Marriage Letters: On the Nightly Routine
The first night you were gone, I wrestled the boys into their beds, the kitchen stacked with dishes. We sang, “Jesus let us,” and they told me all the things you do with them: tickle wars, teeth, a story, prayer. By the time I had turned out their light, I sat down at the bottom of the stairs. I didn’t want my feet to touch the floor any more.
Have I acknowledged that you do so much? Usually by the time you come down, I’ve chosen to feed the baby instead of clean the kitchen. I’m washed with oxytocin, relaxed from having moved all day and already skin to skin with this baby. He’s born now, and having four is different. We land harder, with more of a thud. Once we lay him down, I’m too tired for dishes. I give myself a pep-talk in the mirror, Rocky theme song in my head.
We watch a show or write together. We have a drink. What we do at night is together. You’re in my world. Maybe that’s the rare thing, that we take on passions.
I already hear tomorrow’s whistle blowing, that train coming faster than ever, and I never go to bed without you or without whining that I don’t want it to be over. You make my water and then get in and mess up the covers. You’ve always loved to aggravate me just a little bit, enough to ruffle me without causing a lash. I think it says you still know me.
Sleep is easiest for you and happens almost as your head gets horizontal. I wake you for little things. I just remembered something Ian said. I need the weight of your hand on my side. Don’t snore. Would you turn the air down? Over and over you simply go back to sleep, and no matter how exhausted I am, my mind’s a freight-train barreling down future tracks.
Sometimes I have to nurse the baby again just to get to sleep, and you let the baby get in bed with us, so patient as I unhook from him. I’ve never sensed you giving up on me.
In Africa, your night is my morning. I wake and make my own coffee. I miss you and the sound of steam on an iron I’ve never used.
Come home broken but whole, and we’ll get in the bed and talk about it.
I love being your wife.
Join me and Seth (and also Joy and Scott) as we work hard to preserve marriage by writing marriage letters. There may be only a handful of us doing it, but if you’ve written a letter or a post for your spouse, please do add your link here and be sure to link back to us so others can be encouraged. Especially in this stage of small children, it’s been good for me to see that we aren’t alone, and if you’re past this stage, it’s good to know that you’ve made it.