The other night it was well after midnight before my husband and I finally collapsed into bed. I was exhausted, but my mind was in overdrive . . . racing a mile a minute after a frustrating and busy day. 

So, I did what every wife shouldn’t do . . . I unloaded on my husband. At midnight. 

I told him my worries about the kids this week. 
I expressed my frustration about getting things done around the house.
I tearfully told him how I felt misunderstood by a friend earlier in the day.
I expressed my anxiety over planning every perfect detail for a party we are having next month. 

And when I finally came up for a breath, I glanced at my husband and saw his tensed jaw and the worry in his eyes. And I knew what was coming. He was going into “fix-it” mode. He was going to give me advice and try to help me solve all these troubles. He takes on all of my problems as his own and wants to make everything better. It is who he is.

I closed my eyes. This is not what I need right now—him to fix everything. But yet, this is always his reaction to how I feel. 

My husband . . . he is a fixer. If I ever have a problem, then he has a strong need to try to fix it. His intentions are good, but it is not what I want. I don’t want him to fix anything. All I need him to do is . . .

LISTEN.

Sometimes I just need to vent and unload all that is invading my brain or attacking my heart. Sometimes all I need him to do is hear me. Sometimes all I need is to get it off my chest. Sometimes all I need is a whispered, “I understand.”

Because I am a feeler. I’m not trying to solve a problem, I’m just trying to tell him how I feel. 

My husband and I have been together for over 25 years now. He is the yin to my yang. He grabbed my hand all those years ago and has never once let go of me. At the risk of sounding sappy, he is all that I ever wanted in a husband and 25 years later I’m still so glad I said yes to that first date. It was the best decision I have ever made. I love him more now than I did then and our relationship is one of my biggest blessings in life.

But . . . that doesn’t mean our relationship is perfect. It doesn’t mean we still don’t let each other down sometimes. Or say hurtful things. Or slam doors. Or disagree. 

And it doesn’t mean that 25 years later, I’m not still here unloading my problems on him at midnight and he’s trying hard to fix them. 

We are slow learners, I guess.

But it is who we are . . . fixers and feelers. 

And for the most part, it is a beautiful balance and it works for us . . . he thinks his way through problems as I feel my way through them. He is my reality check while I am his emotional connection. 

But it is still a learning process. I’m learning to understand his innate desire to always make things better and he’s still trying to understand that sometimes all I need is a simple hug and a listening ear. 

But that’s what marriage is all about. Learning and compromising. Fixing and feeling. Listening and talking. Loving and growing.

And sometimes marriage is pouring out your heart at midnight, knowing that your husband is going to try to fix it and make everything better. 

Because he cares. 

And after 25 years, I’m learning that his fixing heart only means he is trying to help me and wants me to be happy. It is not always what I want, but it is sometimes exactly what I need to reel in my emotions and think things through. 

And sometimes my feeling heart is exactly what he needs to be able to understand that sometimes a hug is all that is needed. Sometimes listening is more powerful than fixing.

But more importantly, I’m learning that love is always the driving force behind both the fixing and the feeling. And that love is what matters most.

Song of Solomon 3:4

Originally published on Love, Faith & Chaos

Heather Duckworth

I am a wife & mother to 5 awesome kids, 4 on earth and 1 in Heaven. From having triplets, to losing a child to cancer, to adopting – I have experienced about every joy, challenge & heartache of motherhood. I often write about family, faith & the crazy chaos that is my life.