Journal, Marriage

Dear Husband, Now That You’re Back

Dear Husband,

Every year, I wring my hands trying to figure out how I’m going to get everything done without you around for a season. And then every year, you return after a few months. And I forget that the returning is almost always just as hard, perhaps harder, than the leaving.

It’s kinda weird. This whole you’re-here-so-much-now thing. We’d fallen into a pretty good routine around here. Our rhythms adjusted, even if the pace was a bit more frenetic, to make up for that missing beat. You were gone, so we made do.

It was hard at first. I felt lonely, but then I took advantage of the time to myself by watching Bravo a lot more than is healthy. I felt rattled, but then I got into a groove of managing the house and the schoolwork and the schedules.

Everything happened on my command. I handled the discipline, the pickups, the dropoffs, the cleaning, the bills. I made the decisions on when to do what and how I did it. I was in charge.

Every year I get a little bit better at the you-being-gone part. But I’m afraid it makes the you-coming-back part just a little bit harder.

Suddenly, I have a teammate. And this teammate wants a say in things. (The nerve.)

I buck against this relinquishing of control every single year. I hold it close to my chest, tight-fisted, wondering why you don’t trust me, why you don’t respect me, thinking, “Don’t you REALIZE I’m fully capable of doing this on my own? Don’t you REALIZE I’ve been doing it on my own for months?”

Gosh, I’m sorry. I know it has nothing to do with that. I know you just want to be my partner. I know you long for respect, too, and that my frustration with the way you do things feels like a dagger.

I know it’s hard to come from a team in which you say, “Jump,” and they ask, “How high?” to a home where you say, “Jump,” and I say, “Um, we don’t jump around here. We haven’t for months.”

I never meant to do it, but somehow, we learned how to function without you pretty well.

And the letting you back in, the handing over the reins, even if it’s just one of them, feels like all my hard work for the last few months meant nothing to you. I know that’s not true, but it might help if you said it out loud.

Will you just tell me I did a good job?

I think it will help if I feel seen. I need to feel like you appreciated the way I steered the ship in your absence, without letting anyone fall overboard. Well, let’s be honest, it was a little dicey at times, but we survived.

Will you tell me how much you appreciate me?

But also, will you gently remind me that you want to be my partner, an active participant in this family, a leader who is respected and trusted and loved? I say I want that from you, but I have a hard time letting go of this position of power.

It feels good to not have to answer to anyone for a while, but I know it’s not good for me in the long run. That’s the brutifulness of marriage—we weed out the crap in each other.

It’s weird, isn’t it? The thing I pleaded for for months, for you to be home just a little bit earlier, to just have a little more help, is the exact thing I’m complaining about now.

It goes to show how fickle we humans are—we can find discontentment in just about any circumstances. Or we can lean into the hard, learn from it, and choose joy.

This transition is hard every year. But I’m working on it. I’m working on trusting you with this control I’ve held so tightly. I’m working on letting go of my own will and trusting someone else to lead me well, whether that be my Heavenly Father or my earthly husband.

I’m working on my always-rightness when it comes to making decisions for our family.

You can be right sometimes, too. Welp, that’s hard to say out loud.

I don’t want to do this life without you. Don’t stop trying. Don’t get passive or get comfortable in the back seat. You balance me out. God created us to be ONE. One unit, one mind, one heart. I want that, even if it doesn’t feel like I do.

I love you, and I want your help. I want your leadership.

I’m so sorry for pushing you away. Please, don’t stop coming back.

Love,

Your Wife