It wasn’t long after my divorce that my counselor requested that I do an exercise that at the time I thought was silly. She explained that as time goes on people change, desires change, expectations change and love changes. She knew better than anyone that I had no desire of ever getting remarried, but she still challenged me to write a letter to the person that I would find in my future that would change my mind. I put the letter off for a long time because it seemed silly and so unnecessary. I wasn’t married, I had no desire to get married and I never thought that I would find a man that would understand me or want my baggage. Making a list of desirable qualities in a companion was going to get me nowhere as I didn’t believe in checklists for love.
After multiple visits and her persistence I decided to appease her and write a letter to the man that was apparently going to swoop in and sweep me off of my feet. The challenge literally changed my life. I found so many parts of me that had become so broken that they were hidden very deep down. I found desires and dreams for my future that seemed so impossible that I didn’t dare to chase them for fear of finding disappointment instead. I had instead of making a list of qualities that I wanted in someone, poured my soul out to someone that I didn’t know I would ever find. The girl that was never getting married again finally found a little bit of hope that someday I would have that relationship that I had drafted on paper. The relationship that my heart wanted more than anything regardless of what I told other people.
The other blessing that this letter provided for me was the clarity of what I really expected from a relationship and the aspects of a marriage that had once made me so happy. It really helped me open my eyes to the realities that marriage and relationships are never set in stone but require so much work that is more than worth it. It helped me to become a complete individual looking for another complete individual instead of looking for someone to fill in my gaps.
This letter was sealed and was given to my husband shortly before we got married.
So whether you are married, single or it’s complicated I would ABSOLUTELY urge to write this letter. Put on paper what you want in a relationship and what you need as an individual. It doesn’t have to be a list but rather a prequel to a brand new relationship or a fresh kick off to one that might need some dusting off. Relationships are hard, but sometimes when you put it all out on paper in such a vulnerable way, it doesn’t seem so complicated. Here’s mine, it went a little something like this.
If you are reading this, you have decided that you are crazy enough to be stuck with me forever because this time, forever really means forever. A while back from this moment I decided that I wanted to write a letter to whoever the person would be that would take a chance on me and Jax because I wanted to clarify for myself what I wanted, then you came along and here we are. About 8 months ago from writing this, I was married, had a beautiful 1 and a half year old little boy, was living in my own home, had a good job, and was very very happy until my world came crashing down. After that I told myself that I was strong, didn’t need a man, was going to take care of my family alone, and that I would be wise to never trust anyone but myself.
By now I’m hoping that I’ve learned to trust and love without limits in a way that you deserve. Love is a strange thing right? That feeling that gives you butterflies and sweaty palms, makes it so that you can’t think clearly, brings you more joy than you can imagine and also makes you more afraid than you’ve ever been. I’ve always said that the hardest part about being in love is that in order to TRULY love someone, you have to take down all of your walls completely, leaving you ungaurded and defenseless to anything and everything that might hurt you. But the most beautiful thing about love is that you are trusting someone enough not to. I suppose, seeing as how you are reading a letter that has been sealed in an envelope for some time now, you are the person that I’ve decided to trust with the side of me that has been so guarded for so long. If there is anything that I’ve learned from my past it’s that I’m not sure that I believe in fate, or soul mates. I believe that every day you wake up and you decide what you want in life, and then you search for it and fight to keep it. Relationships are hard, marriage is hard, parenting is hard but when you love someone you do hard things together.
I used to think that the phrase “I could never live without you” was romantic, but now I find it sad. The truth is that after the experiences that life has handed me, I know that I can live on my own but hopefully you find it just as romantic as I do when I tell you that I don’t WANT to live without you. Saying that I never could would suggest that whether I wanted to be with you or not I would stay, even if it wasn’t right. A very wise woman once told me that marriage isn’t two people that MAKE each other happy, it’s two happy people that are enjoying their journey together. The journey that we are about to take is going to be long. It’s not going to be easy and there are going to be countless nights and days that we spend stressed or upset. BUT if we can love each other through those moments, the ones that make you want to hide from the world, you get the reward of living through the good ones. The moments that melt your heart, the moments that the sun can’t possibly shine brighter than you. The moments that your cheeks hurt because your smile is so big. The moments that you realize who you are and what you want. You get to live in the moments when time stands completely still because you can’t take your eyes off of all that is in front of you.
So here we go huh? Riding into the sunset. Here is to living a life that is full. Full of Law and Order SVU re-runs. Full of countless trips to the zoo. Full of half-baked Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and brownies. Full of doing the dishes turned water fight. Here is to the late night junk food runs and the nights we can’t keep our hands off of each other. Here’s to the joint workouts and complaining about the pain together just to do it again the next day. Here goes to have to split the DVR so that we can watch our own stuff. Having to fight for your side of the bed at night. Road trips full of loud music and gas station snacks. Dance parties with our kids singing into hair brushes and spoons. Camping, fishing, hiking, looking at the stars, knowing that wherever we are, we are looking at the same moon at night. Tickle wars and TV dinners because heaven knows I’m not that great of a cook. I’m looking forward to growing old ya know? It seems that once you start to grow older your spirit becomes more and more free. I can’t wait to share a seat next to you on our porch swing holding hands and reading a good book looking back and realizing that we made it, together.
This time around I’m doing this the right way. I’m falling so far in love that my knees shake when you kiss my forehead and I want to run to you when I see you because walking doesn’t get me there fast enough. I want a kiss every morning and every night. I want you to know how make a mean smoothie, sing the wrong lyrics to your favorite songs, pull me in and kiss me while I’m yelling at you for leaving your laundry on the floor. I want our children to love Christ and know that their Savior loves them because their mommy and daddy reinforce it every day. I’m ready for you to teach me how to not worry about the little things and help me through the big things. I’m excited to share my life with someone that will love me through the good times because they’re good and through the bad times because we’re fighting for the good ones.
I’m sure by now you know that I have little to no self control when it comes to sweets. I’m grouchy in the mornings and am the pickiest eater you will ever meet even though I say I’m not. I love watching Desperate Housewives in my sweats and you will probably never be able to clean things the way that I like them cleaned. When I’m driving we listen to the music that I want to listen to and when you’re driving it’s probably the same. I tend to complain about pain more than is probably necessary and can be a tad bit judgmental because I always think it’s going to make me feel better about myself and it never does. I can’t hold still long enough to sit through a movie in the movie theater and cuddling with me can be a nightmare because I move entirely to much. But at the end of the day I love harder than a lot of people I know, and I find myself making my sole purpose in life the happiness of my family. I am spontaneous, I play hard and I’m all about fixing what has been broken, even when what is broken is me. I’m ready for the ride of my life and I hope that you are too. I love you, more than I think you will ever know, because you saved us, when it wasn’t your responsibility to do so. When I look at you, I know I’ve truly found love this time.
More than it was helpful for me when I wrote it, this letter has been such a blessing to me since and let me tell you why. I’ve read and re-read this letter and it’s a constant reminder to me that just because we have kids doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t still be spontaneous. It helps me remember that no matter how tired I am it’s still important to have water fights while doing the dishes and that it’s okay for the kids to see us kissing in the kitchen. It’s a reminder that before our day to day life became busy and sometimes monotonous that these were the things that were important to me and that I need to make sure to continue doing them to keep our marriage from becoming old or boring.
It is a reminder that once there was a lack of love in my life and that there was so much of me that so desperately wanted it. I wanted to be loved and feel needed then and now that I am it’s important to do the things that are going to make sure that it lasts forever.