Some days you wake up and you realize.
You’ve gotten lost in the mire of too many petty arguments.
Too many “why didn’t you wipe the counter?”
Too much “when are you EVER going to fix the couch?”
Too often focusing on the reasons why he annoys you.
Too few moments when you say “thank you” and mean it.
Worn out, you whisper a little prayer.
“Please god. Help me to remember why I love him.”
But you don’t expect the answer.
Because the next morning it’s the same.
And soon it feels like the only words that come out of either of your mouths
Are words most meant to hurt. To pay back.
You try to remember the words you were taught to say
At that long ago marriage retreat.
“You are not my enemy.”
But they get stuck in your throat.

And then one day
You’re sitting by a waterfall.
You lift your eyes from your book
And you see him climbing off a rock.
Abandoning his fishing rod.
Wading through icy water.
Pausing to help a stranger untangle her fishing line.
And suddenly
You can’t help yourself.
Your eyes fill with tears.
Because you remember.
This is why you let him into your heart.
This is why you said “I do” fifteen years ago.
This is why you decided the risk of “forever” was worth it.

This easy kindness to strangers.
This interest in other people’s lives.
This belief in the value of other people’s stories.
This willingness to pause for the untangling.
The same effortless friendliness
That makes waitresses feel special
And lost boys from single-parent homes remember that they have some value.
And more than that
You remember
That when this same kindness, this same interest,
This same willingness
Is extended to you
Too often you turn it away, reject it
Or stubbornly misinterpret it
Because it wasn’t spoken in the language you thought you needed.

And though you know that someday
You’ll get caught in the mire again
For now
You will remember
And say thank you.

Happy (belated) anniversary, buddy.
Thanks for a lovely weekend.

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