Friday, February 14, 2014

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Love

I've had an annoying song running around in my head lately. It's been driving me crazy. It's especially bad because once in a while I almost sing it out loud and I wouldn't want my poor husband to hear it and get offended. Why? Well, let me type a line or two and you'll see why:

"You've lost that loving feeling, oh that loving feeling...You've lost that loving feeling, now it's gone, gone, gone, Whoa-oh"

See what I mean? Wouldn't you get a little paranoid if your spouse started wailing that around the house?

The song that was stuck in my head seemed to have come out of nowhere, but as I thought about it earlier this week, those lyrics probably are a good explanation for what I had been feeling lately. Those "loving feelings" just weren't showing up much in my marriage in recent days.

Now, I love my husband very much. On Monday we celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. We love each other. We spend lots of time together and I can say without hesitation that we are each other's best friend and it's great that way.

Unfortunately, I have been blessed with a personality that tends to over-analyze and idealize pretty much everything. That can be bad for a marriage when I get frustrated because we don't have the perfect relationship I have built up in my mind.

I know I love Gary in my head, but sometimes the feelings go away when I focus on the wrong things. Let's face it, in 24 years there are lots of opportunities to hurt and offend each other. We each have certain habits that annoy the other person. If I don't choose to forgive, I can hold onto a past offense for a long time, and my mind dredges it back up to stew over when I'm upset about something current.

Two years ago, Gary and I took a trip to Spain. It was his idea. I studied in Madrid during college and we went there on our honeymoon. I had been bugging him for years to take me there again, and one day he called my bluff. We made our plans and headed overseas, but in my heart I wasn't totally on board. I pasted a smile on my face and put on a good show, but I couldn't completely enjoy the trip because I was nursing lots of little resentments toward my husband at that time. I didn't want to let him off the hook and just enjoy myself. 

Even while we were on the trip I kept a little list of disappointments. We didn't stop at some of the little towns we buzzed through in our rental car. We didn't eat enough authentic Spanish food. I didn't get to row long enough in the little boat in Retiro Park - he took the oars back and paddled us around the pond. The sunset wasn't beautiful enough at the westernmost point of Spain.

Now, mind you, I didn't voice many of these concerns to him. I mostly just stored them up in my heart and stuffed my resentments down deep. But when you bury something ugly like that, it's bound to rot and decay and ruin a lot more than just the memory of a fantastic vacation.

Because that's what it was - a fantastic vacation. I mean, really, the man took me to SPAIN! We rented a car and he drove me to almost every corner of that great country. Sure, we didn't stop in every little town, but we stopped in lots of wonderful places and saw so much. We didn't eat lots of authentic Spanish foods, but that's more my thing than his. The authentic foods we did eat were delicious and memorable, if I choose to remember them. I didn't row enough in Retiro Park? Well, boo hoo! I should have said, "I'd like to row a little more" when he reached for the oars. The sunset was a bust? So what? That man of mine went out of his way to drive me down unfamiliar roads to the westernmost point of Spain and sit for a couple of hours in the wind as we waited for the sun to set. It was fun, and as I look back at the pictures now, the sunset looks even prettier than it was when we were actually there.

A quick selfie while waiting for the sunset in Spain

As I'm writing, my heart feels warm toward my husband. Truth is, all week my feelings have been getting better toward him, because I've been focusing on the good in our marriage instead of the little disappointments that inevitably creep in.

I guess that's why I wanted to write about love this week. It makes sense since today is Valentine's Day, I know, but I wanted to give some hope and encouragement to other women out there who may lose "those loving feelings" at times. When it comes to marriage, our focus makes all the difference. Don't give up on your marriage when you're not feeling those romantic feelings you think you should always have. Those will come and go. Hang on for dear life (the life of your marriage) until they come back.
Happy Birthday and Happy Valentine's Day to my wonderful husband, Gary!


  1. It's hard for writer's sometimes because we're always coming up with great "scenes" for real life and fiction. It's sometimes hard to live "in the moment" so yeah I'm there with you, but oh I find that when I can let go of those little things and roll with it life in general is so much better.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jessie! So true that we need to live in the moment and let go of the little things. I think it will get better with time and practice.