I don’t know when I fell in love with you. It certainly wasn’t love at first sight, standing outside the church’s auditorium while the volunteers inside listened to Michael Jackson set to the beat of their vacuuming. I certainly was in love with the idea of love; of a Prince Charming to share life with. But I didn’t know who that would even look like and I certainly wasn’t looking for him as I searched through the cleaning closet that Saturday evening.
And then we began to spend time together and I think I first fell in love with the way you made me feel. Special, known, celebrated; how somehow you took the world around me and made it lighter. I wanted that joyous feeling to last forever; to grasp it tightly so my heart would always beat a little quicker when you were around.
Near this date 25 years ago, you asked me to marry you. My heart leapt with joy at the thought of sharing my life with you.
Even as we got married, I think I was still only in love with how I felt with you around – the buoyancy of life, the intense feeling of things – your face and the way the whole world felt when mine found yours.
But, a wedding is a beginning and our love was just that – a tender root about to send up shoots that could weather whatever the world would toss our way. Our love has grown into something strong. For the real falling in love with someone takes years – the long, slow fall away from yourself and into an eternal union with someone who is both known, but at the same time a mysterious stranger. Because marriage alters us, we are strangers who keep discovering the other’s stories. With that transformation, we free each other within the wide expanses of God’s love. The miracle of love takes years – because freedom only comes from the consistent surrender of love showered each and every day.
A proposal is marvelous and a wedding is pure delight, but love’s greatness is rooted in the depth of service. The only way to rise to the challenges of love is to serve. That’s what I’ve learned being close to you all these years. You can only truly love someone when you are willing to serve them with grace. My apologies to all the brides and grooms out there, but what you feel on your wedding day is only skimming the surface. The depths of love are found in doing love, in serving love, in sacrificing for love and in paying the price of love. Truth is you can only fall in love when you surrender your needs for your love.
That cannot be found at an altar. It takes the romance of unplugging the toilet, of providing comfort during an illness, of washing dishes and of constant laundry. A true romance is both messy and beautiful; its affection forged by hard work and effort.
As we grow older, as the number of anniversaries increase, it doesn’t really matter when I fell in love with you. Just that I did. And now the rhythm of my heart still beats faster when your eyes meet mine. It quickens, not from the lovesick heart of a bride, but from our souls mingling late into the surrender made in the name of love.