Tag Archives: Love

I Regret Saying “I Love You”

Dave and I started off wobbly. That’s the best word for it. When I saw Dave, it was literally love at first sight. But Dave saw me as a friend. I broke up with a nice guy, because I was so in love with Dave. Dave went on living his life as normal, but added in my friendship. 

It was awkward. I know I came off as desperate. I was fearful that the person I wanted to marry would never want to marry me. 

After months of being friends, I decided to tell him that I wanted more. I had finished some book about being brave and not operating out of fear and who knows what else it said. So I told him I wanted to be more than friends. I told him I was interested in dating him. I will never forget the look on his face. It was a mixture of confusion and I-knew-this-was-coming and “Oh shit.” 

He was not in the same place. I thought I had been brave, but I had actually been cowardly in trying to make something work. 

So we stayed friends and it was everything I had feared. And I felt like a rejected loser. 

Later, Dave decided he did want to date me. Asked me out in a beautifully romantic way. A boy at my window at 2am. Asking through the screen, to a chorus of cicadas and crickets, if I would date him. I found flowers and music in my car the next day. 

But I was terrified he would change his mind. I had a difficult time enjoying those early days of finally being what he wanted. I figured he would snap out of it. Remember he didn’t want a relationship. Go back to his dreams of traveling the world, becoming an academic, sitting next to a fireplace, surrounded by books. A lifelong bachelor. 

But our first kiss told me he wasn’t playing around. When we had been friends, he mentioned in passing that he wouldn’t kiss a woman again if he didn’t know that he loved her and wanted to marry her. So our first kiss was more than lips touching. It was a proclamation. 

And it should’ve been enough. But my love language is Words of Affirmation. I was eagerly anticipating those three little words. And they were never said. Days turned into weeks. I started to get nervous. 

Certain friends didn’t help. Many of them weren’t mature when it came to relationships, and they planted seeds of doubt that I watered with my own insecurities. They said he was going to change his mind. He wasn’t committed. I was more invested than he was. 

None of it was true. Dave’s actions were the opposite of all those things. We didn’t kiss very often, but our kisses were indescribable. He planned thoughtful dates, with all the details screaming “I love you!” 

It wasn’t enough, and I ended up doing something I regretted from the moment it happened. And I couldn’t take it back. People I shouldn’t have been listening to told me he didn’t love me. So I planned a special date to get an “I love you” out of him. It was desperation. And it didn’t end up working. The setting, the mood, none of it. I sat there waiting for him to declare his love, and he couldn’t stop talking about the stars. So, I forced the moment.

“I love you.” I don’t know what I was expecting. But his eyes were sad. I had fabricated all of it. I meant what I said, but the timing was wrong. Everything was wrong. I had only done it out of fear. After several seconds, he said, “I love you, too.” And I could tell it wasn’t how it was supposed to play out. I had stolen something from him. 

I don’t know how long it would’ve taken him to initiate it. I regret that I basically butchered a milestone. All because I bought into a lie that his lack of words meant a lack of love. 

Dave doesn’t always say the words, but he always shows it. Always. His love language is Acts of Service. He can go three days without initiating an “I love you,” but he’s never gone even one day without showing me. 

I was too immature then to see it. I got caught up in needing to hear the words. I cringe when I think about how infantile I was about all of it. 

Dave says “I love you” when it matters. And he always says it back to me, even though I throw it around several times a day. He’ll be going to the grocery store, and I’ll say, “I love you! Be careful!” He will always respond, “I love you, too. I will.” He never withholds reciprocating the words. He just doesn’t usually offer them first. But, sometimes, when I’m leaving, he says, “I love you.” Or he says it completely out of the blue. And 33-year-old Lyndse knows whether he says it or not, that he does. He loves me. 

The week of Valentine’s Day 2009, we found out we were pregnant. Our first child. We were elated. One of the best days of our lives. He took me in his arms, kissed me, captured my gaze in his, and said, “I love you so much.” And it was perfection. 


Yeah I Saw Sparks

It’s so cliche, but I fell in love with Dave’s eyes the first moment I saw them. He walked into an ice cream shop and I turned to my best friend and whispered, “He is so sexy. I see Jesus in his eyes.” Then Dave sat down across from us. I blushed. We talked for almost 5 hours.

And that night, I told my mom I wanted to marry him.

A few years later, we were Mr & Mrs David Ballew. Alex, who had introduced us, was our best man. My sister was my maid of honor. Dave and I danced to a Coldplay song with twinkle lights all around the room. And he touched my leg for the first time when he removed my garter. His eyes were twinkling brighter than those lights, and I couldn’t stop looking into them.

And I haven’t ever stopped.

I promise I get that same feeling in the pit of my stomach when he looks at me. While he’s making dinner. Or making a bottle. Or making a Lego helicopter. His eyes have seen grief and joy and test results and I still get lost in them. They are my safe place. But also where I find so much excitement in myself.

It sometimes takes my breath away for a moment when I think back on that day. When I least expected to meet the person I would never want to be away from. And I didn’t want to leave him. Then, I got into Alex’s car and remembered I was dating someone. A really nice guy from my university. So sweet. And a great friend.

Dave just wanted to be friends, but there was no way I could continue dating someone else. I broke up with a perfectly wonderful guy, for one who wasn’t that interested in me. “I met someone else. He doesn’t actually want to date me, but I can’t date you when I’m in love with him. That seems like a horrible thing to do.”

My mom had always teased that ‘you never know when you’ll meet your husband’…which was her line every time I tried to run an errand in baggy yoga pants. But she was right, as most moms are. I didn’t wake up that June Wednesday thinking I would meet my future lover. Over strawberry ice cream.

And I didn’t think I would love him before he loved me. It just happened that way. And I waited and waited for him to either fall in love with me or just fall in love with someone else. Even though the thought of him marrying anyone other than me caused tears so many nights.

There are times when I forget that I’m a mom with three kids and a mortgage and junk mail to sift through everyday. And I just think back to our first kiss.

I don’t share the details very often, because it’s one of the most intimate and gorgeous nights of my life. Months before, he had already told me he wouldn’t kiss me until he knew he wanted to marry me. So when his voice said, “May I kiss you?” his eyes said, “I want to marry you someday.”

This month is the anniversary of our first date. And the anniversary of when he asked me to be his bride. One year apart. We went through four seasons together before he was in front of me with that ring box. And that’s another story I don’t share very often, but I just might if pressed.


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She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

She grabbed my face and held it with her tiny little hands.

“Yes, Adelaide. I am Mama!”
“You love Mama?”


Hahahahahaha! Yes, you do love to eat.


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Every single night, I say “Adelaide, I love you!”

And every single night, Adelaide just looks away.

But tonight. Tonight was different.

“Adelaide, I love you!”

“I luh you, too!”

And then my mommy heart melted into a puddle.


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I Don’t Know What Real Love Is

“You don’t know what real love is.”

She spouted it off like she actually knew me. All she knew about me was that I knew a mother {or a mother figure}. And that I had actually waited until Mother’s Day to pick up cards.

Just minutes before, I had coughed. That didn’t work. So, I used the most polite “Excuse me.” I could muster. But those teens making out in front of me wouldn’t budge. In the Mother’s Day card aisle of all places. It was an act of defiance and attention-seeking, and if we are all honest, possibly a cry for help.

But I couldn’t contain a chortle. That was my response. I should have been indignant. Maybe given her a speech about having self-respect. Or dumped some cold water on him. But I just laughed. It’s the same laugh I give Graham when he has a complete breakdown and threatens to build a spaceship out of K’Nex and leave me. It’s the maternal oh-honey-you-really-do-not-have-a-clue laugh. It escaped my lips before I could stop it.

I don’t know what real love is.

I think real love is…

buying a new toilet that sits up a bit higher because you vomit every 45 minutes throughout your pregnancies.

holding your hand as you hear the words hypotonia, neurosurgery, mega cisterna magna, polymicrogyria, missing brain matter, wheelchair, nonverbal. “We don’t know what your daughter will ever be able to do.”

scrubbing floors on his hands and knees because it is your least favorite chore.

postponing some of his dreams while your children need health insurance.

buying you jeans that somehow make all that extra skin from carrying three blessings a little less obvious. While he wears the same ones day after day.

married sex. Eight years of it. And it makes the R-rated movie you are about to sneak into look like a Junior High production of Romeo and Juliet. If practice makes perfect, then we are a few thousand times closer to whatever is the opposite of being pawed by a man-child in a superstore.

cooking, dishes, laundry, yardwork. Teamwork. He is never afraid to work. And the work never ends.

dropping out of school to help his mom finish college after his dad died. They say you can tell by the way he treats his mom.

going to the grocery store and buying the items you wouldn’t buy for yourself. Real maple syrup.

diapers. Washing, folding, stuffing, changing, washing, over and over again.

rubbing your back in the middle of the night while a baby goes through a growth spurt. 40 times nursing in 36 hours.

brushing their teeth and washing their hair and reading them stories and tucking them in.

knowing where every penny goes and budgeting together. No secrets.

believing you. Every word. Even things that seem to be unbelievable. Things that are unspeakable. But you can speak them to him.

saving up for months to take you on a month-long honeymoon.

hours of physical and occupational and speech therapy at home. Stolen moments and teachable lessons he passes on to your little one.

reading to you while you drive, because you get motion sickness. And using great voices. Because he is committed to the story.

holding a screaming refluxing mess while you take a shower.

sleeping on the nursery floor her first night out of your room.

coffee. Countless cups of coffee he has brewed and poured just for you.

listening and having the perfect Scripture when you feel like everything in your short life of three decades is starting to fall apart and you have no idea how God is going to hold it all together or why He is allowing it to fall in the first place.


But, you are right. I don’t know what real love is. Maybe I should trade him in for your version of real love. A teeny-bopper 50 Shades of Whatever sad type of lust.

No, I will stick with mine. Glued together and fitting perfectly.

But I have learned a lesson today. I have a lot to teach my daughters. Because they are worth more than an awkward make-out session in Aisle 3. And you, sweet girl, are worth more than you know. I pray that your mother or grandmother or aunt or neighbor can convince you of this. A God of real love created you. And loves you so very much.

love emily burgerImage Credit

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