Marriage Letters: On the Sexy


Dear Seth,

You’ve known it four times now, the way my body sprawls all out for a baby. To my surprise and possibly also to yours, I would grow, skin stretch, and you still found me what you wanted. But even then, even though I believe what you say about me, that you want my round legs, I see the sparkle in you as I shrink back down.

Jude asks, “Mama, why is your belly still big?” And I give him whiplash with my response, “Because 4 human beings have lived inside me!” Poor guy. But with you, I don’t lash, don’t feel the need to explain. Natural childbirth has a way of producing awe, giving new definitions.

New definitions or not, though, sometimes I just don’t feel it, the sexy, so lately I prescribed to myself what I think might help. New underwear, I need it. Will you glory in the day that the stretched-out maternity panties exit the building? I see that sparkle when I say I’d like to visit Victoria’s Secret. Yes, I see it,and I love that sideways grin, that thick beard. See? It’s working already!

But then I visit the store, and out of principle, I can’t buy – their marketing to 13 year olds instead of grown women old enough to sign a marriage certificate. Weeks later, I finally stumble on the perfect combination of comfortable sexy, some that won’t remind me of themselves all day long, but that you wouldn’t mind seeing in the laundry pile.

I’m so excited. No, they’re not hot pink or red, but they’re pretty. It’s going to work, I think.

So I put them in the washing machine as soon as I get home. You’re going to love this.

Yet as I stack the laundry, one pair after another held up in the sun, I realize that one of our precious children, the one who inherited my ravenous love for chocolate, had stuffed his pockets with my Christmas dark chocolate, and I had forgotten to check pockets. Splotches, streaks even, of brown chocolate speckle everything, the delicate lace of it all.

And Seth, I’m just going to have to wear it anyway, these chocolate stains, my extra skin, good gravy, my hair, the peanut-butter sun spot. But I know my jeans look good, enough. I listened when my Mama said that I’ll hit my 50’s, and I’ll remember this body, and I’ll call it beautiful. “Appreciate it, girl,” she said.

So yes, you’ve rejoiced well in the wife of your youth, but I declare, you’ll rejoice in her more fully as she ages – somewhat because she’s more full, as in filled out, but also? She’s full of knowledge, the years of working at it, the slow-reaching steadfastness, the secrets we’ve made together, and then the ones that aren’t so secret, the ones who run around here filling their pockets with chocolate.

More this year than the last. More of it all,

Amber

***

Seth and I are going to start recording it as best we can, staking a claim so we’ll remember, writing it out so we’ll better understand and so others will know that we’re all strange, just trying to work it out as we go. If marriage is hard work, and it is, then doesn’t it make sense that we would share the work we’ve done so younger couples would be encouraged, and so those looking for spouses would see the red flags they need to see?

If you’ve written about marriage lately, would you put a link in the comments so others can find it? We’ll be doing this in some form every Monday, writing on the funny and the serious of marriage, so be thinking on it. Let us know there, too, just what you’ve been learning. Have you written to your spouse lately?

Read Seth’s letter here!

photo credit
amberhaines
About me

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39 Comments

Lauren from Texas
Reply January 9, 2012

I wrote an anniversary post this November. We celebrated 4 years of marriage, which have been extremely hard. My husband has stuck by my side while I have battled depression and anxiety. We have had our ups and downs. We've moved about 100 times (give or take). As the lyrics I reference in my post say "But knowing the only thing harder than letting go is holding on." It's true. As friends around us are getting divorced right and left, we cling tighter to each other...sometimes clawing and kicking each other, but clinging nonetheless. Between that and the grace of God, we've made it 4 years, and hopefully will make it 40 more.

Here's the post: http://laurenfromtexas.com/2011/11/18/november-18th-2007/

Thanks for writing. I always enjoy your perspective. It's beautiful and full of inspiration.

    Amber
    Reply January 9, 2012

    Lauren, I love it, love seeing your photos, too. It's work, isn't it? But it can be beautiful.

Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama
Reply January 9, 2012

Preach it sister, the chocolate full wonder love of the marrieds. Preach it. We're all taking notes ;)

    Amber
    Reply January 9, 2012

    Well, here's note number one: when all the chocolate gets washed into your new underwear, GO BUY MORE!

    I love you, LJ.

melissa @ the pleated polka dot
Reply January 9, 2012

i love this!! your words, so poetic. i feel the same sweet mama. trying to embrace the stretches, bulges and wrinkles and enjoy the good life i have been blessed with.
love is a beautiful thing.

i wrote a post a while back on marriage
http://thepleatedpolkadot.blogspot.com/2011/11/thoughts-on-marriage-no2.html

    Amber
    Reply January 9, 2012

    I love it, Melissa! Thank you! Being friends, wow that sure does help, huh?

Robin ~ PENSIEVE
Reply January 9, 2012

You and Seth, you're good. And I see your sexy. And IT'S good!

Sweetness, a knowing, this marriage thing requires everything, doesn't it? And when we resist, mercy...clouds roll in til we remember again.

Y'all are wise beyond years to remember again and see the new.

When I wrote about the hard of marriage a while back, the comments were tough but the emails even more so. http://bit.ly/nnbj0o

Which tells me your goal in these letters will pierce the hearts of many :).

    Amber
    Reply January 9, 2012

    Robin! I don't know how i missed that post, but DANG!

    Everybody READ ROBIN'S POST!

    Just breathe is so right.

      Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight
      Reply January 13, 2012

      No kidding! Such a great post!! When we went thru the pit-of-despair in our marriage, like Robin, I was horrified at just how close I was to understanding how a woman could leave. Leave it all.
      We made it thru. Big deep breaths. Sticking it out.
      And yes, eventually, the rainbow fulfilled its promise.

      http://freeagentmommy.typepad.com/blog/2011/11/grateful-for-my-beloved.html

      Thanks for this absolutely beautiful reminder to cherish & invest in our marriages, Amber!! I've lost almost all the baby-weight, which we're both enjoying...and I think I'm due for some sexy new lingerie!!!

Joy @ Joy In This Journey
Reply January 9, 2012

I wrote a letter to my hubby on our anniversary in September: http://joyinthisjourney.com/2011/09/thirteen-years/ and he wrote a bit about us in this post about coming to terms with my doubt: http://movingbusmeditations.blogspot.com/2012/01/coming-to-terms-with-her-doubt.html It has been hard, but it is good to remember and learn and pass along the lessons. This is a great idea, Amber.

Anne
Reply January 9, 2012

Amber, thankyouthankyouthankyou. I am grateful for the encouragement. Thank you for sharing this. I so appreciate it when those further along in their marriages give a peek into their relationship. It's a blessing!! My husband and I are new to being husband and wife (married in May of 2011), so it's fun and encouraging to see what we could--potentially--have ahead of us.

Genevieve @ Turquoise Gates
Reply January 9, 2012

This letter was awesome. Reminds me of something someone told me the first year I was married (and already pregnant, and stretching, and feeling less than sexy). Love is like a flower - there is beauty in the bud, but also in the flower full-blown and the dried petals in the jar years past the first blush.

I wrote about dating my husband here:
http://www.turquoisegates.com/2011/12/tonight-in-tavern.html

Linda
Reply January 9, 2012

We will celebrate 45 years of married "togetherness" this saturday. I look in the mirror and marvel that he somehow, miraculously still feels the same way he did all those years ago.
I am so glad you wrote and then shared this letter Amber. You've said it all so beautifully.

adriana willey
Reply January 9, 2012

amber, i am a silent reader but i couldn't keep still on this one. you tell a story that i know by heart. and good for you, fighting for sexy. inspires me to too.

here's a post i wrote about my marriage:
http://willeya.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/my-marriage/

Jessica
Reply January 9, 2012

Yep! I love your writings. My latest words to my husband can be found here:

http://ohthebittersweetness.blogspot.com/2011/12/3-years.html

Prudence
Reply January 9, 2012

Sexy underwear and chocolate. Isn't that what it's all about? ;)

For our anniversary I wrote him a litter as his gift, I did the same at Christmas. Neither were sexy letters but heart-felt thanks and appreciation.

I have ironically, a category on my blog called "Love Letters" in which all my little marital posts go in. Some are mushy...some speak of the work that comes in marriage. http://www.prudychick.com/love-letters/

imperfect prose
Reply January 9, 2012

chocolate-underwear: what more can a guy ask for? don't they sell those at adult stores anyway? :) i love your raw honesty, your beautiful humility dear amber (and seth)... looking forward to linking at some point!love e.

diana trautwein
Reply January 9, 2012

Ah, these are so lovely, Amber. Read Seth's first and loved these tender peeks at your relationship. In the middle of a very rocky December, we celebrated #46...and it sort of got lost. But last year, we had a sweet time reminiscing and I wrote this post about us: http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com/2010/12/anniversary.html

Janna Barber
Reply January 9, 2012

I laughed as I read about the chocolate stained panties, but if it'd happened to me that way, I probably might've cried first. I re-posted an old one to John today (great minds think alike) and here's one I wrote a month or so ago too:

http://rainbowdull.blogspot.com/2011/11/what-its-like-to-love-somebody.html

Shelly Miller
Reply January 10, 2012

Love this! I don't know a single woman with kids who can't relate and your courage to speak it truthfully gives me courage too. I have a hard time writing about my relationship with my husband because it feels sacred. Here is my post explaining that just a bit. http://redemptionsbeauty.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/what-love-looks-like-when-words-hide/
Blessings!

Ashley
Reply January 10, 2012

I loved reading your stories. Thank you for that beautiful glimpse of enduring, changing, heart open love. So, so good.
I wrote a little while back about my husband -- he of big hands and subtle, powerful devotion -- and our marriage.

http://ashleymlarkin.com/2011/12/08/the-good-of-remembering/

Addie Zierman
Reply January 10, 2012

Such a beautiful letter. I love that you are doing this. I love all the lines, but most of all this line: "And Seth, I’m just going to have to wear it anyway, these chocolate stains, my extra skin, good gravy, my hair, the peanut-butter sun spot."

At my blog, I have been grappling with different Christian words, terms, Jesus-talk, evangelical phrases. Lately I've been thinking about that evangelical pin-up girl, the Proverbs 31 woman and the way that striving has robbed my marriage--how in trying to BECOME I am forgetting to BE.

    Addie Zierman
    Reply January 10, 2012

    I suppose a link might be helpful: http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/?p=310

Sharon O
Reply January 10, 2012

I read both notes and they are adorable. After being married for 38 years there are seasons of ups and downs and the journey together is forged within those times. Love does stay but it changes. It has no choice. Life alters innocent love, reality happens babies come, middle of the night needs happen, teenagers grow and it continues. Press on and into your love for each other that will be the GIFT of a lifetime you can give to your children. They always appreciate it.

hannah singer
Reply January 10, 2012

oh, amber, thank you for sharing this.
encouraged and inspired to write my own.
right now!

always grateful for you, even if i rarely am able to comment xo

ann
Reply January 10, 2012

I LOVE this! Read both yours and his. I can say, after being with my hubby for 28 years and mom to a 20 year old and 13 year old, that every stage is better somehow than the one before.... each one a new discovery waiting, a new lover to meet in the same spouse you've loved for years.

Mollie
Reply January 10, 2012

Amber,

I am such a fan of your blog, you have no idea! Thank you for your honest and beautiful reflections. You have encouraged me so much as a newly wed wife. It's nothing monumental, but your challenge here reminded me of my first post on marriage - particularly the little every day moments that sometimes make me drag my feet.

http://lightbymorning.blogspot.com/2011/11/walking-with-god.html

Tara@pohlkottepress
Reply January 10, 2012

I love this...sharing the hardship of marriage has been my scariest thing to share, but there is love here, in the hard. Love and beauty...and life.

Just wrote some words about this on Monday...
http://pohlkottepress.blogspot.com/2012/01/outside-our-door.html

cassi
Reply January 12, 2012

I love the letters! Great idea. We have been writing about marriage here. http://brightforest.blogspot.com/p/restoring-us.html
It is a shared blog with my husband.

erin a.
Reply January 16, 2012

I love the letter project. Sweet!
It's hard to love your stretched out self, huh? I am beyond grateful that my husband sees the beauty in all the "stages" of my body. :)
I going to try to follow along in this project. But my latest marriage post is here from last week.
http://adamshome.blogspot.com/2012/01/real-marriage-this-is-ours.html

Marla
Reply February 2, 2014

This is beautiful! Back in July I wrote a blog regarding my sexual shame in our marriage (http://www.passionprovokers.com/1/archives/07-2013/1.html and scroll down to "Are you sexually independent?"). I am writing a blog today on how my subterranean negative thinking has hurt our marriage. Thank you for this platform to share with each other our failures, our struggles, our hope and our joy!

~m

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