I’ve felt disconnected from my husband lately because I wasn’t seeing his love in action. And I bottomed out from that a bit. When love is idle, for too long, it sends me into a tailspin. I get in my head and once there, I wade in too deep.

And I do this thing. I fully expect him to know how I’m feeling and what I need from him without telling him. I just expect him to divine it.

Because he knows me, or he should. Because we’ve been married for 22 years. Because if he loved me and understood me, he would show me.

This is how my brain works sometimes. Because I can be a slow learner.

I needed some extra attention this week because one of our greatest difficulties of our past rose up for me again and I struggled to keep it in the past, where it belongs, because it’s been dealt with, it’s done. But even so, this difficulty repeatedly tries to break into my present, and sometimes, it overpowers me and gains entry.

I needed a text during the day, so I knew he was thinking of me. I needed him to nuzzle my neck in that sweet and intimate way of his that sends me to the moon. I needed to turn up some music and get lost with him in the movement to it. I needed a love note or a random act of service. I needed him to show up in any way shape or form that speaks extra love to me. Because I was extra needy this week.

Did I tell him any of this? No. I wanted him to just know it, on his own, because that’s really what would speak SO MUCH love to me. I don’t want to have to ask for love, I think it should just show up right when I need it. Yep, I can be like that. Because I’m a slow learner.

I got mad because he didn’t just know all of that. So he got mad because I was mad at him for something he didn’t even know I wanted him to know. And because we are both stubborn we spent a couple of days in misery and it was flat out miserable there. We are 22 years in, people, and I still create this pattern for us sometimes.

Tired of self-pity and misery today, I kicked the unwarranted and unfair anger and resentment out and I beckoned for love to well up in my heart instead. I know love is the way, the truth and the light, and still, sometimes I don’t lead with it. Because I am a slow learner.

I looked my husband in the eye and spoke my needs to him and he said he had no idea he’d fallen away from loving me with action. Because life. But that once I voiced it all he immediately recognized he had become idle there. He said, I’m sorry, and yes, absolutely I’ll do those things for you. Because love.

I leaned into to the vulnerability of being in the needy place today, I leaned into love, and I got love right back in return.

Never once in 22 years has leading with anger and resentment produced anything other than more anger between us. Never once in over two decades has leading with love not lead to even bigger love for each other.

But I’m a slow learner and so we struggled again this week.

We will love again now because I let go of unfair, negative emotions. Sometimes I am a slower learner. But I am a learner and that’s the important descriptor.

Originally published on Utter Imperfection

Jodie Utter

Jodie Utter is a freelance writer & creator of the blog, Utter Imperfection. She calls the Pacific Northwest home and ambles about its captivating forests and breath-taking (quite literally, because brrrr) bodies of water with her husband and two children. Jodie is a voracious seeker of laughter and awkward dancer who’s tired of making dinner and can’t stay awake past nine. She works to connect pain to pain and struggle so we’ll feel less alone inside our stories and more at home in our hearts, minds, and relationships. You can connect with her on her blog, Utter Imperfection and on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.