Dear Husband,

The other day while running errands a song came on the radio. The first few notes went in one ear and out the other as I pulled out of the bank, not recognizing it at first. I mean, I hadn’t heard it in years. But one verse in and it hit me. 

All of the sudden I was 22 again, on my way to see you, my boyfriend, listening to that song you’d burned onto a CD for me. For a split-second I had butterflies flapping wildly in my stomach in anxious anticipation of seeing you, even though I’d literally just seen you an hour before. For just a moment, my heartbeat quickened at the thought of kissing you, at the excitement of having found “The One.”

That song took me straight back to the old “us.” The young-love “us.” The can’t-keep-our-hands-off-each-other “us.” And for a moment, it felt so good. 

Then, just as quickly as it had come, the feeling was gone. The butterflies quickly disappeared and left behind a yearning for what had once been.

Back to reality. 

I remembered I probably wouldn’t see you again until late that evening. We’d give each other a quick kiss, a tired, lingering hug, and chat about our days. I would tell you a few funny and/or disturbing stories about the kids and you would fill me in on work. We would give our best effort to listen and respond, though our eyes would be growing heavier by the minute. I thought about how you’d probably fall asleep on the couch later and I’d attempt to wake you up to come to bed, but eventually give up and crawl into bed alone, but not necessarily lonely.

And I felt a twinge of sadness. Like we’d lost something. That excitement and anticipation. That passion. What happened to us? I wondered. And for a minute, I wished we were back there, flirting in your dorm room, listening to that song on repeat.

And it makes sense, doesn’t it?

If I could capture those two stages in a picture and lay them side by side, at first glance it would seem like a depressing comparison.

On the left, a boy and girl totally obsessed with each other, so vibrant and alive, probably a bit too handsy, full of hopes and dreams of building a life together.

And on the right, a mom who hasn’t showered in days and a dad working his tail off to make enough for the four-year-old to go to preschool and the five-year-old to go to gymnastics. A couple who sometimes passes each other in the hallway a dozen times before looking up. A husband and wife who mean to squeeze in a date more often but get lost in the busyness of work and kids and deadlines.

It’s different than it used to be.

But then, as we turned onto our street, I looked in the rear view mirror. The two-year-old was bobbing his head to “Wheels on the Bus.” His older sisters were chatting about their days at school (“I got four smiley faces and only need one more to get a prize out of the treasure box” — “Oh wow! Good job, Hattie!”). I pulled up to our home, the fixer upper we’re chipping away at, room by room, the plans we’ve dreamed up and are working so hard on . . . together. I walked into a living room in total shambles, a good indicator that we still have a lot of passion, and vibrance, and excitement after all. 

Sure, if I laid those two images side by side, our young-love next to our ten-year-later-love, I might, just for a second, wish for the high of that one on the left.

But that discounts all the in-between. The memories we’ve made, the babies we’ve grown, the crap we’ve waded through, the work we’ve put in, the compromises we’ve reached, the grace we’ve given. This life we’ve created. And the journey it took to get here. 

This love is so much harder than that love was. That love was easy, eager, effortless. This love is intentionally making the choice to NOT QUIT, every day, even in the ugly, dark, hard moments. Which hardly sounds romantic.

This love is not always exciting. It’s not always easy. It’s not always eager.

It’s never effortless.

But maybe focusing on what it isn’t, is missing the point. Because maybe what it IS, is better than all of those things. 

It’s refining. It’s sanctifying. It’s life-altering and soul-saving. It’s sacrificing and persevering.

It’s holy.

I can’t say that about the old “us.”

I don’t want to go back. I’m so thankful for the in-between, and the right now. This life we’ve made, right here, with you and these three crazies. This is what we’d hoped for, what we’d whispered about in those dark hours when we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave each other’s side.

We did it. We’re doing it. Don’t let me miss it.

I love you still,

Your Wife

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Jordan Harrell

Jordan writes about the days with her three kids and wonderful husband to help her get through the days with her three kids and wonderful husband. She's really good at eating chocolate, over-analyzing everything, and forgetting stuff. In 2017, Jordan founded, a blog and boutique that serves as a ministry for coaches' wives. You can find her at jordanharrell.comFacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading