What Real Love Looks Like

by Jessica Dimas
Originally Published: 
Image via Shutterstock

Dear Husband,

Recently, I haven’t been acting like myself, and I know you haven’t been acting like yourself. We’re tired. Exhausted. Strained. We’re happy, but we’re being pushed to our limits constantly.

You have the weight of supporting a family of four on your shoulders now. You’re stressed and you’re worried. You come home and there are baths to give and babies to put to sleep. You’re woken up early by an alarm clock if you’re lucky, but usually earlier by a baby that won’t let his mommy sleep.

I’m home all day with two young children. I’m running on little sleep. My body doesn’t feel like it’s mine anymore. I watch the hours go by so slowly, while at the same time feel like I don’t have enough time to get anything done. I feel like a failure as a mother and a woman so many days. Why can’t I handle two kids and have dinner on the table when you get home? I worry that you might wonder the same thing.

I’m sorry for all the times I argue with you. I’m sorry for taking my anger out on you. For yelling and accusing. For assuming the worst in you.

In reality, I’m so thankful for you. For waking up early with the baby. For playing with our children every day. For helping me. For always respecting and supporting my parenting choices. For bending over backwards to give the world to your family.

I know I never mention this to you, but I often fall asleep thinking about the lingering hugs we steal in the hallway. Those hugs, when you pull me in tighter and hold on as if you’ve missed me, tell me that you’re still in love with me. You still want me. We’re still us even amidst this new, sweet, chaotic phase of life.

It’s easy to feel like we used to be more in love before we had children. We went on frequent dates, cuddled on the couch while watching our shows, wrote silly and heartfelt cards to each other, and fell asleep in each other’s arms. That’s love, but I think real love is where we are now. Choosing to continuously show up and sacrifice, to give each day everything we have, even if it isn’t much because we’re beyond exhausted. It’s the unromantic but important things that we now do for each other that mean so much: giving your spouse an extra half hour to sleep while you get up with the kids, or giving the kids a bath so your partner can decompress for a few quiet minutes. Giving up our needs and wants for the babies we’ve made together. And holding each other up along the way. That’s real love.

I hear getting through these baby years can be tough, but I know we’ll make it. We’re not just a couple anymore; we’re a family. You’re my family, my home in a crowded room, and I can’t imagine my life without you. So for every dirty diaper you change, every hour you put in at work, every time you get up in the middle of night…I’m going to remember that these are the romantic gestures right now. This is what real love looks like.

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