I recently let the farmer down…  18 Valentines into our relationship and I am still wounding and disappointing him…

finding myself in a situation where all I want from the person I love most in this whole world is for them to forgive me…  and believe in me… and know I’ll do better next time...

I took a walk down memory lane last night and got out my shoe boxes that contained piles of pictures and film…  yes film…  and realized I was taking selfies long before it was a thing

I wish so much I could talk to my younger self and tell her a few things about love…  but not sure I would believe myself…

 looking back at these pictures of when we met in college I’m not sure I would have ever believed that we could fight…

all I knew then about love was that he drove a black Ford F150 and I enjoyed going for rides in it….  how hard could this love thing be?

when you only take 6 months of dating to get engaged and then another 6 months to get married, there is not much time to think about the fact that you might not always see eye to eye on everything…

I found falling in love very easy…

the thing about farmers is, they have a plan for their lives….  they have land, a house and can look at you and say ‘this is where we will live our whole lives’

they can see the curve of their life in front of them more clearly than most

I had just turned 20 and had no idea what was going on… other than I knew what love felt like…

love was a feeling… love never hurts…  it never lies and it always puts the other’s interests ahead of your own…  love was easy…  bring on the next challenge…

in the first year of our marriage we fought….  after our first fight I was devastated…  I thought to myself that perhaps we had jumped the gun on getting married and we should have dated longer…

I had never once seen my parents fight… not like this…

this was the cost of my parents ‘good parenting’…  I had no idea that two human beings who loved each other could also disagree…  loudly…

the farmer had punched a hole through a door and I had just told him I hated him…

I was sure our elderly neighbours had heard the whole ordeal and were saying to themselves ‘I knew they were too young to get married’

part of the problem was that when we met, I told myself that I finally found a guy that would never lie to me…  I literally wrote that in my journal…

‘he is so amazing…  he is truthful…  everything about him is honest…  he will never hurt me…  he will never lie to me’

(side note – I wrote nothing of what I intended on doing in the relationship)

every movie I had ever seen involved two people falling in love and getting married…  but the movie always quits as they left on their honeymoon…  I wasn’t really sure what happens next… (although apparently 50 Shades of Grey just keeps going with movie after movie)

I assumed true love was conflict free

I was never told that marriage was the meeting of two flawed individuals, attempting to meet each other’s needs…  without truly knowing who we are or who the other person is…

during this bumpy first few years we decided to add children to the mix…  and at age 22 I was pregnant…

the farmer was working all sorts of different jobs because farming was so poor then…  he worked at a pig barn, was the town garbage man, drove vac truck and basically picked up work anywhere he could…

I was good at talking and the farmer was good at working…  and what we didn’t know about our relationship was that our goal should have been to enhance and increase the admirable characteristics in the other… with kindness…

instead we tended to to turn it into a competition…  keeping track of who was contributing the most, working the hardest and definitely keeping track of the disappointments and failures...  forgiveness seemed like it was just letting the other person off the hook… saying ‘go ahead and hurt me again’…

instead of trying to learn about ourselves, we would shame and wound each other when we failed…

we gave each other no time to explain our imperfections and even if we had I’m not sure we could have accepted that the fairy tale character we married wasn’t really who that person is…

(it might have been a sign that I wasn’t open to hearing about the farmer’s imperfections when the wedding song I chose was ‘you say it best, when you say nothing at all’)

I didn’t want to tell him that I was not happy being a mom…  I was jealous of him being able to leave and go to work every day…

he didn’t want to tell me that he was depressed…  and even though to the outside world he probably seemed like he was doing fine, he had no joy…

good Lord we couldn’t even tell each other the truth about our clothing choices!!!

around five years ago it all came to a grinding halt…

my biggest marriage advice would be – I hope that one or both of you come to the end of yourself and are forced to be wildly honest with the other person about the deepest, darkest parts of you…  

before too much damage is done to your relationship and family…

and that then you will get to experience what I have been able to experience for the last five years…  getting to know the love of my life and my best friend on as honest of a level as we are capable of…  every year more honest than the last… 

this is my dream for my children…  to find someone they can share their life with… their whole life – the insecurities, the short-comings, the triumphs and the laughter…

my new definition of love…  true love will hurt you more than you ever would imagine it could…  it will tear your heart out and stomp on it…

you cannot put limits on your love… you have to dive into it and stay…

compatibility is an achievement of love, not a pre-cursorthe more you learn about the person you wanted to kiss, the more potential there is to have the deepest levels of love with them…  

 this is love…  love is forgiving the other when they sin…  every time… and being kind to them…  generous with our empathy…

there is no better feeling than when someone offers you complete forgiveness…

love is being strong in our commitment to helping the other become who they were created to be…

love is found in the small, mundane chores of the everyday…  that we do over and over to show our partner that no matter what, we will be here, loving them, forgiving them and laughing with them…