Marriage Letters: The Things That are Yours

On the first Monday of each month, Amber and I are writing marriage letters to each other. Sure, there are qualified experts who’ve written well about marriage, but we’re writing into our marriage. Read here, then jump over to Amber’s place to read her Marriage Letter.


Dear Amber,

When we met, the things that were yours were a mystery to me. An accent from the deep south. A Ford Taurus that wouldn’t crank on Tuesdays. Jeans with a cigarette box imprint on the back pocket. A collection of Nirvana CDs. The bounce in your unction when any Salt-n-Pepa tune played on the radio. Journals of angsty poetry. Lotions that smelled of Spring. Memories of summer strawberries. Your collar bones peaking from the top of a loose blue sweater.

You were both collector of and a collection of mysteries. You held your mysteries close. In fact, there are some I still haven’t quite unraveled. A little intrigue keeps a boy on the chase, I suppose.

We’ve grown into these last fifteen years, and as the Good Book says, our two have become one flesh. I suppose many take that bit of Scripture to mean “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours.” That may be a valid interpretation, but I don’t see it that way.

We’ve made a home together. Ours. We’ve made four boys together. Ours. We have a dog, a garden patch, a record player, and a number of books that rivals the Abrahamic stars. Ours; ours; ours; ours. But even in this shared life of ours, you still have your own things.

Amber Fedora

The fedora you wore to the best Italian dive in town, the one in the sketchy pay-by-the-hour motel. The smile you wear when you work the dirt or a good sentence. The tears that well up after a good church service. Gilmore Girls. The flower beds. Lavender oil. The gate you made from used pallets and zip ties. The baby chicks.


Purple flowers


You still have the things that are yours. I don’t suppose being one flesh means those things are mine, too, though I do enjoy the spoils from time to time. I understand you better today than I ever have, and we’ve lived into each other’s experiences and discoveries together. I’ve watched you come alive as you’ve discovered new interests or rekindled old ones. And maybe it’s not as mysterious as what filled those jeans with the cigarette box bleached into the back pocket, but it’s every bit as romantic.

I don’t think marriage is about persona-melding, about trading individual identity for a collective one. That kind of marriage sounds less like something I want and more like a bad episode of X-Files. No doubt, we share a lot, but the truth is, I don’t want to be married to someone with a personality just like mine. (I’d probably kill me, if I’m honest.) I want to be married to you–all of your likes, dislikes, and personality quirks included.

I’m glad that you’ve walked with me into this life that is ours, but I’m also glad for the collection of things your call yours. More than anything, I’m glad you keep collecting me.

Cheep, cheep,



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  • Jody Ohlsen Collins

    I would like to see that fence gate made from wooden pallets and zip ties….
    You’ve got a keeper there, sir.

    • sethhaines

      I’m not going to lie. It’s pretty impressive. She’s essentially managed a coop out of spare parts. It’s like a Coop-enstein.

  • Seth, you always make me wish my husband were a writer. Amber must treasure these.

    • sethhaines

      Well, Dawn, I’m sure your feller has gifts that Amber would kill for me to have. 🙂

  • Pingback: Dear Travis: What Is Yours (a marriage letter) | KAITLIN CURTICE:()

  • pastordt

    these are just the loveliest things! Thank you, Seth. I’m just reentering life again, and this was a pleasure to find saved amongst my tabs. (Also likin’ the Francis book(let?))

    • sethhaines

      Thanks, D! I appreciate your taking the time to read along. And I’m glad you’re reading the Francis book and would love to hear your thoughts. It’ll be around 35,000 words when it’s all said and done!