By DAN HALL
5 lessons from a hopeless romantic
As the adage goes, “I chased my wife until she caught me.”
Our families knew each other when we were children, but my wife’s family moved across the country when I was 11 and she was nine. When I saw her again 10 years later, she was no longer the stringy redheaded girl with cooties, but a hot little coed at Baylor University, sauntering into a Denny’s.
As our relationship went from re-acquaintance to friendship to infatuation to love interest, I pulled out all the stops to catch her attention. I sent her on a campus-wide scavenger hunt where I had strategically placed multiple birthday gifts. I wrote one love note on a repurposed Big Mac container (they used to come in cardboard boxes), and another one on an entire roll of toilet paper.
I also wrote (in my mind) award-winning poems. The one, I think, that finally captured her heart was:
My heart goes pitter patter
like beaters mixing batter
Like bread so gently rising,
your love came so surprising
I mean, really … Let me give you a minute to wipe your eyes.
I give several pithy little statements to any couple that is about to get married. Probably the one that gets most quoted to me later is this:
“When this thing (marriage) settles down to a fireside chat … And it will … That’s when you find true love.”
I am certainly no expert on marriage and love, but I have learned some important principles that have helped us survive and often thrive in over 32 years of marriage:
❤︎ Forgive ASAP. I’m no fool to believe that forgiveness is easy. But I will say this: Forgiveness is absolutely imperative.
❤︎ Laughter is both a balm and a barometer. We learned to laugh early, and it has gotten us through difficult times. Conversely, I can tell how healthy a marriage is by how freely, frequently and authentically a couple laughs together.
❤︎ Intimacy is both a gift and a discipline. Intimacy is not about sex and romance, though both of those are important. It’s about purposely sharing the meaningful parts of our hearts. It’s a gift when my wife lets me see her heart; it’s a discipline for me to share mine.
❤︎ Acceptance is powerful. It is said that women marry thinking the man will change, and he doesn’t; men marry thinking the woman won’t change, and she does. Regardless, when one person embraces the other just as they are, the heart feels safe.
❤︎ Love is a commitment, not a feeling. Few men feel as romantically as I do. I am accused of having an ovary. But at the end of the day, I choose to love my wife and she chooses to love me, not because of a feeling but because of a commitment. We are fortunate to enjoy a heavy dose of emotion in our marriage (and seasons without it!), but it flows from the commitment we have for each other, not vice versa.
Now… Go love your spouse.
Dan Hall is an executive and strategic coach to leaders and executive teams. He also works with organizations on team building, conflict resolution and communication skills. He and his wife, Hazel, have six children and four grandchildren. You can reach him at Dan@OnCourseSolutions.com.