When You Were Just About To Give Up On Love

R and K

Admittedly, I am not the greatest proponent of love these days. 

I’m nearly always the first to point out the romantic song by the debonaire man, was indeed written by a woman. That’s never been married.  Never fearing to ask inopportune questions like: Shouldn’t we have more humble wedding ceremonies to get married? And save the lavish celebrations for when we have fought insurmountable odds, to stay married?

Arguing that the day we look to our spouse and realize, Holy crap. We’re still married. is the ideal time to throw a party and spend exorbitant amounts of money to have people toast our union – With alcohol nonetheless!

Yep. I am that person. Jaded and crushed, with a knack for making people uncomfortable with my (many) observations about love, and a heart – and a marriage – that has been shaken to the core.

You can find me sitting in the back half of any wedding ceremony, bowing my head in heartfelt prayer for the lovely couple exchanging their vows like I did all those years ago…

A prayer they’d be blessed with the marriage I never had: An uneventful one.

But I was terribly wrong…

I realized this the night my family and I gathered in our pajamas, around a 70-year-old man telling a story so touching, he had us hanging on every word that he spoke.

They had asked him about his wife. That’s all I knew, because from that point on he trailed off in a flurry of Spanish I couldn’t comprehend.

Yet regardless of the different languages we spoke, it became obvious by the way his eyes danced and by the way he gripped furiously at his heart, that him and I knew the same kind of love:  Intoxicating. Passionate. Heartbreaking. 

Later that night my husband helped me piece the story together, and to my surprise I found it more riveting than I imagined.

My husband told me how his uncle’s first wife had suffered a stroke at a young age while singing in church. I recalled how he bellowed the verses of the hymn that night, stopping at the exact place in the song where her health – and their lives – had changed forever.

He told me how she spent the next 8 days in a coma, stiff as a table, he said. And how each time he spoke to her – each time he leaned in close to whisper his love for her, in no doubt the same somber tone he spoke in that night – how her heart would respond. Literally, on the EKG! I remembered how he had illustrated the rise and fall of her heart with his finger in the air, how he gripped his heart describing the agony of having to let her go…

How years after she passed, he got a second chance at love, with an unlikely woman nearly half his age and living in Colombia, South America. I thought back to how his voice had livened and his eyes danced, making us laugh as we watched the 70-year-old man transform into that of a dopey young boy when describing the first kiss they shared. 

But how this love wouldn’t be free of heartache either…

How for years they were separated from each other, working tirelessly to get her a visa, only able to see each other three times in those first three years of their marriage Until finally, the day came where she was given permission to come to the U.S.

But how there had been a catch. How he would have to come get her himself, rightthatsecond. Forcing him to put his humble job cleaning movie theaters on the line, and spend the great sum of money he didn’t have, to drop everything in a moment’s notice to retrieve the woman he loved.

How even still, he accepted the risks – traveled  great lengths and sacrificed EVERYTHING in his attempt to get his wife back!

That night it was obvious to each of us, the frail man in the corner of the room had fought tirelessly for love.

…And, that by the grin on his face, He had won!

“They’ve been together ever since…” my husband concluded, and my heart jumped forgetting for a moment how jaded ‘we’ are these days.

And I realized, I too, was set in a tragic story of unbearable loss and tireless sacrifice…But that like him, it was a love story nonetheless! And what I learned that night captivated by the man I could barely understand was,

The love stories most harrowing, catch our attention and captivate our spirit in a way those void of all conflict ever could!

That just like the man who entranced me with the love story he had lived, It was in the heartbreaking final breaths of his first love that he learned what so few ever have – that her heart had always responded to the sound of his voice! … It was in the unbearable miles and years that separated him from his wife, that she came to know the great lengths her husband would travel and the sacrifices he would make in order to fight for her!…

That oftentimes, it’s amid the desolation the rarest treasures unearth.

Because maybe, just maybe, there is significance to be discovered in our most heart wrenching pangs. An unlikely strength awakened by our deepest sorrows, uncharted territory we may never have wandered upon and a story never written had it not been for that wrong turn or the turbulent storm that blew us off course and shook everything we believed to the core.

And that’s when I realized how terribly wrong I had been…

THE greatest gift in marriage would NOT be an uneventful one, free of all struggle and tragedy; but a marriage that has lived a love story worth telling!

The greatest gift would be a marriage that has basked in the grandeur of the uttermost heights, and who’ve crawled relentlessly on their hands and knees to get there. Whose eyes have danced in love’s intoxication, and who have gripped their heart in agony at love’s unbearable loss. A love that displays both the scars they earned in battle, and a smile on their face knowing they won!

A love story worth telling huddled around in our pajamas until the sun comes up. For generations and generations. No matter the language. 

A love story so harrowing, it catches the attention and captivates the spirit, of even those like me –Who were just about to give up on love.

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9 thoughts on “When You Were Just About To Give Up On Love”

  1. Your words ring so true in my heart today! I was given a diagnosis in June, after a complete hysterectomy, of ovarian cancer. Stage 3a. Have been in chemotherapy since. The first chemo meds didn’t do the job, so today I begin the 2nd combination. Through it all, I have never seen such devotion and care and compassion from my husband! Not that it wasn’t there, it was just brought to light through recent events. We have 2 sons who are grown and married. One lives 2 states away. They have been more faithful than ever to call me and love on me like they never have before! Granted, their wives play a part in that, and for that I’m grateful as well! They’re the daughters I never had.

    I say all that to say thank you for reminding us to treasure even the hard times. They make us appreciate the good times when the road is smooth. This rocky one is hard, but God is with us! Emmanel. Never leaves. Never forsakes. Fights for us. He’s so good. Thank you, Krista, for being His light.

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    1. Karen, I just want you to know I have been praying for you like CRAZY these last few weeks. I was commenting on here to tell you that, but then realized my last comment never posted! So sorry about not responding sooner.

      Your story inspired me so much, knowing that you are in the midst of a hard time yourself but cherishing how it makes you see the smoother times, is POWERFUL beyond what I can adequately describe. Thank you for sharing your heart and encouraging me in the process. I will continue praying for you daily Karen. And I mean that! (I pray when I say I am going to pray! 🙂

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  2. Krista,
    Thank You so much for blogging! I followed you through the last year on Urban Hallelujah. I too am the hopeless romantic. Thinking that marriage was going to be just that…passionate, loving, romantic, happy and perfect. Boy was I wrong! Mine did not turn out the way yours did. Our divorce will be final in a couple months.
    A friend led me to your blog saying that she really thinks that I could take something from it. Krista, I feel like I cried when you cried and laughed when you laughed because I, like so many others, knows exactly what you were going through. I used to think to myself that no one could possibly hurt the way I was hurting! No one had tried as hard as I did to fight for my marriage. No one knew how my heart literally ached with the loss. Reading your blog has let me see that I am not the only one that feels that ache. I started praying for you and in that I moved closer and closer to Jesus! The more I prayed for you the better I felt. The depression got better the ache lessened because I knew it wasn’t just me. Then I would read how Jesus was walking with you and I would think “Hallelujah she made it through”.
    Even though I know now that my daughter (age 7 today!) and I are so much better off where we are today and the past is behind us and we are standing tall praising Jesus for everyday! I still have that heart ache as I watch my Daughter grow without her father in her life, but I know we are ok and Jesus is walking with us and carrying us through too.
    Thank you for sharing you heart with all of us out there reading your words and watching as God transformed you and your marriage for the better. It gives me hope!
    Hollie

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    1. Hollie, I can’t even begin to tell you how much your comment encouraged me. I too, have felt like no one understood my heartache (I still do, if I am honest) but hearing your story and how you cried when I cried, and laughed when I laughed, is no exaggeration, one of the most comforting things to hear. ❤

      I love that although God took our lives and marriages in different directions, that the universal language we speak is heartache and at times, hopelessness. And that God meets us there amidst it all.

      Thank you for reaching out and sharing your heart with me.

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  3. Krista, I agree with you. I wish I had a chance to really know you when you were living in NYC. I often looked for a Christian woman book that spoke the truth. Maybe I will have to write it. Keep writing and I will do my best to keep reading.

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