I can’t recall what was said or why we had a “discussion.” I just remember it rattled me, and quick as lightning I was on the defensive. I huffed around, hot and bothered by a handful of tossed out words.
I tugged on my running shoes and whisked out the door, hoping to run my steam down to a simmer. The fresh air felt good, but it wasn’t good enough. By the time I rounded the corner and stepped onto the driveway, I was still hissing under the skin.
Marriage is like that sometimes. Glowing and perfect one moment. The next? You’re wondering how you thought you had so much in common.
I walked into the living room and found Doug throwing kids into the air one at a time, swooping them into his arms and dancing around the furniture with them. He was wearing his black running shirt. He looked lean and handsome. His laugh was genuine and happy and his face revealed nothing. Not a trace of discontent.
A new song bounced out of the speakers – one I’d never heard before. The kids began hip-hopping, swinging, grooving to the beat. The lyrics (listen here) caught me up, squeezed my pride tight, and all the angst I’d been feeling trickled right out.
Absolutely nobody knows me better
No one that can make me feel so good…
I love country. Always have. Doug loves classic rock. Boston, Rush, Van Halen. We dated before, after, and in between LDS missions. Six years of friendship is a long time. You rub off on each other. While Doug wore the black tag in Korea I wore out his Boston CD. While I wore the black tag in Illinois Doug took up guitar. And now, when he finds a country song like this he adds it to our playlist.
I leaned against the door frame, softening. I looked at him and smiled as Jennifer Nettles kept on singing.
Just when I start to think… the love has died
There you go makin’ my heart beat again,
heart beat again, heart beat again
There you go makin’ me feel like a kid…
There you go pullin’ me right back in
right back in, right back in
and I know I’m never letting this go
I’m stuck on you.
Stuck like glue. You and me baby we’re stuck like glue.
The most epic stories, the most timeless tales, the most prolific authors, poets and composers have written about love. Why? It’s dynamic, complicated, riveting, and matchless. There’s no pull like it. Nothing quickens us more or makes us feel more alive.
Months later, Doug and I were sitting at the kitchen table listening to Tom Ashbrook on NPR. It was Valentine’s Day. The kids were finally in bed, we were eating take-out, and I still had a late-night grocery run to make. While pouring dressing over my pork salad, Tom announced the evening’s topic. Love. Doug and I looked across the table at each other and laughed. Our sorry, exhausted state made the topic feel ironic.
Callers from all over the nation phoned in with their definitions of love. They were thoughtful, sometimes trite and typical, but interesting. As we listened I formulated my own set of definitions:
Love is the unusual comfort of saying nothing but feeling at ease. Love is deliberate and kind. Love is being willing to cross the room first. Love is giving each other the freedom to be who God wants you to be. Love is compromising instead of quitting. Love is deciding to let go rather than hurt or be hurt. Love is a gift. Love is a choice.
Doug and I will celebrate twelve years next week. While love is all these things, it’s also that flip of the stomach I get when I see him at a distance. It’s moving together seamlessly while we try to raise a family. And as Doug says, it is being “fiercely loyal” to each other.
Stuck like glue.
How do you define love?