“She held his hand like she never wanted to let him go,” my husband told me quietly one evening. It’d been a tough day. A co-worker whom my husband deeply respected was losing his battle with cancer. He and his wife had stopped by the office to pick up his things and say goodbye. He was a tremendously talented man, a father of three young children, husband of a beautiful wife, and he had a contagious passion for life.
My husband’s words replayed in my mind as I cut the grass the following afternoon. It was an unusual statement from my husband, and it caused me to think and to pray.
“Lord, is that what my husband wants – to know he is so deeply loved that I never want to let him go?” The question simmered for a couple of weeks till one afternoon a friend asked me how I was doing. When I hesitated and shrugged, she asked again, wanting more than a cursory, “Fine.”
“I’ve been in more pain than usual,” I slowly admitted, “and I’m retreating from the world again. Communicating is difficult when the pain is bad, and sometimes, it requires more energy than I’m willing to invest.”
Saying those words aloud – willing to invest – sliced straight through to my soul. I hadn’t realized that selfishness often crept in with the pain. I wondered how often I’d expected my husband to know what I was feeling, to understand my frustration, my increasing loneliness and isolation, to somehow figure out, without being told, how difficult communication can be for me when the pain is bad.
Too often, I guessed. Likely, far too often.
I’d been expecting my husband to read my mind, but he can’t. Only God can, and though He knows every single word I’m going to speak before I say it, that isn’t enough even for God.
For not even God wants a one-sided relationship.
Instead, He longs to spend time with me, longs for me come to Him in prayer, to sit at His feet and rest in His presence. And if all that is true of God, how can it be any less true of my husband?
Suddenly, my husband’s words began to make sense.
We all long to be loved.
My silence wasn’t just isolating me, it was isolating my husband too. Cutting us off from one another.
My husband longed not only for my words, but also for my touch. To know that he is loved. Deeply. Personally. Intimately.
Like I never want to let him go.
CINDEE SNIDER RE is wife of nearly 25 years to the man she loves most in this world, mama of five world-shaking creatives (16-24), writer, photographer, craver of quiet, and lover of cotton, denim, Jesus and tea. Cindee and four of her five kids have Ehlers-Danlos, dysautonomia, and myriad co-existing conditions.
Radical hope. Compassionate change. Equipping those affected by chronic physical and mental illness through community and education rooted in Jesus Christ.