January 1st 2017 – It’s time to keep it 100. 2016 is written. Boom. On the books. Chapter closed for better or worse. 

A typical gorgeous star-filled Austin night. Temperature got into the 70’s today. My son and I spent half the day outside. We explored. He insisted he find flowers to bring home to mommy who was out running errands. The flowers were neighborhood weeds, but that’s not the point. We hit the swings and he pretended to sell me ice cream. My wife and I cooked different meals in our kitchen simultaneously without killing one another. In other words, we efficiently shared a tight space with conflicting goals and still managed to have fun. Must have been a leftover Christmas miracle by White Jesus himself, but I’ll take it. Her sweet potato veggie lasagna and my bbq oven baked baby back ribs were both awesome. Our house overfloweth with delicious scents and flavors. We curled up on the couch and watched a movie under a blanket. My son and I played hide and seek inside the house. We laughed, and at some point during the day, my wife pinched my ass. What a beautiful day of abundance. My appreciation for this first day of 2017 is beyond measure. 

Compared to the atrocities of our world news, how could life get any better? This doesn’t even include what a killer 2016 we just wrapped up. Bought a great house. Welcoming a new baby girl next month. Mother beat cancer (YESSSSSS!!). 

Recently I told my wife I felt more lonely than ever inside of our marriage. That same night curled under the sheets, right as we fell asleep she asked me why I felt that way. I didn’t want to get into that conversation that late in the night – we both worked in the morning. She was more than happy to oblige postponing the conversation with an exuberant “Okay!” when I told her I didn’t want to talk about it at that moment. 

One of the reasons was the elephant in the room – and that elephant has lived with us since our honeymoon so no surprises there – sex. But the more important issue, which has gone unnamed for years is the one her and I haven’t spoken much about. Gratitude. 

It terrifies me that I may never be able to share my gratitude of a day like today with the one other person fortunate enough to share that same wonderful day and life with me. With our family. Well why not, you ask? Because I carry an inherent feeling about my spouse that many spouses do. 

That nothing is ever good enough. 

I could get into how this street runs both ways, and it would be true, but that’s not the point of this conversation. This conversation is about fear and gratitude. This conversation is about being honest about what we’re truly afraid of, so we can confront it. Because fear keeps bodies still and mouths shut. And my fear is that I may never get to share my gratitude with my wife. Because what a shame it would be to as fortunate as we are and to choose to live under a cloud of unmet expectations instead. And the mutual loneliness and lack of understanding of one another will eventually end our marriage. 

I’m terrified her recent Instagram post while genuine in intent, will only play itself out on the Internet, while never quite bleeding into our day to day life. 

As usual – my wife is correct. And her words let me know where her heart is – where her intent is. And the fact she’s willing to say the words anywhere, let alone put them in black and white for the world to see and hold her accountable to, it gives me hope for a better tomorrow in our marriage as well. Hope is a powerful thing. 

I’m still afraid. 

But if we’re not scared, we’re not growing. And I’m grateful she wrote the words. 

And she’s showing me that I too need to write the words. She needs to be given the chance to respond to how I feel, but I have to give her that chance. There’s too much at stake. She’s my partner. And I’m grateful she’s in my corner. We just need to get to a place where we FEEL like we’re in each other’s corner. And that’s why I’m grateful to 2017 already – a whole new year to reprioritize what and who matter to us. 

Each day gives us a chance to get it right. 

My wife and I are expecting our second child – our daughter – at the end of February and I couldn’t be more excited to meet our new family member. It also terrifies me if we’re all keeping to the same honest theme here. Hey, I guess if I wasn’t scared, I wouldn’t grow.

Looking ahead, the story continues. The process of progress never ends. I’m grateful for such a fortunate start to 2017. 

 

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