Since I finally came clean a few months ago and confessed that I’m Not the Woman You Married…I’ve got another truth to speak…
Husband, You’re Not the Man I Married.
We often laugh and say that if someone would have sat us down on our wedding day and laid out a play-by-play of the next eight years of our life and marriage, we’d probably say, “Thanks, but no thanks!”
This hypothetical future-teller would have told me:
“Listen, sister. This man’s about to move you seven hours away from any and all friends and family you’ve ever known. You’re gonna leave a job you love for a job you hate and the stress of it will give you chest pains and a few anxiety attacks. When you ask him to “clean up his clothes,” he will just shove them like a bulldozer to the other side of the bed, thinking you’ll never see them there. He will HABITUALLY leave dirty dishes in the sink because the dishwasher is not an option. But you’ll finally get a new job and learn to love that town you moved to, and right when you’re ready to buy a house and start a family, his company will move you halfway across the country, again, VOID of any family or friends. And even though you knew this was the right decision, you’ll go through a long season a resentment. Sound romantic?”
And she would have told you:
“Listen lover-boy: She’s cute now, but she’s about to be in your grill every day. EVERY. DAY. You know that alone time you treasure? History. That bachelor apartment you love? Well, she was there this past weekend taking down your Phil Mickelson picture and replacing it with engagement photos. I know every word that rolls off her tongue is as sweet as sugar right now. But that job she took? She’s gonna complain about it for an entire year-and-a-half until it literally drives you CRAZY. She’s never gonna be satisfied with your bedroom furniture. You’re always going to be painting something or fixing something. Oh, and by the way, you now have full physical, financial, and emotional responsibility over this girl and your future offspring. And her Dad’s counting on you. And if you fail, he’ll kill you. Ok? You in?”
But nobody told us that. All I saw was the handsome fella in the tux. All I knew was the four years I’d gleaned through our courtship, which in large portion was long distance. The man I married walked about with a carefree smile, frayed shorts, and curls coming out from under his ball cap. The guy who was known to throw caution to the wind and didn’t like to conform to the rules. The man I married was always up for a live concert, the dance floor, and would leave little written notes on my car. His biggest concern was whether Mississippi State would beat Ole Miss. He was always up for whatever silly Halloween costume I assigned him, and weekends were for football and fishing. The man I married patted sweat off his forehead before countless interviews just so he could land a job to afford an engagement ring.
Husband, life has clearly taken a more serious turn for you. Endless responsibilities have replaced your few hours of cramming and test taking. People now depend on your knowledge. Your decisions affect others’ livelihoods. Should we move? Should I take this promotion? Or stay in the town we love? Should we move again? Or should I just quit and do something else? My family is counting on me. ME. I see you overwhelmed with ALL THE THINGS…the life insurance policy, the toilet that needs fixing, the taxes that need filing, the garage that needs cleaning, the roof that was totaled by the hailstorm, the irrigation system that always seems to be broken, the big tree that just split in the front yard. Affording an engagement ring has evolved into affording a mortgage, a new car, and a high-deductible insurance plan. I see you desperately trying to give 110% to all areas of your life, and everyone continues to scream for MORE. Sometimes I see the strained look on your face and think: “The man I married is not there anymore…”
And it’s true, you’ve changed—but it’s been the most admirable and amazing thing to watch.
I’ve watched you wrestle with big decisions for our family; always respecting and valuing my opinion, but ultimately doing what you think will protect us the best. I’ve watched you give up your weekends to work long hours. I’ve watched you drag yourself out of bed when I knew you were miserable at work, but rarely complained. You stood beside me through what felt like an identity crisis when I decided to stay home, and you’ve encouraged me to pursue the things I’m good at and enjoy. You’ve learned the perfect combination of hugs vs. problem solving when I’m upset. (A very thin and tedious line to walk.) You poured prayer over me in the super scary moments of the delivery room. You jumped into rescue mode when our house caught fire just a few weeks after our son was born. I’ve watched you channel your “inner rebel” into the relentless effort of starting your own company. I’ve seen you fight for time with me and our son because it is the one thing you refuse to give up.
You even bought one of those clean/dirty reversible magnets for the dishwasher so you know if you need to load or unload the dishes!
But ultimately, I’ve seen all these decisions and moments filtered through the faith in God that you were clinging to and depending on for everything. Decisions are never made selfishly, you always humbled yourself to His will, and that’s why I trust you so much. Not to say that any of it is easy. I know there have been moments of pure defeat, when decisions seemed impossible. When everything you worked so hard for was slipping through your fingers. But that’s when I saw you fight the hardest. You dug your heels so hard into God’s truth and refused to settle for anything but His faithfulness. You’ve surrendered self-control, however unnatural that feels for you, and you’ve abandoned the belief that your identity is found in your career or work.
And just for the record…
I still get the same butterflies when your truck pulls up as I did when I’d spot your book bag across campus. I still think you are the most handsome guy out there. I still love the sound of your laugh more than anything and the side-eye you give me when you’re wondering if you’ve gone too far with a joke. You still wear your cap backwards and have ONE pair of worn out shorts (out of 20) that are your favorite. We still love to “tailgate” together, even though it’s from the comfort of our coffee table. You still amaze me with your ability to tell when I’m fibbing and we still laugh at some of our same stories from years ago, like how I swore I saw a cougar cross the highway when I had the flu. I love how a real Christmas tree is nonnegotiable for you and I love how you still go into full protection mode when I cry.
Some things never change.
Thank you, Husband, for showing me that change CAN be a good thing. Thank you for allowing the fires in life to refine you and not defeat you. I hope I can be as patient and encouraging through your change as you have been through mine.
I’m glad no one “warned” us on our wedding day. Because one thing is for sure…change is inevitable. And there’s no one I’d rather be walking through it with than you.