When was the last time you really hugged your spouse. Like really hugged them, given them one hundred percent of your attention? I know the last time I hugged the Hubbs, because it was the first time I had done it in months.
I've always said that marriage, including my marriage, is very hard. It's a job. It's another part of life that requires work. I didn't think that once I got married life would be a fairy tale, but holy hell, I thought it would be easier than it really is. I never once realized that marriage is something that has to be cultivated. Something that has to continually hold your attention so that it grows and flourishes. No one bothered to tell me that along the way.
I think as mothers, and as women, we take on the world. We carry it around as if it's a badge of honor. Look at me, I can do all of the things, with minimal help, and oh look, I just posted a picture of me doing all of the things on Instagram. We give, and give, we create, and clean, and make our worlds a better place, daily. Then at the end of the day something happens. We deflate, one hundred percent, and we don't want a single thing. We don't want to be talked to, or touched, or anything of the sort. We want our wine, our favorite TV show on DVR, and sleep. We always want our sleep.
So what does that say to our spouse?
I never once imagined that the Hubbs would notice that I hadn't hugged him. Or spent real time with him. I was even surprised that he would question my happiness or my desire to stay married to him. How on earth could he even think that? But when you walk around with a dark cloud over your head, yell about every little thing, and demand to be left alone for three freaking minutes for the love of all things Scandal... Yeah, I can see where he could doubt me.
I'm the first person to be an advocate for free time. I'm a mom to two wonderful little girls who think the world revolves around them, because it kind of does. I work part time now. I'm a friend, I'm a daughter, I'm a Daisy troop leader, and I'm a writer. I have to make time for all of these things, plus me. But did you see what I forgot to mention? I'm also a wife.
I forget I'm a wife. I forget that for a lot of years it was just me and the Hubbs, before he was the Hubbs. I forget that I'm still a wife, and that he still needs to know that I am. He still needs to feel that I'm his wife. That I love him, even if i want to talk to my bestie on the phone, or watch Scandal instead of talking to him about my day. I forget that out of all the other people that I continually give and give of myself to, I need to give him a little of me too. I forget that even he, the man who hates to hold hands, needs a unsolicited hug every once in a while.
I've said to him, more that once, that I feel like I give and give all day, and that at the end of the day I have nothing left to give. That's not very fair is it? I'm not proud of being a total bitch at the end of the day, with zero motivation, and only the desire to sleep. But I have been, and I am. But now I'm trying to turn a corner.
After fourteen years of dating, not dating, and being married to the Hubbs, I'm humbled by the fact that I still have many lessons to learn on being a wife. That the work doesn't end after you hit the five year mark, or the ten year mark. Marriage is a continuous job, just like motherhood. There is something very refreshing and very scary about being brutally and totally honest, with someone who knows you best. Finding out how far you can go with honesty. Feeling safe again after baring so much. It's so easy to forget that I fell in love with him for the simple fact that I could always be myself with him. That he always accepted the person that I am. Yet, here I am, learning that saying those three little words, mean nothing if the person who hears them can't feel it. I can write a million blog posts about how much I love the Hubbs, but I have to actually love him, for him to know it.
I feel like loving someone is truly without context. It's something you say, and something you do, but how do you put it into context? How do you make it into something tangible, something you can hold on to. Something you can give the other person, your spouse, your love, and say "Here, here is how I love you. Here is how you know". Last week I found context.
Last week, Mac asked the Hubbs to measure her. We've been measuring the girls on their door jams since they could stand on their own. Caitlin has measurements on two door jams in this house, since she's had two different rooms. So, the Hubbs did just that, he measured Mac on her door jam, and showed her just how much she had grown. And as I watched I felt it. That tangible thing, the context, that maybe, just maybe, he needed to hold. Because that is what I have always wanted with him, a house filled with door jams marked with proof of growing children. Those little unspoken things that make up the big thing. That make up this life. Who knew all those years ago, that door jams marked with sharpies would be the exact thing I'd been waiting for in my life.
It's so hard to show that kind of love isn't it? It's easy to put those feeling into words, but to show it, on a daily basis? That's hard. I think that is why marriage is so hard. It feels like a given. You take it for granted. Your spouse is your spouse. They are supposed to be here, they are supposed to love you, but you know what? You are supposed to love them back. You are supposed to show up too. Marriage can be the constant, but you just can't take it for granted. I didn't realize that I had been taking the Hubbs for granted for some time. That I just assumed that he would know my love, without me having to do too much. Unfairly so, since I always ask him to hold my hand. The one thing that he hates to do, and not because it's my hand, but because he thinks it lame. But he always does it anyway. You'd think that I'd remember that when he wants me, without distraction.
I always read on Pinterest or Instagram, quotes that say hug your babies, or hold your babies close. Today I'm going to tell you to hug your spouse, hold them tight and hold them close. Tell them and show them that you are here, that you showed up today, no matter how much you want to disappear into that book, or blog, or Instagram feed. Give them a little bit more of you, before you deflate. Before you take for granted something you think is a given.
As cliche as it is, actions do speak louder than words. I just never realized that love demands to be the loudest.