I’m dedicating this column to the man who always has my back, my partner in life, the Carpenter. And yes, this will be mushy. Prepare yourself accordingly.
If you’ve been in a committed relationship for a long time, you likely think you’ve shared it all, said it all, but over the years, there are things that go unsaid.
We assume these unspoken words of respect, these sentiments of affection, are simply known by our partner. You should just know you are loved, right?
Snap out of it. Nobody should ever have to assume they are loved. Speak up. Tell them. If you share a bed, a bathroom and a bank account, surely you can share some kind words every day. Remember, there isn’t a person among us who doesn’t need to be seen, heard and understood. In these wild times, with a terrifying humanitarian crisis in war raging on, with all we’ve come through, find the words.
It had been a hard day. I wasn’t meant for crisis management, but there I was juggling dramas. I was exhausted. Deflated. Spiritually, emotionally, physically wiped out. Yet somewhere in the madness, there was clarity too. The kind of clarity that leaves a mark.
I’m familiar with the truth that sometimes we must break down to break open. When that happens, I am grateful for a spouse who doesn’t pick up the pieces for me. I don’t need to be rescued. I need to be respected. So, while I found the words to express the mess that I found myself in, he put the kettle on and poured the tea until I could collect myself by myself. Then he did the kindest, most empowering thing: he listened.
He witnessed the spectrum of emotions with a quiet confidence that reminds me that I am safe. Believe me, I know how fortunate I was in this moment, to be safe. To be seen. To be heard. To feel valued. Respected exactly as I am. I never take this for granted. The Carpenter has come to learn that my vulnerability isn’t weakness; it’s deep-rooted strength.
That’s when the Carpenter said, “I understand and I believe you. Trust your gut. I’m behind you 100%. You are stronger than anyone knows.”
You don’t know what those words meant to me in that moment. He didn’t either. It was powerful because it he meant it. And while I know all these things, sometimes, I need to hear it. This was one of those times.
I know it is hard for my husband to watch me spin my wheels in the muck of my mistakes or someone else’s messes, or to dance in the minefield of hopeful situations. I wind myself up in expectations and obligations because somewhere, deep in my psyche, I believe I can make change for the better. I’m often wrong. I work so damn hard to push us forward only to snap myself back to the reality that we’ve already got it all. The two of us.
So, to the man who has never made me work to earn his respect, who is honest even when it might be hard for me to hear, who is loyal and isn’t the least bit insecure to have an independent woman by his side, thank you. In every way, you make me stronger. The world needs more men like you.
I’ll go put the kettle on now. Tell me about your day.
I’ve got your back too.