A “Special Guest” posting from my husband, Scott Webster. The man who puts up with my shenanigans and claims to explain the reasons “why” in this blog post. 😉
What is Love?
I have been married for just over 14 years and, lately, I find myself asking this question often. Of course, when my wife and I first met, love seemed simple. She made me feel amazing, I couldn’t wait to see her at the end of every day, and I would have sacrificed anything for this woman that I “loved.” At the time, I didn’t ask myself what that meant. I went with my gut and I just knew I never wanted that feeling to go away. So locking in a marriage seemed like a wise choice.
Looking back, I see things a bit differently. I was alone, empty, lost, and felt like I had no direction in life. Just cruising, waiting for something great to come along. She was riding the same wave as me. She just got out of an abusive relationship and then, “WOW”, a normal dude loves me?”
She gave me hope, a reason for living, excitement, and I wanted to be a better man, so she would be proud of me, respect me, and love me the way I loved her. For her, I provided stability, strength, and pickle jar opening. It doesn’t take a marital genius to figure out we were setting ourselves up for disaster. I will come back to this.
Fast forward nearly 15 years. I don’t look at her the same and she doesn’t notice me unless the sink is full and I’m sitting on the couch in what appears to be an oh-so-highly-resented, relaxed state. I have been told we all go through this. Going through the motions of everyday life. Getting the kids up and ready for school, going to work, making meals, paying bills, soccer games, and the list goes on. The sex, passion, excitement, and
Love…………… is gone. Maybe.
Ask yourself what love is? Does it have a definition? Is it different with everyone? Or even scarier, is it something you genuinely experience when a relationship is new and the endorphins are raging? Am I feeling love for the wrong reasons? That’s a biggie. We all have loved things unconditionally because we do not expect anything back in return. I love pizza. Really. I can love a movie, a child can love their baby blanket, we may even love a pet. I love my children and we have all heard a thousand times, “Well, it’s a different kind of love.” Why?? Because I have to? No, because I don’t expect all the things in return like I do from my wife.
I love my children for who they are, the way they make me smile, and the thousands of little things they do that make it all worth it. I can love them unconditionally because I see the value and innocence in them. But with my wife, I expect her to fill my needs, cherish me, respect me, and make me feel good. Damn, that’s a lot of pressure and surely a set-up for failure. But, that’s what the wedding vows say, right?
I have come to the conclusion that most of us love in the wrong way. Are we doing it wrong? It seems crazy to put two people in the same house for 50 years and expect them to keep the spark that was there when they first met. Let’s face it, men and women think differently, react with emotions differently and, quite frankly, the opposite sex confuses us. Afraid to fail and avoid all the fun benefits of divorce, we keep trying.
Why else do we continue to try? Our ego plays a big part. Not to mention the fear that we won’t find someone else or, worse yet, be alone. For many, the fear of being alone is so overwhelming that we would rather stay in a toxic relationship than start over. The grass is always greener on the other side, but if you don’t know how to properly feed and water it, it’s only greener for a short time.
I didn’t marry her because I needed help where I was weak…or because of financial reasons…or because I couldn’t possibly go through life alone. I married her because she filled emotional needs that I should have been able to fill myself. Remember, I said I was gonna come back to this one.
The truth is, I didn’t love myself. I didn’t respect myself. At that time, I couldn’t. One should never NEED a partner or life mate. I should have had all of those things figured out for myself. When two people come together and depend on each other to provide these things (rather than figure out how to do it for themselves), it’s a perfect storm for a dysfunctional relationship. Not to mention, what happens if that person is gone one day? Will you no longer be ‘complete?’ What then?
Although my wife and I founded our relationship on the ‘need’ for one another, we now base our partnership on a mutual understanding and appreciation of our differences. We also focus more on the qualities that we love about one another rather than the ones that drive us crazy. And, through a lot of trial and error, we have arrived at a place in our relationship where we are both content with life and one another. We recognize we are lucky to have each other. We are moving into a new phase of this thing called ‘love.’
Do yourself a favor and ask, “What does love mean to me?”
If any of the answers relate to filling a void in your life, you may want to re-think things a bit. I entered my relationship as a sponge. Lots of holes to fill because of my own issues. Eventually, the sponge gets heavy, but the holes are still there.
Love isn’t at all what I use to think it was. Love is the appreciation of a person. Who she is, what she represents, and respecting her goals and aspirations. The trick is to not expect anything in return. Like pizza. If the delivery dude shows up and the pizza isn’t cooked right, I don’t hate the pizza. Sometimes, shit just happens. Friendship is much more important to maintain.
I love sitting on the patio at night and talking about my day to my wife. I love exploring and finding new places with her. I love sitting on the beach in silence and watching the sunset with her next to me. She doesn’t have to say or do anything. She just has to sit there and I can still admire and love all the things about her. She is an amazing person. I am fortunate to have her as my supporter and as a loyal and great friend. She’s not who I depend on to fill the holes. That’s