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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 "patience." link your marriage letter here.
you were there. you saw it: the newlyweds canoodling on our couch.
we’d invited them over because we get a contact high off the newness of their love … the way they can’t bear an inch of couch to come between them. the way they punctuate sentences with cupped face smooches. the beauty in their
i want to smile wryly, tell them: just you wait…
i once told you the same, sans smile. that day we sat a full two couch cushions away from each other and stared slack-jawed at two pink lines and decided to become a marriage before becoming a family. i looked at you steady and i said, with more brave than i knew i had:
“don’t say that you love me. not yet. just you wait, until you can mean it.”
i held your gaze, my jaw, my breath … knowing the tiniest facial twitch might betray me. might make it plain as day how much i wanted you, how greedy i was for your love. how my hands trembled, even as they pushed you to a safe distance.
you nodded, understood. and because i’d drawn that line in the sand, you kept your word, even on days i would have begged you to lie to me. we spent our first year of marriage like two sticks making a fire from scratch. we earned, the hard way, our scout badge in patience.
i don’t remember how many days – weeks – months - it took, but i remember long nights of watching your shoulder blades rise and fall in sleep, tears sliding round the backs of my ears, and me there beside you while you breathed, waiting.
i don’t remember the moment you finally said it, either. there is no commemorative photo. this love wouldn’t make a very good Sandra Bullock film, but it could be an installation manual on grace.
for patience is a fruit of the Spirit, we’re told. and Spirit – that wedding gift given to us, the bride - has always been our secret superpower, our go-to, our enough.
i don’t know what the future may require of us, and i don’t pretend that we know enough of marriage to wax poetic.
but i said it plain to those newlyweds on our couch what truth was written in our first chapter: how the sweetest victories in marriage are most often things that you’ve bruised your insides hoping for. and waiting.
and after watching those two newlyweds skip lockstep down our sidewalk, to their car?
you kissed me like someone with five years of practice.
and it was good.
thank you for making those three words worth waiting for,