My beautiful wife, Karla, and I met in a small town in Colorado nestled between the majesty of the Collegiate Peaks and the serenity of the Arkansas River. The circumstances of our lives at the time of our meeting should have kept us from falling in love, but love knows not the self-created boundaries we surround our hearts with. Praise God for that!
While our meeting was not love at first sight for either of us, it began the knitting together of two lives that would eventually become one. I lived in Wisconsin. Karla lived in Texas. We began slowly with phone calls and, of all things in this technological age, hand-written letters. The letters we wrote to one another expressed our hopes, fears, dreams, and growing love for each other. One of the decisions we made during that season of our lives that I'm most thankful for is that we kept the letters. Stored in a portfolio and arranged chronologically, we have these letters available to read even after thirteen years of marriage.
I love Karla. I know and trust she loves me. We love each other dearly. Yet, once we were married, the letters and poems slowed to a trickle and eventually stopped, much like a river during a season of drought. This confuses me. The source and strength of our love for one another never wavered or lessened. If that's true, and we know in the depth of our heart it is, why have the letters and poems ceased to be written?
I fear that the answer is frightfully simple. After observing my own relationship with Karla and having the privilege of walking alongside couples both as they prepare for marriage and seek to enrich their already existing marriages, I've concluded that our expressions of love for one another decrease simply because we take love for granted. We assume that the other knows our love for them and, as a result, we don't recognize the lack of attentiveness we give to expressing that love. The attentiveness present early in the relationship gets replaced by assumption later in the relationship and emotional drought becomes a real possibility.
I miss the letters and the poems. I miss the joy that accompanied the process of putting pen to paper and expressing how much Karla means to me. They tell our story and our story is far from over. If it is to be told, we are the ones to tell it and we are the ones who most need to hear it. Perhaps this is true for you as well.