How loving someone is like moving into a house

When I married Hubby, we didn’t know each other very well. We met one weekend, wrote for nearly a year—continents apart—and then on our first date, he proposed.

After that first date, I re-boarded a plane, and we planned a wedding long distance. Which meant all our dating and getting to know one another took place after we were husband and wife.


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Photo credit: Simply Kristina Lee Photography


After we had been married several years, Hubby and I were trained to conduct pre-marital counseling as lay counselors at our church. One of the important points we made to these starry-eyed, young engaged couples was how important it is to really know the person you marry. You need to know their spending habits, how they manage anger, what their expectations are for marriage: “I expect to have a dozen kids,” or “I expect to spend all holidays with my family.” You need to know these things before you get married, we’d say.

Conveniently, I think Hubby and I might have forgotten to mention to these young couples our own story. Do as we say, not as we did.

Through the years, I grew to love Gary more because he was that kind of guy. He was thoughtful and kind, always considering me and the kids first. He was responsible—someone had to be—and fun to do life with.

This is not to say he wasn’t exasperating, or I didn’t ever frustrate him, or we never exchanged cross words. He was. I did. We might have exchanged a few.

Earlier in our marriage, I tried to talk him into buying a barn that we could convert into a home. He didn’t go for it. For years afterward, every time we passed an old tumble-down barn, he’d point it out: “Look, hon. There’s a barn for you.” You see? Exasperating.

I, on the other hand, would only let him fast-forward through three songs if we were watching a musical (think Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in Funny Face) when he would have preferred to fast-forward through all singing and dancing. Frustrating to him.

And then cancer came knocking. And we embarked on what would be the best ten years of our marriage as we took more road trips, created more adventures and made some terrific memories.

During the last nine months of his life—when Hubby was slowing down and needed more care—I fell even deeper into love with him. I can’t explain it other than I saw things more clearly as death approached and my heart expanded with larger love and gratitude for him, and for all the people who loved us, and for God who carried us in peace through the scary stuff.

Even though I didn’t know what I was getting into when I married Hubby as a nineteen-year-old, I got the better end of the deal. And that’s not a falsely-modest comment. It’s truth.

One of author Fredrik Backman’s characters provides an interesting word picture of how loving someone is like moving into a house:

At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you … Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather for its imperfections. … These are the little secrets that make it your home.

That was Hubby and me.

But here’s the bad thing about having such a good thing. It’s hard to imagine I could ever remarry. I would never want to remarry merely for financial security, or because there would actually be someone to accompany me on Friday date nights (vs. doing them alone).

If I should remarry, I would want it to be like moving into a house. I would want to be amazed at this beautiful structure that was mine. And as time passed, I would want to grow more in love with this house with all its imperfections and secrets that would make it uniquely ours.

Do you have a really good thing going? Do you sometimes take that person or family or lifestyle for granted? Or have you lost a really good thing and aren’t sure it can ever be replaced?

We all might want to re-think our views on love and houses and expressing appreciation. And second chances.

P.S. If you found this post thought-provoking or helpful, please share, tweet or pin!


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  1. Joan Mimiaga

    Thanks for being so real, Marlys, this was interesting.

  2. Dustin

    Thanks Marlys, I think this is good.

  3. Kris

    Love this Auntie and I Love you????❤️

  4. Liz

    Thank you for sharing your stories! They warm my heart!

  5. Tami Brigham

    Maryls, What a beautiful story of how you and your hubby met and how your love grew over time for eachother. I ♡ your thoughts on love and houses. I enjoy everything you write. Your writing has a calmness and peace to it. Thank you!

  6. Garrett Fugitt

    Marlys, what a gift you have! The greatest thing is that you share it so willingly and openly with everyone. I am certain your words have provided comfort, encouragement, and insight to so many others that are hurting and feeling lost. Thank you and God bless you.

  7. Great article! I’m interested in learning how to help people in my town receiving cancer treatment or who have family members going through it.

    • Thanks for your comment, Morris! You might want to try contacting your local cancer center asking about volunteer opportunities. I worked at a cancer center and we had same very valuable volunteers – volunteering at events, driving patients to treatment, assisting with the grocery assistance program, helping at the survivor and family camp, interacting with patients in the chemo lounge. Good for you for wanting to get involved!

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