I wanted to write you a love letter with timeless words and meaningful sentiments for our one year anniversary. Instead, I could think only of your hands, your long fingers and bitten nails, the way the top is tanned dark and your palm is pink with creased lines. A few days ago, those hands held a dirty rag and cleaning supplies while you cleaned our whole house top to bottom as a surprise for me. You said it was cathartic to use your hands to make our house shine after a full morning of staring at a computer screen putting words together into sentences and thoughts and paragraphs.
Over two years ago your hands held a tiny black box with a ring hidden safely inside. They shook as you bent down on one knee and held that ring up to me, asking me if I would marry you. Do you know that was the easiest, “yes” of my life? I didn’t hesitate, I didn’t have to think. My answer was and is forever, “Yes.”
For months before we were married your hands tapped out text messages to me while I was at school. Even 250 miles away, your hands found ways of comforting me. On a warm August day, I stepped into a white dress, my hair curled and my makeup done, and I waited. When I saw you, I wanted to fall into your arms and never leave. I wanted to whisper all the things I love about you into your ear and watch you smile. I wanted your laugh to be the soundtrack I listened to for the rest of my life. When we said our vows, I tried to memorize the moment, not wanting to forget how the sun shone brightly on your dark hair and glinted off the new ring on your finger.
People ask me what it is like to be married to you and I want to answer it is like a dream. Every night that I fall asleep curled next to your warm body in a bed we share, I can’t help but think about what a gift you are to me. Every morning that I wake up and you are there beside me, sleep still in your eyes and your hair a morning mess, I feel as though I am waking up to a dream.
People say we are still in the honeymoon phase and have yet to experience what marriage is truly like. It is always spoken like a low warning, as if our joy and love is a threat because our marriage is less than a year old. Sometimes I wonder if they would change their minds if they had been with us on those long nights when your hands rubbed the small of my back while I cried into your chest. I wonder if they would try to stuff the words back into their mouths if they had stood beside us at the funerals we attended, if their eyes found the grave mud still on my shoes kicked off at our front door. When I say that being married to you is like a dream, it is not because we are unfamiliar with what it is like to live in a nightmare.
Our love is young, but it is not untested. At night in the darkness of our bedroom your hand always finds mine and you pray for us, your voice as soft as a lullaby. On weekends when you stand on a platform with lights shining in your eyes and the members of our church gathered in seats to hear, that same hand curls around your bible as you preach. You are a man who is as faithful in the quiet and the dark as you are in the spotlight on a stage, and this is something for which I am more thankful than you know.
When we are home, you slip your hand into mine while we sit beside each other. Your fingers are calloused from the strings on your guitar and I think about how you fill our home with music. With you, each moment is its own verse and bridge and chorus. Sometimes you sing quietly along with the music and I hold it in my heart like a secret, the way your voice lingers in the room even after you’ve stopped singing, as if the walls are still listening.
Your hands fit you. Your hands are big like your joyful laugh and the way you love people in a way that is larger-than-life. Your hands are soft like the way you speak to me after a long day, or the way you tear up at every sad scene of a movie. Your hands are warm like your smile and the way you invite people into friendship so easily and naturally.
I stand next to you and your hand finds mine just like your laugh found me and your soft voice found me and your smile and friendship found me. You pull me out of myself and make me better. You serve me tirelessly and encourage me without complaint. You are my counterbalance, the hand I find in the middle of the night when I am afraid.
We’ve now been married for a year and every moment feels sacred. I don’t ever want to forget that. I don’t ever want to forget how our hands, just like our lives, fit together perfectly. I am grateful that we found each other, that one night the Lord deemed it good and right for us to reach out, look each other in the eyes, and fit our hands together. I pray, even if it is a foolish prayer, that we will always have each others’ hands to hold.