Sunday, January 6, 2013

Being a Superhero Spouse

Extraordinary Love is my New Years resolution and this weekend Gandalf, the wizard in Tolkien's The Hobbit, has given me a superhero's charge:

"Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love." -Gandalf, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

What I love about this quote is that it reminds that I don't have to wait until I have become someone great like Oprah to be a positively impact my husband and our relationship.

And, I don't have to shower my husband with lavish gifts, such as cars or all-expense-paid trips around the world either.

I can just be who I am --a wife, a sister, a friend-- because the only super power I need is love.

In the movie and the book, lowly hobbit Bilbo Baggins became a hero when he jumped in to defend Thorin Oakenshield, a critic of his who needed help.

Biblo isn't a valiant warrior with keen sword skills. He is quite the opposite: he is a short hobbit who never even touched a sword before joining Thorin's company. He was a world-class whimp who valued above all else the creature comforts of a warm, cozy house and a good meal. (Writing this description, I am starting to think that I may also be a hobbit!)

Additionally Bilbo didn't do much. He picked a fight with one person, a grunt in comparison to Thorin's true enemy the Pale Orc.

What was extraordinary was that Bilbo lovingly and selflessly gave of himself during another's time of need. He put his own life on the line to act when action was necessary.

Nearly six months into my marriage, I'm learning that love is more than feeling that feeling. It is about choosing: Choosing patience when nerves are wearing thin, choosing kindness rather than that biting word that could win the argument but lose the war. And, it is about acting: actively bearing the hardships and stresses plaguing your spouse, believing good things about my husband even though I could recite a laundry list of flaws a will, and enduring rough patchs.

The unsexy side of marriage to say the least. Yet these actions and more are the very definition of love.

A lot of the things mentioned can be accomplished through seemingly small deeds such as trying things my husband's way for a change, turning off the TV and giving David a backrub when he's had a sucky day and refusing to fixate on arguments lost, feelings hurt, and chores undone. (Usually the dishes.)

Yet it's unsexy because I'm giving giving up time I could have used to watch my favorite television shows, or backing down on my position. But it's just these small selfless actions that keeps us going from one month to the next, together joyful and happy.

The good news is I'm not the only one doing small deeds. I've noticed that more dishes are being washed (without me asking), more conversations are being had and more time is being spent together.

Together we are being superhero spouses, doing small yet significant acts of kindness and love.

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