Marriage Letters: On Home

Write your own Marriage Letter.

Dear Seth,

When the pot gets off the potter’s wheel and then something wonderful like oil pours in, that’s the moment the pot begins to feel at home. This is what I’m here for. This is what life’s all about. I was made to contain this oil of gladness.

I’ve felt this way with you time and time again. When we finally left the ministry and both began studying our separate desires, yours law and mine poetry, I thought we had made it. We were finally on the path, finally doing what it took to be home. These things fit us for a while and then became our brokenness. There were days our marriage felt shattered.

Remember when we were going to adopt? Or what about when we moved to the apartments considering global missions, when we wanted to live on African turf so badly that we sold over half our things before we even knew what country? What about how we’re considering ministry now?

We just can’t seem to stop thinking we’re about to be there, wherever that is, and then we break all over again. 15 years and four sons later, we still aren’t there. Even here in this new little old house we adore, there’s a waiting. A remodel is on the horizon. We knew that when we bought it. Maybe then, when the boys aren’t all sleeping in one tiny room, we’ll be there.

It’s all in flux, how planting the garden made me feel more there already than I ever have, but then the rains came and stood on the roots and hardly anything grew.

Look back at us, though, at all the times we’ve broken, when we’ve felt the most poured out and shattered. I can see it now. We were spinning on the wheel. We were in hands.

Seth, I know the truth. I feel home with you because you are half of me. But look here at the potter’s wheel. Look back at all the brokenness and see, it wasn’t the oil or the babies or the perfect dining room table or the grape vines hanging over the arbor that ever made us feel home.

Home is the wheel. The most home we’ve ever felt together has been in the healing.

Yesterday you asked me to sing with just you at church for the first time. I was so nervous. Worship is the wheel. Surrender is the wheel. Our faith is a leaping thing. Our love is oil pouring. Sometimes we end up empty and sometimes broken, but I know where we’ll end up again.

The Potter’s hands infuse us with love without fail. I believe we are spinning now.


a link list of letters, encouraging all to stake a claim in their marriages over and over again

Read Seth’s letter to me here.

This is a very small community of letter writers, but I believe you’d hear from us all that it’s been good for our marriages. It helps us remember and say the true things. Link up here any time this month, and again on the first Monday of every month. Next month’s topic is “What We Desire.”

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About me


Dear Seth: A Marriage Letter on Your Sobriety and What it Looks Like to Come Clean
October 27, 2015
Wild in the Hollow Book Club: an Introductory video
August 28, 2015
How Right Living Was My Brokenness: a guest post from Kelly Smith
August 11, 2015
A Final Haines Home Companion: a Secret I’ve Kept
June 06, 2014
On Broken Parts in Regular Towns: Alabama, Arkansas, and Haiti
April 03, 2014
On Losing Place
September 05, 2013
How the Light Peeks Through
August 26, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: A Little Eden
March 13, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Alter
February 22, 2013


Elizabeth Marshall
Reply July 6, 2015

So much of this could come from my pen, ny heart, my own lips to my own love. Broken and reshaping on the wheel...a universal link in the chain of humaness for those who allow the Potter to remold, break, remold. Some days it's dizzy making on the wheel. Other days it is the shortest path, the way the crow flies, to wholeness and peace. Tears kerp the clay from drying out. Beautiful Amber.

Suzie Lind
Reply July 6, 2015

This is beautiful Amber and Seth. It resonates with me so much as we are getting ready to pack up our 4 boys and head out to Franklin, TN. This pretty much California girl never thought she would move that far away and yet after a very difficult year of upheaval, shaking and pruning, it is definitely clear where and with who home actually is. I can't wait to read your book... sounds like it is going to be right on time for me. Love and blessings and the insurmountable grace of God all over you and your sweet family.

Debi Schuhow
Reply July 7, 2015

Oh sweet sister in Christ, your words heal me.

Jenny Marrs
Reply July 7, 2015

You took the thoughts swirling in my head and wrote them out so elequently. What a beautiful letter... I can relate to this in so many ways with my own story.

Diana Trautwein
Reply July 8, 2015

We've moved ten times in 50 years, in the middle of #10 right now. And all those places have been home. . . for a while. But always, true home is in the center of us, our commitment to Jesus and to each other and to our kids and grandkids. That's about as simple -- and as complicated! -- as it gets. Thanks for this loveliness today.

Amy M
Reply July 9, 2015

I've read your blog off and on for years now(mostly on!), and I just had to chime in to say that this is sooo beautiful. My husband and I have been broken and reshaped so many times ourselves, and we keep getting drawn ever closer.

Christian Wright
Reply July 31, 2015

Tears immediately popped out of my eyes as I began to read your letter to your Seth. Thank you for being so transparent and raw. You encourage and uplift by being so honest...because you have been broken and have learned that how you walk with the broken is more important than how you sit with the great! I'm biting my nails just waiting a few more days for your book to release. Be blessed sweet Amber.

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