He Didn't Have To Love Her

He Didn't Have To Love Her

I can't blame him for loving her, she steals every heart she meets
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When I was 14 I met what would have been my first serious boyfriend. Things were always rocky, I attributed it to our ages and the fact that neither of us had any idea what we were doing — no matter how much we tried to convince the world we did. We were reckless and careless and low and behold I got pregnant with what is now the greatest blessing that has ever walked the face of the earth.

Our young love couldn't weather the storm. I outgrew him and the dynamic we had. Things grew uglier by the minute and I, who was the rock for us all, finally crumbled. I decided that I would officially become a single parent. It was the most terrifying decision I have ever made. I worried for my daughter; I worried about the possibility that later in life she may feel resentment because I was the one who destroyed her single family unit. I worried that I'd never find a partner who would accept me — my body that had been changed and worn to give life, the marks and the proof that I couldn't hide that I was a mother. I gave life to a new being, but I worried that I would be criticized because that life would not have come from my new partner. I worried that I couldn't find someone who accepts that they come a little further from first on my list of priorities, that I couldn't leave on a whim or take trips alone without extensive planning. I worried that no one could love my baby girl like I do.

But then he did.

He didn't have to. This man did not have to appear and carry this immense weight. He didn't have to love her. Hell, he didn't have to love me. He didn't have to understand, he didn't have to take the time to learn about how I discipline my child. He didn't have to take on the responsibility of becoming a role model to a tiny being without the nine months of pregnancy to prepare himself. He didn't have to read obnoxious children's stories on the couch or watch Disney movies. He didn't have to learn how to properly install a car seat in his sports car, he didn't have to get her gummy candy on the way home that she would inevitably stick to the seats of his car — and he definitely didn't have to laugh that one off.

He didn't have to let me sleep in a little longer, he didn't have to get her in the morning and pull her into bed with us for extra snuggles. He didn't have to sit in the chair while she gave him every toy she owns to look at. He didn't have to leap from the couch to go get chicken nuggets because she asked him to (Trust me, 40 chicken nuggets was overkill.) He didn't have to dance with her in the living room to his favorite songs. He didn't have to listen to her stories that are half English and half whatever language she's made up that day. He didn't have to come to appointments or carry her up the stairs. He didn't have to give her a kiss and a hug every time he leaves even though he tries to convince her that "boys are gross." He didn't have to tell her goodnight. He didn't have to, but he does. He didn't have to accept the responsibility without the title. He didn't have to bring her into his world by choice.

He didn't have to love her, but thank God he does.

Cover Image Credit: Aislyn VanGenderen

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Here's Your Reminder To Let The People You Care About KNOW That You Love Them

It's so scary to think that one moment everything is fine and then something happens so out of no where and out of your control.

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Last week I stared at my phone screen, not believing what my friend had just told me. Our close friend's father had just passed. I didn't know him well, but there was still a huge knot in my stomach, obviously feeling awful for my friend. That has to be one of the most horrible things, that I could never in a million years imagine having to go through. I told my friend I was thinking of her, but honestly, I tried to push it out of my mind that entire week. It's so scary to think that one moment everything is fine and then something like this happens so out of nowhere and out of your control.

Sometimes things happen in our lives that are unexplainable. This semester has had its ups and downs for me, but it's been pretty smooth sailing overall. I usually gladly stay on campus for the weekends, surrounded by my friends and so much going on, rather than taking the hour-long train ride home. Of course, I miss my family, but I am rarely thinking about it, especially on a Friday night.

This past weekend, however, I had this overwhelming desire to be at home for the weekend, and I couldn't figure out why. Sure, I had more work to do than normal so going home would probably force me to be more productive. I had also been sick that week, so it would be easier to kick my cold in the comfort of my own home than in my dorm. And as much as I adore Brower (not really), it can never hurt to get a good home cooked meal. I kept telling myself I would be home for spring break in two weeks, so none of these reasons really added up to my wanting to be home for the weekend.

Nevertheless, after a late date night on Friday, I decided to pack up my things early Saturday morning and haul my duffel bag to the train. And by the end of my weekend at home, I realized why I needed to be there so badly. I hadn't really confronted how hearing about the loss made me feel and how it was affecting me.

Writing this sounds selfish. Why should it matter how I feel when someone I care about is over there grieving and going through such immense pain? But after a week of pushing it out of my mind, I saw these events as an eye opener for my own life. Even though I have a really close bond with my own father, we fight a lot more often than I'd like, and sometimes I need a reminder to just let things go. I don't show it enough, but I love my dad so much and need to be grateful for the important role he plays in my life.

It sounds like stating the obvious to preach the importance of cherishing every second because you don't know when will be the last, but we often forget. No one should have to suffer through loss, and it scares me the more and more I think about it. I wish there was such a thing as the perfect thing to say to help someone through such an unexplainable situation like this. I guess all you can do is be there for them, give the people you love a hug, and appreciate the little moments you're lucky enough to spend with family.

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