To my husband, I love you and I’m sorry because I’ve forgotten to be in love with you.
It’s been 18 years together. 10 married, 8 with children. As our littlest tike approaches three years old, I feel so full of family and this beautiful life we built together. We are truly blessed in our home and I couldn’t be happier with the world we’ve created.
But most days I feel the ever-present sting of exhaustion it takes to sustain this life.
I keep reading about how this phase in our lives is fleeting. The days are long but the time is short. Kids grow fast, “they” say. Time is funny; we’re using precious minutes to perform small tasks like packing lunches, and bigger ones like hustling to activities.
I’m focused on launching my career and grabbing spare moments to write and you’re busy at work. We give 1,000% to our kids when we are home.
Then, in rare moments, it’s me and you…and silently pretending not to fall asleep on each other. And I think to myself, is there anything left between us?
I see it too, for what it’s worth. We’ve been fighting more. We argue about laundry and household responsibilities. We’re trying to balance the workload, we take turns carrying the weight. I feel the tension. I spark, you respond, or worse — sometimes you don’t. The kids see it too, our 8-year-old asks why we’re unhappy. Some nights, it’s easier to go to bed angry and deal with it “another day”.
But here’s where we’re both wrong about what we’re fighting over.
And I’m writing to let you know; we’re not fighting because of us, we’re fighting for us.
We’re fighting because we’ve forgotten to feel our love. Instead of stopping to breathe in your kindness, I’m biting about the unloaded dishwasher. Instead of allowing space for a genuine connection, I’m frustrated over the mess in the toy room.
And we both allow this, because we’ve given ourselves permission to forget about our love.
I hear it. I see it. I know it. I see your tired face. I see how you react to my inquiries, sometimes you promise you’ll try harder…sometimes you do. Mostly you bite back. But really I think we’re both trying to pump some heat back into this marriage.
It’s about stoking the embers that fuel our fire, and I guess sometimes I’d rather feel anything between us — even if it’s anger — than nothing at all.
We get into bed at night and my exhaustion consumes me. As you run your hands through my hair searching for more, I’m begging for the passion of sleep. But I do see you, and you’ve never looked so damn handsome. All I want is to respond, but then again, I so desperately want some soul-satisfying rest.
I know they say this phase doesn’t last forever, but where will our love stand when there is finally room for us?
Will we remember that we had forgotten all along to commit to marriage?
If we forget to remember now, what will be left when there is only us?
All I know is, I do not want to be a bitter old married couple that hates each other because we turned away at a time in our lives we needed each other the most.
That’s why I confess to you now, I love you but I wish to feel in love again. I commit to finding new ways to connect. I will be open to opportunity. I won’t shut you out, or hold you at bay. I crave the tiny moments. I’ll dance in our kitchen, through the toys and away from the overspilled sink. I’ll remember to hold your hand or kiss you longer, I’ll show you all the ways you still turn me on — body, mind, and spirit.
This time in our marriage is crucial because if we give ourselves permission to let go of our romance now, we may have nothing to come back to later.
I know what our love is. I remember who we are in the fleeting intimate spaces, and I am not okay with letting it all go because we’re “too tired” or “too busy” to feel it right now.
I commit to showing you my love, now.
I vow to hold your hand, often.
I’ll remember to flirt and play, today.
I’ll show you how important our relationship is, every day.
Because one day the kids will be gone, and I don’t want to wake up to a stranger in my bed.
I don’t want to wait 24 years to learn you all over again.
The time is now for us to show that passion and spontaneity still exist between us.
Meet me here, I know it’s work. Committing to our marriage seems impossible, we lie to ourselves and say we don’t have time. But I promise you, our love is worth finding the time.
And I know you believe me because I see it in your eyes, I still feel the electric pull between us.
So please remember, when I’m yelling about the house I’m yelling out for our love. When I’m screaming over laundry, I’m screaming out for attention. And when I’m fighting with you on all the things that feel wrong, I’m fighting for the love that is still very much right between us.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom.
Sip a little more: