Oak paneling. Leather chairs. Sweet pipe smoke intermingled with the richness of men's cologne. The sound of raspy voices sharing stories and the occasional deep-voiced laugh. Somewhere in my mind, there is a memory of a place like this. A place my dad used to go when I was a child and I used to love to follow. A place whose very walls could tell stories of danger, and romance, and heroism. It's a place where you could breathe in the very essence of masculinity and camaraderie. I felt small (in a good way). I felt safe. I felt brave.
When we were courting, I used to feel that same way with my husband. Everything he did was amazing, and there was nothing he couldn't do. But too often I've allowed life to suck the wonder out of our relationship. What happened? Where did the danger, and romance, and heroism go?
It is still there, but I have failed to see it. I have forgotten how to see the knight in shining armor, and only see the knight who leaves his armor on the floor and forgets to clean up after his horse. I have become efficient at making sure his laundry is done and his dinner is made, but I have forgotten how to simply enjoy his stories and his masculinity. I have in essence become his mother and forgotten how to be his bride. I have stopped having fun. I have stopped cheering for him. I have left the wonder of the oak room for the safety of domesticity. And I find myself not only tired and lonely but utterly bored.
There is a beautiful chapter in John Eldredge's Wild at Heart that has stuck with me years after reading it. He explains that Adam was made outside the garden, in the rawness and uncertainty of the wilderness. (Eve was made inside the Garden, and some part of her still longs for stability and beauty and order.) Adam will always be wilder and more unpredictable. He was made as a warrior to protect. It is his masculinity that keeps Eve safe and stirs her to bravery as well! It was those old stories shared in that room that inspired me to want to do great things. It was my husband's spontaneous nature and risk-taking personality that attracted me to him in the first place.
I'm relearning how to be the woman my husband fell in love with. I'm relearning to be more carefree and spontaneous. (So buying a rifle and some ammo isn't my idea of being careful with our money, but you know what? It makes my husband happy when we go out back for some target practice.) Not everything he does can be considered safe, at least not by most women's standards, but it's thrilling and daring and blood-pumping. It makes me wish I too could climb that or jump that or shoot that. It makes me want to be strong and courageous. It makes me want to be brave.