Daddy and I took part in a short exercise from the marriage ministry at church a couple months ago. It was a casual interview session where Daddy and I were supposed to answer a few questions to encourage a heart-to-heart talk between a couple who’s been married for over a decade. Auntie Lidia and Uncle Baba put us up for it. They told us to be ourselves completely. If you know your Daddy but at all, he was very comfortable with the whole idea. I’m sure that Auntie Lidia and Uncle Baba didn’t have to work hard to convince him. He loves being in front of the camera and he’s just naturally entertaining. I, on the other hand, found it rather nerve-wracking but thought that it would be a fun experience, nonetheless.
So, anyway, the idea was to pick up a question from a stack of cards in front of us, and alternately pick up and answer one each. There were some easy and completely laughable questions (like, “Have you ever consciously ignored my calls?” To which Daddy replied, “Yes, of course!”), some easy to answer but hard to do without completely bawling my eyes out (like, “What is your greatest fear?” To which I answered, “You dying… or half dying…”). And then there were some questions that took a little bit more time to answer. One of those questions was on a card that Daddy picked up that read: “What do you love about me?”
I paused for a brief moment as I searched my brain for an answer while at the same time, trying hard to remain composed because I felt the overwhelming rush of emotions and tears welling up in my eyes.
I struggled not because I couldn’t find a single one. I looked into his eyes and I know that there’s just so much I love about him… and I struggled to put everything we’ve been through together – every event, every emotion, every feeling, every memory – in the past twelve years into a functioning sentence that actually meant something.
In those few moments, as I looked at his face, I saw our whole life together.
I saw our wedding day – his face wet with tears, as he promised to take care of me for the rest of my life.
I saw the good times – the holidays we took, the adventures we went on, the conversations we shared on our front porch with cold drinks in our hands.
Then I saw you. All three of you. In our home – lying on our bed, sitting in our dining room, playing on the floor – like a timelapse video, except with audible conversations and laughter that we shared. And there, in the midst of it all, I saw your Daddy. Standing still, steady, unmoved.
“I love how much you love me,” I managed to say.
“I love the three beautiful children you gave me and the home that I dearly, dearly love.
I love the life you built for me, for us.
I love that you love me even when I am unloveable, even when I felt like no one loves me. I am always loved by you.
I love that I am always enough for you, that you’re enough, that we’re enough.”
This exercise was good for both your dad and I. It was good to take a pause and actually think about our relationship. The days go by so fast and we fall into a routine so quickly, it’s too easy to become too familiar with each other and take our relationship for granted.
One thing I am grateful for is that while we’ve quit so many things in our (almost) thirteen years of marriage, quitting on each other was never an option. I pray that you will be lucky enough to experience this kind of love in your life too.