I married a thoughtful, handsome, and sweet man, but for the first two years we were married, I was blind to his good qualities. “Other” husbands seemed to give more flowers to their wives and plan elaborate anniversary celebrations and never miss a date night. “Other” husbands didn’t make their wives cry, and they always knew just what to say when she was sad.
The grass is always greener, right?
The grass is always greener, and for the first two years I was married, I was convinced I had married the wrong person.
I assumed the right person would make me feel seen, and I felt invisible. I knew the right person would make me feel loved, and I felt misunderstood.
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I reached a breaking point one night when my husband and I had a stupid argument about nothing other than why we had been arguing so much. I was tired of it all, tired of crying and feeling sad and seeing “other” wives who were clearly happier than me, who had never felt like I had.
That same night, I considered my options. First, I could spend the rest of my life believing the narrative that I had married the wrong person. The consequences of believing this narrative could have been—and I think would have been—destructive.
To love my husband was the second option. I wanted to be seen and loved, yes. Perhaps the scariest thing about marriage is I could choose to see my husband and to love my husband because this is what he must have wanted, too, but there was no guarantee he would reciprocate.
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But I decided to do it anyway because two years of sitting at a solo pity party had been two years too long. When I got married, I had promised to love my husband for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. I had pledged him my loyalty and faithfulness for the rest of my life, and I needed to get to it.
We had a baby, and because I was the stay-at-home parent, there were lots of ways to practically love my husband. I started waking up early to make his breakfast and pack his lunch for the day. And even though it annoyed me that he left not-quite-clean, not-quite-dirty clothes at the kitchen table, I recognized I could make his day go a little smoother if I picked them up and put them away on one of my countless trips between the kitchen and our bedroom.
Around the same time, my husband began to sacrifice certain things, too.
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In fact, it’s hard to say who began because all I remember is that once I started focusing on loving my husband, my husband was already loving me. He would let me go back to sleep while he took care of our daughter and encourage me to go to my favorite coffee shop on weeknights after he got home from work so I’d have time to read and write.
And one night, he got home from work with a bouquet of flowers in hand.
I panicked. Had I forgotten our anniversary?
“I just wanted to buy you these,” he said. “You deserve them.”
And even though I’m not sure I did deserve them, I started to cry because he thought I did.
Like me, my husband had taken a risk by choosing to love me even when he thought he had married the wrong person.
I guess you could say that our own lawn is looking pretty darn green.
Previously published on the author’s blog