Marriage Letters — The Names I Call You

We continue our Marriage Letters series. Today Amber and I write on “The Names I Call You.”  Will you write your spouse today? Will you call them by their true and proper names?


Dear Amber,

We’ve learned a powerful lesson or two, haven’t we?  We’ve learned that family vacations don’t come easily, that expectations can be an overwhelming thing, and that nothing says “comfort” like a stack of Beignets and a cup of coffee.  We’ve also learned that sometimes words spoken take shape.  And lest you think I’m headed down an Olsteenian road of health and wealth, your best life now, and spiritual lollipops and unicorns (hogwash), just hold tight.

Do you remember that night I called you ungrateful, when I spoke in  overly paternal tones? You were crushed, bent low, and I suppose that’s why you lashed out.  It was a short lived scuffle, but the sun certainly sunk on our anger.  I know that you doubted your disposition as you laid your head on our pillow that night.

The names we are called shape our self-image.  I know that shouldn’t be fact, that there’s a different gospel truth, but the reality remains–we’re only human.  So today, I’ll try to call you by honorable names, the true ones. And maybe they’ll bolster you, give you steel bones and a sturdy back.  I’ve heard that’s what the truth does.

You are strong.  I’ve seen you give birth to four children, watched you writhe through back labor each time.  You’ve confessed hard sin.  You’ve borne the confessions of others.  You have an iron resolve.  You always come through.

You are graceful.  You sit with the broken in ash heaps and speak the truth–“we’re all the same kind of screwed up,” you tell them.  You offer gospel hope and a cool water (or hot tea, depending on the occasion).  More than anything, you call them forgiven and remind them that our door is always open.

You are encouraging.  You tell the younger women that there is hope, that things get better with time.  They fumble around in the awkwardness of young marriage or first babies, and you remind them that they are fit to finish their callings.  You tell them to stick it out, that you’ll walk with them.  Sometimes, that is enough.

You are hopeful.  You are grateful. You are loving. You are smokin’ hot.

But more than anything, you are my best friend, and my buddy.  And that’s the name that means the most to me.

Sitting here wishing you’d volunteer to get me another cup of coffee,



Please join Amber, Joy, Scott, and me as we celebrate the truth about marriage. Every Monday in April we’re writing letters because we believe that when we bless our own marriage, we bless the marriages of others. If you write a post, share your link at Amber’s place. Thank you for joining us.

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9 Responses to Marriage Letters — The Names I Call You

  1. raew28 says:

    Seth – good words, as always. Thanks.

  2. raew28 says:

    Seth – good words, as always. Thinking about the idea of words becoming truth, and wondering where the balance is between naming the not-so-nice realities that need to be addressed while still pointing out the good and hoping it grows? Thanks for writing.

    • sethhaines says:

      This is a good point you raise. I think that it’s good to be honest and forthright, with prayer and clarity. If I’m being honest, that’s where I messed up with my conversation with Amber. I’m sure I’ll mess it up again, but here’s to hoping I’ve learned a lesson….

  3. I like this thought, that we need to call each other names that are true and that build each other up.

  4. I told your “Smokin’ Hot Buddy,” and I’ll tell you.
    Your home is a place of peace to me, where names spoken breathe life and hope. I told her that you’re family. You are. Thank you for sharing your bits and pieces of hardship, easyship (yes, a word), and everything in between. Love you guys dearly.


  5. pastordt says:

    Lovely, Seth. I like the way you turn over the idea of ‘naming’ in such interesting ways – and such important ones. Thank you.

  6. Joy Noel says:

    It’s funny, I understand your position better than Amber’s in the scuffle- I always seem to be the one with the wicked sharp tongue tearing down with the names I name, and he always seems to be the one building me up even in the face of all that (usually empty) accusation. These letters this week have made me think about all the ways I can speak the good to him, learn new words.

    (On a somewhat random aside- I’m having a heck of a time with the WP blog commenting- both here with yours and at John Blase’s- what is going on? It won’t just let me use the email/name/url–it wants to force the WP sign in? Which isn’t working for me right. I noticed you both have the same theme- I don’t seem to have any problem with other themes on WP. Any thoughts? Joy @Memoria Arts)

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