“Christmas is not only a season of rejoicing, but of reflection.”
– Winston Churchill
I have what might sound like an odd present to give my husband this year for Christmas.
I want to thank him for not believing in me.
Sure, I know that sounds silly. A little rude, even. But if you were married to a person like me, I think you’d probably understand.
So, without further adieu, a missive of gratitude to my husband:
We’ve had a rough year. We’ve had some revelations brought to light; we’ve had some financial struggles; we’ve had a newly empty nest to contend with. This fourth year of our blended family marriage has been a tough one – the toughest one yet. Yet here we are. Still standing. Still loving one another. And a big part of the reason for that is something you’ve done that deserves recognition.
I want to thank you for not believing in me.
Throughout this tough year, I’ve said a lot of things I didn’t mean. I may have thought I meant them at the time, but in the long run, I didn’t. And you, knowing me as well as you do, didn’t believe me.
When I said we’d never make it when the kids were out of the house. When I said that having at least one of the kids here 24/7 was the only thing that kept us – a talker and a loner – from killing one another and that we might as well just hang it up because we weren’t going to last.
You didn’t believe me.
When I said we were too mismatched and that getting married had been a mistake. When I said you’d be better off with someone who didn’t talk so much – didn’t think so much – didn’t complain so much.
You quietly refused to believe me.
When I said that counseling wasn’t going to help us through the marriage-shattering news you gave me earlier this year. When I said that it was all your fault and nothing could be done to salvage us. You patiently heard me out. But you went to counseling anyway.
And you watched me go too.
You watched me learn that I had a role in this too. And yet you accepted all of the blame I threw at you until I slowly realized you didn’t quite deserve it all.
You wouldn’t believe in me – no matter how much I screamed that it was true.
And then. The worst of all.
When I said our marriage was over. When I said I was leaving. Yes, it hurt. It hurt us both. But somehow, deep down, you wouldn’t let yourself believe me. Would I have done the same in your shoes? Would I have been strong enough to stand my ground, watch my wife hurt, let her rage, and yet still know that what we had was strong enough to weather the storm? I honestly don’t know.
But I’m glad you were.
You didn’t believe in me.
I am human. More human than most. I’m loud. I’m emotional. I’m impulsive. Unlike you, I don’t think through what I’m saying before I say it. And yet, somehow, you’ve learned to live with that. You, with your calm, steady way and a patience like none I’ve ever seen before, are the rock that holds this relationship – this family – together. And it’s all because you’ve learned who I am. You’ve learned that I have faults and one of them (probably the biggest one) is my impulsive mouth. I wish it weren’t true, but it just is. You have your faults too, of course. But that’s the thing – that’s marriage. We’ve learned those faults and we’ve learned to overlook them.
We’ve learned that sometimes the greatest gift we can give another person is just not to believe in them.
So, on this Christmas day of our fourth year, I just want to thank you, my dear husband. Thank you for being the reason we’re still here. Thank you for being the reason that our whole family will be sitting around the table in a few hours eating, laughing, and loving. Thank you for holding on when I was trying so hard to let go.
Thank you for not believing in me – but for believing in us.
Merry Christmas, my love.
“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”
– Dale Evans