There once was a husband and wife. They had a simple life together, and were happily married. They spent time together doing the normal routines of life, and felt very content.
One day, the woman was out with some new girlfriends, who were talking about an exotic vacation they’d taken with their husbands. It sounded super romantic and exciting, and the ladies were gushing about how amazing it had been.
The wife went home, and her house seemed a bit more drab than before. Her husband arrived home and greeted her with his usual warm smile and hug, but she wistfully looked past him, still thinking of the romantic vacation she’d heard about that day. She silently mused while she cooked dinner, “Why doesn’t he take me on an exciting vacation?” That night on their evening walk, she seemed disinterested and discontent. Her husband was patient, giving her space, content to wait until she was back to herself again.
He always wrote her notes. Throughout their whole marriage he’d written her a simple note each day, reminding her of his love for her. Before, she’d enjoyed seeing these notes each day, and she’d read and re-read them, grateful.
Now, she found herself ignoring them, eager to find out more about the exciting, romantic escapades these other couples had. She found herself following their Facebook pages, thumbing through their photos, enamored with their experiences. She read more about these exotic locales, and what sorts of vacation packages they offered couples. She noticed that their husbands always looked well-dressed and handsome, smiling and laughing. She began to spend more time with these women and ask them more about their intriguing lives. The other women loved the attention, so happy for the affirmation that they were doing marriage right. They talked about their exciting bedroom-experiences, about their glamorous date-nights, the goose-bump romance they experienced all the time. Nothing about their words was wrong, but the woman always left feeling like she must be missing out on something more.
She also found herself increasingly critical and discontent with her husband. Each night, he’d come home, eager to spend time with her doing their simple nightly routine. He soon realized his notes to her were going unread. She started suggesting he dress different. She suggested he go on a diet. She also seemed anxious about her own appearance and unhappy with their life. She started dressing like the other women, and mimicking their hairstyles and mannerisms. Plus, she wouldn’t stop obsessing over those exotic vacation experiences.
“Why don’t you ever take me to fancy restaurants? Why don’t we have wild, passionate sex all the time? Why don’t we take exotic vacations and have romantic goosebumps experiences all the time? What’s wrong with us? I wish we had a marriage like those other people do.”
The husband, ever patient, wept over her words and the sadness in his wife’s heart. He pleaded with her:
“I love you. I want you. I want you more than an experience. I want you more than a spectacular encounter withyou. I love you more than anything. You’re my bride. Perhaps someday we’ll enjoy something spectacular together, but more than anything I just long for us to love each other for who we are.”
He looked her in the eye and asked,
“Do you want me or do you want an certain experience that involves me? I long to be loved, just like you do, for who you are, not simply for your potential for giving me a certain experience.”
His words cut, but helped her see clearly. Though it was hard, she knew what she needed to do. Those friends weren’t evil, but they just weren’t helpful to her. Their experiences were simply that. Their experiences.
She unfollowed their pages. She kindly declined invitations.
She pulled away from all influences that took away from her pure love for her husband.
She quit comparing her experiences to others, she quit comparing her husband to theirs. She immersed herself in the truth about how GOOD her husband was to her, and how kind, gentle, and loving he had always been. Of course, she would still welcome an exciting experience together, but she found herself so overwhelmed with love for him, that that was enough.
The anthem of her heart toward her husband was, “You are enough for me.”
Over their lifetimes, they experienced both excitement and sorrow. They were able to enjoy a beautiful vacation to Hawaii, and even splurged for a few date nights out on the town. But the beauty was that those things were no longer what she sought. She just sought him. And so, she stayed by him even during trying years, when there was no money for exciting vacations, when times were hard.
And finally, in the end, when he was aged and needed full-time care, she was able to faithfully love him to the end, even when it was hard, even when it was painful, even when there was a cost. The years of faithful devotion during ordinary days had forged a bond so sure that nothing could jeopardize their love.
It lasted forever.
“This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church.”