The amount of tears I’ve shed the last four days is somewhat ridiculous, I’ll admit. For me though, tears are nothing new. They don’t warrant themselves only on sad days, but instead, show up most days for the small things and big things. You see, for the last few weeks, I’ve been prepping myself for Tuesday, June 5th. Why? Ryan was getting on a plane and headed back to Washington for a week. For the last three days, I’ve been prepping myself with mighty tears and a few extra snuggles on the sofa because I knew that Tuesday was coming so quick. So why write a blog post about twenty piles of teardrops and a husband who is gone away? I pondered in my head today, “does any of this matter?”, “will anybody even care?”, and “I’m such a wimp.”. (Mostly that last thought encompassed my thoughts, but I had to share.
As we would lay by each other and snuggle the last few days, I kept saying to my husband, Ryan, “I’ll just miss you”. Nothing fancy. Just four words with a foreshadow to some heavy emotion. Now I’ll admit, the thought of Ryan leaving was hard for a few reasons. Aside from truly missing him, I was/am also anxious about being home alone for so long, although I have so many sweet people in my life who’ve gobbled me up in their arms and have said, “I’m sorry.” (Shout out to my co-workers, Stacy + Ashley!) or offered to stay with me or have me sleepover. But really, at the end of every conversation, it always went back to “I’ll just miss you.” And man, it’s been like not even a full day and I do miss you! (Miss you so much that I had to pull into the Kohl’s parking lot for a good twenty minute cry.)
I share this because I feel like this is the message I have for you- I wouldn’t miss this man of mine if we didn’t have SO much invested in each other. The only real way to cultivate a marriage fully is to be fully in love and I truly feel that this is a gift. Through this, I feel like the Lord has placed on my heart some specific truths for those in marriages and also those who are longing for marriage.
First, and foremost, your relationship with your spouse should be your most important human relationship (if you’re a Christian, we believe our relationship with the Lord comes first, and then with each other). Then your relationship with everyone else should come. If you are placing your children or something else in your life above your spouse, chances are that you aren’t really cultivating that relationship with your spouse. There have been seasons of our relationship where I have put the craziness of being busy above the sweetness of an intimate relationship with my husband. I’ve been convicted and have had to ask him for forgiveness in this. Your spouse should come first in human relationships.
Second, because we’ve put the Lord first we can love each other better. The Lord is our foundation- our vision of a perfect love that can never be truly replicated. But because of this, we can model our relationship after the love we’ve been shown. This looks like us intentionally praying for each other and asking God how to serve each other most. It’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it.
Next, if you’re in a relationship, I beg you to find out how your spouse feels most loved. My husband loves being hugged and loved on. Snuggles are his love language (next to coffee) and he feels connected most to me when I ask him questions about his day, about life, and about his dreams. I feel most loved when someone tucks me in and when someone offers to do jobs for me. My husband knows this and so he’s often taking out the garbage, unloading the dishwasher, and setting timers for ten minutes every night so that I’m tucked in and cared for each night (I might miss this the most the next seven nights).
My last few words of advice for my friends in marriage, just delight in each other. Whatever it means to you, delight in each other. My husband and I spend so much of our time laughing together. He will sometimes read me books when I’m headed to bed. He writes me letters for the small things- like when I got chosen as a blogger for Noonday. I try to cook his favorite family tradition recipes on holidays. I listen to his words and then try to do the thing that makes him feel most loved.
Now if you’ve read this far and you’re single, or longing for a sweet marriage, I have to say- I think all of these things can be applied above. If you’re in a not-so-sweet marriage, I challenge you to try some of these things. Watch the movie Fireproof. Ask your partner how you can love them well. Ask them what will help them to feel most loved. If you’re single, try this in your closest friendships. See how you can love those people better. I challenge you.
For those of you longing for marriage or just for a better season of marriage, we’ve been praying for you. If you have a specific prayer, please share with us as you feel led. We love praying for those people in our lives who are longing. I know what we have is special, but it isn’t beyond reach. This is the love we long for all of our friends to experience.
To my sweet husband, I’ll miss your side of the bed being warm. I’ll miss your huge hugs. I’ll miss your thoughtfulness. I’ll miss you laying on the couch playing video games or watching Netflix. I’ll miss you making fun of essential oils. I’ll miss folding your clothes (I know a bunch will come home needing to be folded). I’ll miss your sweaty socks scattered in the living room. I’ll miss your beard hairs in the sink. But mainly, for the next seven nights, I’ll just miss you.
“I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness, to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed, and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree about red velvet cake, to live within the warmth of your heart, and always call it home.”