It was eleven thirty in the evening. I was expecting two calls from my sons who were both working night shifts. The phone rang shortly after I glanced at the wall clock and sure enough, my second son was on the other line. As I lifted the receiver, he said “Mom, please pick me up from work.” That was Roman, my son who works at Red Lobster. He is the guy who hangs around with his friends most of his spare time- watching movies or going to the shopping mall. He is the person who would easily say “yes” to any house chores I asked him to, but would also forget that he said “yes” and hence would not be able to do the chores. He is an easygoing, party-goer, and bubbly person that’s why I was surprised when he asked me a serious question.
“Mom, is there any instance in your marriage with Dad that you thought you don’t love him?” I thought to myself, “Why was he asking this question? What was he thinking?” Before I could answer, he continued. “You saw me talking with Molly in the restaurant and we were discussing about love issues. I don’t know how our topic went there but I couldn’t answer her question about love fading as marriage gets longer.” Oh, I got the point. The question didn’t just come out of the blue. It was a continuous discussion of several topics that led from one issue to another.
Serious question like this is an opportunity for parents to bond with their children. It is the moment that I covet and seize; a golden chance to express what is in my heart. “Roman, I love your Dad more and more as our relationship gets longer. I admit there are times that I would want to cool off when I’m angry, but after we discussed our issues the relationship gets back on its track and moves on.”
Roman continued. “Molly said that love fades. Marriage relationship becomes boring because you are stuck with that person for so long.” I smiled at him as I shook my head with disagreement. “You see my plants at home. All of you say that I don’t have a green thumb, right? When I buy plants, it doesn’t stay long. It gets lucky if it stays alive for a couple of weeks. Your dad, your elder brother and your younger sisters expect that my plants would eventually die. All of you are right. It died because I didn’t take care of it. I just put it in a nice pot, watered it for a couple of days, and after that I would forget that I have bought plants; or I would be lazy to water them or put them in the shade to protect them from cold. I neglected my plants and it faded.”
“I treat my marriage with your Dad differently. I pray with him and for him. I make sure that within 24 hours, I was able to express to him my love and commitment. I communicate to him every day – not just the usual ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’. I ask him about his day at work, his prayer concerns, challenges or burdens. I include him in my schedule. I like him with me in the gym, in the pool, in the movie house, in the TV room, in restaurants. I ask him to pray for my struggles and burdens. I ask his opinion on my schedules and future plans. If I tell you all the things I do for him and with him, we might not end our conversation.”
“Your dad and I met in our teens. We got married in our twenties. We added children in our family in our twenties and thirties. We moved from one country to another. We planned our lives together. We consulted each other in our career paths. We dream, laugh and cry together. All those years we saw our bodies change, our hairs turn white, our outlooks mature, our preferences change. All those years we saw our God faithful. He carried us through. When I prayed to God nineteen years ago and asked Him to please show me the person He has prepared for me as my husband, your Dad came my way. That was a wonderful experience. Your dad and I have been together for more than 18 years. He is my witness of how I live my life on earth. I am his witness of how he lives his life on earth.”
“Love never fades. Its beauty changes from one color to another. Our experiences together add exciting adventures in our book of life. I am about to see the changes in his voice, hair and body when he gets to be fifty, sixty, or if God wills, until seventy, eighty and ninety. Marriage is an exciting, turbulent, and adventurous partnership. It’s worth the risk when you have asked God to give you His will.”
I think Roman got the point. We talked for thirty minutes while waiting for his elder brother come out of his workplace. That was one of the best thirty minutes of my time with Roman. I hope he won’t be easy going, party-goer, or just bubbly when he considers getting married.
August 29, 2005
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