“Check This Box to Confirm You’re Human”
By Janel Breitenstein
My husband doesn’t travel often. But when he does, it’s international. And sometimes it’s looooong. He’ll be gone just shy of a month when he returns this time, three new stamps in his passport.
In his absence—save some FaceTime visits that feel like a long drink of water—I’ve come to appreciate one of his roles in my life.
My husband humanizes me.
As he’s been gone, my schedule has been wedged with my own work, some care for others, definitely a lot of kid needs (if you saw me during this time and I unexplainably packed you a lunch and asked when I should pick you up, just ignore). I even got a passport stamp of my own this time.
A lot of my life—probably like yours—revolves around need-meeting. And while I value need-meeting, and certainly meet needs for my husband, too, somehow he has a way of communicating, Stop for a minute. There you are. Tell me what’s going on with you.
As efficiency rises in our culture and the relational element dissolves into others’ functionality for us, there’s something about a spouse’s ability to say, You are so much more than what you do for me.
And it’s an everyday thing: When either one of us gets home, rather than “Here’s your toddler! Peace out” or “Glad you’re home. Toilet’s clogged”—we can look each other in the eyes, and offer a breath of air.
Bonus: When he makes me feel seen, being present with me, I suddenly experience an increase in my capacity to see others.
Rather than clambering to prove my worth, he reminds me of who I am because of Jesus: Seen. Known. Loved. Valued. And suddenly, I’m propelled to receive others more, rather than grasping for myself.
Here’s to marriage between humans.
Action points: What’s one area in which you tend to reduce your spouse to the role they play for you? Confess this to your spouse, asking questions like, When I talk to you, what would it look like to appreciate you and all you’re bringing with you? Help me know what your world was like today.
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