When I Stopped Hating My Husband for Loving Me

In my 40 year history as a human, I’ve disliked a lot of people for loving me, but none of them as much as I detested my husband.

I just spent a lot of time wondering, subconciously, mostly, but sometimes at the front of my brain, how he could be so stupid.

So dim-witted.

So stubbornly blind to my physical flaws and to my pettiness and my meanness and my rage.

So consistently unrevolted by me. 

Because the things to hate about me were legion, and I once could have filled pages enumerating them.

The way my unconfined breasts rest on the bulge of my belly.

The way the insides of my thighs rub together.

The scars and the scars and the scars and the scars.

The size of my backside and the way it shifts and moves like ripples in the water.

My nearly uncontrollable anger that came from the shame of hating myself.

I could have gone on like that forever.

Some days, it felt like I did.

But somewhere along the way, I made a conscious decision to stop hating my husband for loving me.

I’m pretty sure it was right around the time I made the conscious decision to start loving myself.

And it was horrible. Hard. And I was sure sometimes I couldn’t do it. 

Because it’s almost impossible to shut down the firehose of loathing.

To throw a wrench on that valve.

To pull and pull and pull until my muscles shook with the effort, and to find at the end of the day that I’ve staunched but a fraction of the infinite flow.

And to sleep and to rise and to tackle the valve again.

And again.

And again.

For days and weeks and months and years.

To tackle the valve, weak and weary, and some days not at all, just sitting at the curb and letting it go. 

But one day, I realized the trickle was less. And when he grazed the side of my breast with his hand and pulled me, tentatively, into another hug I was likely to reject, I leaned in instead of away, and for seconds, I accepted comfort before I made an excuse that I was tired. That I was in the middle of something. That dinner needed to be made or a kid’s butt wiped or anything… anything else but stand there being loved. 

For seconds, one day, I hugged him back.

And the next day, I shied away.

And the next, I hugged him a few seconds more.

And so we’ve ebbed and flowed through new days and new months and new years. Each one, truly, better than the last. Not perfect. Not finished. But better.

I’m learning to love myself these days and to love my husband for loving me. And it turns out, with Love comes freedom, and we are reborn. 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
15 comments
  1. Wow. Thank you for this!! You speak to my heart <3

  2. You are beautifully honest and vulnerable. No easy thing, I’m sure. I have come a long way on this same journey. Now that “aging” has become a more and more visible part of the process for me, I still have to remind myself at times of the “real truths” over the “false lies.” God is good, I can be loved, beauty is not just physical, perfection is not real or attainable or even desirable.

  3. Thank you! Thank you for this. I have done the exact same thing and I have wondered what I was doing. Now I understand. Thanks for articulating what has been going on inside my head for years. And thank you for being so real.

  4. Thanks for being real….. You are a gift and exactly what I needed today!!!
    God Bless you

  5. […] When I Stopped Hating My Husband for Loving Me – Beth Woolsey […]

  6. I echo Jenny above. A huge step in quieting the lies for me was to realize that if I scoff when my husband says I’m beautiful, sexy, worthy of love in any way, I’m saying he’s either an idiot or a liar. Now, if my assessment of my husband doesn’t include idiot or liar (because it SO DOESN’T), than the problem isn’t with him. I took a deep breath and chose. To. Believe. Him. A little bit more every time he said it. It didn’t happen overnight by any means, but it did happen. And the more I act as though I’m not ashamed of the body that he says he loves and is amazing, the more I believe it.

    Thank you for not shying away from the ugly truths… that I pray might give way to beautiful truths.

  7. Beth, how did you stop hating yourself? How did you stop believing the lies and let the truth speak louder?

  8. As I read this, I just broke down and cried. At work. I forwarded it to my husband and he said he was willing to bet a million Monopoly dollars that I cried. Yup. He knows, and loves me, so well. I needed to read this today. Thank you so much for writing it. (((Hugs)))

  9. I was reading some of your other blogs to my husband (just discovered you!) and I decided to read this one aloud to him without having read it yet myself. My voice caught on pretty much the second line and my husband said, “She’s writing about you” he had tears in his eyes. Thank you for putting your truth out there for all to read. It helps me laugh, cry, and face up to the monsters that try to claw at me and tear me down. You know that’s the great thing about the people who truly love us, they see us as we are and love us completely.

  10. Far out. You are amazing at writing the truth. Thank you.

  11. I needed to read this. Thank you.

  12. Beautifully spoken and so true as always. ♥

  13. Well said! My husband and I just celebrated 22 years married.I am right where you describe yourself being.Thank you for putting words to my hearts song.:)

  14. My husband and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary tomorrow and since day 1 he has said “when are you going to love yourself as much as I love you and see you for the woman I do and stop making excuses for how much I love being with you?” – I feel like you wrote this one for me – thank you!. I too, am taking it one step at a time. Thank you!

  15. That’s beautiful!

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