day 15: marriage

Aby and I just returned from a frolic down MacArthur Boulevard. This road cuts between Great Falls National Park and the wealth of Potomac; winding to and fro, it hints at the switchbacks and scrambles of the nearby Billy Goat Trail and takes me worlds away from the windowless room in which I spend most of my waking hours. 

We are lucky to be able to enjoy these excursions together. 

This is Aby's lake, where he tests the maneuvering capabilities and hydrodynamic properties of autonomous model submarines. He works here when not at the Rock.

This is Aby’s lake, where he tests the maneuvering capabilities and hydrodynamic properties of autonomous model submarines. He works here when not at the Rock.

 With Aby at the lake this past month, I’ve taken my breaks alone: catching up on Words with Friends play, reviewing Organic Chemistry, or faithfully recording my thoughts here.  Though I was able to devote more time to such pressing matters, I dearly missed our quiet midday drives.  I don’t often see him in the evenings.  These now rightfully belong to Trident and resulting personal growth.  Weekends tend to get lost to errands, family obligations, second jobs, cleaning, and weekday preparations. 

Aby's dawn

Aby’s dawn

At times I miss the hours we would spend on the phone with one another, the tens of emails we’d exchange each day, and our overwhelming desire to just -be- in the other’s presence.  I would get jealous (such an ugly emotion) of the time he would spend corresponding with his friends or lash out at his habit of leaving the house hours earlier than necessary; it was time I missed and craved.  My reactions flamed when I realized that our time together was soon to diminish even further, for I would be busy studying and working another job.  I began to pick fights on a daily basis, astonishing my rational self and bewildering Aby.

Then, a gift from God: while looking up Lindsey B. Smith’s 1RM clean (she’s my CrossFit hero) I found her blog. 

She recently wrote about marriage.  She untangles my fears and my confusions and refocuses my attention on what is right.

As Alexis and I were headed to my parents earlier this week, she said to me, “Having a husband isn’t as easy as you would think, is it mom?” I couldn’t help but laugh, but her innocent question led me deep into thought about love, how we define love, and the numerous stages love experiences during the existence of a relationship. I look at my parents, my grandparents, my siblings, my life. To define love as an emotion, or a feeling, only means that you have not experienced love in my opinion. I could not think of a worse explanation. When you read the description laid out in 1 Corinthians it speaks of no such thing. In fact, the definition of love here is a display of servant-like actions that defy the selfish nature of the human heart. Love is not self-seeking. Crazy, right? Let me break it down, your intent in loving someone else should not be to fulfill some need or desire you think you have. That is a recipe for disaster.

When Web and I started dating, we spent hours a night on the phone talking about nothing. We are lucky now if we can get each other’s ear for more than a few minutes a day. Everything in his life used to intrigue me, some of what he cares about now (music lyrics, most movies, RGIII’s twitter account), does little to capture my interest. He used to play Scrabble with me, we haven’t played in years. You get the point…

In reality though, I wouldn’t trade what we have now for all of that “silliness.” Marriage is more like the perfect business relationship than it is a fairy tale. It is a constant balance of you support me, I support you, I sacrifice for you, you sacrifice for me, I respect your vision, you respect mine, and together we move forward, always forward.

My grandfather, who had been sick for a number of years, passed away when I was 17 years old. I remember sitting outside the hospital door in a heap of tears as my grandmother (we call her Bobby) entered the room and cried out “Oh, my dear dear husband. Oh, my dear dear husband.” This memory forever left an imprint on my heart. Bobby was not longing for the “feeling of love” she was longing for companionship, her best friend, whom I had watched her graciously serve for years leading up to this day. This is love.

— Lindsey B. Smith

Lindsey B. Aby found this picture and set it as the background on my laptop, to always remind me to reach further and climb higher.

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