Love: More than an emotion.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my marriage lately. I know, when we hear the “I’ve been thinking about my relationship” line, it usually leads to something negative. Not this time. At least I don’t think so. See, I’ve been thinking about where we started and where we are now.

In the last letter I wrote to my husband (or one of the last ones), I mentioned our first kiss. I remember pretty much every detail of it, but what I remember most is how he kissed me: like he had been working up to it, like he had held it in and couldn’t wait any longer, like his life depended on it. It was passionate for a first kiss.

But that is how our relationship has been from the start. Passionate. Now, please don’t go thinking that kind of passionate; I don’t go divulging my love life to everyone. No, what I mean is just vibrancy, love, longing…emotional passion.

The dictionary defines passion as “extreme or compelling emotion” (it’s a noun). Passionate, on the other hand, is an adjective. Now, my Webster’s New World College Dictionary has 3 definitions for passionate. The first: having or showing strong feelings. The second: easily angered. The third: resulting from, expressing, or tending to arouse strong feeling. So, “passion” and “passionate” revolve around strong emotions.

I asked him in my letter if and how he remembered that first kiss. I imagine he does. I have yet to hear back since it was just mailed, but I am curious to know his reality of it, what was going through his mind.

But I’ve been thinking about that passion I mentioned and about how it changes over time. Not that it goes away; it just changes. You hug, you kiss, you cuddle. You fight. Maybe you go to bed upset. You make-up. The passion is still there in every hug, every kiss, and even every fight (there’s always some sort of passion in a fight). You wish you could go back to that innocence, that feeling of first love, that passionate first kiss because it was fresh. But we can never go back.

And you know what? That is okay. Say it with me: that. is. okay. Do you want to know why? Because you grew up, you matured; the relationship matured. You learned each other’s faults, bad habits, and pet peeves. But you also learned what makes them laugh, that you have a constant best friend, and that love is much more than just an emotion.

Love is a promise. My uncle delivered a message at the church he is a pastor at during their marriage series: love is an intentional act of faith. I believe that is why the passion changes: because you realize that your marriage is not just a bunch of legal documents, but a covenant, a promise to each other.

So, over the last few months, while I have had time to think to myself and evaluate myself, I have realized that not only do I love my husband, but I made a promise: for better or worse, ‘till death do us part. Yes, our first kiss back together in a week and a half will be passionate, but that passion has never gone away. But that reminder, that we made a covenant, is what makes me realize that the passion we have had has always been there.

1 John 4:7 tells us “love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” I love, so therefore I know God because God is love. See how that works? But it also means because God is love that we have to give up our marriage to Him; we cannot love with Him. (Honestly, I owe these revelations to my uncle’s message.)

So, again, as I prepare to see my husband in 12 days (as of today), I remind myself that we are passionate, but that we must also be passionate in our faith in order to keep that passion in our marriage. Yes, I look forward to that passionate kiss of being reunited. Yes, I look forward to the closeness we will rediscover. But I also remind myself that the dynamic of our relationship has changed, and that is okay. I remind myself that I cannot go back to the first-love passion, but I can hold onto the passion that we have as a couple who has been married for (almost) 3 years.

And you know what? While that first-love passion was wonderful (I won’t lie; I remember it all well), this passion now is amazing. Because I know this man better than anyone, and I am still learning about him. Because he is my best friend. Because we have the faith to know that we are each other’s, no matter what. What could be more passionate than that?

Two Weeks Left To Go…

As of today, there are 2 weeks left; 2 weeks until Family Day, 2 weeks until I get to see my wonderful husband again! I am really excited. They get their hair cut again before graduation, so, yes, he will be (practically) bald when I see him. I do not understand the need to cut the guys’ hair; it’s not like it really grows out that quickly!

Anyway, family members that have completed a certain Army family training module are allowed to send in pictures for a slideshow for the soldiers at a special event only for the soldiers before graduation. Well, I completed that training just to send in photos. So, I sent in the photos today: one is my mom with a sign saying “Congrats Spc. Pallat” and one is me with a sign saying “I can’t wait to see you! I love you. I respect you.” One of my fellow GTAs was nice enough to take the picture for me today, for which I thank her a whole bunch.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get mail from him today, but I got 2 letters from him yesterday. Tomorrow is mail stop. I am hoping to continue to get mail from him until the week before I leave (next week). I am currently working on a (very long) letter to him to send off in the morning.

Today has also been a bit of an emotional day. There was a point today, not unlike most days, where I really wish he were here because he would hug me and kiss my head and tell me it will be okay. But I called mommy and, even though I told her just that, she, like always, did a good job of helping me through my difficulty. I just wish I could have heard my husband’s voice.

The last few months have been hard, but the last few weeks seem even harder. Maybe it’s because I know it is so close and we have plans and I’m counting down. Either way, I am ready for him to be home.

Two weeks cannot come quick enough.

Letters Galore

Today I received 5 letters from my husband. Sometimes I get the feeling the postal service just likes to make me wait. I literally jogged back to the apartment from the mailbox (as best I could in the snow anyway). He told me he already has our first day home planned. This involves getting up early, coffee, and a sunrise breakfast at the Grand Canyon (which is only about an hour from us). I can see it in my head, and it seems so romantic. He promised not to tell me anything else since I love surprises.

I’ll get up early to do whatever he wants. I won’t take those hours for granted anymore. I have learned a lot, and one of those things is to truly enjoy the time I have with him. Not that I didn’t before, mind you, I just see it in a new light now.

Anyway, it gives me something to look forward to. I now have a bit more to envision to take my mind off the timing. I am still trying to plan some level of surprise for him when he is home, though. Any suggestions? I’m currently thinking of getting a “Welcome Home” banner for the front area. What do you think?

Wednesday marks 2 weeks, and I wish the time would go by faster. But I have a lot of homework to do, from online discussions to a class research project, and I know there’s grading that needs to be done too. But how am I supposed to focus on any of that when I am just so excited to see my husband again?

So, to stay focused, I am making sure I keep the apartment clean. I am (and have been) going to church and women’s ministry. I am doing the homework that needs to be done (the grading is another matter). I am counting down the days.

Right now, I know that each morning I wake up is one day closer to seeing him again.

The Countdown Has Begun…

The countdown to homecoming has begun. Today marks 3 weeks until Family Day, 3 weeks until I see my wonderful husband again. Yes, I am counting down. I even have a chalkboard I’ve been writing the number of days on (not every day, but every so often). And every Wednesday on my whiteboard calendar has a number (today is 3, next week is 2) to countdown the weeks. I am, obviously, very excited.

It has not been easy. I think I have cried more the last month than I did when I left home for college. For a while there it felt like it was getting easier, like I was getting used to him being gone. The last week or so, though, has felt much more difficult, like I’m back at square one. Maybe it’s because I am so anxious and ready to see him.

I have a lot of homework and house work to do before I see him again, though. Looking at my syllabi really puts the time into perspective—it feels long, but it really isn’t. So I have to really crack down and get to completing all the work I have ahead of me. But I am having problems focusing because all I can think about is the trip, and our plans, and letters…my brain is not all together. I am hoping that when he comes home, that will be fixed.

In one of the last letters I got from him, he said he wants to make it up to me and he is trying to plan the entire first week we are back together. I have to admit that is getting me through right now. I love surprises, so I am really excited to find out what he has planned or what he wants to do. Just as he told me that, there, I am his home and what drives him to finish the task ahead of him, he is what drives me to do well in school and finish what I need to so I may devote my time and attention to him when I see him again.

I reread his letters every night, and I listen to the message he left on my phone when he got his phone call. They make me feel better. So does writing.

And that’s the thing: I can never wait for an opportunity to write him. Every time I look in our mailbox, I hope to see mail from him. It really makes my day. But mail is slow, and he is busy. And next week the mail stops, on the 26th to be exact. It’s 2 weeks before the graduation. I think that 2 weeks without mail is going to make the time seem even longer.

I think I am doing a fairly decent job of holding it together. But we will see what the next week brings.

Keep your faith.

It’s Amazing What A Few Months Can Do

I would like to first apologize for not updating in so long. It has been a rough few months, and graduate school has made me crazy busy to the point that anytime I am on my computer, it is school related.

My husband has been at Basic Combat Training since January and will graduate in March. He is an officer candidate in the National Guard, so at least he gets to come home immediately after graduation.

The time apart, though, has given me an opportunity to examine myself in a variety of ways, from how I can be more devoted to school to how I can be more devoted to my faith and, in turn, him. I have been able to keep up more regularly with my coursework, especially my online classes, because I don’t have my (albeit, wonderful) husband to distract me. Sometimes I’m even ahead (on a good week)! I am planning out my assignments because I will be gone the second week of March to see him at his graduation, so I am trying to ensure I don’t have a lot of work to do then, which means I need to get ahead as much as possible now.

Delving into my faith is where the self-exploration comes in. I realized, with the help of my pastor, that I was holding on to far too much anger at him, and it was really affecting my relationship with him and with God. It was a constant black spot that I needed to clear away. I feel, through prayer and study, I have been doing well at removing that blackness. I don’t feel that way anymore, though. I’ve tried to let go. I have come a long way in just a week I think.

His letters help, actually, because I know he is still the same person I left December 29th. That isn’t to say it isn’t difficult, because it is. In fact, it hasn’t gotten easier. What has gotten easier, though, is loving him and forgiving him. I know now what I should have known all along: he loves me no matter what and God is in control. I am ashamed that it has taken me so long, but I am glad to have that bit of enlightenment now.

In the most recent letter, he told me he wanted to plan something to make up for not being home for Valentine’s Day and that he is trying to plan the entire first week he is back home. It definitely took me by surprise as he has never really done that before; it’s been all me. But I am happy he is thinking about it, and I am really excited to see what he plans.

Most importantly, I am really excited to see him. On Wednesday it will be 4 weeks until I see his handsome face again. His hair is still SUPER short (like, practically bald), which is, I have to admit, not something I’m looking forward to. But I am so beyond excited to see him and kiss him and hug him and spend time with him.

I will do my best to update more frequently, especially as the BIG DAY looms closer and after we are reunited. Let the countdown really begin. In fact, I would like to share some Bible verses here in the next few weeks that have truly helped me through this.

Smile. Keep the faith. And remember: God’s got it.