When one man’s wife was gone for two days after a petty argument reached a boiling point, he knew there was only one thing he could do. He sat down, pen in hand, and just started writing. “My darling,” began his letter…
The words didn’t come to him easily, but he knew that it was important that he communicated exactly what he was feeling. “Two nights ago, we had a huge argument. I was exhausted when I got home from work,” he wrote.
“It was 8 p.m. and all I wanted to do was to lie down and watch the game,” he sheepishly admitted. He couldn’t help but break down all the events that led up to the fight that drove her from their home.
“You weren’t in a good mood, and you were clearly tired after having a long day,” he continued. “You were trying to put the baby to sleep as the other kids were fighting, and all I did was turn the volume up.”
“‘Would it kill you to play a more active role in your children’s upbringing?’ you’d asked me, turning the television volume back down. ‘You can help out more around the house, too,'” he recalled.
“‘Hey,’ I said defensively. ‘I work hard all day just so you could play in the doll’s house all day.’ The argument just kept going like that,” he wrote, seemingly chagrined to be remembering the details.
“I said terrible things to you that I can never take back, and you screamed, saying that you were sick of it all. So you tearfully ran out of the house, leaving me to take care of the children on my own,” he wrote.
“I was forced to feed the kids and put them to bed all by myself,” he remembered. “When you didn’t come back the next day, I was forced to ask my boss if I could take a day off so I could take care of the children.”
Then he got to the heart of the matter. “I experienced the crying and the tantrums. I experienced having to run around so much all day that I didn’t even have a chance to shower.”
“I experienced being forced to heat the milk, getting the kids dressed, and cleaning the kitchen all at once,” he wrote. “I experienced being cooped up all day without speaking to an adult.”
It was clear that he was starting to see just how difficult his wife’s duties at home really were. “I experienced the inability to sit calmly at the table to have a relaxed meal whenever I wanted, because I had to run after the kids,” he said.
“I experienced feeling so physically and emotionally drained that I just wanted to sleep for 20 hours straight, but had to get up a few hours after falling asleep because the baby was crying.” He was really hammering his point home.
Then he revealed something pretty amazing about what all of this childcare had taught him about his wife. “I lived two days and two nights the way that you do,” he said thoughtfully…
“And I think I get it now. I get your exhaustion. I get that being a mother is all about sacrifice. I get that it is more tiring than being among corporate bigwigs for 10 hours and making economic decisions,” he admitted.
“I get how frustrated you must be to have to sacrifice your job and financial freedom so that you can provide for your children. I get how uncertain you are about the fact that your economic security now depends on your partner and not just you,” he wrote.
“I get how hard it is to not be able to hang out with your friends, exercise, or get a good night’s sleep,” he added. It was clear he didn’t want to leave anything out and that he needed her to know he was finally seeing the light.
“I get how challenging it is, being locked up and being forced to to watch the children while imagining what you must be missing in the outside world,” he wrote to her, touching what was likely a raw nerve for his wife.
“I also get that you become upset when my mother criticizes how you choose to raise our children, because nobody in the world knows what is best for children like their own mother.” He seemed to be understanding a lot now…
It was then that he really opened up his heart: “I get that being a mother means carrying society’s greatest burdens. Being the person that nobody appreciates, values, or remembers.”
"I write you this letter not just to tell you that you are missed, but additionally because I don’t want to go another day without telling you: you are strong, doing an excellent job, and I admire you.” Sometimes a thoughtful letter can make all the difference — even between total strangers in one case.