This year, on New Year’s Day, as I was putting away the Christmas stuff, I was feeling a little sorry for myself. Hubby was being particularly challenging. He was not treating me well enough. He had not been saying the right things about me in public. He had not been romantic enough, he just did care enough about what I go through on those days when he takes our only car and spends 12 hours at his second job. My mind was guiltily full of his shortcomings, and to beat it all, when all the ornaments were put away, I realized that unless I did Hubby’s part of the undecorating (is that a word?), our 7 and 1/2 foot, 3 piece, artificial Christmas tree was going to lay in a heap on the living room floor until who knows when, because Hubby was off working one of those 12 hour days and putting it away was his job.
Despite my self pity I decided to do Hubby a favor and put away the tree for him, and as I did so, I told myself that he would really love me for it. And then, though it was not yet Epiphany, I had an epiphany. Did I really believe that Hubby’s love for me was so shallow that he would love me more for putting a Christmas tree in a box? Was my love for him really altered by those little things that I had allowed to eat at me all day? Was I just a big fake with my talk of loving people unconditionally? Did I love my husband unconditionally or not? Did I love my children unconditionally or not? On that day, these seemed like deeply challenging questions.
What is the moral of this story? I decided, for that day, to accept my husband as he is. I decided, for that day, to acknowledge that he would not love me more for putting away a Christmas tree, and I would not love him less for perceived misdeeds towards me. I decided that I would offer him unconditional love until I forgot to do so, and had to be reminded again. I decided that this is one area of my life where I don’t really want to be common.