Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Choose Love

Over the weekend Mr. Awesome and I attended a wedding. I have known the bride since she was a wee lass. In fact, she was my flower girl when Mr. Awesome and I wed a hundred years ago. We met the Man of Her Dreams about five years ago when she was babysitting for us and shyly asked if she could have a 'friend' come babysit with her.

It has been an honour to watch these two sweet teens grow into a couple of mature, generous and kind adults. They have conducted their relationship with integrity and respect from the beginning, so much so that during their ceremony the church was filled with the joy, innocence and anticipation of saved love. The atmosphere they created by honouring each other, their parents and most of all, their faith was something to marvel.

At the wedding everyone at our table shared the story 'them,' how they came to be a couple. One couple dated for a couple of months before their engagement, wedding and whirlwind adventure into parenthood, another worked together for several of years and another met while volunteering at a camp. When it was our turn to share, Mr. Awesome and I just looked at each other and laughed. Our story always raises a few eyebrows. You see, the truth of the matter is, Mr. Awesome and I never dated.

We were friends, best friends. We had spent hours hanging out, sharing secrets, hopes and dreams. We told each other everything, all of our mistakes, failures and flub-ups. We got to know each other, the good and the bad, over the course of a year, without pretence, showing off or covering up the truth of all that we were. Knowing all that we did about each other, we loved each other in spite of, or because of, everything anyway.

About a year after we met, I was living in Vancouver and he was living in Winnipeg. We talked on the phone nearly everyday and wrote to each other (pre-email days) several times a week. After about two months of being apart he called and said he thought I should come home so we could get married. I hung up on him but he called back and a month later I was on a plane heading home to my old friend and new fiance.

Every time we tell our story people are in awe that we would marry someone we didn't even date. We get the same questions every time, How can you know a person you've never dated, what about physical attraction, what if you didn't have 'chemistry'? 

We believe that true, lasting love is a decision you make. It has little to do with the emotion of love, sure that might hook you in the beginning but is that enough to make you stay when life gets real and messy and complicated? For us, the basis of respect and affection that grew out of our friendship has been the backbone to our marriage. When things have been rough and Mr. Awesome has been less than awesome I have been able to look at him and know that somewhere in that mess of a human being is the friend that I love. He has been able to do the same with me in my less than stellar moments, too.

Real love is a decision you make everyday, no matter how your relationship began. Living with integrity, fidelity and respect for your partner is not something that you fall into, its a choice that you make. Just like you don't fall in love or out of love. You choose, moment by moment, who and how you love.

Mr. Awesome and I decide every day to love each other, to respect and honour the promise we made to each other nearly 14 years ago. We decide, in spite of our moods and emotions or the mood and emotions of our partner, to love, to protect and to be faithful to the heart of our friend ... our best friend.

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