Not still asleep, not quite awake, the dream played like a movie across the white screen of my consciousness: my husband wanted a divorce and I was powerless to stop him. I was awake enough a few minutes later to know that this powerlessness was something I’d always felt in my marriage and needed to address in my heart. My husband is a very strong individual. He speaks with certainty and authority. I, on the other hand, have always taken more time to be certain. He thinks I’m afraid of making decisions because I’m afraid of being wrong. I feel like he doesn’t hear me out. It’s a classic Mars-Venus thing, I’d bet, but when it shows up in your dreams, you know you have to work on it.
At any rate, I woke up just 13 minutes before me alarm, so I decided to wait for it to go off until I rolled over and asked him to hold me and tell me he loved me, so I was sure it was all a dream. When the alarm went off, I rolled over, and…he wasn’t there.
I dissolved into a sobbing mess.
Was the dream true or wasn’t it? Was I really alone? This is certainly exactly what it would feel like.
I have a couple friends who are in the before and after stages of divorce. Unable to fathom the heartbreak and pain and betrayal of dreams, I’ve always kind of kept my distance from thoughts of divorce. My husband (and his kids), after all, is all I have. Even thinking about losing him was just too much.
But when I woke up alone, I thought, “So this is what it’s like. This is the other side of losing someone you love.” I couldn’t stop crying. I padded into the living room to find my husband asleep on the couch. My voice stuck in my throat twice before I could give him my customary morning greeting, “Wakey-wakey.” I stood over him a crying snotting mess, and he didn’t notice for a long time. Then he smiled a sweet smile and asked, “What’s wrong?” He’s the only person I’ve ever met who can come out of a deep sleep and smile and say something kind. Every. Morning. Of. His. Life. It is reason enough to stay married to him.
I put my head on his chest, and he folded his arms around me. I choked out, “I had a nightmare. And then I woke up and you were gone.”
“Nightmares aren’t real,” he said. Whenever he says something true, he sounds like a father. A teacher. And then, “I love you, and I’ll always be here.”
After more holding and sobbing and snotting, I made me way to the bathroom to take a shower. My stomach was still heaving trying to catch my breath. He followed me, held me to him, looked into my eyes and said, “You are so beautiful.”
Only a man truly and deeply in love could say that to a woman with a fresh haircut, swollen eyes, and a river of mucus flowing down her face. Only my husband could say it and mean it.
“You never say that to me anymore,” I squeaked. It had nothing to do with the nightmare, but I’ve been meaning to complain about it for awhile now.
“Maybe I don’t say it as much as I used to, but I do say it,” he corrected. Father. Teacher.
And then, “It’s okay. You’ve been doing a lot of prayer work on drought lately. This is just like that. Know that nothing you need can be taken away from you.”
He is my rain. He is my river, my irrigation when my heart is especially dry and my crops are failing and I feel like I’m going to lose the farm.