Doing the Work, Building the Love

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Love and Marriage
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In my last post, I mentioned a house we restored in Western Kansas.  It was while living in and working on that house that I learned the meaning of the expression, “blood, sweat, and tears.”  I put all three into that house as the project progressed.

When my marriage began to unravel, it was very similar to the experience of restoring houses like that.  Things had gotten bad and it didn’t really matter how or why.  What mattered is what needed to be done about it.

It doesn’t take both people working to restore a marriage, however.  Most people assume that if one person isn’t willing to work, the relationship can’t be fixed.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

If there was ever love there, it can be rebuilt.  Either person can do this.  Sure it’s easier if both people work together, but that’s rarely going to be the case.  When a marriage reaches that point, generally either someone wants out or has already left.  That person is probably not going to be working.

If the other, the one who wants the marriage, will do the work, it will still get done.  It will take longer and be more difficult, but it will still get done.  It’s not so much a question of if it will work, but of how long it will take and what it will require.  I wish everyone who has found him or herself staring at divorce would realize this.

When Ceecee decided to give up on me and move on, I was the only one there to do the work.  I had to learn on the fly and I had to get busy.  No excuses, no “what if’s”, I had to get to work and be diligent about it.

I worked and worked, day after day, week after week, month after month.  Most of that time, it didn’t seem like it was doing any good.  There was little, if any response from Ceecee.  I just kept working, because I believed I could rebuild the love.  I was committed to seeing it through and idealistic enough to believe that it could be done.

When you work on a house like the one we bought in Kansas, it’s much the same way.  You work and work and labor and labor and sometimes it doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to be worth it.  It seems like it was a mistake to ever buy the house and it seems like it will never get finished or amount to anything.  All the work doesn’t seem to yield results.

At times, it seems like it’s destined to fail.  There are setbacks and failures.  You cut into something you shouldn’t have cut into.  You try to move a wall that you shouldn’t be moving.  You discover problems that you never anticipated.

So it was with our marriage.  I was working and building to be sure, but there were setbacks.  I said things I shouldn’t have said.  I opened up things that I shouldn’t have dug around in.  I got selfish at times and lost focus.

Then it comes together all of a sudden.  You finish the drywall and put on paint.  You refinish the hardwood floors and suddenly it looks like a whole new place.  The woodwork gets done, the colors take shape, decor comes into focus, and as if it happened all at once, a beautiful home rises from the sawdust and scraps.

It was literally two weeks from the last time my wife told me that she didn’t love me until she called asking me to move back in with her.  There had been months of building leading up to those two weeks.  At any time, I could have given up.  I could have concluded that it was a mistake or it wasn’t worth it.  I could have wasted my opportunity.

If I had, I wouldn’t be writing this blog, loving the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known, and trying to communicate to others that this is how it works.  But it is how it works.  Love is something you make.  You build it by putting yourself aside and giving all you have to the one you’re committed to.

If there was ever love there to start with, it can be rebuilt.  It takes time.  It takes committment.  It takes sacrifice.  But it’s worth it.  It’s always worth it.  It’s so much more than worth it.

  1. Debbie says:

    Proverbs 24
    3 By wisdom a house is built,
    and by understanding it is established;
    4 by knowledge the rooms are filled
    with all precious and pleasant riches.
    5 A wise man is full of strength,
    and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
    6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
    and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

    Fighting for a marriage, with wisdom and understanding, you are living the victory.

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