I stretch and yawn on the couch and then spend a moment or two tidying up the living room. I fold a quilt, put a few books back on their shelves, pile forgotten toys in the corner. In the kitchen, I glug a glass of water, turn out the light. Onward up the stairs now, where 5 souls already slumber and I'm heading to join in.
In the pitch black of my bedroom, I fumble, glancing at the clock and reminding myself that he has to be up in four hours, trying to keep quiet.
Every night, I slide beneath the blankets, and his warm feet find my cold ones. He rolls over in his sleep and throws an arm around my middle. And every night I'm filled with wonder at this, what true love looks like. Two people, clinging close, bonded and melded.
Every night, just before drifting off, I whisper into the darkness, although I know he doesn't hear.
"I love you."
Its more than just a profession of feeling, its a promise.
Looking out for number one does not work in marriage, unless the "one" you are looking out for is the two of you, bonded into one. Putting your needs and wants above those of your spouse only leads to frustration and discontentment. Conversely, prioritizing the relationship and what is best for both involved can lead to a closer, stronger relationship. True love is truly selfless. And while we struggle from time to time, we continue on with this as our goal.
I know it looks naive to the world, the one that tells you that you should always have an escape clause, a way to get out in case things turn sour. Going all in is too big of a gamble, hold back, never vulnerable, and you won't get hurt. I stumble ahead in faith and together we bring into the world 2, 3, 4, soon to be five little people in a radical act of hope and trust. I allow myself to be vulnerable here, setting aside career aspirations and staying home with the people we've brought into the world, not because I believe he is perfect, but because I believe what we have can succeed - if we continue on in fidelity and faith, together.
I fall asleep with his arm around me and wake to his cold pillow, him long gone, working, doing his part to keep this thing we have going. Not because it is easy or always fun but because it is worth something. I get little people up and dressed and fed and start my laundry, my dishes, my schooling. Just as my body is a home for our newest little one, I know when I am fully here, I represent home to him and to the family we have together.
He comes home after a long day and pulls me close, turning me away from my sink-full of work. We touch foreheads. The kids come running in and he gets pulled away, but we're held together in this moment. One in spirit, one in vision. Neither perfect, both doing all we can.