For a long time, I thought it was love. It sure looked like it at first. Discovering that I’d been deceived was hard to take and I’m still learning ways in which I was mistreated over the years of this “loving relationship.” Here’s an incomplete, mostly random list of my experiences of what true love is not…
Constantly reminding her that you’re more intelligent because you know more about science and mechanics.
Treating her like a sex object rather than a person with her own desires and drive.
Telling her that she’s wasting her mind because she’s a stay-at-home mother.
Complaining when you take care of your own children for an hour or two.
Avoiding date nights because you’re already married.
Hiding your true opinions about marriage and women’s roles in society behind repeated jokes that weren’t funny the first time around.
Telling her off for making her own decisions about the type of tool she needs to do a household job.
Avoiding yardwork because it takes up too much of your free time, yet expecting her to carry the entire load of household cleaning and yardwork – she doesn’t have a job outside the home, so she must have lots of spare time.
Complaining about the food she cooks as soon as you walk in the door after work.
Finding reasons not to cook for your family when you said you would take a turn in the kitchen.
Refusing to discuss issues on which the two of you don’t agree, while you expect your wishes to be followed without question.
Expecting her to attend all family gatherings on your side and tend to the children at said gatherings but making numerous excuses for not spending time with her family.
Expecting to be her only best friend for her entire life and telling her you’re jealous when she stays in touch with her female friends.
Bad-mouthing or mocking her family members.
Telling her that her sister must have been responsible for two failed marriages.
Persuading her to have a third child before she gets too old for pregnancy, then telling her later that it was her idea.
Telling her that babies aren’t interesting because they don’t do anything.
Trying to persuade her that pornography is a normal part of every male’s life.
Telling her she talks too much around your parents.
Refusing to play board games with her because she wins too often for your tastes.
Refusing to go to a barber because your mother always cut your hair for you, so it must now be the wife’s duty by default.
Mocking her favourite movies as you watch them together so that she begins to choose your favourites more often than anything else.
Being so choosy about TV shows and movies that it’s hard to tell what you actually enjoy.
Finding fault with birthday and Christmas gifts she and the children pick for you, so that you end up with a pile of unopened or rarely used items while she begins to hate shopping for you.
Buying gifts for her that are less and less applicable to her tastes but refusing to select gift cards instead.
Expecting a spotless house when your parents visit even though you won’t lift a finger to achieve that result.
Ignoring her or glaring at her when you don’t feel like listening to her thoughts.
Spying on her Internet discussions with friends, then telling her you had to do it because she doesn’t open up to you.
Introducing the topic of a family budget and expecting her to fill it out, then refusing to curb your personal spending because you earn the most.
Complaining at tax time that having a third child didn’t help your tax situation (which is looking pretty good when you get a refund every year).
Showing jealousy when she kisses the baby.
Repeatedly joking about a rule for the children to have a bowel movement only when their mother is present, so you never have a change a messy diaper yourself, along with complaints when the children didn’t “follow the rule.”
Never changing any diapers when your wife is home to do it herself yet complaining about the smell of a wet or soiled diaper when you’re near your children.
Doing laundry yourself about ten times in fourteen years. (This is not a woman’s job, for the record. It’s a person‘s job when clean clothes are needed.)
Blaming your failure to follow a weight-loss program on your wife by telling her it’s too hard to track your food intake because she cooks for you – yet never offering to cook for yourself.
Treating your wife like dirt for an entire month, then complaining at the end of it that she’s been rude to you that week and you don’t feel like coming home from your night out with gaming buddies.
Spending six hours or more out of the house for your weekly night out, but expecting her to be home after 90 minutes of Bible study (which runs only three months out of the year).
Always planning your family gatherings and the children’s birthday parties on Sundays so that church attendance is irregular, even though faith has been an important part of your wife’s life since she was a child.
So what is true love? It’s been there all along, mourning with me through every hurt and rejection while guiding me toward the truth. When I was ready to face that truth, True Love was there as I grieved the loss of a false and toxic relationship, then prepared to leave it. And as I deal with the aftermath, Love is surrounding me and encouraging me to keep my heart open to the possibilities that lie ahead. God never left me and He is True Love, always faithful.