Monday, February 27, 2012

on marriage: i know you love me when …

 photo credit here

Amber and Seth Haines started a Monday series on marriage, penning letters about the grit and the grace of it all.  this week's topic is "i know you love me when..."  link your marriage letter here.

dear rYan,

i could fill in the blank to the statement above with a simple photo: one of piles and piles of swamp-flu laundry that you disinfected, playing the role of hero-as-nursemaid to our sad, sad selves last week.

or i could paste in a snapshot of that corner of our house where the Christmas tree stood until February.  me, paralyzed with the task of putting away: not just the swaddling of ornaments and the tangling of lights, but the feeling that presses in, like it will be “always winter and never Christmas” until the spring thaw, which is long away.  and so you and our two tiny elves snuck it all into storage while i was out for the evening, and when i returned, there was no more tinsel,  but the season of giving raved on.  

i could fill a whole photo album with snapshots of love on the daily:  you wrestling the loud out of our boy, your man-hands wrapped round a tiny girl’s hairbrush, you lifting a single finger to touch the place on my forehead that clenches, anxious.

for love, to you, is a verb.  an active one.

but the biggest miracles happen in shadow and secret, and so the way i’m convinced you love me most is something camera pixels couldn’t quite render.  though, actually, come to think of it, i saw it once, on a Saturday morning cartoon:

for sometimes i catch myself,  wide-eyed and standing on air  like that cartoon coyote, and i realize that i’ve run, love-struck, into a place i never would have gone if i were still that girl -- chin raised proud but inside begging to be loved, to be unloved – from ten years back.  when i look below my feet and see none of what used to hold me together – the impenetrable mask, the sarcasm, the “you go first” -- i know that it is the tender of this two-becoming-one-flesh that frees me to fly and fall and fail.  your love shows up in my brave.

and don’t i know how dangerous this is?  what gravity can do?  that temptation, in the good, to fashion you - His instrument - into an idol of brawn and bronze and ego boosting?

i do.

lucky for us, these moonbeam moments are typically followed by an eclipsing remark, like the time you requested, ever so casually, that i not wear your favorite sweatshirt, for fear that “i might stretch it.”


... and in the silence of three marriage-saving deep breaths, that forehead muscle of mine tight as fiddle strings, i gave you a look that put this love right back in its place:  real life.  

no, your love won’t fix all that’s broken  'bout this world, but i do enjoy it something fierce. 

please continue – in your loving – and i’ll continue breathing thankful,



  1. oh this is just beautiful. your love is written in action, too. - - had to laugh about the sweatshirt :)

  2. I would have laughed very loud about the sweatshirt remark right now, but my baby is sleeping on my chest. :) Your last two lines are like poetry. Beautiful.

  3. I love that Love is a verb. And Wiley Coyote. And the name of your blog. :)

  4. What I like best? The breath you take of real life...
    I'm so thankful for moments like that too...aren't you? I can't too much sugar...without a bit of spice.

    And...your idea? Skipping February? Count me in...the wine doesn't even have to be good.

  5. "your love shows up in my brave." yes, that is what good and thorough love does for us.
    loved all of this. . . and the pic of W. Coyote--priceless :-)
    have a great day!

  6. "for love, to you, is a verb. an active one."

    Love is an action, a verb, you are so right on that one.

  7. Yes, love is a verb and the whole Christmas tree episode spells that one out so well. You have such a lovely way with words Kelli.

  8. that pesky gravity: almost as dangerous as this love thing. you two are beautiful. please keep serving up these gorgeous love letters.

  9. sigh. i'm in love with your love letters. (and i totally get why you left the tree up. totally.) love you.

  10. Achingly beautiful. I was just thinking this week: the further down the pike I travel, the more my man's "acts of service" reveal love to me. Perhaps my love language is changing? :) The Christmas tree thing ROX!