It’s funny in a facetious way how my profundity of love for my husband would be tested in such a way such as it is at this time. While I was growing up, there was no real love in our family. If it wasn’t for my step-father who I have always felt was my real father I would not have a speck of love within me. He put us, his family first. He never cared what time we called or what he was doing at that time; his secretary was given instructions to put his family through to him even if he was in a meeting. That’s how he thought of us; we were his family.
Since he married my mom when I was eleven years old, it was almost too late for real family love to shine through and actually recognize it as being something special or even important. My real father had no love for us kids, and a future series on growing up with no love will bear out that fact. So I virtually grew up within a family of only jealousy and indifference of each other. We felt little, if any, love for each other as kids the same way our mother showed little love if any to us.
I had always known the words in the bible that said, “God is love.” I couldn’t grasp that idea and it was a mystery to me. It was something I knew nothing about at all. I just knew those words were true because they were in the bible and I have always believed what the bible said even if I didn’t understand it. In response to these words that always bothered me since I was a child, I wanted to know what love was and where I could go to find it. When I grew up I went looking for love; so please forgive me for the following cliché.
Yes, as the song goes, “I was looking for love in all the wrong places.” I went through that scene not knowing exactly what I was looking for but it definitely wasn’t there in bars. I couldn’t find it among the drugs of the hippies and their love and peace slogans. Then I thought I might find love out on the road while I was driving a truck. I quickly found out that they were all married, and were cheating on their wives and I was the other woman. Nope, that wasn’t it either. I wanted to get married again, and I wanted to know what love was. I wanted someone to be able to demonstrate it to me so I could learn how to love..
After I learned about the true meaning of the words in the bible, I began to look at the family units around me. I could see that they deeply loved and trusted one another but I couldn’t fathom the depth of how much they cared for each other. I was truly baffled at the idea of people within one family caring for each member. This was new, and I wanted that, but I neither knew how to feel love, nor did I know what it was. So how was I to find love? And how would I know when I found it?
When I became one of JW’s, I knew someone in my congregation who had a cousin that was single. She told me that he had a kind heart and would never hurt anyone. She said that kids just adored him. At a convention in Denver, she pointed him out to me. Since he was toting three kids with him, I looked at him and then at them, and said, “THREE KIDS!” I don’t think so. That was the end of that until about 3.5 years later. I was looking for a husband that would love me and I could learn to love him by being shown how to love. Again, she showed me Bill. She said that this was the only man she knew of that wanted to get married. This time he didn’t have the three kids with him. She said that they go back to their mom for the school year.
So okay, I wanted to meet him. He was at first interested in my sister, but she was not interested in getting married. He accepted that answer, and to make a long story short, my friend in the congregation had me over to their house for dinner to meet Bill. We saw each other for a year, and we became good friends. At the end of that year, we decided to get married. Neither of us was in love with the other at the time. Two of his boys were with him for the summer and I babysat them while he worked. When we got married their mother decided that he should have the kids for the school year too. My heart sank, His boys were not well behaved and I had my hands full now. The youngest was 8, and the middle child was 11. Then the older boy who was 15 came to live with us. One of my daughters’ lived with me when we got married and the other came to live with us when she turned 15.
In the first couple of years of our marriage, I did learn what love was. Love was sticking together as one flesh. Taking care of each other in a way that is kind and merciful and treating the kids with dignity and training them in a loving way, not out of anger. I won’t say that this was easy to learn. I learned to love Bill long before I learned to love one of his children. He showed me what loving another person was and the importance of it. Life wasn’t easy in those first few years, but I did feel Bill’s love toward me all the time. Love is knowing that you are married for life and you both are always there for each other. That is something you can depend upon.
Although it took a while, I did fall in love. The older kids came and went, and we had the younger two for 8 years. JR was the youngest at 8 years, and Jason was 11. We had him for 7 years and he went back to live with his mother.
Through the 28 years that we have been married, our love did grow and deepen. I now know of what love consists. Now that same love that has a seriousness and complexity behind and inside of us is being put to the test. Now, the gravity of my love for him will show if I have the same depth of love for him that he has shown for me all these years. I will now find out if I have mastered the traits of love so as to show him the same depth of love that he deserves.
Since he has had to go to the nursing home because of his dementia, I am having trouble holding it together, and do need anti-anxiety pills to get through each day. I’m buried under a pile of paperwork, and on top of the paperwork is a ton of decisions that I need to make. I haven’t been able to visit him much this week, and I think that is the best for him. When I take him out for a while, he believes that he is coming home which is no longer possible, but he is incapable of understanding that fact. It breaks my heart to hear him telling me he can come home because he thinks that if he just gets a job, we can be together again.
My love has to be strong to leave him there. If I were to bring him home again, he would not understand why he has to go back again. At times he thinks I don’t want him home anymore. The truth of the matter is that I would become emotionally unstable very quickly and would not be able to take care of either one of us. So I have to be strong. I do know that his tears begin as I walk out the door and mine begin as the door closes behind me..