The day after I Do: A love letter to my for-real future husband

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Dear Logan,

Today was a hard day. Maybe it was because I started going to counseling again, maybe it was how overwhelmed I feel with this semester, plus fundraising for my trip to Lebanon this summer, plus, you know, getting engaged last week. Whatever it was, it left me an emotional wreck all day. I had been running at an unsustainable pace, and it finally caught up with me.

You know this, because after a series of very emotional texts you met me in the science building at 11pm. I talked a little, I cried a little, but mostly you held me together and reminded me to be gentle to myself.

I told you how grateful I am that you are a thoughtful, emotionally intelligent man, to which you replied with a laugh, you taught me well. But my words don’t amount to your teachable spirit and eagerness to dive deeper with me these last two years. And as I walked away, I had a moment of clarity: I am marrying the right man. And that truth spread over me, warming my toes with the cozy feeling relief brings.

In that moment, I said my second yes to marrying you. And I plan to keep saying yes, through the fights and wedding mishaps and when we wake up the morning after we said I do, bleary-eyed and shocked that there’s a life for us on the other side of the curtain.

I will say yes in the unemployment, in the miscarriages, in the postpartum depression and the 7-year itch. I want to do the work. I want to keep leaning in and asking questions. Because if there’s anything I believe about the beauty of marriage, it’s that I have the privilege of knowing you better than anyone else. And there is nothing I find more beautiful than the act of knowing and being known.

You ask for conversations at Taylor about men advocating for women, and you tweet about male privilege, and you’re learning how to say tell me more, and I tear up every time because there’s nothing sexier than a man who advocates for women. And I know it all comes from that place in your heart that pushes you to show up and be on my team.

So I will plan the flowers, the colors, the dresses, the food. And you will agonize with me over invitations and websites and caterers, and you’ll make me laugh until I cry (as you always do). But know that my eyes are on the day after I do: when we lay the first stone for our life together. I’m waiting for the infinitely more important moments that will come long after the wedding dress, the cake or our first dance.

I said yes to a life with you. And in case you didn’t know, I’m really glad you asked.

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Breaking up with my future husband

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Dear future husband,

I started writing to you when I was 12 years old.

I had never been boy crazy or interested in dating at my age, but I was fascinated by the future. I always dreamed of college, of moving into a tiny studio apartment in New York after graduation, of graduate school.

And I dreamed of you.

I wondered what you looked like, whether you were short or tall, whether your voice was light and cheerful or deep and rumbling. Whether you and I would like the same TV shows, whether or not we would fight, whether or not you were saving yourself for me.

I was always saving myself for you.

I didn’t know better, really. I was handed books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye and When God Writes Your Love Story, telling me I should write you letters and knit you scarves whenever I felt the urge to date someone. Because if there was anything worse than not saving your body, it was failing to save your heart.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life,” I was always told. So I obediently tucked away my letters, listened to Rebecca St. James and dreamed about how one day you and I would be together forever.

Somewhere between the driver’s tests and college applications, I started to get impatient. I tried to project you on each boy I met, wondering does it fit? Is he you? But each time I was disappointed. And when I went off to college I put you on the shelf, vowing that you would come along after graduation, in the real world.

And then I met him.

He sits with me when I’m weary. Sometimes he has things to say, and sometimes I have things to say, but when we don’t we sit in companionable silence, just grateful to be near each other. He does silence so well—it fits him like a comfortable sweater. He is the most loyal and caring person I know.

But he’s not you. And I know why.

Because you’re not real.

You’re a figment of my imagination. A straw man built for me to believe in. You don’t actually exist. You’re too good to be true, and a sweet fantasy is no substitute for the rich bittersweetness of reality. You, a one-dimensional trojan horse, cannot bear the weight of who I am. You were created to keep me obsessed, to keep me hesitant and second-guessing and I’m done with you.

 

I don’t miss you.

I pulled out the journal the other day. The one written for you. I thought it would be sweet and meaningful, and it wasn’t at all. It felt hollow, and kind of embarrassing. I couldn’t believe how much time I’d devoted to a person who doesn’t actually exist, instead of loving people who actually do exist.

I wish I hadn’t feared giving my heart away, because that’s not even possible. There is no heartbreak that hasn’t been worth the pain; no lost love that hasn’t been wisdom gained.

 

This is the last letter I’m writing you.

I don’t ever plan on writing you again.

I’m respecting myself and others enough to know that perfection is not a fair standard to hold. So if settling is accepting that people are broken and messy but still worthy of love and connection and belonging, I guess that’s what I am.

 

But I don’t mind. I actually kinda like it here on the ground.

We’re gonna become friends.

The hardest part of blogging is usually that I have no idea who’s reading. Not the slightest clue. I can guess from an occasional comment, Facebook like, retweet, or pin, but generally it’s just a big fog of uncertainty.

No more, my friend. No more.

I have a solution for us:

We’re gonna become friends.

That’s right, friends. You think it’s not possible? I beg to differ. Email has this really genius way of bringing people together by sending electronic letters (and if that’s not awesome…I don’t know what is anymore), and you’re wrong if you think I’m not gonna take advantage of that. (HINT: I’m definitely planning on taking advantage of that.)

So I’ve created…

AN EMAIL LIST!

That’s right — my sporadic thoughts and anecdotes can hit up your inbox. I’m creating a VIP list for readers who want a living room exclusively for other emailers, a conversation full of people who are desperately craving to know that they’re not alone in this big world. There’s other people who wake up, groggy and with crazy bed-head, and want more than good grades or a raise.

And we’re all going to find each other.

This is not gonna be stuff you’ll find on the blog, so make sure you sign up if you want more than what you find here. This is for the dreamers who don’t know where to start.

Hats off to you friend. I’m right here with you.

Subscribe here.

-H

She had no choice.

NOTE: A little while ago, I wrote a post about Ruth, the Moabitess. It was such an amazing experience that I’ve decided to make a sequel. Enjoy. -H

She’s gorgeous.

I mean, it says in the Bible that “The woman was very beautiful,” but they don’t tell you HOW beautiful.

She’s stunning. Drop-dead, jaw-on-the-ground kind of stunning. She takes your breath away.

No wonder David wanted her.

Oh, Bathsheba. You are a mystery to me, shrouded in fog and the thick perfume of the palace bedroom of the most famous earthly king of all time. And that is where your dignity ends so often, doesn’t it? Your story ends in the bedroom, helping the king of Israel commit his crimes. If we’re going by the “guilty by association” rule of thumb, you are certainly not innocent.

But I suppose we forget too often how the times were then. You, young and fair and innocent and so very married, had to go to the palace at the summons of the king no matter what you wanted. You were a young woman, left by your husband to fight for a nation that has now taken what he values most. If the king summoned, you had no choice.

And Sheba dear, I wonder how it must have felt to walk into that room. Maybe you did want him, somewhere in a dark corner of your heart. Maybe you hadn’t been wanted so fiercely in a long, long time. Maybe you had never been wanted as much as the king of Israel wanted you in that moment.

Maybe you tried to run. Maybe you were suddenly shy as the handsome young king stepped towards you, pushing your hair away from your face.

Maybe if things had been different, you would have chosen him.

Or perhaps terror gripped you as he pushed the collar of your dress off your shoulders.

We’ll never know, will we?

Oh, Sheba, I am so sorry. So sorry that your crime was being beautiful and desirable. So sorry that if discovered, you would have been the one paying the price for a crime you were helpless to stop.

And I can only imagine the fear that must have gripped you when you realized there was another heart beating inside of you, a heart that was the result of a beginning that should have never begun.

But you are not left there. God is never finished until there is grace. You mothered one of the most famous kings in history, King Solomon. And you raised him and taught him to be kind and wise, and that is what he became. When you closed your eyes for the last time, you were able to end your life with a smile on your face. If that is not grace, I don’t know what is.

Let there never be doubt that God completes what he begins.