When my stepdaughter and her fiance asked me to choose a passage to read at their wedding, I was honored. And I thought they were a little crazy for giving me carte blanche (what a trusting pair!). I prayed about what I should read and waited for it to just land in my lap.
As the wedding date approached I admittedly became a bit anxious because I had not found the perfect passage for them. As I listened to an audio book on my daily commute a short passage comparing loving someone to moving into a house struck me as exactly what I should read--until I transcribed it and realized it would not do by itself.
Then a few days later an email landed in my inbox--a post from a blog subscription. As I read that post, which also compared love to moving into a house, I knew that comparison was to be the theme of the reading. So I took both pieces of work created my own version. I've cited both of these gifted authors below and heartily recommend them if you are in the market for a new something to read. I thank them for inspiring me.
It is my hope that I have accomplished two things in the words that follow:
- honored these authors in my use of their ideas, and
- crafted a passage that Chris and Chelsea may read for years to come when they need to be reminded that Love Is Like Moving into a House.
An author I follow recently wrote that when she moved to a large city, she had wanted to live in a loft apartment--a place where everything would be taken care of, instead of a house that demanded time, energy, and yard guys. The idea of taking care of something overwhelmed her, as houses require constant care and upkeep. One broken thing gets fixed and another problem shows up by morning.
She went on to say that we are living in “loft times...an age where we are told regularly that everything worth getting can be gotten quickly….We are hungry for the instant." The 8-week beach body; pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less; the fixer-upper house that goes from ugly to beautiful in 60 minutes (and that’s with commercials). We’re so accustomed to convenience that “the thought of taking care of something - be it a house or a body or a relationship” - is sometimes a hard sell. But one day you find yourself craving something more permanent; something you create with your own hands; something you can feel a part of and call your own.
“Loving someone is like moving into a house. At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that it all belongs to you.” You take care to put a fresh coat of paint on the wall that got bumped. You Swiffer the floors every day and wipe the baseboards each week. You’re privileged to care for such a wonderful place that you think maybe you don’t deserve.
Then you discover “there are ants. [And [you] have a big backyard that constantly needs moral support in the form of a lawn mower and a [weedeater. You learn that] steam from the shower leaves drippy stains on the wall and the best [thing] to get rid of the steam stains is a sketchy bottle of concentrated solution they only sell at the dollar store.”
“The washing machine overflows. Cracks in the ceilings need to be taken care of.” Life gets so busy that the little things are neglected--the faucet handle that keeps falling off; the cabinet door that won’t stay closed; the paint that is peeling because you didn’t have time to clean those steam stains with the sketchy dollar store solution. You start to wonder if you should sell and move to something newer, bigger, better.
Learning to stay in love is “like moving into a house you are forced to take care of for the first time. [Your] house--ugly or beautiful--is your responsibility. And that’s two parts terrifying and one part [exciting]. You [will] learn the good and bad of that house. The fixable and the not-so-fixable. You will learn the [weak spots] and the maintenance required.” And you will “start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather for its imperfections."
"You will get to know all the nooks and crannies--how to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it's cold outside, which of the floorboards flex slightly when you step on them, or exactly how to open the [closet] doors without them creaking. These are the little secrets that make it your home.”
“It’s where you keep your suitcases and [everyday dishes], your love notes and [utility bills]. It’s where you park your car and cry over your losses and rest your weary body at the end of a day. It’s where you clean the dirt of the day off your skin.” It’s the safe place where your children play and grow and you create memories. “It’s where letters and packages show up and where [meals are] cooked and where community happens.” Slowly, but surely, that house and all the work it brings molds you into a better person. It’s where you learn to love.
The best part of all is that “it’s yours.”
Choosing to say “I do” is a lot like moving into a house.