Sunday night found us all piled in the car, headed home after a lovely dinner at my parent's house. The kids were yapping away, as they always do, at a frenetic pace. Yapping easily turns to fighting in our car, and between The Husband and I, we were getting frustrated. The sun was setting... it was well past bedtime, and yet another school day would arrive. As we were each barking orders to the backseat, The Husband took my hand and gave it a little squeeze. Then he softly told me "You know, I'm finally to the point where I don't think I could live without you."
I made some snarky comment about how he assumed he could live without me before that point. Mostly because I am uncomfortable with affection. It started a dialog, though. Having celebrated a big anniversary, we found ourselves in a very different time in our marriage than we imagined. Like every newlywed couple, we did not know what challenges we would face together, we could not imagine how weathering these storms would bring us closer together.
I'll be the first to admit we've had seasons which I've thought it would be a miracle if we "made it," you know, stayed together through life and all it's meandering paths & seemingly endless trials. Having my husband talk about his deep and unwavering love for me? Well it was a surprising development as it often feels to me like we've been fighting against each other rather than fighting the outside onslaught. I hope this signals a newfound maturity in our relationship. (heaven knows we could both use a little more maturity!)
Somehow we have come to some clarity; Without realizing it, we've grown together. Like trees intertwining their branches, one cannot stand without the other. Even more comforting, it means there is always a partner to lean on when needed.
My mind has been brought back to this conversation during the week. I certainly would not have been the one to say something like that. I'm such a pessimist, it's hard to see what's working against all that isn't working. While I struggle with my intense desire to assert myself as an "individual," I've met these wonderfully warm feelings of being part of a pair. We may often fight about our partnership and all the details & intricate needs of our family, and how to share the load, it's nice to have someone who values me as an essential component of a larger system. I notice the change especially this week. Perhaps I feel more loved and then treat him accordingly? Perhaps I'm just seeing a shift that has been changing inch by inch for a while. I still have my complete meltdowns, (just recently, the spider debacle) and now when he gives me a big bear hug, I know what it means.
Earlier in our relationship, he would just sit and listen to me rant and rave, get beet red with rage, he would then engulf me in a silent hug. I would become even more offended. I saw this gesture as a sign that he had had his limit of my crazy and needed me to put a lid on it for a while. It felt like he was lording his immense self control and composure over me. He may have well been up in a tower looking down at me sneering "I'm so much better than you! You stark raving lunatic!"
Now I know that when he hugs me, it is because it seems the only thing he can do. Clearly I am freaking out about something that he can neither fix or even comment on. He's so speechless and worried about me, that he can only hold me close and hope things get better. I've come to rely on that silent stoic facet of his personality. Until he starts freaking out & prancing around the room like a deer on fire, then we don't really have a problem.
I am sure we will continue to learn and grow together, (stating the obvious!) and I'm actually looking forward to it. To learn just what kind of wonderful man I have caught for myself. I am in awe at his unconditional love for me. Me! The person who fights him on every single subject! The lady who has a full apron of skin swinging from her midsection! He thinks all this (wide, sweeping gesture) is pretty great. Attractive, even! (clearly the man is also blind)
I feel sheepish for not feeling as lucky as I should have been all these years. I've loved him, of course. But man! I am so unbelievably blessed, it's embarrassing. Now I'm off to go hug my other half... and chow down on chips & salsa like it's going out of style.