The Love Chronicles: On Being Wanted

I’m convinced my husband hates me.

We talk about it late at night, me with my knees pulled into my chest, leaning against the pillows. He is there, sprawled across the foot of the bed on his stomach, his chin resting on his folded forearms.

I use my hands when I talk, wide and sweeping, and my fingers spread apart as I speak. “But you can’t, I know you can’t love me when I’m a mess like this.”

We wrestle it for two hours, no voices raised here, only passionate words flying to the top of the room with its high ceilings.


I tell him – the man who rocks the baby in the wee hours while I doze under my down comforter – that I don’t feel he understands.

I tell him – the man who wakes before dawn, making sandwiches for the elementary school lunches – that I don’t feel he appreciates it.

I tell him – the man who fills the checking account, pays the bills, keeps everything in order – that I don’t feel like he cares about everything I’m juggling each day.

It’s always tension, I wail (my hands are pulling apart, fingers interlocking in the air), between what I should be doing with my days, what he wants me to do, and what I actually seem able to accomplish.

He asks me then, just what is it? What is it I think he’s expecting?

So many things, too many to name. He wants me to be a coupon-er, a frugal goddess, the one who snags a deal and buys 50 rolls of toilet paper. A fitness guru, a runner, a health aficionado. Early to bed, early to rise, one who makes hot breakfast every morning and has supper on the table at 5:30 PM on the dot. Practical, minimalist, spartan. The furniture in my home squared to each corner, efficiency winning over style. Cargo capris from REI and no makeup on my face.

But I’m not a coupon-er, and I don’t exercise enough. I worship the night hours, I spend my late evenings writing and reading and knitting. I wear lace and mascara and skinny jeans. Dressers and chairs are set at angles in every room of my house.

I’m clearly the antithesis of everything he wants in a wife.

He laughs there at the end of the bed, propped on his elbows now. He rolls into a guffaw, his eyes wrinkled at each corner as he looks at my eyes. Then he crawls to my feet, sits himself upright.

“You realize you’ve just described me, right?

Who would want to marry himself?”

I’m forced to laugh a half sigh, and he tips his head toward mine, because this is the way we make it through this era we’ve dubbed “the messy years,” the way we sort out the unrealistic ideas about marriage I can’t seem to unravel.

J & A

He tells me, then, how he loves my scattered brain and head-in-the-clouds ways. He loves the way I play with words and my sporadic yoga and my endless ball of yarn. He tells me I’m beautiful without makeup and reminds me how he laughs and rolls his eyes when I put it on anyway. He loves me even though I keep him up late and groan when he wakes me early. He loves what it means that half of our furniture is set at an angle.

It dawns upon me, over and over like the cycle of each morning sun, that he hasn’t said or shown disdain for any of part of my being, the soul-depths or the no-longer-17 outer shell.

Perhaps the only person not wanting me is… me?


30 Responses to The Love Chronicles: On Being Wanted

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  3. Barbara November 5, 2015 at 6:17 am #

    I love this. I have so many in common:) We are really lucky, aren’t we?;)

  4. Jessica March 27, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    (First time here)
    Beautiful post. This heart of mine swells with the emotion and love you put into it.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. åslaug March 2, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    Asleigh, you touched my heart long long ago (probably just like… 5 years ago or so, but my life took off since them, and it feels long) when you wrote that post over at rocks in my dryer. And you touch it again and again with your words. Oh, what the perspective of a husband does to the harrowed soul of an emotional woman ;) Even if sometimes it won’t be said, and we just have to remember… ;) I hope your day is beautiful! Much love, across states, to you!!

  6. Samantha January 16, 2014 at 7:27 am #

    You made your husband confirm he “loves you” for TWO HOURS?!?! Lol

  7. nylsa January 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    Can you be any cuter?

    I go back and forth feeling this same way… and nothing better than being reminded why he loves me.. We all need to hear that from time to time… We are lucky to have partners who have no problem looking at us like we are maniacs for not believing them and then telling us one more time why they love us.

  8. November 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    oh, i’ve been right there with you exactly like that on the bed.. hands all thrown up in the air trying so desperately to make sense of it all and yes, quietly concluding the same – – it’s ME! how much easier i accept love when i first love myself and know where my security lies. a truth i think i’ll be forever learning~

    sweet. raw post. beautiful.
    we need more realness like this out there on marriage. {{thank you}}

  9. Kaira November 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    This week my husband was touching me and I brushed him off as I often do, assuming he wanted more and I was busy and I had things on my mind and so many duties were calling my name… and he stopped me and said, “Stop! Let me touch you.” It startled me. And I must have looked at him with a question and he said something about he just liked touching me and didn’t I know that.

    And, how did I not know it?

    All of these years and I knew he liked touching me and more, but not, I guess, did I ever stop to get it that he just likes touching me because I am his home.

    It’s like he woke me up from a long nap and I just never knew.

    We are forever so different and that’s the beauty in it all.

  10. Chelsea November 4, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    I think that WE as women place this on ourselves. All of us do. I mean, aren’t we supposed to be a size 0, fit, perfect house, clean all the time, saving thousands of dollars a day, be the woman he wants each and every minute of each and everyday. Cause we do have time for that you know. ;)

    I am raising my hand and saying yes, this is me. Yes, I do say these same words to my hubby with tears pouring down my face and stomping my feet like a toddler in complete frusteration. Know you are not alone. <3

  11. Monica Stein November 2, 2013 at 12:44 am #

    You make my heart happy. Also, it’s a little bit crazy how so much of what you write is spot-on what I am experiencing at the time. <3

  12. Jessiqua Wittman October 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Oh wow… I NEEDED this! Thank you…

  13. tricia October 31, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Strangely & quite ironically, my husband & I had almost this identical conversation a few weeks ago – me in tears, him confused. Thanks for writing this post & again, being so honest about life. It’s wonderfully refreshing. <3

  14. the Blah Blah Blahger October 31, 2013 at 12:39 am #

    I can’t wait to meet J in person one day…I love the way he loves my friend Ashleigh.

  15. Lora Lynn October 30, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    I am familiar with this conversation. So. familiar. Good insight, sister. Well said. And I love him for loving you so well.

  16. Lesley October 30, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    I maintain that his name is on a short list for Best Husband in the World. And you two are perfect. The end.

  17. Gaby October 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    Do you mean I am not the only one who wonders how her husband can love “this mess”?! Oh, praise the Lord for sisters that walk the same path.

  18. Everly October 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    This is so perfectly sweet. If I ever marry, he will have to have this same perspective. The things we think will *keep* us from being loved are actually what endear us to one another. Amazing, isn’t it?

  19. Natalie Scott October 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Wow. I really needed to hear this today. Thanks for your encouragement!

  20. jAne October 30, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    After 43 years knowing one another and 25 years of marriage … we still venture onto this path from time to time. And it’s okay. :)

  21. Heather October 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Oh, Ashley. My name, my words, my heart are woven through out these words. Thank you for writing this.

  22. Lauren J @ The Barn October 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    I love this. My husband and I have been married for four years and I found myself in this very same situation. I thought I should be ALL of these things, because surely that’s what he expected in a wife. In the past few months we have been doing a weekly date night on Wednesdays and I bought these “If” books that ask random questions to facilitate conversation. One of the questions was, “If you could change one thing about the other person, what would it be and why?” He totally surprised me when he said that he thinks I’m overemotional, but that he wouldn’t want that to change. He is a very stoic person, and I realized in that moment that even though I would consider myself borderline bat-$hit crazy at times (I seriously overthink everything!), we really balance each other out. Marriage has been full of these little hurdles that no one ever thinks to tell you about!

  23. Ginger October 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    *goosebumps* Wow. It’s like you read my journal or my innermost thoughts and fears. Thank you so much for being to transparent and sharing your heart today. Wanting myself is such a hard lesson to learn… *hug*

  24. Caleigh October 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Yes,Yes, Yes, a thousand times Yes. Life is a tiny bit easier when we start loving ourselves for who we are, right?!

  25. Tina/@teenbug October 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    Haha! You are adorable Ash!

    A LOT of this sounds familiar.


  26. Kelly Sauer October 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Chills. And oh how I love this. Sooooo much.

  27. LeAnna October 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Love this.

  28. Gretchen Louise October 30, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Did you just know somehow that I needed to read these very words this morning?

  29. Sharone October 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Oh, this. I sent you a ridiculous email but wanted to pop back here to say I love you, friend.

  30. Becca October 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    It has done my soul a whole lot of good to read that I’m not alone in feeling this. We have these same arguments, same long difficult nights. It helps to know i’m not alone

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