To the man I will share the second part of my life with,

I used to write letters to “my future husband” when I was a teenager. Back then I thought I would have one husband till death do us part. I had no idea death would part me and the man I would marry so soon.

Now I find myself writing once more: a letter to the man I will one day marry. I’d like to start off by saying I admire your courage. I am not for the faint of heart. While I am simple, I am not cheap. I do not care about diamond rings, fancy cars or high-end jobs, but loving me will require nothing less than all of you.

I want your eyes. I will not share your gaze with another. Not the waitress walking by or the women on the internet. I am not the jealous kind but I refuse to compete. I want your hands. There will be times when life will try and pull us apart and I need you to be able to hold onto us. But most of all, I want your heart. I want your greatest joys and deepest fears, your wildest dreams and guarded secrets. I don’t want you to hold anything back from me.

In return for all of you, you will receive all of me. I will show you the meaning of devotion. I will dedicate myself to learning how to love you the way you need to be loved. It will be my pleasure to take the time to discover the things that bring you pleasure. I will love you well because I know with intensity how precious your life is to me and how quickly you could be taken away.

There are some other things I want you to know before we begin. When you decide to ask me out for the first time I want you to be straight with me. Tell me exactly how you feel and what you want. I don’t have the time or energy for the games and vagueness that is the current standard of our culture. I know it takes courage to open yourself up like that but that’s exactly what I want to see: courage. You’re going to need it to embark on a life with me.

But even before you even ask me out I need you to understand that our relationship is going to be scrutinized from the beginning. I am a widow and no matter how long I wait, there are going to be people who feel like it’s too soon. A normal single person only has to worry about the opinions of a handful of people. There were nearly 300 people at my husband’s funeral. He was so well-loved. The majority of those people are going to be protective of his memory and therefore will judge you against him. People will talk about you, and analyze your life, prospects, and Facebook profile and unless you happen to be Tim Tebow, they’ll likely find you wanting. Part of this is my fault for being fairly public with my grieving process. But from what I have heard from others in my situation, unfortunately, this is pretty standard for young widows. It’s not fair to you or to me but we will have to face it nonetheless, which is why I need your courage so much.

(If anyone reading this actually knows Tim Tebow feel free to give him my number. My schedule is pretty open these days. I’m only 60% joking here.)

Along with courage, I need you to be confident in yourself. I need you to understand that I will always love my first husband, but that love does not lessen my ability to love you. There are going to be days when I miss him, I might even need you to hold me while I cry over his loss. But that doesn’t mean you are not enough or that I don’t want you. You cannot be jealous of his memory for I must keep it alive, not just for myself but for my children. I need to do everything in my power to help them know who their father was. I need you to be ok with that. I need you not to be threatened by him. He may have been my first love but you will be my last. 

Speaking of my children, choosing me means choosing them. I don’t want you to think of them as your stepchildren. If you want to take on the role of my husband you need to be equally as invested in taking on the role of their father. They don’t have a daddy to visit on weekends. You will be the only daddy that they will ever know. You need to cheer for them in the audience, teach Nathan how to shave, and take Jocelyn to Daddy-Daughter dances. They are to be yours just as much as any children I may carry for you.

One final thing you must know. My faith is the most important part of me. It’s not just a segment of my life, it is woven into the fabric of my being. C. S. Lewis explained it best when he said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” My faith is the filter through which I see life. It’s how I make all of my decisions. It’s how I have survived this season without going completely insane. It’s how I want my children to be raised. I need you to be able to share that with me. You don’t have to be in the exact same place as I am in your faith journey, but I need you to at least be on the road.

(By the way, if you’re looking for a “women shall remain silent, I own you,  go minister in the nursery and run bake sales” kind of wife I am most definitely not your girl. I’m more of a Deborah/ Jael kind of woman.)

These obstacles will intimidate most men, but somehow you will have managed to fight through with me and I love you already for it. I can’t tell you how much that means to me that, for some reason, you see me as worth the effort when there are so many other girls that would be so much easier to reach.

I find it confusing how I can ache for the husband I lost and at the same time long for the day that I discover who you are. It’s going to be a hard transition to loving someone new. Thank you for understanding the journey that I am on and I look forward to the adventures we will have together.

Until our life together begins,

~Erica Roman

Song of Songs 3:4

When I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go

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