This is a post about humility. It is also a post about marriage, and the essential role humility must play in love.
As a stay-at-home-mom with two young boys, a large part of my attention, emotions and energies are poured into these two sweet ones during the day, as it should be. After all, they need me. Not only am I responsible for their physical needs (although it is often all I can focus on as they are clamoring for breakfast, or snack, or to go potty, or...), but I also seek to stimulate my three-year-old's mind effectively so that it develops into that of a genius (of course every parent wants their children to be smart, right?), as well as comfort them both when they are tired, fall down, get upset with the dog, etc. I also share in their joys when they learn how to figure out a puzzle, explain their emotions in words, or begin drawing faces that actually have heads, eyes and hair, or in the case of my 7.5-month-old, when he learns to feed himself finger foods, makes new sounds, and scoots across the whole floor. That adds up to physical, mental, and emotional needs for two human beings (and a canine one) SEPARATE from my own that I am constantly watching out for day after day.
Enter Mr. Right. By the time he comes home at night, I am so happy to have help with the lot of them that his needs are altogether eclipsed. After the boys are sleeping like angels (read: the baby... toddler finds reasons to come out of his room for a full hour after bed), I still haven't remembered that he has needs. My narcissist side thinks it's a good time to meet my needs: rest, relaxation, tuning out or doing things I can't do with the little monsters. This often looks like Pinterest, facebook, TV or a movie- you get the picture. If I do "selflessly" deny my desires to do something I want to do, it's usually because the sink is full of dishes, the kitchen counters look like a hurricane blew through, or the piles of laundry rival Mount Vesuvius.
So when does Mr. Right come in? In a broken conversation over dinner about the events of our days, amidst flying handfuls of baby food, the dog thinking our feet are chew toys, and repeatedly reminding the three-year-old to talk less and eat more? In a hurried "I love you" before bed? Heck, sometimes he is asleep before I even make it to bed.
Last night all of this came to light. Mr. Right indicated with a wounded look in his eyes that it felt like I didn't love him as much anymore. This caused me to take a step back and look at why he might be feeling this way, and that is when I arrived at the conclusion of all stated previously. He then proceeded to give me some straight talk which was humbling but true and necessary to hear. I gave up "my needs come before yours" when I got married and had kids. I can't just forget that he has needs. I HAVE to pour into my husband even after I feel like I've poured every ounce of my energy into the kids. Because I love him! And that is love. That is love.
Here is the kicker to this story of humility and love. We had this conversation at dinner, then went on a walk, got the boys in bed, etc. I came down to clean up a bit and had just sat down on the couch when Mr. Right took my hand, pressed "Play" on his iPod, and began twirling me around the living room to "Earth Angel." In recent months, he's kept it no secret that he does not like dancing. At weddings I have to beg him to take the floor with me. Nonetheless, I give him a hard time because in our teenage years, he was a great dancer and loved it. Last night he danced with me at will- just because he knew I'd had a rough day. Does he love me? I have no doubt at all. He showed me in a way that spoke louder than anything. He's a fool for me, I could see it written on his face.
I ended the day feeling so humbled. I thanked him before we drifted off to sleep "for everything." He mumbled some mumbo-jumbo about just being a husband and loving his wife, but I know that he is an exceptional one. He really, truly loves me.
And I pledge to show him that I really, truly love him. However much humility that will take.