what love looks like.

i’ve always been a hopeless romantic. i’ve exhausted all the movies in the romance section of netflix and will never turn down the opportunity to hear a good love story. everyone has their wants. some people want fame, some people want wealth, some people want kids, my biggest want was always to fall in love. the kind of love I saw in movies and read about in books. i wasn’t naïve to think the perfect coincidences and fate driven moments that were designed in these films and stories were realistic, but i couldn’t help but hope that it could happen. as i saw more of my friends getting married, getting into relationships with real potential, i couldn’t help but wonder when it would happen for me. i felt like i was a good enough person, but i always ended up with guys i was not compatible with or guys who were just bad news. i would joke with friends that i was gonna be single forever, but sometimes i was actually scared that would be the case. so i went to the one person who always gives me the best insight, the best advice..my mama.

my parents couldn’t be more different. my dad is the stoic, quiet, introverted type who feels awkward showing any kind of affection. my mom is the complete opposite: she’s talkative, always warm, welcoming, incredibly loving. they’ve been married for twenty seven years and very much still in love. i asked my mom, “umma, how did you and dad work? you are so incredibly different from each other. divorce is so common these days. falling out of love is so easy. how did you stay in love this long?” i asked her kind of jokingly, so the response was unexpected, but it will resonate with me forever.

she said the following (translated from korean): first of all, your dad would move heaven and earth for our family. he may not always show you the affection that you wanted, but he has done more than you will ever understand. where many people need an abundance of money, friends, status, etc., your dad just needed and wanted us. your dad is also a faithful man. he has been faithful to me, to our family, but most importantly to the Lord. your dad is different from me in our personalities, but where i am weak, he is able to be strong, and in times where he falters, i am able to support him. it’s about finding that balance, not about finding who you think is the “perfect guy”. there is no perfect guy, debbie, and if you want someone great, you need to be great. if you’re not in a place in your life where you can give as much as you desire, don’t expect someone to meet your expectations. as you strive to be your best, there will be someone who is right for you. someone whose values align with yours and who loves the Lord like you love the Lord. your dad and i haven’t been married and happy this long because we have that butterfly love we had when we first met. no, that goes away fairly quickly. but i wake up every morning and i choose your dad every day. i choose to love him, i choose to do this life with him, i choose to struggle with him. sometimes it’s really hard to choose him. sometimes i wonder why i chose him, but in the end i know i made the right decision and he feels the same. i know he is my person for all the things that are not just feelings. so every day moving forward, despite how hard it gets, despite how selfish i want to be, i’ll continue to choose him and build our life together. debbieyah, you start to understand that a relationship, marriage, is not about you or for you – it’s about the us and growing together in Christ. i want a man for you who will put God and his family first. i want you to want that for yourself too.

that…that is it right there. my parents dated for three months before getting married, which proves to me that the timeline i always pictured in my head is irrelevant and unnecessary. God’s timing is perfect and He always has a plan, so i’m no longer worried. i have faith that that as i live my life striving to be the best person i can be, walking faithfully, everything else will fall into place.

it’s true, mama knows best.

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