“I love you,” I say to my husband on the other side of the world. The words travel the span of five feet to the other side of the king-size bed.
“I love you,” he breathes back, settling into sleep.
Do you? echoes instantly in my mind but never breaking the barrier into audible communication.
Why do I even question his love? His commitment? His need for me?
Never once has he been unfaithful. Never has he ever given me a reason to doubt.
Why then, do I feel alone?
Why do I feel light-years away, like one dull dot among a million bright shining stars.? Why would he love me? How could he love me? How can he even stand to look at me?
I’m scarred from three children and too little sleep. When given the choice of washing my hair or passing out from exhaustion, six days out of seven I choose sleep.
Am I trying to win the battle or the war? These are not questions you ask to win the war. These questions may put one battle to rest, but it doesn’t stop the need to hear the same answers over and over. And then when I don’t even feel like asking, the battle can just be won in silence. Rolling over and crying silently, falling asleep on a wet pillow. He doesn’t know I need him, how could he?
Ending the war can prove to be more difficult. How many wars must there be? Is it truly war after war? Or was the first war ever even really won if all the while it is against the same enemy?
The enemy is not him. The enemy is my own mind. The enemy is my insecurities.
The enemy is the worry that I am not enough. The enemy is wondering if I am a mother worth having. The enemy is self-doubt, the lack of confidence in my own abilities, and the persistent need for constant reassurance.
To win the war is to lose the demons. Escaping with them, my vulnerability and what’s left of my pride. Can he sort through the debris of my internal war zone? The internal war of needing help but not wanting it. The internal war of needing to hear, “You are so beautiful to me,” but not wanting to ask. The internal war of needing a break but not being able to tell someone no.
And as quickly as the Do you? flickered in my mind, all of these other thoughts flooded in, without hesitation I decided to open the floodgates and drown the enemy. I reach my hand for his, “Will you hold me tonight? I feel lost, and I need to feel safe again.” Forgetting self-doubt and insecurities, I lead with the truth.
Why have those words been so hard to admit? I want to feel safe in my own mind.
He eagerly accepts me into his arms and the words I want so badly to hear may never grace his lips but much more is transcribed through the cradling of his arms. His warmth says rest here, his strength says you have help here. The life of his breath in my hair says you are not alone. The fact that he chose to lie in this bed bedside me tonight says we are fighting together and I still love you. My needs are his needs now.
I traded words that fuel a fight for words that cause a cease-fire inside my mind. The basic truth.
“I need,” instead of, “Do you really?”
“Will you hold me?” instead of, “Why don’t you love me?”
No, it is not good that man should be alone. Add all of this to the list of reasons why.