I was staring at my husband across the room last night while he played with the baby and such sweet feelings washed over me. Feelings of gratitude, love, safety, peace, joy… all of the things we girls hope for on our wedding days when we’re overflowing with big dreams. In our family we call a moment like this a “Love Burst.” I must have been wearing my emotions all over my face because he caught me watching him and tilted his head a bit, heart-warmed by my gaze; strengthened somehow in his countenance. Then he smiled back warmly, “Darling, are you having a ‘love burst’ for me?”
Busted, but OK with it, I responded (only a little) sheepishly, “Yes.”
Since Lorelai was born I find that I have to remember my husband. Especially to cherish him. He’s always here— helping, supporting, providing… but I’m preoccupied. With work. With the cares of a home. With her– our flawless, beautiful baby girl. Rather than look at him adoringly with a sparkling of desire in my eyes, I’m more likely to manage a “go team” smile and desire for him to take the baby for an hour so I can take a break to work, or shower, or watch Gilmore girls on Netflix.
And while I feel God’s infinite grace for Motherhood, I sense that I must watch this balance like a hawk. My strong, self-sacrificing husband may seem temperate and acclimated to our new normal, but God made him to need me. And he’s not used to sharing me with anyone.
I can feel the dissonance of my roles as wife and mother. The baby makes her needs known. She pulls me in her direction.
He quietly allows, no, encourages me to Mother.
While I don’t need more ‘to-dos’—and I’m anything but falling short— it is vital that I protect the most important earthly relationship that provides the foundation for my little life. Sometimes we all need reminding, in the noise of our busyness and the silence of our plugged in lives, to make sure we protect that which is most precious to us.
So, I make a list, to tuck away close to my heart and keep near in my thoughts, to honor him in ways that will preserve him, us:
1) Give lots of hugs and kisses. And for the record, not just flippant pecks.
2) Touch him affectionately. Something nice and soothing like placing his head in my lap to stroke his back or run my fingers through his hair while we watch TV together.
3) Give him my undivided attention each evening, for at least a few minutes, even– no especially, if the kids are in the room.
4) Look him in the eye when he speaks to me, and always consider my tone.
5) Spend time alone each week to just “be us” for a stolen hour or two.
6) Cook him the things he really likes.
7) Take care of myself: faith, health, hygiene, appearance, rest, thoughts, growth.
8) Make love. Better yet, initiate intimacy. Make sure he feels desired. Needed.
9) Tell him all the things I appreciate about him whenever they come to mind. No such thing as too much.
10) When I think of it, drop everything and deliberately walk over to him to embrace him. Tell him ‘I love you’ with equal parts girlish admiration and the sincerity that comes from years weathered together.
I must weave these acts of love and respect into our lives. Not because I have to as a wife, but because I want to as a grateful, lifelong partner. I choose to as a steward of God’s greatest gift here. My investment into my husband pays dividends immeasurable. Nothing more pressing, more valuable. By making space for all this, I care for our offspring in ways more timeless and life-giving than she’ll realize until she brings forth new life of her own.
Afterall… before I became Mommy, I was his.
P.S. Real quick—if you are in a relationship where you are being verbally, emotionally, physically, and/or sexually abused— please read this post. I have a very different and specific message for you.
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