My husband, my life partner, I didn’t imagine we would be here. One year into near isolation with you, and I feel it can be said: we are past the mystery. Long ago, in what feels like a different life, I wondered what you liked. I sought to impress and surprise you. I remember the excitement of learning new facets of you and dreaming of what we could be together. I still see your intelligence and appreciate your kindness, but I’ve grown to expect them. Surprises are rare, replaced with ideas that carry a certain hush—reliable, steady, loyal.

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Throughout this past year, following many years together, the number of revealing moments has waned further with each slow day. But I’m not upset.

I’m growing into a deeper place with you. A place where mystery is shed and deeper elements are laid bare.

I see you tired and worn. I see you sacrifice today’s desires to achieve a larger goal. I know when your voice is raspy it’s because you spent your whole day soothing the worries of others. Any remaining curiosity has been worn away by togetherness and time. In its place, an intimacy I hadn’t expected has grown.

I love it here, with you. It’s not the nakedness we imagined when we started. This is the stripped-down, raw soul of two people sharing a life moment after moment and day after day. You know more than the scars on my skinnow you know the stories behind them. I know your childhood classmates and the name of your middle school English teacher. I still see your success, but I have gained a greater knowledge of the failures that led you there.

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This place we are in now has nothing to do with big moments. We didn’t find it traveling the world or renewing romantic vows. We found it through granular knowledge gained from a year concentrated internally. When the distractions and busy days were taken away, our shiny skins yielded to reveal our broken selves.

We’ve used the tiny moments we’ve collected to build a foundation stronger than we have ever had, built from joined spirits welded under fire.

When we leave this quiet year, you probably won’t remember what kinds of clothes I like, and we may never love restaurants like before. But you’ve watched me at my lowest, my most afraid, my most helpless. I have confessed when I no longer knew what to do. I have dropped my vision for our family, and you’ve held the line until I could pick it back up again. And you’re still here. I see you sleeping, snoring, and working to hold our family on your shoulders. Now I truly see you.

Yes, the mystery is gone, but I don’t miss it. It was a poor imitation of this intimacy we have grown. This is not us as a couple anymore. This is us in oneness.

Avanya Manasseh

I am an introverted writer, wife and mom, as well as the Founding Writer and Editor in Chief at Scripta Edits. I live with my husband and three young children in New England.