Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love is Not All

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink

Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain; 
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink 
And rise and sink and rise and sink again; 
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, 
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; 
Yet many a man is making friends with death 
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone. 
It well may be that in a difficult hour, 
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release, 
Or nagged by want past resolution's power, 
I might be driven to sell your love for peace, 
Or trade the memory of this night for food. 
It well may be. I do not think I would. 

Love is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Milay

When Amy and I were married (10 years ago last week!) we didn't have a traditional wedding reception with a line and nuts in a paper cup and cubes of cheese on toothpicks and 500 people from our ward and our parents work. We got married in the morning and then had a nice lunch in the afternoon with about 100 people. Really just our closest family and friends. We wanted it to be fun and we wanted to have good food and we didn't want it to be exhausting for us or for our guests. And it was, by my recollections, super fun and awesome. 

One of the things I loved was that we had friends do toasts - you know, not with alcohol because we're Mormon, y'all. But they would give some sort of tribute, or sing a song or whatever. Our good friend Topher (yes, THAT Topher!) read that poem above, Love is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Milay. Most people wouldn't think this appropriate wedding fare, what with its talk of blood and thickened lung and fractured bones. But I adore it.

To me, what it is saying is that your grand romantic gestures are all well and good but love, true love, isn't only about that. It's about the day to day. Living your life, raising your kids, emptying the dishwasher so your spouse doesn't have to. And even though on its own love can't fix everything - marriage takes work and dedication and compromise - it is because of love that you do it all.

For our 10th wedding anniversary last week Amy and I left the kids with the in-laws and went to stay overnight downtown. There were no roses or candles or harps on the agenda. We had dinner at Malawi Pizza (they don't even have waiters), went to a movie and went shopping. And for us, that is a dream day. Sure, it may not seem that romantic. But for us to be away from the kids and remember that we are human beings (not just the robots that keep reminding the 8 year old to do his homework again and again) and laugh and talk and hold hands without our 7 year old getting grossed out by our PDA was delightful and romantic in its own way.

I want to make sure that Amy, who is my best friend, remains my best friend for the next 70 years. Because while our lives now are busy and full of school projects and doctors appointments and dance classes, there will come a day in the not too distant future where the kids grow up and move away and it's just the two of us. And when that flood of day to day activities and schedules and pick up times has slowed to a trickle, I know that I will still have my best friend to spend the rest of my life with and that she still will be the person that I want to laugh with and talk to and hold hands with. And we will probably spend our time going to movies, and eating and shopping. And that is my definition of true love.  

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