By Brie Gowen
I woke up begrudgingly, honestly not wanting to be pulled from sleep by the irritating announcement of my morning alarm, but it persisted anyway. Yet suddenly my eyes popped open, and it wasn’t motivation for the day ahead that did it. Instead it was an immediate feeling of regret. I picked up my phone shutting down the alarm while instantly opening my text messages, and there in black and white, and a bit of blue was the confirmation of my own hastily written words from the night before. But more importantly the fact that my husband had read them.
I turned to my left and spotted him sleeping still. I’d be unable to apologize before leaving for work, and at that moment I wished I could magically rewind time to take back what I had said. I wanted to reach backwards, grab the snarky, sarcastic remark I had texted him in the midst of anger and exhaustion, and make it go in the little garbage can icon of my brain where it belonged.
I hadn’t been mad at him specifically anymore than I had been angry at the baby for not wanting to sleep after I’d worked all day, but sometimes when you’re tired, cranky and let’s just say it, human, you say some really stupid things. Like really dumb. And that’s how it was with this instance too. My husband had been witness to the ugly part of my personality, and I guess it bothered me the most since I loved him the best. He’s the one I wanted to see beautiful things in me.
Well, that’s not how it is when you’re married. When you date, sure, you can keep it under lock and key some of the crazy you got in your closet, but once you’re living with someone 24/7 for years, it’s not that easy to pretend perfect. Your spouse sees you at your worst. They see that time you got food poisoning and were too weak to wipe yourself. They see hormonal changes, mood swings and childbirth in all its glory. But they also see you at your weakest moments emotionally. They hold you in the middle of the night when you wake up after a dream about your mom who’s passed away, and they wipe away silly tears you cry for not being a more caring child to your parent. They hear you say things you don’t really mean and often times absorb the irrational outbursts you make in a moment of anger. Yet they love you anyway.
Later that morning in the instance I described above I decided to test out the waters with my love, and I sent him a message asking about his day. Immediately we began talking back and forth like nothing was amiss, and I bristled with joy over a relationship that offered such grace to me. Our marriage, thankfully, was like that. We occasionally saw the worst in each other, but conversely we also saw the best.
I saw the way my husband really cared for people he had just met, and he saw my sympathy for others pain. I saw the way his face transformed with joy when he looked at his daughters, and he saw how I selflessly cared for them. I saw the sacrifices he made for our family, and he saw how much I truly loved serving him in return. I saw the way his eyes twinkled with merriment when he got really tickled at something funny, and I thought he was the most handsome man I had ever known.
We had seen some really ugly, awful things in one another over the years, but we had also been able to see past that to the heart of the one we loved. I had seen my husband change a lot of things for me, and he had seen me do the same. Neither one of us were perfect, but we understood you didn’t have to be. You just had to extend forgiveness when someone apologized, grace when they fell short, and have eyes to see the blessing of a caring partner that stood by your side even when they saw you at your worst.
I told him I was sorry for acting impatient and irritable the night before, and he said it was okay. Sometimes I forced my husband to see the worst in me, but he chose instead to see the best.