Have you ever just looked across the room at your spouse and been flooded by emotion? Me neither, until last night rather unexpectedly.
I was catching up on season 4 of Dawson’s Creek on Netflix (a mere 11 years late) while my husband surfed the web for some doohickey for his bike or whatever. By all accounts it was a typical evening. The kids were in bed, the dishwasher hummed and the neighbor dog barked incessantly.
In that moment, as Pacey decided to skip graduation and Joey lamented over her salutatorian speech, I paused the angsty teen drama and felt my heart swell with gratitude. My husband and I were still here after all these years, after losses, incredible gains, disappointments, and good fortune – he was right beside me as he has always been. My husband has been the great equalizer to my erratic emotions, the calm to every personal storm, and the possessor of talents and characteristics of greatness.
I didn’t know he’d become any of this when that surge of infatuation struck my heart at 17, or even when I walked down the aisle at 22. If you would have asked me how much I loved my husband on my wedding day I would have told you that I couldn’t have loved him more.
I was so wrong.
In the history of our marriage, my love for my husband has changed in a multitude of ways not easily put into words. Of all the different phases of young love that inevitably include saving each other, teaching each other, and growing up together, perhaps the strangest and most precious journey is the one in which we learned to respect each other.
To respect your spouse as a contributor to your household, keeper of your heart and parenting equal is challenging. I mean come on, this is the guy who farts for sport, watches SpongeBob when he doesn’t absolutely have to, and snickers at boobies. But beneath the boyish tendencies lies a man with more conviction and integrity than I give him credit for.
But somewhere along the way I stopped trying. I don’t even know when it happened or why. It’s not that I ever stopped loving my husband – I didn’t, but I haven’t always loved him the way he loved me. He’s loved me better, tried harder, and done more than I’ve offered in return. For some inexplicable reason last night I realized it.
As we approach our 14th year of marriage and 18th year together, I just want to say this to my husband: I see you. I see all that you are. I see in you what you’ve always managed to see in me. And wow, am I lucky.
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