Tag Archives: marriage

This Language On Love

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So, in reading “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, he describes in great detail how the word love can be very confusing. We love activities, objects, animals, nature and people. We even fall in love with love. He points out that we use love to explain behavior. “‘I did it because I love her’ says a man who is involved in an adulterous relationship. God calls it sin, but he calls it love. The wife of an alcoholic picks up the pieces after her husband’s latest episode. The psychologist calls it co-dependency, but she calls it love. The parent indulges all the child’s wishes. The family therapist calls it irresponsible parenthood, but the parent calls it love.”

Now I’m not by any means of the imagination a psychologist, a professor, a clergywomen, or a counselor. I am just an ordinary woman. I’m a girlfriend, a daughter, a cousin, a sister, a wife, a mother, an aunt, and a grandmother. But like many, I think all too often we speak the wrong love language. I definitely have.

In my youth, I did some stupid things out of “love” for a guy. And because I loved him I thought, surely he will come to my way of thinking. He would love me in return, enough to change his behavior and better himself. After all, hadn’t I bent over backwards for him? Worshipped the ground he walked on? Became his doormat? In order to gain his undivided attention, I forgot who I was.

In my teens, I covered my husband’s transgressions. I hid his secret, sin and shame. My way of thinking was: This is why I exist, right? That’s my job, isn’t it? His wish was my command. Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen – if only I knew how to cook then. My smile hid the pain in my heart, as well as makeup did the bruises on my face. I hid the grocery money, emptied the liquor bottles, refilling half with water hoping he’d never noticed. I’d called his boss to say he was sick in bed after another blackout episode. I told myself: I protect my interest. I do it all in the name of “love.”

I was tired. But because I loved my children, I eventually allowed my kids the freedom of choice. They started listening to the “hip” music their friends were listening to, and watched certain movies because I knew they were old enough and smart enough not to repeat negative behaviors. Yes, I was inconsistent, worn-out, and haggard. I practiced tough-love, church activities, rules and schedules, but then lost the victory in my own personal life that I toss responsibility to the wind. I got lazy. It became every person for himself. I started doing my own thing. I felt defeated. Cold-hearted. Bitter. Since I had lost the battle as a wife, for a moment, I had also forgotten that there was still a war to fight for called Motherhood.

That was many moons ago. And I’m happy to say, although far from perfect, I continue to strive to communicate this language in a healthy way.

Just some rambling thoughts today, as I reflect over Gary Chapman’s point of view about the language of love.

What are your thoughts?

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Gary Chapman, Love Language

“Mrs. C”

We affectionately call her Mrs. C.

In her sixties, with remarkable zeal, she carried a charismatic and a gregarious personality. She was a Bible teacher, an author, a missionary, a powerhouse, a woman of great faith. She exuded genuine friendship in a Godly persona and took me under her wings. She held many prayer meetings in her home, and often prostrated herself on the floor on her face interceding for others. She became my lifesaver, my spiritual-mother. Throughout the years, I often counted on her for spiritual advice and much-needed counseling.

On one dreary afternoon, the sky grew overcast along with my hope and faith. Suffering from battle fatigue, I sat in Mrs. C’s den. I told her I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

“I can’t take it anymore,” I confessed, wringing my hands.

Patiently, unassuming, non-judgmental, Mrs. C handed me a tissue and gave me time to release the dread and pain in my heart.

“I’ve tried everything. Done all I know to do. Yet nothing seems good enough.”

“Has he stopped hitting you?”

I sighed, much relieved that he had. “Oh, yes.”

“Mary Ann, in his own way you know he loves you” she began, “but you have become ‘weary in well-doing.’ In your mind’s eye, you’ve conceded it’s not worth it.”

She honed in on my sentiments. I hung my head in shame.

“You know,” she insisted, “it is worth it all.”

At that moment, I wished I were stronger and smarter, and Mrs. C wasn’t so wise and read me so well. “But shouldn’t this be a two-way street?” I suggested.

“Are you and the kids better off without him?”

I figured she knew the answer before I did. “We . . . we have nowhere else to go.”

“Are you better off without him?” she repeated, and handed me the tissue box.

“Money is tight. I can’t afford to do anything else.”

“Are you better off without him?”

No,” I whispered and wiped my nose.

I felt weak, inadequate as a Christian wife, struggling to maintain a measure of peace and sanity in my household with four children and tending to a man struggling with his demons.

“Then, go home and be the best wife and mother you know how to be,” she said.

Sometimes, it’s easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk.

“But first,” she added, “I want to pray for you.”

That woman knew how to enter the Throne Room of God in her prayers. Electricity surged through my entire body when she touched me as she prayed. Before I left, she handed me her book, Wives, Unequally Yoked. I figured reading couldn’t hurt, plus the title intrigued me. I’d already devoured The Total Woman, by Marabel Morgan. The pages worn and underlined with a yellow marker, much like my Bible.

“PRAY HARDEST WHEN IT’S HARDEST TO PRAY”

I didn’t leave Mrs. C’s company the same way I arrived. Resolved in my heart not to become bitter, I determined to be better and left strengthened, with a made-up mind.

Mrs. C suggested that I study a passage in the Bible that read: “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”

I had to admit this wasn’t easy. I’d used my tongue as a weapon more times than I cared to count and didn’t know if I could keep my mouth shut. But with renewed determination, I worked on dropping the holier-than-thou attitude and to pray for my husband more. This time, I prayed–not that my life might become easier–but that his might become whole: physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Note: Has anyone outside of your family meant the world to you? Made an impact? Enriched your life?

Throughout the years, many have come into my life, which I am eternally grateful for. Mrs. C recently celebrated her 87th birthday. Although not as active as once before, Mrs. C has touched and helped countless lives still going strong today. Because of her, many realized their true potential and reached their purpose.

Michael C. Dudash

Painting by Michael C. Dudash

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

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October 6, 2013 · 12:51 PM

For Keeps

ImageToday is our anniversary.

Nineteen years ago, I said “I do” to the most loving and gentle man I know.

And I’m so glad I did.

He came into my world when I was a desperate, single mother of four: ages nine, eleven, twelve, and fourteen. He not only loved me then, but he loved and embraced my children. And they loved him back.

Today, as I fixate on my husband’s face—his eye’s weathered by deep trenches of experience, his hair and beard more gray than brown—a sense of contentment warms me. His gaze still carries the familiar twinkle. They speak of tenderness, honesty and devotion. His eyes say I am a star in his galaxy, and that he will remain by my side through thick and thin. They confirm that together we are one. Moreover, those eyes proclaim that with God, we can weather any storm.

I hadn’t always known this gentleness and steadfastness in a mate. But this one was my second chance at love and happiness, assuring me that my mate and best friend accepts me unconditionally and without reservation. He loves me on my worst days. He loves me on my best days. I don’t feel alone if he’s away.

Yes, we have faced scores of satisfactions and disappointments, victories and losses, accomplishments and failures, heartaches and joys. Some we understand. Some we don’t. But God gives us the grace and peace that exceeds our comprehension.

And life moves on.

© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”
~ Bob Marley

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Filed under Personal, Wedding Anniversary