It all changed when we moved to the east coast. We had a reason to drive to the summer cottage in Canada instead of flying on a plane from Phoenix. Eighteen hours in a mini-van with two kids and a dog seemed reasonable to him. And why don’t we do it in one shot, instead of unloading just to sleep for a few hours.

It was then that the disparity in our patience scales revealed themselves like seeing a woman without makeup for the first time.

Because I start counting the hours remaining until I step on permanent land, after the first potty stop – four hours in. And the accumulation of  miles we travel over these twenty-one years together have changed me from a kite spinning furious in the wind to one that glides free on waving gusts of his patience.

But really, his patience roots deep like Live Oaks waving their mossy arms in the Deep South. It’s been there since the beginning. When his mother gives him money, tells him to walk a few blocks through city traffic, get lunch at Burger King because everyone else in the house is violently ill. Only six years old when he stretches out his arm to the cashier, trusts she will return the correct change back in to his little palm.

Patience is the child of faith, and together they fit him like a well-worn pair of jeans. Comfortable and forgiving. Unfortunately, mine still need some breaking in.

I realize how tight they fit when we discipline our kids. The way my heart races to fix the murky imperfection in the stars to see the Big Dipper, while he gazes love through questions that reveal their heart; sees how the stars dangle configured in objects and truth I couldn’t see before.

Patience understands that beauty opens it petals when saturated in love. That expectations stunt growth, kill a flower at its roots.

I am a well-watered garden.   

He waters me patient since the first date. When he opens doors, leaves gifts on the stoop, cooks dinner after a long day at work, when I pretend not to be home because this kind of love feels uncomfortable – at first.  

Because when a girl grows up with male absence, no manly voice to lead or big hands to hold, this kind of adoration feels awkward, uncomfortable.

Since the first time I lay hands on men’s underwear, iron collared shirts with starch, lay beside this man in bed, he loves me patient.

And on that first time we travel thousands of miles to the cottage with a baby seed growing in my womb, he asks me if I like it here. This place where he grew up, spent summers frolicking along sandy beach, wading in azure blue. Can we start our own memories here?

I do like it here with you. I do.

As we embark on the day of love, I give thanks for my husband and our marriage. Joining Seth and Amber Haines @ The Run a Muck for their series on Marriage Letters, this one on patience.

On Tuesday, linking with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.