My husband likes to be alone with me.
After fourteen and a half years of marriage, I know that I should be grateful for this. But sometimes…it just surprises me.
Shortly before I weaned our second son, I began to notice that I touched my husband less and less. It was not out of fear, or anger, or even lack of love; it was just that, after four years as an incubation tank and dairy bar, my body did not feel like an instrument of passion, rather, this seemed a frivolous thing. My physical self had become a vehicle for nourishment and comfort of our children. Passion became an abstract concept, dismembered from the rest of me. My mind longed for the quickening heart, the anticipatory excitement, but the body cringed from even the tenderest touch. To have a moment when I could breathe deeply, a moment when I wasn’t being touched or pulled upon, or climbed over or hung upon, when my hair wasn’t being pulled or my ribs poked…this was all I longed for. These were the days when I could not even use the bathroom alone, sleep was elusive; as there was always an extra body in my bed, and the needs of the small ones were endless. My body did not belong to me any longer. And so, it ceased to desire.
It happened gradually, I’m sure: a casual withdrawal of intimacy, if you will. The shared adulation of our two children silently edged out a once passion filled marriage. We were brought closer in many other ways, mind you. Our eyes would lock over our progeny as they did something exceptional, and my heart would swell with such love that it felt that it would burst. I knew that no one other than my husband understood these moments in the same ways that I did. We were forever bonded by these two living beings that we brought into the world.
But somewhere along the way, things went awry. I became critical of him, impatient and dissatisfied. Perhaps it is a developmental stage that all marriages which produce children must go through, I don’t know…but my role as mother usurped my role as wife for a time.
There were many mitigating factors at the time, of course. The main tender spot for me was that Jeff was a self-proclaimed agnostic at the time. As my growing faith budded, I began to feel further and further away from him; separated not only by dirty diapers and the extra body in the bed, but by the desires of my heart as well.
The strange thing was, the more I pulled away, the more estranged I felt, the more he clung to me. And in the midst of it all, he never stopped wanting to be alone with me.
Thank God for that.
And here’s the good news. This is what I must say to every young wife and new mother out there: it does come back. Not only does passion return, but it is accompanied by a deeper, richer emotion that defies all labels.
A couple days before Thanksgiving, Jeff and I went away for a couple days. Just the two of us. Sitting beside him in the car on the way to Lexington, my eyes were once again opened to new sights. Not just around me, but within me. For the first time in a while I was free to do nothing but look and love. Time seemed to stand still and I became a young girl again, holding his hand for the first time on the bank of RiverLake. I felt my breath catch and my heart skip a beat. I fell in love with him all over again. The fullness of the beauty of the moment was the little ache inside me that was the knowledge that two little souls were waiting for us to return home. There are two little people in this world to which we are their whole world. And being apart from them is so bittersweet.
Trust me; there is a huge return on those difficult years. They will be redeemed. Making your marriage work will be the best gift you can give your children. So stick it out. Whatever you do, stick it out.