This might sound completely off the wall and ridiculous, and I'm going to share it with all of you anyway.
I'm playing a video game called Dragon Age: Origins. In the game, you meet different characters as you go and you can develop relationships with them, speaking to them about their experiences and learning about who they are. The character development is my favorite part of the game.
Romantic relationships are also an option in this game, leading up to a cheesy/lovely sexual cut scene that doesn't show nudity, but implies plenty of... er... enjoyment. <Ahem.> The point is, when I developed my character's relationship with a character in the game to this point, I was very surprised at how much this "development" affected me.
It wasn't just the cut scene being sexy. It was the (fantasy) relationship itself. I was all smiles and giggles and it made me feel happy. I realized how strange this was (so did Donald) and I wanted to understand why I reacted this way to a fantasy relationship in a video game.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what made me feel happy was the sense of being loved. I thought about my relationship with Donald and why I haven't reacted in the same way to my relationship with him, recently at least. It slowly dawned on me that I have not been present enough in my relationship with Donald to see all of the things that show me that he loves me. I believe that he loves me, yet I have not opened myself up fully enough to truly see it, to truly feel it.
In my dating life, I was always looking for "the one". I tried to make each and every guy I dated a possible match. I did everything I could to tweak my own behavior and preferences to be desirable to them (within boundaries). Most of the time, my interest in forever scared them off (I can't imagine why!), so I think I learned to protect myself from rejection. I think this backfired, however, and meant that when I did find real and true love in Donald, I wasn't able to open up completely to this reality.
Donald has been so patient. I cannot count the number of times that I have asked him to show more affection, to touch me more, to connect with me more. And all the time, now clear looking back, he was doing these things. Somehow I did not register them. My protectiveness blinded me to many things he does to show how much he loves me.
I'm still trying to understand this in myself. I'm somewhat embarassed that I have spent the first five years of our marriage in a state that didn't allow me to experience the full happiness of being loved by my husband. I'm working hard to pull down the protective wall and to truly see my husband and his feelings for me.
At this point, I think it is mostly about being present and aware. I will appreciate Donald more and tell him that I do. I will thank him and be grateful. It's about slowing down. It's about making eye contact. It's about opening my heart to something I have always wanted.