I was sitting in my backyard with my girlfriend today, watching my kids swim, and I noticed my husband working his butt off. We ladies were sitting in the shade, drinking iced coffee, on padded adirondack chairs, girl-talking, and enjoying some leisure time. By the way, did I mention it was 108F today? It was hot. And I thought to myself “remember this moment the next time you’re mad at him; he works so hard to provide and serve you and your family,” and that lead me today to write this letter to myself, to be read the next time I’m mad at my husband.
I don’t always give him a fair shake. I’m not always reasonable. And in the heat of the moment, I can sometimes forget how extraordinary he really is, as a man, friend, dad, and, most of all, husband.
I wanted to write this letter to you today to let you know that while you think it’s the end of the world that you’re upset with your husband, it really isn’t. I thought I’d write this letter to you to read in case you needed it, and if you are reading this today, you must have had a falling out that has left you feeling pretty sad or upset. Either way, this letter is for you, to remind you of all the great reasons you love and married your husband, why you’ve made it to 15 years of being married, and why, this too shall pass.
Let’s go back to the beginning, when you met him in 1987, 28 years ago, at a junior high summer camp at the age of 13. Did you love him then? No, but you knew you loved his sense of humor, his manner of style, and his ability to keep you entertained. It’s why you kept in touch all those years since, ran up your parents’ phone bills, and visited each other from age 13-20. You may not have ever known it back then that you’d marry him, but you did keep in touch with him, share parts of your life with him, and want to be his friend, even though living a long distance apart.
Remember that. It’s huge. Why? Because for almost 3/4 of your life, he’s been around and you’ve loved it. That can be hard to remember when things go sour, usually over something little, or petty, but there it is. You chose him, he chose you, and while that seems cliche, it’s true. He does a lot of really good things that go unnoticed or compartmentalized as everyday things, but more than you ever add up. I want you to look at this list, the next time you aren’t sure you know why you love him.
He’s not perfect, and neither are you, but here’s some more things he does for you that may sway your heart when you’re feeling bad:
*Even when you lost touch in college, he was still so excited to hear from you when you called him at 24 and you picked up right where you’d left off. Good friends are like that, he’s always been one of those.
*He has morals. He did when you met him, he did while you dated him, he does now.
*He holds you in the highest regard, and when you were dating, he loved you enough to wait until marriage to consummate your relationship, because he valued the sanctity of marriage. That’s a man of God for you. A rarity these days. Do you remember that? He values you- then and now.
*Do you remember how he dances? How he holds you closer and sweeter than anyone else ever has? And that when you dance together, even now after 17 years, you get all giddy inside? (You do)
*He loved what you came to the relationship with- a daughter, and always has and still does love her like his own.
*He’s hilarious and makes you laugh, even at the worst possible times.
*He knows when you need a hug and even when you think you don’t need one, you do.
*Chocolate runs- That man runs out on more chocolate runs at obscene hours of the night than you would ever do. You ask, and he goes running. Because chocolate.
*He has loved you from skinny to not so skinny and back to skinny, every single time. And you know what? He doesn’t care about your size. He married you, not your size. You can be confident with him any time of your life.
*He values your need to grow deep roots and spend lots of quality family time and it is one of the reasons he has the job he has- to have lots of free time.
*Let’s talk about that job. Firefighting. That man runs into burning buildings, rescues trapped people from car accidents, saves people in their times of need, etc. all to provide for your family, and provides for them very well.
*Remember when you were engaged and asked him to move to your city, four hours away from his family and his dream job, so that your daughter could be near her father? Remember when he didn’t even flinch and moved almost immediately? That. Remember that.
*More about that job though. He works hard and long hours away from you and your kids to put food on the table and a nice roof over your heads. And he does it without complaint, on holidays, on birthdays, anniversaries, hot days, cold days, freezing days, days he’s sick, etc. He does that for you.
*He has gone along with more of your hair-brained ideas than you can remember, but let’s talk about food. You decided to go Paleo and he never looked back, hopping on-board with you. He gave up cheese (his other true love), and real cream in his coffee, for you, and tacos with tortillas, burgers with buns, and that poor kid has eaten more salads than he’d ever admit to. He does that to support you.
*He’s a great dad. And he has taught those kids some really fun, unique things, like skateboarding, rock climbing, knots, how to use power tools, an extreme love of the outdoors, etc. And because your kids are with unique challenges, these things were never easy to talk them into, but with his calm demeanor and calm head, he walked and talked them all through it.
*You know what else he did with all your kids? He taught them all how to tie their shoes, because you gave up on the first one and he stepped in and did it in a fun and patient way you could never do.
*Let’s talk babies. Remember how much you hated cutting baby finger and toenails because you were afraid and asked him to do it? He’s still doing it and your kids are 9 & 13 now, with one living on her own now, at 20, cutting her own fingernails how HE taught her.
*He pulled long hours with night time duty with babies who never slept, sat in steaming bathrooms with colicky babies, sung babies to sleep when you just couldn’t anymore, and supported you when you needed all those “mom’s nights out.”
*He’s stood beside you as you’ve gone to specialist after specialist, trying to get your kids the help they needed with their issues, and sat right beside you as you fought tooth and nail for an IEP for your youngest and a 504 for your middle child. He’s worked over time to pay for it all and gone through hell and back with you to get those kids where they are now.
*He’s fully supported your belief that you needed to stay home and raise all your babies. He’s supported you when you didn’t and thought you needed to work. And he supported you again, even when your kids are older, to stay home yet again. And yes, he’s pulling extra overtime again to help make it possible.
*You have never wanted for anything. You have always had a nice place to live, food on the table, clothes on your backs, vacations, cars, pets, luxuries, and then some. He’s done all that for you and gives you everything you ask for, even when it’s crazy.
*Who else is there for you when times go really bad? And you can tell him things you wouldn’t even tell your best friends, because he is there for anything you say. And he has let you cry and cry and cry and cry endlessly, when things go wrong, someone dies, and even when you had postpartum depression with your two youngest. He even held you once when you cried about a bag of lettuce. LETTUCE. He was there then, he is still there now. He isn’t going anywhere.
*He has done so many things the right way, the hard way, and in ways you could never do yourself, and that is part of why you love him so much. It’s one of the reasons we marry, to find our better half, who completes us and balances us out in ways we can’t do alone.
All this, and more I haven’t mentioned, to remind you that humans as close as this have conflicts sometimes, but what matters is the substance behind all the years. All the good that makes it easier to apologize, forgive and move on, move forward, and keep going. Even when times are bad, you’ve always managed to find a way to get through it. It’s not the end of the world if you argue. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t agree. Maybe you’re reading this letter I wrote to you so that you can find a reminder of it all, to soothe your heart and soul, and a way to mend things better, faster, and easier. Because no matter what, you have always been there for each other and life goes on. It’s so much easier to do it together, rather go on alone.
Read this list, open your heart, wipe your tears, find your favorite memory, and know it will all be ok.