Dear Husband: I Used to Like You

Dear Husband,

Remember us? The sparks, the laughter, the twinkle I saw in your eye when you watched me just be. We were young and lively, fun and adventurous, and the world was an open canvas waiting for us to paint our way to the perfect life we’d live. Late nights, inside jokes, hand-written notes, and a magnetism to one another a stranger could feel from simply watching. We liked every part of the other. The good, the bad, and the ugly- except there was no ugly then. The small pet peeves and silly quirks just a speck in our nearly flawless graffiti wall. We were kind, intentional, and giving of ourselves to the other. Our bond grew like a pesky weed, and moments away only made us want a million more moments together. It was easy, effortless, and far from real life.

Eventually we stood in front of our pastor, our gushing family, and our closest friends. Each of us slowly poured a cup of sand into the same glass vase, prayed for our marriage while a song quietly played in the background, and exchanged the most important words we’d ever say to one another. “For better” was all we knew, “for worse” something we’d learn. We shared our first sweet kiss as one, the introduction, the cheers, and the powerfully figurative exit as we threw our hands up in the air and briskly walked into our new reality, completely blind to all God held for us.

Just two short years later and my belly was nearly bursting as we eagerly awaited the arrival of our first child. We remained blissfully unaware of just how drastically our lives would change- how much we would change. One final push lead to one first breath and the joy-filled tears streamed as quickly as our hearts grew that perfect September morning. Your misty eyes swelled with pride as you gently cradled her in your arms for the first time and kissed her tiny forehead. Seeing you become Daddy overwhelmed me and changed everything more than I knew.

The next twenty-four hours were a whirlwind of emotions, and you cautiously pulled away from the hospital with our precious cargo as we drove off into the beginning of a life outside of ourselves. I watched you pace the hallways of our home in the middle of the night rocking your arms while you shushed our confused new baby girl. But soon the moments turned into weeks, and the weeks, months. A million diaper changes, unwanted late nights, and never-ending messes filled our home, but nothing could compare to the sound of one tiny giggle or two little outstretched arms begging to be held. We relished in our new family as we slowly lost a bit of ourselves, and a lot of us. Schedules, obligations, and being needed by more than just each other began to wear us down. Sacrifices became harder to make, and more frequent were life’s obstacles. The effortless attraction and untainted bond we once held required more of our attention, but we continually poured more of ourselves into life’s demands.

Months became years, and the years sweat and tears, as we now juggle two small children, jobs, housework, friendships, family, and each other. Unfortunately at times it’s unintentionally in that order. Because the bed that once brought only the two of us together now sometimes pushes us further away as a scared little girl wedges herself between us. 

Sleep escaped us one night as we took care of our sick daughter together, and I realized that as much as I sometimes feel like we’re falling apart, we’re falling closer into one another. I watched you gently hold back her tiny pony tail with one hand and rub her back with the other as sickness took over her helpless body. “Daddy’s right here,” you assured the same baby girl you first held, and I realized in that raw moment that I used to like you, but now…

Now I see the good, the bad, the difficult, and the ugly, but I also see the strength we both possess when we feel like we have nothing left to give. I see you stepping up to take care of not just you and me, but our family. I see us weather long, tiring days and short nights as we work through the unpredictability of parenting and storms out of our control. I see us enduring this busy and demanding season and someday missing it- all of it. Slowly we’ll get back more of just us. The us requiring little effort and endless laughter. The us we both accidentally fell in love with.
Because I see, Husband, that I used to like you, but now…
I purposely and completely love you.

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