There’s this thing going around on Facebook called the “7-day love your spouse challenge” where, for seven days, people post pictures of themselves with their spouses along with loving commentary to help spread support for love and marriage as a whole. To keep the meme going and the love spreading, people tag friends as an invitation into the challenge.
I have been tagged several times but haven’t participated because, while I adore the idea of spreading the message of love, I’m questioning what message I’m really sending if I post my pictures. Frankly, love is hard and mine doesn’t look like those lovey pictures I see coming across my feed.
I’ll give you an example. Hubz and I are celebrating our 12-year wedding anniversary this weekend, and we’ve been together for almost 15 years. For the last 15 years I have totally judged and even at times criticized Hubz for not being a very “deep” person. One of his greatest loves in life is old school gangsta rap followed closely by old school country songs. I’m talking N.W.A to Kieth Whitley; the more gangsta and more tragic the song the better. If I had a nickle for every time I rolled my eyes, “tsk”ed my tongue, and made a snarky comment about his music I’d be a bazillionaire in Tahiti right now. Never mind the fact that not only does Hubz listen to the songs of these artists, he knows everything there is to know about the artists themselves. He knows their stories inside and out.
Last weekend I suggested we watch the movie Straight Outta Compton, which was really weird given my absolute distaste and foul attitude for gangsta rap music and lifestyle. But Hubz has wanted to see that movie since it came out, and God had something to show me about my heart.
I’ve been a judgmental ass. I’ve always viewed the “gangsta style” (life, music, culture, etc.) as boobs, booze, and violence. What Straight Outta Compton showed me was the deeper stories of struggle, danger, humiliation, racism, and cultural dissonance between blacks, whites and cops suffered by the black community. I was so fascinated by what I learned in the film that I watched every second of extras–interviews with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and the rest of N.W.A; behind the scenes footage and interviews with the director and movie crew; deleted scenes that never made the movie–all of it. I soaked in every ounce of perspective that film offered.
Then I looked over at my husband and realized what a jerk I’d been to him for the last 15 years. I associated his love for gangsta rap with boobs, booze, and violence and cut his character off at the surface. However, it’s the cultural and personal reality the music speaks of that touches my husband–something I never even bothered to hear let alone understand. It’s more than the beat and tune of the music that draws Hubz to these lyrics and artists; it’s the stories of struggles and triumphs and perspectives that move him. He values story.
And because I was so blinded by my haughty short-sightedness, I completely missed that Hubz and I have something very special and deep in common–the understanding of the importance of personal stories and the effect they have on us as individuals and as a culture. That’s why he spends so much time learning about the artists themselves–it makes the music that much more meaningful and inspiring for him.
Love is admitting that I’ve been judgmental and unfair, confessing and apologizing to my husband’s face, and seeing/adoring my spouse in a completely new light. But on Facebook all you’ll see is this:
True love cannot be captured in a snapshot because it’s a bigger picture made up of many moments of humility. Gangsta rap revealed a shortcoming in my own heart and a depth to my husband’s heart neither of which I knew existed. And in that humility of growth, love rooted deeper between us both. How do you post that on Facebook?