I was sitting in a hotel room on a king-sized bed at a conference.
I was sitting there alone, not minding being alone, wishing I missed him.
Wishing I missed the man I’d been married to for eleven years and forgetting what the touch of his hand felt like. His calloused, farm-boy hand, the one that found me across the duvet those three years I relapsed into anorexia and sleeping pills, the one which fed me ice chips as I birthed two miracle boys, the one which always gave me the first strawberry of the season from our garden.
And I crawled onto the king-sized mattress then, stretched out across the miles of bed and cried.
I was scared.
I was scared of forgetting how to be in love with my husband.
Every marriage — no matter how strong — finds itself here, at some point: at a crossroads. It’s there we have a choice. If we stay on the same path, we’ll end up not recognizing one another in 10 years and arguing over who gets custody. It is a pivotal moment, this crossroads: of deciding — do I still believe in love, and if so, am I willing to allow it to transform this relationship into something they make movies about?
In other words, do I believe love is the most powerful force in the world? Can it overcome any obstacle —including indifference?
I believe it can. In fact, I know it can, but it means making choices. It means reaching the crossroads and choosing the narrow path, the one leading to a marriage so real and intimate it will make our kids want to get married.
Here’s how we did it.
1. I apologized.
I went home and grabbed my husband’s hand and felt the roughness of his palm and said, “I’m sorry for not letting you in.” I was vulnerable, and in turn, he became vulnerable too. Our feet began to turn towards the road less marked.
2. I chose my husband over work.
I set aside evenings to spend with him. We put technology away, and played Ping-Pong in the garage. He began to make me belly-laugh again.
3. I stopped comparing my husband to other men.
Comparison will eat up contentment. It will rob you of joy. Our disappointments are only as great as our expectations. As bad as it sounds, lower your expectations of your husband and accept him as him.
4. I began to believe that my husband loved me.
He tells me all the time, but at some point, I stopped hearing him. He loves me. For better or worse, till death do us part. He loves me.
5. I prioritized my husband over the kids.
Somewhere along the way, my priorities had shifted, and my children had somehow become more important than my marriage. But it’s my marriage that will be here long after the kids go. So I began to focus on loving my husband first, and my kids, second, because I knew in the long run that would bless my children the most.
Falling back in love with our spouse is not impossible, friends. It just means making some selfless choices. It means turning from the well-worn path and daring to go on an adventure together, one stumbling step at a time.
And in the end? You’ll find yourself back in his arms, laughing so hard it makes the whole world sing.
Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the memoir Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.
What is one step you want to take to fall back in love with your husband?