I didn't appreciate my husband until I realized the relationship we had was over

M. Brown

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**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Relationships are a journey full of peaks, valleys, and weird, unexpected gray areas in between.

Caring for a partner and their needs is not without a certain sacrifice. Relationships take a concerted effort and marriage is a serious commitment.

Staying interested and engaged with your partner after many, many years is not only a challenge but it often takes remembering who it is that you are in a relationship with — and why you were attracted to them in the first place.

Losing that intoxicating feeling of desire and romance in a long-term relationship is often par for the course . Many couples struggle after so many years to get back to the origins of their relationship and essentially hit the reset button to jog their brains back to how things used to be.

The truth is that things will never go back to how they used to be in any relationship.

Things will never be like they used to be when you were first dating. Things will never be like they were before you moved in together. Things will never be like they used to be before you had children together.

Therein lies the issue I think so many long-term couples have. They’re trying to get back something that’s long gone.

But it’s gone for a reason. Those days are over. That part of the relationship is over. You’ve got to be able to move on to the next phase of a relationship and evolve instead of trying to recapture a feeling that simply cannot be re-manufactured.

This is why I started looking at my husband differently — and actually appreciating the things about him that had gotten lost in the shuffle of life. I started seeing my husband in a new light.

I had to turn with the world as it revolved on its axis and adapt to the way we as people change along with it.

However, despite the duties of day-to-day life that can batter any relationship, the way my husband grins with soft light on his face is still there. The sexy way he looks with a beard is still there. The way his shoulders carry his confidence is still there. The way he always looks at me with a blazing adoration as if he’s seeing me for the very first time and totally enamored with me — is still there.

All of those things that first attracted me to my husband are still there — they’re just hidden away behind the drudgery of routine, schedules, and responsibility. Life.

Sometimes we need reminding of what we have while we still have it.

What we already have carries with it the stories of our origins and our vulnerabilities — the fables of our most intricate lessons.

My relationship with my husband is not always easy. It can be messy and uncomfortable. It can be the epitome of frustration.

But then I look at him — with the sun shining on his eyes — the eyes that look upon me with so much affection — and then I remember. I gaze upon his handsome face — his undeniable appeal — and I remind myself of everything that we’ve been through together from our first date to our first child.

I lament over the day I would ever lose him. I feel gratitude for everything he is. Not just because he’s handsome — but because he is who he is. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to appreciate just how handsome my husband is.

And I try to do that every day.

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Host of The Pondering Stepmom Podcast. Writing about relationships, lifestyle, family & self-improvement.

California State
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