Love Beyond Poetry And Passion

When I was married in my 20s, I knew only of young love — the kind that inspired poetry and passion. But now that love has aged with me and for me in the heart of Edric, I prefer this version of love – one that feels young but old at the same time.

There are moments when Edric looks at me and I know he beholds me as one who is familiar. But then his eyes glint with a curiosity, as though he is meeting a part of me for the first time.

It’s a wonder that he remains committed to discovering that there can be more to me. More to the face he has seen ten thousand times. More to the person he has shared ten thousand conversations with.

I blush under his affectionate scrutiny and blurt out, “Why are you looking at me like that?” He replies, “I’m getting that feeling again.” And he will tell me how much he loves me.

After 13 years of marriage, I am grateful to be loved like this — loved beyond the poetry and passion…where Edric and I can celebrate honesty as two unmasked, unraveled persons. This is intimacy. And intimacy blossoms in the context of permanence and security, where a man is as Christ to his wife and a wife as the church to Christ. The fruit of intimacy is a sacred and profound love where husband and wife choose to need, want, and give to the other through the changing seasons of life’s landscape. Perhaps I can share this better through a story…

When I was a child, my siblings and I made whirlpools in a circular kiddie pool at the clubhouse we frequented as a family. We collaborated to run around the edges as fast as we could, forcing the water to spin in one direction. Then came the most fun part — letting ourselves float along and be dragged by the current.

My life as of late has felt like a spinning whirlpool. Unlike those glorious days of childhood where it was okay to be pulled around and around for the fun of it, whirlpools in adulthood are stressful and maddening. I blame mine on the centrifugal force of busyness.

When Edric and I got back from Brazil, we jumped right back into our activities. Two days after we arrived, still recovering from jetlag, we went on an out of town trip. During the same week we entertained guests and attended social events. I was confronted by all the make-up work my kids and I had to get done for homeschooling. Furthermore, I accepted several commitments and appointments that were crammed into an already packed schedule following our arrival. All of these were good things in and of themselves. But when I saw no hope for a pause, I grew anxious.

There are super women out there who live, breathe, and eat stress. It them stronger. But I don’t have that kind of power. Busyness is my kryptonite. My immunity drops and my emotions go south.

So I lost it…emotionally. Edric had no inkling apart from a few exchanges where I made quips like, “I think we were doing too much again.”

It was 12 AM on Thursday night when Edric turned over to his side to fall asleep after his “good night and I love you, hon.” I lay on my side feeling lost and confused, praying honestly to the Lord about my frustrations. While I wallowed in self-pity, clutching my pillow a little too melodramatically, Edric heard my quiet sobbing and asked if I was alright.

“No. No I’m not. I don’t feel like anyone understands what I’m going through right now.” (Of course these sort of statements are never true.)

“What’s wrong?”

He saw me get out of bed with my disheveled hair, oversized Florida Gators T-shirt, doing like a Frankenstein walk over to my desk in the darkness. I was feeling for my laptop in the darkness having suddenly remembered that I had to send an email to a couple we were counseling.

“What are you doing?” He followed me to my table. “Stop it. You look like a crazy person. I want to show you something.”

He pulled me to himself and walked me over to the large floor to ceiling glass sliding doors that opened up to our balcony. The lights of the city illuminated the quiet night like a canopy of colorful stars. In the distance I could make out the outline of the mountains set against the cloudless expanse of the sky. It was a spectacular view.

“Look at this. Do you remember when I surprised you for Valentines Day and prepared dinner for you on this balcony, when the house wasn’t finished yet? And we looked forward to moving in? Can you believe that we are actually living here now?”

He invited me to sit with him outside so we could talk. I was reluctant to at first but his persistence prevailed. There was no getting away from this. He wasn’t going to leave me alone. We sat out there with the crickets as background music to a monologue of my thoughts. When the mosquitos wouldn’t quit biting Edric’s legs, he decided to be more practical and said we could continue this on our bed.

Edric listened until he could interpret my emotional driveling and concluded, “I think you have been through some major life events as a woman this past year and you have had no time to process all the changes. And you need that. I know you.”

I nodded then sobbed like a little child with my head tucked under my arm. Yes, that was it! What a relief to be psychoanalyzed so correctly.

Then he asked me to come even closer to him so that I was completely in his arms and he whispered, “I will take care of you. I think I haven’t given you enough attention lately. Do you want me to take the afternoon off tomorrow? I can come home early. You know that I like to rescue you…”

I wanted to be taken care of. I wanted to be rescued. At that moment I was the epitome of spiritual and emotional weakness.

The next day, Edric finished off a meeting in the morning and came home to do his work in the dining room. Every time I saw him, I had one of those puerile, giddy, girly smiles. We didn’t have to be joined at the hip that afternoon but knowing that he was around gave me inspiration as I tended to the kids and managed home affairs.

I’m the kind of woman who will climb off the balcony of a three-story home to get to another balcony to find a way into a study room to fix a jammed door. (I had to do that about two months ago and the workers saw me doing my acrobatics from our back yard while my children looked on in terror. “Mom! You might die!” The workers were pointing and making comments like I was insane. I assured them that I knew what I was doing. To my children I said, “You are NOT allowed to do this. EVER.”)

The point is I can take care of myself if I need to. I can deal with my emotions and process them with the Lord so I don’t dump them on Edric every single day. But there are times when I need his perspective, his friendship, his understanding, or a hug and a kiss, and the calm of his voice when he says, “everything is going to be alright.”

God didn’t create women to be helpless creatures who are dependent on men for their survival and happiness. Heck, we bear the physical pain of birthing children on our own. We find fulfillment in the work of our hands, in the pursuit of our God-given talents and abilities, and in the relationships we keep. However, there is something about the strength of a man, the assurance of his presence, and his desire to take the lead and protect that settles us and allays our fears.

Is it just me?

People have criticized me for saying this. But I think they’ve missed the point. I’m not saying that a woman needs a man to feel complete or satisfied with life. At the same time, it would be ignorant for someone to say that a woman NEVER needs a man. (Hello…sperm + egg = person.)

I suspect that most of the women who say this don’t really believe this deep inside. But they have been hurt and disappointed by men. So have I. At some point, we have all been victims or casualties of men’s wrong choices. (As they have been of our own sinful decisions, too.)

To protect myself, I concluded that I would not let myself be vulnerable to a man. I wanted to be in control, independent, and capable of looking out for myself. But then I married a man whom I could trust, who invited me to a relationship with no pretenses. There was no promise that he would never hurt me, but I knew with certainty that he was a man who loved God. So God gave me peace — the peace of knowing that Edric would be the one to keep my heart.

I let myself be honest…honest about needing him. I’ve chosen to need him as he has chosen to need me. We need one another for different reasons, but in this truthful surrender of independence, we found that the journey together was better.

In a recent event for my in-law’s 40th wedding anniversary, they sang an edited version of Adam Sandler’s song, “I Want to Grow Old With You.” Their rendition reminded me that marriage isn’t about growing past each other’s imperfections. Sometimes the areas that we don’t like about our spouse or ourselves still remain. But when we choose to need, want, and give to the one we married as the years go by, God provides the filter of grace. This filter distills the flaws and harsh realities, removing the impurities that would otherwise poison and corrupt our hearts with selfishness, bitterness, fear, pride or regret. And meltdown moments at 12 AM, when held as one’s beloved, wearing an ugly t-shirt and haloed by unkempt hair, bear image to the sweet irony of love. For in loving beyond the poetry and passion we find that we return again to these.

Happy Anniversary, Edric Mendoza! This one was for you.


28 thoughts on “Love Beyond Poetry And Passion

  1. This post brought tears to my eyes. happy anniversary! May you continue to inspire more couples to live happily. 🙂

  2. I’m bitter woman. Haha, I find love stories pathetic and funny because they make me sad, they remind me of the things I never got and will probably never get. But I’ve been reading a lot of your articles, and they are just so touching, so honest, I cannot help but feel inspired, or yeah, maybe even hopeful. I hope we can get in touch. I’ve been a Christian since I was a kid, but I haven’t figured out a wee bit about life yet. I would love to learn more from you. God bless!

    1. Thanks for being honest, Mackie! ha ha ha. 🙂 Email me or Facebook me 🙂 Facebook is probably better. My email gets a lot of spam. :O

  3. This was beautiful.
    What an inspiration to see a marriage, the kind that’s on the other side of the veil, 13 years later. This post was very honoring of your husband and shows how much you cherish him.
    Happy 13th to you and Edric! Never lose the poetry nor the passion.

  4. This is so beautiful message …when i read this i learn things that can help me in my future …thanks sis Joy… God bless you..

  5. I can so totally relate to how you feel. It also actually came to a point where I felt I’m in a perpetual depression. I’ve also gone through major transitions in life the past months–had home waterbirth 4 months ago, having to attend to an infant (a verocious nursling) and a very highly spirited preschooler, no helper to assist, and on top of keeping the house in order and livable, I still had to make sure I submit my articles on time (I’m a work-at-home mom), and many many more. The slightest trigger makes me bawl. And this post gave me happy tears. 🙂 It really is a blessing to have a godly (and sensitive to your emotions) husband whom you can show your vulnerability and not be judged. I guess most wives (especially those who stay fulltime at home) will appreciate it more if husbands would just take time to help process these crazy feels and draw them out from them. It would give them a more objective perspective to things and yes, strengthen the intimacy to higher levels. Thanks for writing out my thoughts (somehow) hehe and Happy Anniversary to you and Edric! Your marriage is a blessing to many. Shalom! 🙂

    1. Thanks Normi. And thanks for opening up to me about what is going on with you. You’re still in the hardest part of post-pregnancy. Four months is still difficult with all the breastfeeding. I totally understand. I felt very tired and depressive with my fifth. Also, congratulations with your water birth!!! I’m impressed! I wasn’t brave enough to do it! ha ha ha. Way to go!!!

  6. I was totally trying to hold my tears because I don’t want to miss out in your story. Your life and your blog has truly made an impact in mine as I practically would want to eat stress to keep me going forth in my career(and be the super woman who I thought I am). It is Him who nudged me and said “my child, you have to slow down.” Having a man after God’s own heart is truly a blessing, and I praise God for the man that I will say “I do” in the months to come. I praise God for you and your family and your work in the Family Ministry. God bless and see you around!

  7. Thank you for sharing this with us! I was so blessed reading through this, I’ve just gotten out of a relationship wherein the after effects of the break-up left me a bit cynical about romantic love and the men left in the world. Your blog has given me the encouragement I need, to wait on the Lord the man He has prepared for me, and at the same time make myself ready for him by focusing my relationship with Jesus <3. So here I am, excited for someone God has not revealed to me yet. Thank you again!


  8. Tears are falling from my eyes as I read this. A few weeks ago, I sort of felt that same way and I couldn’t put it into words! This is it! Your post is so powerfully touching and inspiring. Very honest and beautifully written

  9. Hi Joy! I really thank God for your life. I am really blessed every time I read your blogs. Thank you for generously sharing your thoughts. This in particular made me cry.
    Thank you and God bless you more.

  10. Hi Joy! I thank God for your life and your family as well. You are truly such a blessing. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I’m always blessed every time I read them.

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