Filipina in America · Marriage

What Love is Not

Years ago, when I was married to my ex-husband, I lost my car key. I couldn’t even call to ask for the spare key that he had. I knew he would be furious and call me stupid.

My son and I tried to unlock the car by breaking the rubber seal around the car window. It was a failure. We realized car break-ins was not a career path for us. No choice, I had to endure being called stupid.

My past relationship was not the best example of 1Corinthians:13

So, when I remarried, I gave Dave, my husband a list of my deal breakers. It was a short one:

1. Infidelity

2. Physical and verbal abuse

3. Addiction to substance

I think that sums up, in a few words,  the story of my first marriage. Knowing what I didn’t like, was the only way I knew how to define my ideal relationship. At that time, that was good enough for me.

I am not an expert on relationships. But from that past relationship, I only knew what love was not.

Different languages of love

Three years into my second marriage, after 13 years of being a solo parent, being a wife is still  something new.

 My husband is learning my love language. He asked me once, why I don’t say “I love you” a lot. I’m not a verbally expressive person.

My language of love is service and loyalty. Just like most Filipinas, I’m the kind of wife who takes care of her husband, just as we were raised.  For me, LOVE IS AN ACTION VERB. Love is doing. Most of the time doing the difficult things for the people we love.

When I asked him, for his list of non-negotiables or deal-breakers – Dave had none. Instead, Dave showed me his language of love.

I learned that love is kind

About two years ago, again, I lost my car key. I was so scared. I called Dave. He calmly told me what to do. My day was saved and I got to my work and meetings. When I got home that night he had dinner for me and flowers. He said- “You had a rough day”.

Amazing how two men handled the same situation so differently. More amazing is how this affects a marriage. Mistakes can make you feel stupid or can make you feel loved. In a lifetime full of mistakes it can spell the difference between a life of hell or a garden of flowers.

I learned that love is not rude

When we’re upset and we argue, we both bite our tongues. We both know that we regret more the things we say than the things we don’t. There is no room for rude words or cursing in our relationship.

I learned that love is secure

At this age, we know how to choose our battles. But in the few arguments, we had, no matter how heated it may be, I always knew that everything will be okay. Always. I learned that love gives chances and finds solutions.

I learned that love is generous and not stingy

Dave tells me that I am spoiled. I get flowers  and gifts year round. 

I learned that love brings peace

As I go about my everyday life, puttering around my house, snipping off dead leaves from my lavender plant, I often ponder on the ordinariness of my life. And it makes me smile. My life has become mundane, full of routines and I enjoy it.  Gone are the days of fire fighting and stressful relationship. 

Learning again and again how you are loved makes every day seem like a gift. When you are loved, you just know.

One thought on “What Love is Not

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