For many years in our marriage, my husband and I seemed to be at odds rather than on the same team. I didn’t always feel like I loved him, and there were times when I allowed myself to feel irritated by just about everything he did.
I would go for long stretches convinced that our marriage had been a mistake, wondering what I had ever seen in him with little recollection of why I’d ever wanted to get married in the first place.
Then I would witness something that knocked away all of my questions and doubts.
When our children were little, there was nothing that melted my heart more than watching my husband care for them.
He sang songs while he changed their diapers, and I got all gooey inside. He played cars with our sons and answered their questions about motors and car stuff. He learned how to help our daughter pick out Barbie outfits and then change Barbie’s clothes. As they got older, he played video games with the kids and passed on wisdom about life and values, went to scout camp with the boys and taught them how to be men, and spent lots of time in the kitchen with our daughter to show her that he loved her and that women aren’t the only ones who can cook.
When our oldest son was five years old, he told a friend’s secret and hurt a friendship. He sat on the couch in the living room; my husband sat on a chair. I listened to their conversation. My son expressed his sorrow and disappointment in himself. My husband talked, daddy to son, about how each mistake is a chance to learn something so we can do better next time. He talked about the importance of relationships. He pointed out that making a mistake didn’t make my son a bad boy. He was still good, and we still loved him. His voice had a gentleness I hadn’t heard before.
Listening to that conversation made my heart all melty.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed similar conversations between my husband and all three of our kids. Each time I have watched my husband open his heart to our kids, I have felt the non-physical aspects of being one flesh quite profoundly. (Most of the time, that has led into a desire to experience one flesh physically as well.)
Last night, our oldest son sat on the couch in the living room. It was a different living room and a different couch, and his dad sat on a different chair. They were positioned just as they were all those years ago. My son and his girlfriend recently broke up, and he is hurting.
Last night he sat on the couch, pouring out his sorrow and disappointment to my husband. The conversation wasn’t a whole lot different from it was when our son was in kindergarten. My husband talked, man to man but still daddy to son, about learning from mistakes. He talked about the value of relationships. He reminded my son that despite his mistakes, he is still a good guy and worthy of love. His voice was full of gentleness, just as it was when my son was in kindergarten.
I sat in the other room and listened to parts of the conversation. My heart swelled with gratitude that our son values his dad’s insight and support. I listened to the gentleness of my husband’s voice. Despite the ache in my heart for my son’s hurt, I could feel my heart go all melty again as I listened to him be a daddy to our grown son.
And later, I wanted to just pour myself into my husband to re-experience one flesh in every way.
Even in my most sexually resistant years, seeing and hearing my husband be a good and gentle daddy who stewarded our children’s hearts broke all the way through the walls I was building around my heart.
It was the one thing that never failed to pull me out of my selfishness and remember that our marriage was far more than two people with conflicting needs and rights.
I ♥ my baby daddy, and I always have.
Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net