I don't really remember when that changed in my relationship with my husband, it was small, and over time, so there was no cause to mourn its passing. However, it has left me with other questions, and those are, what then, does love look like? How do I still show him that I love him? Do I miss "love" when it comes from him, because it looks different than it once did? How can I be sure I haven't sunk into apathy, taking everything for granted, longing for something that I've long grown out of?
Well, recently I've been challenged to focus on the positives of my relationship, rather than on the negatives. Hearing that is surprising. I thought, that won't be hard. In fact, I assumed that was the habit I had created over our marriage, but after a couple of weeks of trying, I realized that in fact the opposite was true. I had been focused only on the "have-nots" and the "I wants" of our relationship. It had brought us into some pretty destructive arguments, with the two of us walking away from each other wondering how on earth we had ever been in the "Romance" phase of love at all. There were days when I actually wondered how two complete opposites had ended up together, coupled with the terrifying adage "we made a mistake", and I knew our marriage was headed to the dark places that no one in the light of romance ever wants to go.
It was at this critical moment when I received the advice, that I needed to focus on the positives about my husband, rather than the negatives. Basic - yes, life changing - incredibly. It was easy to recognize that my husband isn't perfect and harder to know that he can't necessarily fill all of the "have-nots" I have so dutifully laid out for him, and even harder to recognize that I was equally as imperfect as him, and I was not filling all of his "have-nots" and I might never be able to do that. It was at that point, that Love started to look differently for us. It started to be things like cleaning the kitchen together after a meal, to talk and spend a bit of time reconnecting, and deeply appreciating little things, his smile and easy manner with our kids, and how he cares about me before himself - I was awake most of last night, and this morning, he quietly got up, made arrangements with work, and brought our son to school without disturbing me.
I'm not saying we're perfect, we're certainly a long way from there, but when love starts to look differently to you, remember to focus on the positive, at least it's a place to start.