found true meaning by living it with true love.