Marriage Letters: On the Nightly Routine

Dear Seth,

The first night you were gone, I wrestled the boys into their beds, the kitchen stacked with dishes. We sang, “Jesus let us,” and they told me all the things you do with them: tickle wars, teeth, a story, prayer. By the time I had turned out their light, I sat down at the bottom of the stairs. I didn’t want my feet to touch the floor any more.

Have I acknowledged that you do so much? Usually by the time you come down, I’ve chosen to feed the baby instead of clean the kitchen. I’m washed with oxytocin, relaxed from having moved all day and already skin to skin with this baby. He’s born now, and having four is different. We land harder, with more of a thud. Once we lay him down, I’m too tired for dishes. I give myself a pep-talk in the mirror, Rocky theme song in my head.

We watch a show or write together. We have a drink. What we do at night is together. You’re in my world. Maybe that’s the rare thing, that we take on passions.

I already hear tomorrow’s whistle blowing, that train coming faster than ever, and I never go to bed without you or without whining that I don’t want it to be over. You make my water and then get in and mess up the covers. You’ve always loved to aggravate me just a little bit, enough to ruffle me without causing a lash. I think it says you still know me.

Sleep is easiest for you and happens almost as your head gets horizontal. I wake you for little things.  I just remembered something Ian said. I need the weight of your hand on my side. Don’t snore. Would you turn the air down? Over and over you simply go back to sleep, and no matter how exhausted I am, my mind’s a freight-train barreling down future tracks.

Sometimes I have to nurse the baby again just to get to sleep, and you let the baby get in bed with us, so patient as I unhook from him. I’ve never sensed you giving up on me.

In Africa, your night is my morning. I wake and make my own coffee. I miss you and the sound of steam on an iron I’ve never used.

Come home broken but whole, and we’ll get in the bed and talk about it.

I love being your wife.



Join me and Seth (and also Joy and Scott) as we work hard to preserve marriage by writing marriage letters. There may be only a handful of us doing it, but if you’ve written a letter or a post for your spouse, please do add your link here and be sure to link back to us so others can be encouraged. Especially in this stage of small children, it’s been good for me to see that we aren’t alone, and if you’re past this stage, it’s good to know that you’ve made it.


  1. This reads like a poem. I love the line about the steam from the iron you’ve never used, and how vividly that line evoked an entire scene and story of your mornings. You (and you & Seth) inspire, my dear.
    Elizabeth recently posted..Detour

  2. Is this open to those of whose husband’s don’t write? I love the prompts and the heart behind them but Brian can’t participate. Still okay?

    Also? Wowzers.
    Sarah@EmergingMummy recently posted..In which I won’t tell you that you’re pretty

  3. Hey there! I know this is sort of off-topic but I had to ask. Does running a well-established blog like yours take a massive amount work? I am completely new to writing a blog however I do write in my diary every day. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!
    Carla recently posted..sincere review

  4. wow. there are no words. this is absolutely beautiful.
    melissa@ the pleated polka dot recently posted..::thoughts on motherhood [the-I yelled-edition]

  5. I have to admit it’s incredibly satisfying to read that I’m not the only momma who sits out the bedtime routine most nights. And ignores the dishes. Doesn’t it just feel like the bed is off-balance without man-weight on one side? I sometimes pile up laundry baskets where Scott sleeps when he’s gone so it doesn’t feel so empty.
    Joy @ Joy In This Journey recently posted..Marriage Letters: This Is Marriage

  6. Love the way you love your husband and do life together. So much of this echoes my life with my husband (except now his shirts are sent out which is glorious) and makes me appreciate the every day that is us.
    Shelly Miller recently posted..Tell Your Story, It Just Might Change Someone

  7. So beautiful. I haven’t used my iron either. It’s the sound of foreplay – I love to hear him ironing shirts.
    Sprittibee recently posted..Lighting a Fire… at the Homeschool Post

  8. This hits home. You are so thankful in your marriage and it is inspiring. Thank you!

    – Mollie
    Mollie recently posted..On Fear and Vulnerability

  9. this not giving up on us… this is the biggest gift of all, no? and i agree with sarah. wowzers.
    imperfect prose recently which i beg you to pray for us

  10. All those little things…the water, the please turn down the air, stop snoring, ‘where’s my chapstick?’….Scott does it too and then falls right back to sleep…he’s so good…I’m so darn needy! :) Missing you friend!

  11. a bit of blogging…forgot to check the box…
    Ali recently posted..Laundry.

  12. So precious. How we miss what we don’t realize we’ll miss, while we’re in the thick of it. In the sorrow and loneliness of those thin places…we suddenly become rich with gratitude, and wonder, and awe-struck awareness of God’s abundant gifts in our lives.

    Thanks for this journey – joining you in it, and sharing in the beauty of your process!

    Missing my Kevin, when he was gone:
    Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight recently posted..The Play-doh War (Marital-Fitness 6)

  13. You don’t know me, but I live with Audrey Williams ( and her family in Oregon. I am a member of the Crash team that Audrey’s husband started. She has told me about the marriage letters that you guys do, and I think it is so great! While I am only 19 and not even in a relationship, much less married, I have decided to do my own spin on the marriage letters post by writing letters to my future husband. Thanks for the inspiration! I hope that my husband and I (when I am married) will continue to do this very same thing!

  14. Now this was good. I suppose I’m a little late? And this link idea is brilliant!

    So, next week’s will be “Opposites Attract” (as recommended by Scott). I already know what I’m going to write.
    Seth recently posted..Marriage Letters: On the Nightly Routine


  1. […] us (Joy and Scott, too!) for more letters over at Amber’s place. Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  2. […] and I are participating in a little writing project called Marriage Letters started by Seth and Amber Haines in an effort to encourage other married couples in the hard work of relationships. Did you write […]

  3. […] in a writing challenge at “the Run A Muck”…encouraging others about marriage in the stage of young children. It ain’t easy. This […]

  4. […] in a letter writing challenge at “the Run A Muck”…”because we believe that when we bless our own marriages, we bless the marriages of […]

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