To the Neglected Husband: I See You

“You put the air in my lungs & the beat in my heart – without you, I’m incomplete.”

Hey there, remember me – the girl you fell in love with?  It’s been more than a decade since our love story began – all wild & carefree. Long nights with friends, spontaneous weekends away, talking until the sun came up… it feels like a lifetime ago. 

I see you there, too – standing in the doorway, exhausted from a long day at the office; the demands of the ‘real’ world & our financial stability resting squarely on your shoulders. And here I stand, over the kitchen sink, with unwashed hair & pureed peas splattered across my white T-shirt.  In between us, one kid is whining, another is throwing her dinner on the floor, and I can’t help yearn for some assurance.

I see you look on empathetically, but I greet your gaze with a glare. “What kept you so late? Dinner is getting cold…” I don’t know why I push you away like that.

I hear you ask how you can help, but I sharply decline your offer.  I want you to think that I’ve got this. That I can be a wife and a mom, a chef and a cleaning lady, a chauffeur and a handyman  and a gardener and a laundromat and keep the world spinning all by myself  because if I can’t, then what am I doing here all day?

I listen to you tell me that I’m beautiful, but even through your sincerity, I don’t believe you. This body has been through so much. I haven’t had a full night sleep in years and it shows on my face (and in my attitude). I need a haircut, a manicure, some makeup maybe. You fell for 18 year old, poised, bubbly, adventurous me – you can’t possibly like this me, too.

I feel you next to me, yearning to be touched – yet I shutter under yours when you put your hands where my abs used to be. My body has been reserved for growing and feeding tiny beings for the past 4 years, and there’s just nothing sexy about that.

I sense you needing me, but I think I need you more.

I say that our children give me purpose, a reason to get up in the morning – they are my reason for living. Those things are true. But here’s my biggest truth: you put the air in my lungs & the beat in my heart – without you, I’m incomplete. 

So I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for being distracted by the kids and the problems that seem HUGE in our tiny world.  I’m sorry for being insecure, and for being defensive, and for blaming you when my superwoman cape falls off & gets drug through the dirt. I’m sorry for valuing tiny bursts of sleep over quality time together. I’m sorry that I often have no clue what’s happening beyond the walls of our house – how dull that must be for you. I’m sorry, but I can’t promise I will change – not yet.

The only thing I can promise, is that I will continue to need you. I need you to be my sounding board & sometimes my punching bag.  I need you to pick up the pieces when the tiny army we made marches all over my heart.  I need you to keep telling me I’m beautiful, because you’re the only one who does. And most of all, I need you to love me through this crazy season we’ve created together.  Your love is the fuel that powers me, that keeps me moving forward, that gives me strength.

Our ‘nine-to-fives’ look pretty different these days – the list of daily priorities on opposite ends of the spectrum. Occasionally, I worry that you’ll become disinterested in my one-dimensional life. So I pray. I pray that we never lose sight of our common goals, our respect for one another and what we each bring to this family. When we focus on our strengths, we make a pretty great team. We have smart, compassionate, incredible kids, a lovely home & a beautiful life – that takes some teamwork. But most importantly, we still have – and will ALWAYS have – each other. We’re the foundation of it all.

xxx,

Your Loving Wife (MamaFulch)

Matthew 19:4-6: 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

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