Women are sensitive creatures. We may go through a lot of life experiences that cause us to become 'turtle like'. Ya know, hard on the outside and soft on the inside. With that said, men are very much the same, but they tend to be 'turtle like' from the get go. It's almost engrained in them from the time they are born. They aren't supposed to reveal their hurts or wear their feelings on their sleeves.
When we choose to love someone, we have to take the good with the bad. This includes all of the baggage from past experiences and our turtle like appearance. If our love is based solely on appearance, and our appearances change, sometimes for the bad, then the relationship could end quickly. If it's not, then you'll love each other no matter the shape or size your significant other may become. No matter the appearance, love needs to be shown and felt by both sides.
A life long commitment to love one another is hard work. Very hard. If it were easy, the divorce rate wouldn't be sitting somewhere at or near 50% here in the United States. We also live in a 'disposable' society. If we don't like something, we get rid of it. Old? Pitch it. Wrong color? Chuck it *or if it's me and I have a receipt, exchange it!* Do you see where I'm going with this? If the relationship has become too hard, be done with it. Walk away.
There are bound to be ups and downs. And when I say downs, I'm talking digging around in the trenches, feeling like there is no way to come up for air, and possibly losing all sense of time. You may end up hurting each other. Even when there are apologies, the hurts may linger. And linger. And linger. But, if you truly love each other and you are truly sorry, then there is a smidge of hope that life is worth living...together. Am I saying that there are some hurts that aren't beyond the limits of a relationship? That the hurt/trust that has been broken is impossible to get past? Sometimes. But again, I believe in love. The kind that can see past them. The unconditional kind. The kind that loves you no matter what you look like...size 26 *yep, I was there once*...wild hair from getting up out of bed...sweatpants, t-shirt. You get the picture.
And as our relationships change, and they will, love grows and changes too. Add in babies and housework, yard work, running kids here and there...oh the list could be endless. You still love each other for who they are, not for what they did or did not accomplish that day. I can tell you that there are days when my hubby comes home from work and making sure that our girls didn't
Love also doesn't look at how we did a particular 'job' around the house. *I had to learn this SO early in our marriage. I didn't realize how anal retentive I was about some things, like how I did laundry, loaded the dishwasher or doing the dishes, or how some things were cleaned...* If my hubby does a job around the house, even if it's not the way I would have done it *and I still grumble about it in my head*, I am grateful that he did it. One less thing I have to do!
All of this to say...love is work. It can hurt, but it is also amazing. It brings endless joy, laughter, and encouragement. Love is for making each other better people. Someone once said that people are given to us to act like sandpaper in our lives.
Love is the sandpaper that refines us into who we truly are, beneath that hard turtle shell.