He’s asleep when I come to bed, and just crawling beneath the covers I can feel his warmth. His breathing is like a lullaby, and I don’t want to sleep. I want to listen, to absorb all this humanness from him, to ponder the oneness I feel.
I wake up at 4:00 in the morning and he’s gone. Already hard at work for those he loves. I feel empty. Separation anxiety. Yes, I love this schedule when he’s home by lunch, but when I’m cold in the middle of the night? Or struggling with wakefulness? Or wanting to talk to him at 8:30pm but he’s already out like a light?
One of my favorite things about marriage has always been lying in bed next to my sleeping husband. It rouses something tender in me, makes me believe all is right in the world.
To be asleep is to be vulnerable. Sleep is a need, and we might resist, but eventually it gets us.
And every time he sleeps, I have a realization: I married a human.
Though he might look like a superhero at 6’2″, with a broad chest, and a nice curve of bicep on his upper arms, he’s not a superhero. No offense to him, because when he’s pushing that lawn mower for two hours after working half the night, his resemblance to a superhero is strong. Or when he carries thirty pounds of child up a mountain and I can barely haul my own body up, I figure he’s close to attaining superhero status. And when I feel small and safe in his arms? Hero, again.
But I’m not a newlywed anymore, and I know that one of the greatest gifts I can give him is the grace of being human. I can put aside those superhero expectations. When he’s tired, and the doubts crawl in, it’s my turn to hero him, to wrap my arms around him and bring the safety.
I have one superhero. His name is Jesus. He does not grow tired, and he never leaves me. He’s brought me into this covenant relationship with my husband. Together–he and I–we’re needy and vulnerable. But in between the outstretched arms of our Hero? It’s safety and blessing and communion.