“I need you,” he said, holding me for a good long while so I could do the crying I needed to. “I need you.” He walked me to the bedroom. “I need you, too,” I whispered, although I don’t know if he heard me.
I need you.
Big Guy and I recently learned news about a loved one that has thrown us. We spent most of one week realizing that our vague concerns were not groundless. We had a plan for how to respond. Then, in the way life often operates, the plans were pulled out from under us with one phone call hours before we could put our plan into place.
We spent a day processing the news in our own ways. Big Guy growled and watched hours of loud and violent TV shows and movies. He wasn’t much interested in conversation.
I tried to look for silver linings and do regular tasks around the house to create a semblance of normal; I craved the conversation that Big Guy didn’t want.
Late in the afternoon, I went into my office to sort through piles of paperwork, thinking that putting things into order would help me feel like I could put life in order. Instead, I sat and cried, overwhelmed by our news and feeling alone because Big Guy wasn’t interested in the conversation I needed.
I prayed for our marriage to be strengthened by our situation rather than weakened. God reminded me that I am never alone, that He is with me. I realized that if I were to go to my husband and tell him I needed comforting, he would reach past his own grieving to hold me. That knowledge settled me down. I knew my husband would be there for me if I simply asked him to be.
And then God sent my husband to me to remind me in a very tangible way that I am not alone:
I need you.
For many years in our marriage, difficult news drove a wedge between Big Guy and me. We each dealt with things in our individual ways.
We needed comfort, but neither one of us could really count on getting that need met. When tough things happened then, I would cry and feel alone, knowing it was unlikely that my husband would just come wrap his arms around me and let me cry. I didn’t like how vulnerable I felt in needing him, so I pushed that need away far too often.
Big Guy would feel alone, too, knowing that in his very vulnerable state of feeling shaken, he was still likely to get a rejection if he sought the comfort he deeply needed.
Needing each other was not something that worked well in our marriage in those days. It was just too risky.
I need you.
On the recent afternoon when he said “I need you” and I said it back, I clearly saw the vast difference between the marriage we used to have and the marriage we have grown between us now.
I thought about the fact that my husband knew he could come to me to both give and seek comfort. He knew he was safe in approaching me with his need. And I knew I was safe in throwing myself into his arms.
The mutual needing and comforting allowed us to reach beyond the disjointed and shattered feelings inside to feel whole again with each other for a while.
We danced the heart dance of marriage, making love, affirming love, and affirming life.
Much of the work I’ve done in our marriage over the past few years has been overwhelming and hard; my husband hasn’t had it so easy, either. There were many days and nights when I wondered if our marriage could ever be a comfort to me.
Out of the ashes of all that difficulty, God has shaped a safe haven for each of us. The comfort that I thought might not be possible now thrives in our marriage.
The journey to restored intimacy in marriage is not an easy one, I know. As I gave and received comfort in my husband’s arms, I was reminded of how glad I am to have walked this journey. The need I once feared has become part of what weaves us together.
The journey has been worth every battle, every tear, every step of the way. Now I need, I am comforted, and I am safe. I can feel whole.
Reflect on your own marriage. Are you and your husband able to seek comfort with each other in times of difficulty? Do you have a safe haven in your husband, and does he have one in you? Can you feel whole in each other’s arms?