My Dear Pilot’s Wife,
There are some things I want to tell you, and I know I don’t say them nearly enough. It’s not because they’re not true. They are! I’m just… well, a guy, and we don’t like to mince words. I forget that you need to hear them often, even when I think you already know. I mean, how could you not? I married you! But here goes–
I love you. I mean, I truly, madly, deeply, head-over-heels am in love with you, girl! You are the woman that I asked to spend the rest of this crazy, chaotically wonderful life with. You are still the one I want by my side.
Look, I realize you probably didn’t know exactly what you were getting into when you married a traveling man. Oh, you might have known, but you didn’t know. It’s been a wild and sometimes turbulent ride, to be sure. And that’s even more reason why I’m thankful that you are mine. I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else!
I want you to know how much I adore and appreciate you. You are the rock that holds things down while I am away. I don’t know how you do everything that you do. You amaze me. Over and over, day after day– You. Amaze. Me.
Knowing that you are a strong, capable woman who can handle whatever life throws your way gives me the peace of mind I need to walk out that door each trip and focus on the journey ahead. Because of you, I can me. You are the prayer beneath my wings, the tailwind that hastens my journey, and the compass that guides me safely home.
I know that I am not always the perfect husband. Far from it, actually. But I am a good man. I love you more than you probably realize and work hard to give you the life you deserve. I want more than anything to be the best husband I can possibly be for you.
I know our circumstances are a little unconventional, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an amazing marriage! I want that. Desperately.
There’s a little secret that most wives do not know about their husbands. One of the top gauges we use to measure our success as men is the happiness of our wives. Making you happy makes me happy.
I want to be the man of your dreams. I want to protect you, provide for you, cherish you, be there for you, dream with you, and make you happy beyond your wildest imaginings. I want to be an amazing husband.
However, in order to do that, I need a few simple things from you too.
1. I need you to check on me when I’m on the road. Because this life? The constantly fluctuating schedules, innumerable lonely nights, missed special occasions…is hard. I pretend to be strong because I don’t want to burden you. I tell people I’m doing just ‘fine’ because that’s what is expected of a man. But on the inside, if I were being transparent and honest, I’m not fine. I’m struggling. There is no community on the road, no familiarity, no comfort. Just the endless march of unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar places, unfamiliar spaces. The loneliness is suffocating. I need to know you are thinking of me. I need to know that, though your life goes on as it must, I am not forgotten. Your little messages, your voice, your texts, your stories, your ‘I miss you’s’, your love--it drives back the loneliness and gives me the strength to face another day on the road.
2. I need you to help me to adjust when I come home. While I am on the road, a million things are happening back at home–a million things that are piling up, moving forward, and leaving me behind in their contrails. When I walk in the door, exhausted and jet lagged, I have no idea what ingredients we have in the fridge for a meal, where junior is in his lessons, or what honey-do’s desperately need done. I often feel like a stranger in my own home. I need a few minutes to transition. Help me to ease back into our life together. Don’t attack me with problems as soon as I walk in the door. Greet me enthusiastically, kiss me passionately, and then let me gain my ground legs. Just a few minutes–that’s all I ask. The honey-do list will still be waiting, I promise.
3. I need you to respect and appreciate me. I am a man, and there is no lower blow to my ego than being disrespected, whether purposely or unintentionally, by my wife. I work hard to provide for you because I want you to have everything you need and desire. I need to know that my sacrifice is not for naught–that I am making you happy. A man who knows his wife supports and respects him is a man who can conquer the world. Constant complaining about the life I’ve worked so hard to provide sows bitterness deep in my heart and drives me deeper into myself. However, praise and positivity from you brings me out of the shell. Tell me you are proud of me, and I will strive to be a man that makes you even prouder.
4. I need you to let me F.L.Y. too. I love that you are learning to F.L.Y. (first love yourself) while I am away. It fills my heart with great joy to see my wife enjoying life to the fullest. Contrary to popular belief, life on the road is a boring monotony of airport terminals, hotel shuttles, fast food, and re-runs of This Old House. Please don’t be angry if I catch a flick at the theater or grab a beer with the crew on occasion. If we are on a long layover and I spend a day enjoying the sites, I need you to be happy for me. Believe me, it’s not nearly as fun without you. I spend the whole time wishing you were there by my side sharing it with me, but I need your permission to enjoy life too. I need to F.L.Y. on the road so I can be a better man at home.
5. I need you to want me. I love having sex with you. There, I said it. I know it’s frank, but it’s true. I’m a man, what can I say? But here’s the thing–the very important thing–I want you to love having sex with me too. I don’t want you to be an unwilling participant or for it to be just another chore on your endless to-do list. I want you to be all in! I love when you initiate intimacy instead of always relying on me to do it. Engage with me, pursue me, enjoy me. Sex is more than a mindless physical act, it is my way of feeling loved, cherished, desired. Give me this precious gift, and I will be more emotionally open and connected to you.
There is no question that marriage is a two-way street. I know it takes two to tango, and I absolutely have to work to fulfill your needs too. I desperately want that–to be the husband you need and deserve. I know that I’m not the perfect husband, but I want to be better every single day of our life together. However, in order to do so, I need your help.
I really do love and cherish you, my wife.
Let’s be better together.
Just Winging It: Prayers for My Pilot Wife (autographed)
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Captain on the Road; First Officer at Home (Gold Bars) Soft Jersey Tee