Dear husband,

I know that February 14th is just another day of the year – and I know that in an ideal world, it shouldn’t take Valentine’s Day for me to tell you what you mean to me. But the truth is that we don’t live in an ideal world – and certainly not one that allows us to communicate in the way we used to. Not when our children beat me to you whenever you walk through the door, interrupt our conversations in the car, climb into our bed when they are convinced they can see monsters lurking in the shadows of their room. It’s hard enough to discuss the plans for dinner that evening, without trying to win your attention and serenade you with love songs (and let’s face it, I’d have a troup of back-up singers who would steal my thunder anyway).

So today, I am going to embrace Valentine’s Day, because it gives me the excuse to tell you what you mean to me.

And you mean a lot.

More than a lot.

To all of us.

I remember so well those days before we relocated to Dubai, sat there thinking about living an expat life in sunshine. I was worried about how we would manage to settle in (isn’t everyone before they emigrate overseas?) – but I knew we would always have each other. What I didn’t realise is that our relationship would grow even stronger when that plane touched down on the runway and we made our way to our first desert home.

And it did grow stronger; it really did.

Without extended family around, we needed to make our little family unit stronger than ever – and we did just that, with the sand between our toes and the sunshine on our backs. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves when we head out at the weekend, heading to the beach, strolling through parks, sitting outside and enjoying meals with friends. We know we made a great decision for our children and our family – but I think we made a great decision for us, too.

You are not just my husband; you are more than that. You are the one that I love; my best friend; my protector; my soul mate. And yes, we can bicker (especially when we’re exhausted because the small people are demanding things or imagining those monsters in the night again or generally causing chaos at home), but I think that’s pretty normal for husband and wife – and we always come out the other side feeling thankful that we have each other.

So if you’ve managed to get to the end of this letter without a child interrupting you between the lines, I want to finish by saying simply: “I love you”.

I love you – and I’m so happy we made the move to the sunshine.

Love from your wife