Kathryn Freeburg

Hang on, let me breathe first.

My husband, Tim, and I were discussing #couplegoals and what’s most important to us in our individual lives so we could make changes that would get us closer to where we wanted to be. I recommended that he make a pro-con list for each decision (if Rory Gilmore of Gilmore Girls can decide to go to Yale instead of her long-yearned-for Harvard because of a pro-con list, we can too). When he listed off his Most Important Items, I noticed that not only was I not in the Top 3, I was also not even listed anywhere in the immediate vicinity of the Top 3. I was as close to the Top 3 as a second cousin twice removed on your mother’s sister’s side. I immediately felt betrayed – an afterthought from the man I thought would make me his first thought. I imagine it would be like you’re the best quarterback on the football team, but you still manage to be 3rd string. You have the best passer ratings but someone else yells louder than you or does more trick plays.


It was either the stunned look on my face or my red nose that means tears are coming (does anybody else cry when they are mad and then cry even more because they are mad that they are crying and then it turns into the ugly cry so there’s no coming back from it other than to redo your makeup?) that made him immediately say that of course I am on his Most Important list but that I am more of “an understood you” that we learn about in English. I went quiet because I didn’t want to continue a conversation about how I felt like I was some freshman walk-on that has no chance of playing during the season. And because I do not like crying. Crying gives me a headache. Ain’t nobody got time for a headache. He was the ideal husband who recognized that I needed some space, kissed me on my third eye, told me he loves me and I am always in every decision he makes, and walked away. At that point, I realized I had a choice: was I going to continue to allow myself to think that my husband — the man who flies 12 hours to see me for 3 hours or reads to me at night before we go to sleep (Yes, you read that right. Bedtime stories. Who would not love a man who reads Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines to you?) — would not consider me when he makes decisions? Or was I going to choose to see the positive in not making his Top 3, being the distant cousin, settling on 3rd string player?


I said a little prayer to God to help me be strong enough to see the positive though it was easier to see myself as the last kid to be picked for the dodgeball team. Sure enough, the small voice said to me “you are not his world, but you are his favorite. His lists may change, but you will not.” In that moment, I realized that I didn’t want to be on his Top 3. I want to stay as the “understood you” because that is unchanging, enduring, and always on the side cheering for and with him. I am the constant instead of the variable.


I do not want to be his sun and I do not want him to revolve around me like Meredith Grey used to revolve around McDreamy. I am my own person with my own lists, and I am my husband’s cheerleader, friend, coach, tickle monster (my personal favorite) and most importantly… the obvious constant.


It is so easy to get caught up in the areas we think we are not included in and let our inner thoughts and demons play to build up something that may not even be there. I used to think that because I never got flowers delivered to my job, my significant other didn’t love me. Pshhh. Now I am grateful that I do not receive them all of the time because my husband and I save that money for something else that will last longer than the flowers. If I do receive flowers, my husband hand delivers them and they were purchased from Kroger flower sale section (go check them out!) and put together by him. That less grand and less expensive act alone reminds me of my constant importance to my husband.


When you start to question your importance, you should dismiss your anxious thoughts and do the following:


  1. Ask yourself if this is something that will matter in 72 hours.  If the answer is no, then move on. It’s not worth spending another 72 seconds worrying — trust me. If the answer is yes, then proceed to #2.
  2. Ask the person making a list or decision if you are being considered. If the answer is yes, follow Elsa’s advice and let it go. If the answer is no, then ask for clarification or let that be an answer in itself. Sometimes no can be harsh, but it’s the exact answer you need to move you in the direction you are supposed to be going.


Are you going to react perfectly every time you start to question your importance? Nope. It is all about trying to stop yourself before you complicate something that does not need to be complicated. Try not to say “Hang on, let me overthink this first” (used to be my default). Say “Hang on, let me breathe first”. Once you make that your default saying, enjoy how much easier decisions are made and savor the abundance of happiness you will have in every aspect of your life.


Most importantly, don’t forget to …

All of my love,




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