Seth and Amber Haines have been sharing letters to each other for the last few weeks, hanging the hard work of marriage up as art, and their love story never fails to inspire the writing of my own. This week, patience:
You don’t know this, but I spent half an hour on my hair this morning. If any day of the year is worth the extra effort to look sexy and glamorous, it’s Valentine’s Day, right? I knew I was ridiculous for pulling out the ruby-tinted lip gloss before breakfast, but date night was already smoldering on my mind, and you know well after nine years that my whimsy is nothing if not ridiculous. It also has good taste in lip gloss.
By 8:30 a.m., all signs were pointing a hot lovin’ kind of day. Only, when I walked out of the bathroom, you said, “I’ll wait to make the coffee until you’re done getting ready.”
“I mean, since your hair is still pinned on top of your head from doing your make up.”
I suddenly felt very slow. “So… you don’t like how I fixed it?”
Oh, my dear one. I could hear your face buckling from the impact of the realization, and you scrambled to salvage an unsalvageable situation. “It, uh… it looks very pretty… in the back… I mean…”
I’d seen that expression once before, on the face of a friend’s fiancé who had just asked me when my third child was due. It’s the look of a man without a time machine.
I don’t make these things easy on you, I know. I retreat from hurt feelings as instinctively as I do from conflict and controversy and furniture placement decisions. For a man who connects best through brave words and open eyes, it must be especially difficult navigating marriage with an emotional turtle.
Yet you do it so well, husband of mine. You have never tiptoed around the dark parts of our relationship, but you don’t take them by force either; you wait until I’m ready to talk, and then we march into the dark together. It is this willingness to hold out for together, this inexhaustible patience, that has turned me into a woman who comes out of hiding. You make me brave.
Brave enough to grin as I shake out the hair pins (loose hair is its own kind of sexy and glamorous, yes?) and let your intentions speak louder than words. Brave enough to reapply ruby lip gloss after my coffee. Brave enough to go out this evening with open eyes and unhidden words for the man whose patience won me over a long time ago.
It’s going to be a good date night.