I used to think I knew what love was, and my thoughts were big and bold and grandiose.
They were stereotypical. Driven by big Hollywood movies, and magazine articles.
I was insecure, and lacked confidence to begin with. So when I got into a real relationship, I had some pretty unrealistic expectations. I was afraid of being alone, and afraid of not being good enough, and at the same time I wanted my husband to make me happy.
I wanted what I saw in the movies. I wanted to be swept off my feet. I wanted to feel loved, safe and secure. I wanted a lot. I expected a lot. I gave little in return.
I was a broken individual when I met my husband.
I put a lot of pressure on one person to make me happy.
I thought to be enough, I had to be like someone else. I wasn’t being true to myself, but didn’t realize it until it was almost too late. I tried to be like the magazines told me to be.
And I wanted my husband to be like the man in the magazines and the movies. I expected him to “fix me”. Fix my brokenness. I pushed to be different. I pushed him to be different. I questioned. I criticized. I compared.
All that I thought I was doing to be a “good wife” almost cost me my marriage.
I thank God daily, because I believe with all my heart, it was through prayer, and a faith in the impossible, that our marriage was saved. Not only saved, but strengthened, and I have been forever changed.
I stopped pushing and expecting and comparing.
I started giving and doing and appreciating.
I saw that love wasn’t about those grandiose gestures.
Love is putting ketchup on the fries.
Let me explain.
A date night recently, my husband (who now suggests date nights more than me) suggested we go out to eat. We ordered. When the waitress brought the plate of fries to the table – my husband reached for the ketchup. He opened the bottle, and started squirting the fries with ketchup.
I said to him, in surprise “What are you doing? You hate ketchup!”
To which he smiled, and softly said “I know. I do. But you like it. ”
In that moment, all these years later, I felt so loved. Unbelievably, unconditionally – loved.
To me, that was the grandiose gesture I had been craving. Beyond the Hollywood movie, or magazine article.
Ketchup on the fries.
It’s a moment I will never forget, and when I think of it, I always smile, and I always feel loved.
Love isn’t about the flowers, or the money, or how much you spend, or what can you give me.
Love is in the gesture, the actions, the everyday stuff. Like ketchup on the fries.
I think of just how close we were to the end of our marriage, and today I am oh so grateful and oh so thankful that we got to the point where my husband puts ketchup on the fries.