A few weeks ago when I went to put my 8 month old down for her morning nap, I found my husband in bed unresponsive. We had woken up that morning, he had given Warrior Princess her bottle, then went to lay down.
I called 911 and all of the madness you think would ensue did ensue. As I stood in the living room feeling a panic attack close in around my lungs and heart, Warrior Princess brought me back to the present and I knew I couldn’t lose my sh*t because she needed me.
In the emergency room, as my husband’s bed was surrounded by nurses and doctors and he he cycled in and out of almost consciousness, I looked at his seemingly lifeless face and thought that I needed him to fight. I needed him to fight and come back to us. That’s when the question struck me: does he know how much I love him? Does he know, without a doubt how much I need him? Not us, not Warrior Princess and I – just me? Does he know how much I’d want him to be fighting to come back to me?
I couldn’t BS myself. He didn’t know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how much I loved him. Maybe I’d been a good friend, maybe I’d been really trying to be the best mom, but somewhere along the way, through life, pregnancy, motherhood, life, job, depression, did I mention life..?, being a good wife kind of feel out of focus.
I didn’t expect perfection of myself -I still don’t – but I forgot to try. I forgot to work at it. I forgot that love is a choice you make every single day. I forgot that those little relationship challenges you see on Facebook inspire you to continue working at your marriage. I forgot that my husband needed me as much as my Warrior Princes. I forgot that he needed me first. I forgot that I needed him.
The thing with getting married a little later in life is that you know what you want in a partner just a little bit sooner. Matt and I were engaged 6 months after dating and married 6 months after that. I had prayed about the man I wanted and then prayed about Matt when we started dating. I knew for sure he was it. But, the other thing about getting married a little later in life, is that you have a little more baggage, a few more hangups. The negative thoughts and bad coping mechanisms I’d developed over the years snuck into my marriage. I was harsh when I should have been warm. I was begrudging when I should have offered grace. I was closed off when I should have offered and open heart. Not that my feelings in those moments were invalid but I had forgotten to try.
The first night Matt was in the hospital, I sat on the edge of our bed, talking to God. I looked over at Matt’s empty side and resolved to be a better wife. If I should be so lucky as to be able to continue my life with Matt, I would remember to try.
My friend and sorority sister, Jennis, reminded me that when you get married, you pledge to work on those “for worse” times together, because you’ve made a commitment to each other. You mess up and you’re human together and you fix it, together.
There are so many people who don’t get the chance to check themselves. Would I have rather had a vivid enlightening dream instead of the terrifying reality of those five days to open my eyes to whom I had become? Absofreakinglutely. Will I forever cherish my second chance? Absofreakinglutely.
Matt came home five days later.
I get to be a better wife. Not a perfect wife. Not a fake wife. But a better wife to my husband who is deserving of my resolve to keep trying, “for better or worse.”