My husband and I recently celebrated 15 years of marriage. I spent some time on our anniversary morning looking at our wedding photos. I found myself trying to remember what we were like at 18 and 19 years old, when we vowed to love and cherish each other for all the days of our life. When I really thought about it, I could barely remember that young man standing beside me in the photos. My husband just isn’t the same man that I married all those years ago.
I can’t really pinpoint the moment he became someone I no longer recognized. It was just sort of a gradual process. One evening I was having dinner with a group of ladies, some with kids, some without. After a while, the conversation turned to our husbands. I laughed at their stories of husbands who can’t seem to actually get any clothes into the laundry hamper and the ones who get the grocery shopping list all mixed up every single time. Of course there were also stories of husbands who are afraid to take the baby anywhere by themselves. There were also husbands who just refuse to give the kids baths. I tried to interject some comments like “don’t worry, they figure it out after a while” or “trust me it gets better.”
Then it hit me. I have an amazing husband. He isn’t typical or average at all. Here I was trying to reassure these women that their husbands would grow and improve when I know that just isn’t always the case. I am aware that many marriages are difficult, unbalanced, and sometimes need to end. My husband made a conscious effort to be the best man that he could be for our family, but all men don’t make that choice.
In the early years of our marriage I worried if my husband stayed out too late with his friends. I got frustrated at him when he neglected the yard work weekend after weekend. It irritated me to no end when he would leave cups or bowls sitting around. We were head over heels in love with each other, but I constantly compared him to what I thought a perfect husband should be. It didn’t matter that those expectations weren’t realistic or even fair.
Then all of a sudden my view of my husband took a big turn. All it took was one glance of him holding his tiny newborn son. People aren’t kidding when they say seeing your husband hold their child makes you love them even more. Before we ever had kids, my husband told me he would make sure that his kids knew exactly how much their daddy loved them everyday. Many times he had been left wondering about his own father’s feelings toward him, and that wasn’t good enough for his kids. Let me tell you, there hasn’t been one minute that I have ever doubted that our boys know exactly how much love their daddy has for them.
My husband is the kind of guy that leans in when things get tough. Three times he has experienced the worst pain a parent will ever feel, yet he remained strong. He put his grief aside to carry me through the darkest time in our lives. More than once, he has been dealt a set-back professionally or personally. However, he always stays focused on what is best for his family and gets right back to business.
You see my husband isn’t just a husband anymore. He is a daddy. He’s the leader of our family, our protector, and the greatest friend I’ve ever known. He is attentive to his wife, all while giving his children the love and support they need as they grow. He’s the fixer of broken appliances, the guy building a backyard fort for the boys, kisser of boo-boos, and the silliest tickle-monster around.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for the strong, amazing husband and father he has become. I truly would not want to do life without him. He is my partner and my equal in every way. I’m not saying that we are always perfect, or that we don’t have arguments over daily things, because we do. Marriage is always a work in progress. You have to look for the best in your spouse.
It is important to acknowledge the fact that your spouse may not remain the same person you married. Strong partners always support the growth of one another. It may mean letting go of who you “think” your partner is or should be and paying attention to who they are now. After all, it’s called “growing old together” for a reason.
So give that amazing partner of yours a high-five, a social media shout-out, or leave them a thank you note around the house. I’m willing to bet they will enjoy hearing how appreciated they are.