your nervous heart

A good husband uses a screwdriver, knows where the itty-bitty one is, for when something that’s supposed to offer backup crashes itself. He might have to hire people to hang things, or install light bulbs, but at least he admits it. Though, he changes batteries in their Fisher Price this, has a feel good song he likes to play for that (Don’t Touch Me Tomatoes by Josephine Baker). He’s asked for google alerts on things he doesn’t care for, but knows you do. Artists. Writers. He knows when that thing you’ve had your eye on goes on sale. He picks up the baby with the poopy diaper. Kisses us all before sleep, let’s his son play patty cake on his face, makes a family sandwich, and takes the early shift so you can sleep. He throws his arms around your world, fixes what he can, and listens to the rest. He puts up with a difficult wife, someone who demands a lot of those around her. Tivos shit you couldn’t pay him to watch, and watches it when you insist. Then starts to Tivo stuff he thinks you’ll like, even if he’ll hate it. Listens to that same song you’re enamored with, on repeat, the way you like to do things. Makes up new lyrics, gives you shit for it, and just maybe secretly loves every minute of it. He pulls off your shoes when you’re too tired. Undresses you. Still tells you you’re hot. He tries to be bad cop, but he breaks into a laugh and gives them their way. And let’s you scoop everyone up and teach them the way it’s done. He toasts you over dinner, “To the woman I married, just as amazing as you were when we first met.” And while he’d prefer you not be mean when you’re drunk, he knows you didn’t mean it. He works on trying to be patient when he’s frustrated, even though it doesn’t come easy and you kinda want to get a hotel room to get away from him. “I love you,” he laughs with tears in his eyes, “and we’re in this forever, so I’ll work on it.” And even though times like that don’t happen as often as you’d like, they still happen. And you know something (somewhere!) has sunk in. He’s worth it.

Massages you with lotion, despite the fact that he himself hates massages and hates even more than that to give them. He’s the one guy in the theater for that really bad movie you really, really want to see.Turns up the volume when he knows it’s something you want to hear, even if it’s some Smelly Clarkson or Fergie for the umpteenth time. He tells other people how in love he is with you, even when you’ve been rotten. Doesn’t care what you weigh or wear. He shuts all the lights, makes all the annoying customer service calls, and asks you to please make that thing again because you’re such a great cook. He gives you the sweatshirt off his back when you start to shiver, grabs your hand at the sappy part of the movie, and when the lights go on, he always shows you the way out. He looks at you across a room, tilting his head a little in that way that lets you know how in love he is. He has this song that always makes him think of you. He doesn’t kiss your eyelids or paint your toes, but he wears the cologne you like and lets you have the big piece. Of his heart and everything that comes with it.

And as I said once upon a time: I’ll always think of Philip when I hear Rhett Miller (click link to scroll through samples of his songs).  I remember when I had to take a train out to Long Island and sign the last divorce papers.  I felt sick and trembled about my life.  Philip, who then still commented on this blog as ‘The Suitor,’ had made a mix of cds for me.  “Your Nervous Heart” was on it, and on my train ride, on repeat, I listened to the words, imaging my suitor there beside me.  “Can I kiss your furrowed brow and calm your nervous heart?”  And in just that line, that’s the safety I felt with him.  I’ve been struggling to figure out what our song is, for the wedding.  And really, that’s it. Right there in a Rhett Miller song.  I will never think of anything but him coming into my life at that time, with that song, on that train, him beside me without being there.  In a song.  That night, my girlfriends met me for champagne, and we celebrated my new life.  And Philip met us, upon my insistence.  It was one of the best days of my life, a day I’d dreaded and lost sleep over.  That night, my life felt like a movie, where all the conversation was muted and a soundtrack played over the din of champagne glasses, stares, and lifelong memories on the make.



  1. whenever i read blogs, i always just skim over them, some are okay and pique my interest, but with yours, i need to slow down and make sure i catch every word.

    i love your writing.

    congratulations on having such an incredible person in your life, on having such an incredible man. i know how hard you searched. you deserve it.

  2. Perfectly put! Reading this just fills me up (for both of us actually – that you finally have the man you deserve and that I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful husband too)

  3. What a wonderful partner to have. I love that he grabs your hand during the sappy part of movies…The Suitor is setting standards for all of our husbands and partners to follow.

    Thanks for another lovely post.

  4. Love it!
    Makes me want to write something about the one I love, just don't know if I could do it as eloquently.
    Thanks for the inspiration to want to do it though.
    Absolutely lovely…and simple…and real…

  5. I love it when you show the glimpses of the good, the sweet, the touching and the private.

    I know that people criticize Philip based upon the snapshots they read here. ("What's with all the yelling?" etc.) But it's posts like this that show a bigger, deeper picture.

    It's always the fights that have to be cleared out of our heads, onto the paper, onto the screen. These moments of joy that are rarely captured in words.

    Thank you for sharing them with us.

  6. He sounds like an incredible man. It's good to know that there are indeed great men that treat their wives and children like they gems they are; that aren't my own father. Because I am convinced he is the only one.

    But you have one too. :) So there must be more.

  7. I wonder how Phil feels about your converted back-to-when-I-was single room, when he wasn't in your life, to which you 'escape'.

  8. I really liked this, Stephanie. Isn't there a certain comfort in knowing this is the man you have chosen for life, even when you are positively pissed at him? When all of the naysayers give you hell for other posts, knowing that this is the shit that truly matters, all others be damned? Very well said.

  9. What a lovely tribute to Phil. It's good for him to know how much he is appreciated. You metioned signing divorce papers, for me it was a night to celebrate. Went out to a fancy dinner with my now 2nd husband, who is also worthy of much love and praise. It's good to be happy!

    FROM STEPHANIE: Yes, I went out with my friends and we toasted with champagne. Then, after we celebrated, just us girls, I asked Phil to join. And he did.

  10. I love this piece of writing. I'm happy that you have such a great man in your life. Treasure him, as much as he does you.

  11. I am a horrible writer, but I am a damn good lover (not talking sx). I wish I had the ability to put my love, feeling, and emotion into words the way you do… just so that on my off days and during my "moments", I could make sure he still knew.

    Great post. I am filled with envy for your ability and happiness for your love!

  12. You've given the beans so much to save and cherish and know, without a doubt, how much they are loved, and now Phil has one, too. This was beautiful and your writing brought it alive…"picks up the baby with the poopy diaper." The whole vignette sounds like a movie, not just the end. You are a very lucky lady and your family is as fortunate. Thanks for bringing some brightness to this dreary, drippy, chilly day. xoxo – ad

  13. A beautifully written post and one that your husband should read whenever the rough patches occur. You're lucky to have him & he's lucky to have a wife who expresses her love & appreciation for all to see.


  14. This is my favorite post ever, Stephanie. I feel very sad/cynical about relationships these days, and this really boosted my spirits.

  15. I guess it would be inappropriate to hand this over to my fiance' as a to-do list? It would be so much easier if I could just give him instructions on how to make me happy.

    FROM STEPHANIE: You can. It's called communicating, right? I mean you should tell him what makes you happy. And in turn, he should tell you what makes him happy. And Phil is by no means perfect. I'm angry with him a lot of the time because he is a yeller and a bully. I worry that he belittles me sometimes, worry about the message it will send to our children. But these are things we work on. No one is perfect. If I was with someone else, there'd be other things to work on. Because anyone who marries a woman like me will have issues to work through. I'm not the easy type, either.

  16. Different strokes for different folks. I could never handle a yeller, a bully, not for a minute. My heart is way too nervous for that shite.

  17. I think you do a wonderful job of presenting both sides of your marriage. Marriage is hard, it takes a lot of work and compromise. And you show your flaws and your strengths as well as Phil's. That's impressive. I like that show how much work a good marriage takes.
    This post was wonderful.

  18. While this post is beautiful, my fear that I'll never experience something similar is blinding.

  19. I would like to use my husband's computer tonight ("Mine is on the fritz, sweetie…") and accidentally leave this up for him to read. And he would. I ain't subtle. I have been known to leave strategically placed open magazines for him to find as well.

    Phil has caught some flack on here from some readers who just seem protective of you but he always struck me as funny. He also seems like he's not scared to go head to head with you and that's perfect. You wouldn't have married someone weak minded. And while there are always rough spots a tribute like this is wonderful for him to read and realize how loved he is and for you to review and remind yourself how lucky you really are.

    I think we could all do with writing a letter to our significant others. Putting into words what you adore about someone is a gift but also incredibly vulnerable – even if you are already married.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Beautifully said.

  20. I enjoyed this post very much. If you wouldn't mind sharing, please tell us what song makes him think of you (I know Your Nervous heart reminds you of him).

  21. I wish my ex was as appreciative for the little things as you are. Know what? Recognizing and appreciating those little things says a lot about you.

  22. I'm confused about your timeline. I know, what a mundane thing to think about. And i'm not even that analytical but it's been in the back of my mind and i thought i'd ask.

    In the description for your first book it says that you made your husband an X 1 month after finding out he was cheating. The book also made it sound like you dated for at least a few years before ever coming into any contact with Phil. I've never been divorced and being 25, the only thing i'm seeing recently are open bars and bad to middling food at the massive amount of weddings i've been attending, but i do know a few people who have gotten divorced and it seemed to take them all of about 2 months to do it. Granted, luckily both instances i'm thinking of were amicable.

    I know NY divorces, especially the complicated ones can take massive amounts of time, but exactly how long were were separated before signing the big D papers? And how long were you separated or divorced before meeting Phil? It sounds as though he was actively in your life when you signed the papers but your first book leads me to believe you got rid of the cheater, physically, legally and otherwise, pretty quickly (and bravo for that).

    I'm just all sorts of confused.

    BTW, I did love this post.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Began dating the Wasband in 1997. Discovered the Wasband was lying in Oct. 2002. Abortion in November. Dating in late November, 2002. I met Phil in 2005. I don't know when my divorce ever became final (though it did before the book was published). It wasn't until waaaay too much time passed (it took forever and a half), but I hadn't seen the Wasband since, well, the episode in the book (aside from our four way meeting with lawyers). Timeline in SU&D was not exact, as stated in my author's note.

  23. I haven't commented in such a long time .. mostly because I was tired of people bashing you for this and that – so I didn't sift through the comments … I digress.
    Thank you for once again reminding me of all the reasons that I love my husband. He isn't perfect either and shares some of Phil's less than charming traits – but he also happens to share many of the good ones. Sometimes I don't remember that as well as I should – and I tend to forget that I can be difficult to live with too.
    If we all took a moment to reflect the good things, it would make for much stronger marriages.
    Also, wanted to let you know that waayyy back when you gave me the name of a gorgeous top that you were wearing (Miguelina Honeymoon) – well I was diligent and eventually found one, as well as an amazing Miguelina dress for a *posh* event that I had to attend over the holidays! So, thanks for helping this SAHM with her fashion sense. (Mr. Farmer LOVED both – wink, wink, nudge, nudge!)

  24. Thank you. I needed some reminding of how lucky I am to have my husband. Yay for The Suitor!

  25. I've been reading your blog for some months now and I feel compelled to come forward, finally! My single group of friends and I are beginning to lose our patience with the undeserving boys out there, so it's nice to know that there are REAL men like Phil out there! Thanks so much for this post.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Thanks for the comment, for de-lurking, and for your thanks. They're out there. But it really is hard.

  26. How about a post on what you do for him?

    FROM STEPHANIE: That would read incredibly obnoxious. See what a great mom, lover, cook, partner I am? I don't want to keep that tally. I do enough of that in my own head (again, trying to work on that), so adding a list of how awesome I am isn't top of my list. I understand wanting a glimpse of it, though.

  27. Lucky girl.
    Being fairly straight forward, after reading this last night I handed my laptop over to hubby so he could read it. His response? "So what are you trying to say–I never do any of this stuff?" (Uh, NO!) I guess I should work on being more subtle, eh?

  28. I surprise my good guy with odes to him in my blog as well. I find it easier to express myself with the written word and it gives him a nice surprise when he decides to peruse on by.

    Great post!

  29. I haven't had time to read this post until today. It's bittersweet.. makes my heart ache for my failed attempts at love, and gives me some small measure of hope that I'll secure for myself a love like yours and Phil's. I continue to hope for all the best for you guys and your lovely little beanie babies. Thank you for sharing this.

  30. deja vu…

    ATX, check out feb issue of real simple per letters written to sign. others. nice.

    i haven't read and/or posted in a while, since the baby came in nov. back to work soon (ugh) and gearing up…thought i would pop in to see you the SK blog was doing…glad i did.

    best, jsy

  31. i love this… you've inspired me to write something like this to my fiance for valentine's day

  32. Stephanie. I love you. I hope your husband is well. He sounds great.

    Someone tell me how NOT to be cynical. I'm an awesome woman, 46, smart, cute, funny, interesting. And I'm a freaking lesbian in Ohio. Straight ladies of all ages, if you think YOU get discouraged, imagine NOT playing softball, NOT being into camping and fishing, NOT wearing polo shirts and trying to fit in in a tiny pond and find love.

    I had it once, for 12 beautiful years, and I lost it.

    So, if anyone knows anyone for ME, email me. And they have to at least be some place close by.


    PS. Stephanie, I do love you but not in THAT way. But if you have a sassy sister…Loved the IG Twitter post about the vagina and cigarette!

  33. I love this so much❤️ What an amazing piece, albeit simple, that truly explains what your heart is feeling. It may just be one of my favorite of all your blogs! Well done my friend

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