After four years of marriage, me and husband are gladly still learning about each other, really discovering each other's ticks, letting the ugly show, finding out how to love each other better in ways the other needs. It continues to be a learning process and a bit messy. A few nights ago, we had a conversation about how we were disconnected, how we seemed to be on different pages. We (me) were quick to get angry and defensive. I know there's something deeper going on when my first reaction is to defend myself. I'm not kind and to be honest, can be downright mean. Early on in our engagement we read The Five Love Languages, as most couples do. But what's interesting to me is how those have changed for him and I. What used to be touch and gifts for me has turned into quality time and words of affirmation. For husband, he needs touch. Craves it constantly. When I'm defensive, angry, or any mood that prevents me from wanting to love on my husband, touch is the LAST thing I want to do. But in doing so, my partner feels like the biggest part of him is missing--his wife. Truthfully it was a painful conversation. No wife likes to hear how her husband is hurting. And the same for husband. I told him I needed more time from him--dedicated time with the family. Not just when we're all in the house together, but purposeful actions as a family. Ice cream trips and pumpkin patches and drives and coffee dates and walks. Big or small, I need that. What's more, I want him to come up with an afternoon date. While that comes easy to me, it doesn't for husband. You see, what makes marriage so hard is it's not about me. It's not about the kind of date we went on that husband planned. While those things are great, it's what I'm doing for T. How am I loving him? And when me and my Father aren't connecting, my relationship with T suffers. I harden, get distracted, snap, become lazy. There are pits and valleys and our marriage has been through it. Mountain tops are great but you can't live there. It's where the valleys are that life really happens. But it's for those valleys that I'm most thankful. For without them, I wouldn't be sitting here on a Monday morning so grateful for a husband who wakes up at 6 AM after a long night's work to go look at balloons, delivers coffee to my bedside, fathers our little boy so beautifully, but most of all loves me deep enough to discover more of me and love me despite my ugliness. He is patient, a learner, a listener. and ever forgiving I've learned more about the Lord's grace and steadfast love through those boys of mine. When I love Thomas better, he loves me better--our hearts are full. 
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.

 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. Ps. 84: 5-7

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