30 May 2013

How to fall in love. Again.

He was 21 and I was 22 and he used to come over and stock my fridge.

I lived in a part of town that I probably shouldn’t have. The part that meant I usually needed someone to walk me home. He always walked with me. Remembered the umbrella when I forgot. And on days I wasn’t expecting he filled the freezer with ice cream. Chocolate and vanilla. The fridge with fruit and vegetables. The cupboards with unhealthy delicious. He’s always known my favorite things.

We’re more than a decade older. He still stocks the fridge.

But there’s less time to tell him thank you.

Less time to look into his cowboy-green eyes and see the man behind the gesture.

I’m the “stop pinching your sister,” “pick up that wet swimsuit,” “who left this dirty bowl out?” woman now.

When he’s snoring here in bed beside me I walk back in my mind to remember the girl who packed a can of coke and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day of a summer she fell in love with the boy who was stocking her refrigerator.

I saved enough that summer to offset the parts missing from my financial aid. We’d been married years before I found out he went back to school with a zero balance in his bank account and the hook, line and sinker heart of a South African girl who shouldn’t have been living in that part of D.C.

I’m his wife now.

But some days my words say different. Some days I’m just the mother.

I slip my hand into his while he’s sleeping and his reflex is always to curl those strong fingers around – hold mine. Yesterday or the day before or maybe it was Sunday I learned something new about him. Nearly seventeen years and still room for surprises.

I want to keep building it in – breathing room – so we’re more than just two people running a small daycare together.

I want to keep making room for the old memories and love for the new.

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This book of love that is never boring. I want to read him and not just tomorrow’s field trip instructions.

I need to mother less and wife more.

I want to listen faster and list slower.

I will thank before I think of just one more honey-do.

I will dance like we used to instead of just demand.

I want to flirt with him instead of my fear of tomorrow.

I’m thinking it’s good to tell the kids no so I can tell him yes.

I want to watch more of my man than my children’s movies.

I will hold his hand before I hold onto my frustrations.

I will laugh at old jokes instead of this small kitchen.

I will keep ordering pizza and stop ordering him to pick up his socks.

I will leave off tidying all the things and just tender a hand wrapped ’round with wedding rings.

I will kiss him instead of comment on whose turn it is to change the diaper.

I will smell the soft place in the curve of his neck and nothing else, if only for a minute on a Wednesday afternoon.

I will hear the music and not get lost in the monotony.

Tomorrow.

And tomorrow.

And when we wake up tomorrow.

 

Comments

{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    That is so awesomely beautiful. And it’s made me realise how much I take my own life partner for granted.

  2. 2

    Lisa-Jo, this makes me teary eyed. It is so incredibly lovely. I just celebrated my 30th anniversary and I am married to my best friend…even after all these years. I am so glad that you have recognized these things now because in an ideal world when your kids are gone, your husband is still around!

    Congrats on passing you test yesterday!!

  3. 3

    gorgeous. i realized last week that i don’t offer up random, just-because touch often enough. i happened to squeeze his neck a couple of times and he practically melted. i decided to be intentional about scratching his back everyday, if only for a minute. to stay connected. after 26 years together! (counting our dating years!)

  4. 4

    Oh….wow… That’s lovely. That’s just all kinds of lovely.

  5. 5

    This touched my heart. Cling to the one you have ladies and don’t wait until tomorrow. My husband passed away suddenly from a fall at work last Tuesday. In my brokenness I keep clinging to the fact that we loved each other extravagantly and fully for the eight years we were married.

    http://Www.danielmastmemorial.com

    • 6

      I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • 7
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Oh Rebecca – no words. Just trusting that you find a way through and that those eight beautiful years sustain you.

    • 8

      So, so sorry for your loss, Rebecca. Praying for sweet memories, time to grieve, and for hope, always hope.

    • 9

      Rebecca – I have no words – praying for you right now, whispering your name and the names of your children, Ryan, James and the little one you are carrying in God’s ear.

    • 10

      Praying the peace of Christ right now for you, Rebecca.

    • 11
      Jessica S. says:

      Rebecca, May the God of ALL Comfort, the Father of Mercies encourage your heart and walk with Christ. Lifting you and your children up in prayer. Jessica

  6. 12

    That is such an important lesson, and one that I need to remind myself of at least every few weeks. Thank you for your beautiful words.

  7. 13
    Leilani says:

    What a beautiful post and great reminder!

  8. 14

    I loved your line about flirting! It’s so easy to forget why we are with the guy sleeping next to us all these years!

  9. 15

    So sweet! So good that you know the difference between “love” and “in love”. That took me/us a while to learn.
    So good you take moments to savor… That was hard too, but with empty home and full hearts we love over the backgammon board with dinner and holding hands on walking the dog.
    Praise God for the 29 years of marriage we share.
    “A happy marriage is the union of 2 good forgivers.” -unknown

  10. 16

    We will celebrate our 29th anniversary in June. All your early married life you’re told to make time for one another, because one day it is just you again. We are there, and so thankful we took those minutes, and weekends on occasion, to be husband and wife and not just mom and dad way back when. It pays off when you are back where you started. Lovely post!

  11. 17

    Now that I’m on the outer edges of motherhood…having traveled the dark forests and wide pastures, I too am falling in love all over again with my dear husband. It’s important not to neglect “first things” and our marriages are always to be the first things before the children…typically because they come first! But also, this is where we actually will spend the majority of our time here on earth….we forget and sacrifice too much of that. Bless you for this precious write

  12. 18

    Lisa-Jo, I am still trying to find words to relay how this post makes me feel and how you can write the heart of things in a way that is so available to those who may not share experiences. My heart longs for what you have expressed here and your writing has made the small sliver of hope that I am clinging to breathe a little. thank you.

  13. 20

    And now I am a puddle! Sending it to my hubs now to read. This is my prayer too!

  14. 21

    I Love this! Thank you for allowing God to use you to bless me!!!

  15. 22
    J McAuley says:

    Love this! Thank you.

  16. 23

    Oh, Amen, Lisa-Jo. It seems like after each new child, it takes some time to re-learn how to love my husband. These sweet little ones require so much from us, but even more, they need us to love their daddy. They need the security of our love to be a shelter from the storms. And my sweet hubby, he needs me to see him for all the wonderful God made him to be, not just as my helper and my sons’ daddy. I’ll be thinking of this encouragement often… probably posting it up on the fridge. :) Love you and your honest heart, sister.

  17. 24

    “I need to mother less and wife more”- YES! I am leaving here challenged today- AND excited to celebrate my 15th anniversary next month!!! Beautiful post!

  18. 25

    I had to walk away from my computer to avoid breaking into tears. What a beautiful way to express the sentiments I am sure many of us feel. Thanks for expressing what I feel but am not able to express.

  19. 26
    AineMistig says:

    YES. YES. YES.
    Also the best book I ever read (and trust me, I’ve got a stack of ’em) on marriage is “Have a New Husband by Friday” by Dr. Kevin Leman. I will shout about this book from the rooftops, it’s that good. It’s the only relationship book I’ve read more than once. The title is indicative of the humor within, which is backed by years of professional experience in counseling and psychological/sociological research. Even though the author is a Christian, this is all practical, rubber-meets-the-road stuff. The book is about better understanding that male creature in your house, and communicating with him in a way HE understands (whereas most of our culture expect men to think and talk like women. Which is ludicrous.). I apologize if I’m running on here about this book when I shouldn’t, but this book really has made a big difference in my marriage. I think every woman should know the knowledge in this book (and I think it’s the sort of knowledge our grandmothers grew up knowing, that has somehow gotten lost in our current culture.) The information in this book helps me to remember to “mother less and wife more” as you put it. Which was perfectly put, as always.

    Thanks for taking time to write about appreciating the men who helped us become mothers to begin with. We are called to be wives and mothers — and I do believe it’s in that order. One of the best things we can do for our kids is take the time to love their Daddy, especially in front of them. Whether that’s their natural Dad, a StepDad, an adoptive Dad, even psychologists agree one of the best things you can do for your kids is show them how you LOVE their Daddy. Thanks for reminding us all of this!

  20. 27

    I. Love. This.
    We celebrated our Silver Wedding last week!
    Love your resolutions x

  21. 28

    You will know the great wisdom of this when you’ve been married 46 years and he still makes your heart go pitty-pat :)

  22. 29
    Joyce Mashburn says:

    Thursday 5-30-2013
    Fluffing my pillows and thinking about this being of May 30, 2013. That is so hard to believe. One year ago today, on the last day of May, 2012, my precious BeeBop left our home FOR THE LAST TIME, in an ambulance. He had been on chemo every other week for two years for colorectal cancer, which metastasized to his liver, lung and kidney but three arteries in his esophagus had ruptured and it over powered the remainder of the working parts in his liver. He was admitted to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. He never spoke another word but he knew I was there. He was under the care of Northeast Ga Hospice, which are earthly Angels. He went home to be with Jesus on June 10, 2012. I was fortunate enough to be by his side for every minute of those eleven days and nights he was in the hospital. Some people have told me they could not do that, but I found it to be a blessing that God allowed me to be with him as he was my “other half” as we say so casually, but it is true. I have thought so many times about what I learned from being with BeeBop (Robert Barry Mashburn – Bob) for 31 years. He taught me so many things and I taught him some. He was my perfect mate sent by God and I will be with him again. Note, I did not say he was perfect; he was just perfect for me as I was for him. I thank God everyday for the awesome memories and wonderful life we shared. I consider myself blessed beyond measure. Linda Parrott included the following in one of her emails and it fit my BeeBop perfectly.
    “It’s Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.”Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.”

  23. 30
    Joyce Mashburn says:

    Your story is just so beautiful and hit home for me today. God bless you and your family and keep these going because they are so wonderful!

  24. 31

    SUCH a lovely reminder. Thank you.

  25. 32
    Tina Matteson says:

    Thank you Lisa-Jo for another beautiful post!!

  26. 33

    I love this…being more than just two people running a small daycare together. We just finished the Love Dare, and it really challenged me to enjoy more, to think petty thoughts less. Thank you for your beautiful words, and wishing you a romantic summer!

  27. 34
    Tatia Cook says:

    Well said, Lisa-Jo :-) A few weeks ago, I met a military wife who lost her husband (to an IED) in 2006. She talked of their love and their family, how she misses him, how their kids have fared since their daddy was killed. It made me realize how much I take my own military man for granted on a REGULAR basis. Since then, I’ve tried to be intentional toward him, asking God to help me be patient and gracious when I think he’s not doing/being whatever I think is right. He is, after all, the one God gave to ME. It’s been a sweet few weeks, and these words of yours today sum them up SO WELL. Thanks for sharing them and your heart!

  28. 35

    I needed this today. You have no idea how much.”I want to flirt with him instead of my fear of tomorrow.” – yes.

  29. 36
    Tiffany says:

    Amazing. Convicting. Thank you.

  30. 37

    Beautiful post lovely – off to share and inspire others today as we head into the weekend. may we all slow down this weekend and hold hands with our partners, look into their eyes when we talk and enjoy them while we have the chance – i know that is what I am planning to do. My husband deserves it and so do I !

  31. 38

    I cried through this post because I didn’t know I needed to read it. I often take my husband for granted. I always assume he will be there for me tomorrow, because he always is. But I never want to spend every ounce of my energy being a mom, leaving nothing of me to be his wife. So today I started making plans for our first ever camping trip alone, and I bought him a card and gift just because. Small gestures, but I need him to know I will be here tomorrow too. Thank you for writing this beautiful post.

    • 39

      Hello,
      Just wanted to say you will remember those camping trips together for many years to come. I remember when we first went camping alone together, there was a little anxiety and apprehension
      at the thought of being alone almost like newly weds. It was a little difficult At first. I wish that we had been closer but 4 children take all you have to give. It was a little difficult at first but we came
      through it even closer than before. The love was always there but now we are entering a new phase of our relationship, getting older together. This is by far the most difficult challenge we have faced as a couple. The good news is we are blessed with each other. Thank God for the gift of each other and our wonderful memories together. Some of them created in just the past 10 years. Having coffee together in the early part of the day sitting by the beach. Wonderful conversation. All of the things
      Memories are made of.

  32. 40
    Anastacia Maness says:

    This is so beautiful and touching! And the pictures are adorable. I’m so glad I read this tonight. :-)

  33. 41

    Beautiful and inspiring! Than you!

  34. 42

    so good! i needed this reminder right now. :)

  35. 43

    I like this post too. Now that my husband has recurrent melanoma I am making more of an effort to do these kinds of things.

  36. 44
    Kelly S. says:

    This is so refreshing to read, and the desire of my heart even as a newly married wife and not yet mother. I am thankful for the many women who have always wisely advised me that marriage must always be nurtured and cherished, even above motherhood, and while I’m not sure how straining parenting will eventually be, I want to right now be practicing keeping things prioritized right.

  37. 45

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  38. 46

    This makes me feel so happy and encouraged. But it also makes me feel sad and alone. I am 21, like you were, and I can’t help but feel like I will never find this kind of love. I know that I am only 21, so that’s not really the problem. I am super shy and never meet any guys. I don’t know how I will ever meet one, and it makes me sad :(

  39. 47

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Trackbacks

  1. […] morning I read a post from Lisa-Jo Baker, in which she described the need to focus on our marriages more than the current state of our life […]

  2. […] How to Fall in Love. Again. By Lisa Jo Baker – she has me nodding and thinking about my marriage, in a good way. […]

  3. […] Less mom, more wife::: How To Fall in Love. Again. […]

  4. Weekly Links says:

    […] How to fall in love. Again. by Lisa-Jo […]

  5. […] How To Fall In Love Again: This was probably the best thing I read all week. When little people need you, and cannot survive without you it’s sometimes easy to put off the person YOU can’t live without. If you’re married with children read this one. At the very least it’ll make you feel like you’re doing it right, at the most- it’ll help you do it right. […]

  6. […] How to Fall in Love. Again. —> Lisa-Jo Baker what I love about this: ”I will hear the music and not get lost in the monotony. Tomorrow. And tomorrow. And when we wake up tomorrow.” How I Almost Became the Smug Mom —> Mama and Baby Love what I love about this: ”You co-sleep? Awesome. Baby slept great in their crib from day one? Awesome. You love breastfeeding? It is such a special thing! Breastfeeding didn’t work out and baby is thriving on formula? I feel your pain, sister! So glad baby is doing great.” […]

  7. […] time or energy to write, ideas for posts didn’t just pop into my head like they did before.  This post from Lisa Jo Baker came across my facebook feed, and while it was meant to be encouraging and it […]

  8. […] tells us how to fall in love. again. the anger burns and the tears swell until they fall, not because i need to do those things… […]

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