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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What My Husband Taught Me About Love

Good evening, dear readers!

Despite its many delays due to both my health and my many technological mishaps (my number pad and function keys on the keyboard aren't working...again. My hubby swears he didn't do anything to bugger them when he worked on it earlier...), the 21 day blogging challenge is nearing its end! Day 17's prompt is a rather personal one, but also appropriate in light of the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday.

Before I met my husband, I was a sheltered and isolated young woman. I had been forcefully denied the privileges of dating and navigating my way around the pitfalls that come with it lest I be distracted from my rigidly enforced educational goals. In spite of this suppression, I did experience crushes on fellow students, though I knew they were in vain. As someone who was naturally emotional, it was hard to suffer these feelings in secret because my environment was not conducive to such an expression. I had to force myself to become asexual, lest I run afoul of my family's rules.

His birthday, before we were married. 2012

Meeting my husband was in many ways a godsend. Here was a man who in spite of his substantial baggage, was more of a parent to me than my biological progenitors! He gave me the space I needed to mature emotionally and establish confidence in myself by helping guide me through the more difficult moments of life. I had not intended to fall in love with him, but the more time I spent with him learning about computers and playing with his cats, the more attached I became to him.

It was the cats who really helped me come out of my shell. Before I met my husband, I was terrified of animals and the germs they carried. After I met him, he would invite me over to his tent in the hoarded private junkyard he called home to play with the kittens his mommy cats were always having since they were still young and impressionable. He would teach me about the different breeds, how to pet the kittens, how to hold, feed and play with them. From the kittens, I would gradually work my way up to the adult cats. Most of them never cared for me, with the exception of two of the mommy cats. But playing with the cats was my first lesson on the unconditional love that animals give their humans, and the emotional cues I learned from the cats would eventually spread towards their human caretaker and he returned the feeling. At last, I was free from the oppression I had been subjected to and could acknowledge that love was a healthy emotion conducive to living a healthy life.

At our church wedding in 2013, we had selected St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians as our second reading (note: "charity" has also been rendered into the more familiar "love" that we know lines 4-7 to be). I wanted this particular reading because it illustrated that true love comes from God. It we do not love God, then we cannot love each other because it is only from God that love and the life that stems from it comes. This lesson was continually reinforced by my husband living his Catholic faith all the time because that life gave him the graces he needed to love me as his wife and his animals as God's creatures. This love also helped our marriage stay together in the face of some pretty stiff odds. It will also solidify the foundation on which we will raise our children.

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