Happily ever after

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“If the goal is to find the truth in love, to search for love that is real and enduring, then love cannot be left to fate.”

– Ty Tashiro

 

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I didn’t love my wife when we got married

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I’m a ridiculous, emotional, over-sentimental sap.  I guess that’s why I told my wife I loved her on our second date.

I had tried really hard up to that point to hold it back, honestly.  I wanted to tell her on the first date, but I knew that would probably be weird.

I still remember her reaction.  She kind of gave me this half-shy, half-amused smile.  Then she nodded and looked off into the sky.

I wasn’t heartbroken by the response.  I think part of me recognized that she was much smarter and more modest than me.

But as time has gone on, I also realized that she knew something that I didn’t.

Like most Hasidic Jews (we both became religious later in life), our dating period lasted a very short time.  After two months of dating, we were engaged.  Three months after that, we were married.

And that whole time I was swooning.  This fire was burning in me, a fire that burned just like that second date: I was in love.

But then we got married, and everything changed.

Marriage, quicker than I was ready for, did this thing: It started sucking away that emotion.

I tried so hard to keep that fire going, to keep that emotion alight, but it got harder and harder.

I mean, how you can feel that burning love when you’re sitting at the table discussing how to use the last $20 in your bank account?

How can you feel it when you get into an argument?

How can you feel it when you think it makes perfect sense to put your socks on the floor after you’re done with them, and she has this crazy idea that they need to go in the laundry basket?

There was no way I could keep that dating fire burning as practicality invaded our lives.

And at first, it drove me nuts.  That emotion meant love!  That excitement was how I knew I cared for her!  But suddenly, life was this grind.  Even when I was with her.  Especiallywhen I was with her.

And even worse, it seemed that the harder I tried to be sentimental and lovey-dovey, the less it was reciprocated.

But it wasn’t that she wasn’t giving me love, it just seemed to come at different times.

Like, when I offered to do the dishes.  Or make dinner after she had a hard day.  Or, once we had a daughter, when I shared the responsibility of watching over her.

I don’t think I noticed this consciously for a while.  It just kept happening.

But I think it had an effect on me.  Because as our marriage progressed, I found myself offering to help out around the house more and more.

And after each time, there would be this look she would give me.  This look of absolute love.  One that was soft and so beautiful.

It took me longer than I care to admit to understand what was happening.

But eventually it became clear.  Through giving, through doing things for my wife, the emotion that I had been so desperately seeking naturally came about.  It wasn’t something I could force, just something that would come about as a result of my giving.

In other words, it was in the practicality that I found the love I was looking for.

And what was even more interesting was that once I realized this on a conscious level, and started trying to find more opportunities to give, the more we both, almost intuitively, became lovey-dovey.

And now, as I’m a bit older and a bit more experienced with this relationship, I’ve finally come to realize something. Something I haven’t wanted to admit for a long time, but is undeniable.

I didn’t love my wife on that second date.

I didn’t love her when we got engaged.

I didn’t even love her when we got married.

Because love isn’t an emotion.  That fire I felt, it was simply that: emotional fire.  From the excitement of dating a woman I felt like I could marry.  But it wasn’t love.

No, love isn’t an emotion or even a noun.  It’s a verb.  Better defined as giving.  As putting someone else’s needs above your own.

Why wasn’t I getting reciprocal lovey-doveyness when we were first married?  Because it wasn’t for her.  It was for me.  An emotion I had in my chest.

And even when I let it out of my chest, it wasn’t love.

Being sappy isn’t love.  Telling someone you love them doesn’t mean that you do.

And that’s why my wife just gave me that half-smile.  She knew, even if I didn’t, what love really is.

And now that I’ve tried to change the way I look at love, the more I become shocked at the messages of love I had gotten when I was younger.

From Disney movies, to my favorite shows like The Office, to practically every pop song released, love is constantly sold as an emotion we have before we’re married.  An emotion that, once had, somehow magically stays within a marriage forever.

I can’t imagine a bigger lie.  And I’m saddened to think about how much those messages bounced around in my head for so long.  And how much I’m sure those messages are bouncing around in other people’s heads as well.

I think that might be a big part of the reason the divorce rate is so high in this country.  Imagine a whole nation of people constantly chasing the emotions they had when they were dating.  A country of people trying to live a Disney movie.

That’s a recipe for disastrous marriages; for a country with a 50 percent divorce rate;  for adultery (the classic attempt to turn the fire back on); for people who do stay together to simply live functional, loveless marriages.

It’s sad to see just how common all the above is.  How many people are in pain simply because they’ve been lied to.

Those people deserve better.  We all deserve better.

It’s time that we changed the conversation about love.  It’s time that we redefine it.

Because until we do, adultery will continue to be common.  Loveless marriages.  Divorce.

Living Disney movies in our minds, and tragedies in our lives.

– Elad Nehorai

Do & don’t

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Fall in love. Don’t fall in love with the idea of being in love.

Love

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“Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.”

– A walk to remember

ASKDJFH;KJ

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You will probably get texts at random hours of the night like this. It means I love you.

to my wife

Sex is not a goddamn performance

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Sex should feel as natural as drinking water.

It should not require confidence.

Sex should happen, because the moment is ripe.

Ripening lips, ripening labia, ripening cock, ripening pupils, ripening state of being. Ripe and augmented and brimming. Your energy goes to your pumping heart, then to every external nerve, then to theirs, on fire.

You bask, roll, play in it. You sigh, moan, laugh.

It’s not about being “good in bed.”

It’s about being happy.

One should never worry if they’re doing it “correctly.” Sex is not factual. I don’t want your cookie-cutter sex, I don’t want your meticulously crafted, calculated, fool-proof fuck. I don’t want a show. I want you. Let your instincts, urges and whims define that. It’s enough.

What do most girls like? Forget about it. Statistics are meaningless when there’s only one. Hello, here’s me. Here’s you.

Don’t worry about taking it too slow. We got time. We got infinite rhythms, combinations, possibilities. Explore each fuck. Take our time. We can do a different one later.

Don’t worry about making me come. I’m here. Right where I want to be.

I am overwhelmed by wanting; you don’t have to convince me. I want you because I like you. So don’t put on a front. Don’t taint this.

I’m frustrated—it’s just authenticity I want.

It’s originality.

It’s passion.

It’s joy.

Don’t say that something I like is ugly. Don’t compare yourself to the rest. You will live and die with and within your experiences like everyone else. If someone thinks you are amazing, they are not wrong. Their universe is as real as any other; it is forged through perception.

I don’t care if you accidentally slammed my head into the wall, if you slipped out, if my arm cracked, if the delightful pressure of your wet lips on my anything made a silly sound. There is no right way and no wrong way.

“Good in bed,” what.

You’re good in my bed. I’m pleased you’re there. I feel it suits you.

Shove your technique. Let your memory swallow it. Fuck me like you’d fuck me, fuck me like you feel.

This isn’t a test.

– Anonymous

To my future husband

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My dear, I am desperate for you.

I know you are out there somewhere and I am desperate for you. Is he you? I do not know. My heart is telling me no but I am so tired of waiting that I am convincing myself that maybe.. maybe he is you.

Please be the flirty type and turn me on with every word you say. Please be the flirty type who is not afraid to hold me, kiss me and caress me in public because you love me so.

Please be the thinking type, let me win then beat me in our debate. Please be the thinking type and endure with me this over-thinking disorder. Please be the thinking type, because as our thoughts intertwine, I belong to you.

Please be strong, not physically, but mentally. Lift me up with your will and protect me with your love. Please be strong when you cry to me, to me and only me.

Please be open minded, to accept yourself, to accept me and the world we are to build together. Please be open minded for our kids and the roads that they will take. Please be open minded because only then will you realize how vast is my love for you.

Please be into sport. I will try and will fail to understand your passion for sport but I will be there at the games with you. I will be there at your practice, at your competition and at your sport meets. I will tape the games for you when you are stuck at work. I will do chest bump with you when our team scores. When you play, I will be at the sideline, cheering you on because there is nothing else I rather do.

Please know your way around the kitchen, not so you can be my personal chef but just so we can cook together. Please make the rice as I make the main dishes. When I wash the dishes with soap, please rinse them with water. As we wash the dishes together, I may stop abruptly to kiss you, simply because I love you so.

Please be the type who reads. I want to tell you about Ender’s Game and how many times I have reread To Kill the Mockingbird. I promise I will not ditch the Godfather or Catcher in the Rye even though I’m not very fond of them. Tell me about the books you read, why you love them, why you hate them and I will fall in love with you over and over again.

Please have integrity. Please stand your ground but recognize that integrity is not static. Demand my respect and I shall be at your mercy.

Please love music. Sing duet with me. Sing off-key and I will kiss you smiling. Spend hours with me getting lost in music.

Please be a Beatles fan. I want to sing In My Life to you on our anniversaries. I will hum Here Comes the Sun to you on a summer day. Please dance to Twist and Shout with me simply because we can.

Please be patient with me. I know I am no perfection. I am clingy, and weak for you. Please be patient with me because I am plagued with crazy hormones.  Please be patient with me and melt my heart during my most ridiculous moments.

Please stand by me. Truly, honey, ignore my pleads and demand. Besides your love, this is my only request. Please stand by me because I do not plan to fail you. Please stand by me so I can reach for your hand when I fall, so I can reach for your heart when I’m tired, so I can hold you when you’re down. Please stand by me because I am scared to stand alone. Please stand by me because I need you more than anything.

Until the day we meet.