Marriage Letters: On Outside Influences

from weheartit

Dear Seth,

I came to marriage with misconceptions – what is sexy, what is biblical wife, what is it to make a man happy. I think often in all our not-knowingness, we reach for answers and affirmations. We feel weak in our wobbly dyad, so we look for another something to hold us. We’ve brought in friends, welcomed old baggage, emotional affairs, and late nights on the internet to take the edge off. We’ve done our share of triangulating, so we won’t have to deal together.

But I’m not writing about those negative influences so much, except to say that anything that helps me stand without you, ought not be welcome in my life. I have experienced a pulling away from you, but I’ve also experienced the beauty of learning to walk with you, just the two of us leaning into one another.

There have been influences that have pushed me into you, made me want to wait for your timing or given me grace to take up the slack. Friends in loving marriages don’t stop pointing us in the right direction, and every once in a while, an older man or woman will step in and speak truth or pray over us. Those are rarities hard to forget.

Once I paid a babysitter so I could eat alone and read a book at a local restaurant. It was a marriage book. You know the one, and I pretty much hated it dearly. Nevertheless, I saw a couple walk in, both at least 80. The man had no idea where he was, and he smiled and shuffled. She held his arm, guarded his cane, and led him with her voice. He happily obeyed, kept his eyes on her. She napkinned at the table to clean it, and then walked to the line to order while he sat looking about the room, just as likely expecting a circus as a turkey sandwich.

As she walked forward, I caught her eye, the word “wife” on my book, and she recognized it immediately. With a hand on my table, she said, “I’m so happy to see you read that book. You keep reading. You keep working to love your husband.”

Then she looked up at him, the eyes behind her eyes were young, the eyes of a lover, and she said, “Do you see that man over there?” I said, “yes, I do.”

She said, “I wouldn’t trade one minute God has given me with him. That man has never stopped blessing me. I love him, and it’s all been worth it.”

How God gave me that moment, I don’t know. We both had tears in our eyes, both of us so proud to believe and be loved. It floored me.

I watched her get their food, and then she fed him from her plate.

Why aren’t there more positive influences, Seth? This is why I feel called, that woman in the restaurant, to tell the younger ones to keep going. Sometimes we need to hear it, we need it to be acknowledged that this isn’t easy, but that it’s worth it.

It’s only been 13 years for us and already worth it. One day if you shuffle me smiling into a restaurant, I don’t doubt for a minute, that you’ll love me more then than you do now. I don’t doubt it a bit. Don’t forget how much I love bacon and chocolate. I’ll take some on everything.




Please join Seth, Joy, Scott, and me as we hold our marriages up to the light. Call your marriage what it really is. We believe that when we bless our own marriage, we bless the marriages of others. If you write a post, simply leave the link to your Marriage Letter post only, and then send your readers to this post for more encouragement from others. Thank you for joining us.

Follow theRunaMuck on Facebook for an update on future Marriage Letters topics in case we decide to write letters again. If we do, I would love to hear what topics you suggest.

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About me


Marriage Letters: On New Seasons
April 06, 2015
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February 02, 2015
On Healing and Wholeness: a Resolution and a Marriage Letter
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Marriage Letters: How We Co-labor
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Marriage Letters: Once Upon a Time
February 03, 2014
How and Where to Undo the Chains
October 18, 2012
Marriage Letters: I trust you because …
April 15, 2012


Reply April 30, 2012

Brave stuff for both of you. Blessings as you continue to be proactive and pragmatic. Kinda like those two words, actually…they’ve got a nice alliterative ring to them.

Jessica Y
Reply April 30, 2012

Kinda like with our relationship with Jesus. It has gotten sweeter everyday? Pressing into Him more, I love Him more. Know Him more. Let the same be said of my my love of my husband.

diana trautwein
Reply April 30, 2012

Ummm....this is weird. The comment from "Mildred" up there is exactly the comment I posted at Seth's place last night. That has never happened before - plagiarizing a comment. Wow. Guess I'll take the positive tack here and be complimented?

At any rate - I loved this post Amber. I'm glad you took this tack because it's such an important one. And that woman's words to you, coupled with her living out what she said, was of far more value than any book on marriage ever written. It's what I love about intergenerational church fellowships and small groups. Doing life together across the generations is a gift, one I value and look for. Hope you keep finding it, friend.

Reply April 30, 2012

The pediatrician is about to walk in the room where aubry j and I wait...he'll find me with tears! I love this post.

Reply April 30, 2012

Words that have taken me years to learn, "that anything that helps me stand without you, ought not be welcome in my life. " That is opposite that the feminist, family-dividing world had taught me. But oh the joy of discovering that the more I lean into my husband, my marriage the stronger I can stand. {still loving this series, thank you}

Megan at SortaCrunchy
Reply April 30, 2012

Love this so very, very much. Making my eye make-up get mussed up.

Reply April 30, 2012

So beautiful and true. Never easy, always good.

Genevieve @ Turquoise Gates
Reply April 30, 2012

Your prompt this week brought me back to the most painful place in my marriage. It was good to reflect on it for a while. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jennifer Upton
Reply April 30, 2012

Tears slowly streaming down my face as I read your words. I don't think anyone here in Starbucks notices, but I pray someone will so I can tell them of this love we know. Your fingers new just where to land today. The exact words needing to be spelled capturing the picture of the story you shared. I adore your heart, your love for marriage and your willingness to be a student of it. I will never forget the day I sat alone in a coffee shop ashamed of the book I was reading. The title read in big bold letters "UNFAITHFUL." I look back wishing that someone my senior would have stopped and shared with me a story of hope. Telling me in sweet candor "Your husband is worth the fight." My story did not go as yours did which calls me to be to others what no one was to me during that time. Thank you for your living example to keep sharing. To be courageous where so many are not.

Reply April 30, 2012

It's only been two years for my husband and me, but I find these letters to be incredibly encouraging.
...encouraging isn't a strong enough word... These 'positive influences' are life-saving in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your love struggle so publicly with all of us.

Amanda @wandering
Reply April 30, 2012

I just want to cry reading about this. I get choked up every time I see true-love-old-people. Oh, how I need some more older, positive marriage influences in my life here locally.

Melissa@one thing
Reply April 30, 2012

Oh wow. I love that story...I had a very similar experience once when a little old man taught me about love...I wrote about it here

Praying for you as you two stake your claim...there is occasionally some opposition to such righteous audacity.

(Sorry I can't join in the letters this week....getting jack hammered by life a little...)

    Reply April 30, 2012

    Oh girl. Jack hammer is the way to put it, isn't it? Hang in there. I really do appreciate how you encourage us even when you're not writing.

Reply April 30, 2012

I just wanted to say that I'm not married but I have so enjoyed your marriage letters. Thank you for doing them.

Stephanie Precourt
Reply May 1, 2012

Breathtaking, really.


Emily Woodhouse
Reply May 1, 2012

Loved it. Made ma eyes drizzling a little bit. God bless you.

Emily @ The Pilot's Wife
Reply May 1, 2012

This made me well up.

And then burst out laughing because I was picturing Seth leading you around and feeding you chocolate and bacon. And rubbing your eyebrows backwards.

Reply May 2, 2012

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story..I really appreciate it..Hope you can share again..

erin a.
Reply May 5, 2012

This is one of the best yet, Amber. You had me in tears. Beautiful! I love the picture of the elderly couple in the cafe. Praise God for lasting love!

Reply May 5, 2012

love. love. love it!
You are inspiring, girl!

Adam Lehman
Reply May 7, 2012

Thanks for sharing. Very inspirational. Helped me to see what my priorities & commitments can look like.

Arlene Mitte
Reply May 28, 2012

I really love your marriage letter. I am so touch reading. Every changes that your marriage relationship are experiencing, I know that both of you can handle it well.

Daniela Foster
Reply June 1, 2012

So touching marriage letter. It seems you are ready to face for various changes in your marriage life. Good luck and more happiness in your life. For sure more unexpected moments you are excited to experience.

Reply April 11, 2013

Afraid my bedtime is being compromised a little more with every click! I have found a kindred spirit, for sure... God bless you & yours!

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