“What should I write in my letter to my husband to make him stay?” she typed into the search box.
She must be so sad and afraid. In her search for answers, she stumbled onto this place yesterday.
Maybe she found something that made her feel better. Probably not.
What should I write in my letter to my husband to make him stay?
If she had asked me, what would I say?
I don’t like imagining her sitting there so desperate for answers that she typed it into Google.
It wasn’t that long ago, I was asking questions a little bit like that.
I can’t stop thinking about her question. If he wants to leave (because he wants someone else or because he wants the freedom to do as he pleases), there’s almost nothing she can say. He’s going to leave.
But, what if deep down he really wants the marriage to work too? What if his heart is in the right place? What could she write?
I’m not this woman’s husband. And maybe I’m not even like most men.
But something like this might work for me.
I am afraid.
I am afraid and I need you.
I am afraid you’re going to leave and we’re going to lose everything. All these years. Because all I’ve ever wanted since meeting you was to grow old with you.
This all feels so fragile. You’re the person who makes me feel safe, and you’re not here making me feel safe because there’s this wall now.
I know that sometimes I make you feel like you need to run away from me. Because I’m asking all of these things from you and it feels to you like criticism. Like I’m telling you you’re not good enough.
I know that I can be a mystery to you. That you’re pretty steady and consistent, and that I’m less so. That I can respond differently to the exact same event and that sometimes I lash out at you when things don’t go my way.
I am sometimes more emotional and sensitive than you to things that happen. I know that frustrates you. I understand and appreciate that I sometimes direct my anger toward you as a result even though you had no intention of hurting me. You don’t try to hurt me. And I sometimes make you feel as if you did try to.
I wish I could feel what you feel sometimes. So I’d know what it’s like to be you. Then maybe I could understand.
I always wish you could feel what I feel. So you’d know what it’s like to be me. Then I think you’d understand. I think WE would understand and we’d forever change the way we communicate and treat one another.
I really think everything would be different then.
I feel so hurt sometimes. So sad. So angry. And I just cry. And you’re not available to make me feel better. And sometimes I feel so hurt by you that I’m not sure you even could.
In those moments I wonder if my life would be better without you in it. Maybe with someone else.
We go through life giving our hearts to different people. Falling in and out of love. So happy at the beginning. So sad at the end. We feel so broken and we ask ourselves how we will ever love or trust again? Can we find someone to make us feel loved?
And that’s when it hits me.
The relationship cycle that all couples deal with. Over and over again. People sometimes believe the lie that everything will be different with the next person but it’s always the same because WE’RE always the same.
We think the grass is greener over there, but it never is. We just did a lousy job taking care of our own lawn. If I move over there and keep doing the same things I’m doing now, that lawn will look just like this one.
We can trade one another in. Find replacement partners and try to do this all over again with someone new.
But it all feels so foolish and wasteful.
I choose you.
Out of every person I have ever met or ever will meet, I choose you.
I am so sorry for making you feel like you’re not good enough or as if I regret marrying you.
There’s a little piece of me that’s broken. And maybe a little piece of you that’s broken, too. And it’s hard enough for the put-together people to make marriage work with all of the things that go on in life constantly driving a wedge between us.
But maybe if I work on fixing me. And maybe if I dedicate my life to helping you fill whatever’s missing in yours, we can make this what we always talked about it being.
You are smart and talented and capable. And when we’re not getting in our own way, no one makes me feel as good and whole and safe as you do.
I BELIEVE in you. That you can be and do and achieve whatever you want. I’m sorry I don’t say it more.
I APPRECIATE you. That you give so much of your time and effort to providing all that you do for me. I don’t say ‘thank you’ nearly enough. I am so grateful for you.
I FORGIVE you. Because I know you do not set out to hurt me. And I’m sorry that I hold grudges and put up walls with you when my feelings are hurt. It’s a defense mechanism and I’m trying to stop.
There are many people in my life that I love. I inherited almost all of them. Parents and siblings. Grandparents and extended family.
But I didn’t inherit you. I picked you.
I love you. Because I woke up today and said “yes.” And I’m promising you right here and now, as I did on our wedding day, that I’m going to wake up every day and say “yes,” no matter how I’m feeling.
My feelings are always going to change. But my choice on this matter will not.
I am yours. Always.
I don’t know what forever looks like, or how to get there. But I know that with you holding my hand, we’re going to find it.
Please say yes too.
Actions speak louder than words. But if I got this letter, I’d like to think I’d say yes.
Then keep marching toward forever.
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