When I returned from a grueling business trip, I expected my husband, David, to meet me at the airport. Instead, he chose to help a friend’s wife. Furious and hurt, I hatched a plan to teach him a lesson about priorities, not knowing it would transform our relationship forever.

I had just landed after a business trip to Tokyo. My body ached from the long flight, but my mind was sharp and I was eagerly waiting to see David. We had been married for five years, and this had been the longest we’d been apart.

As soon as the plane touched down, I grabbed my phone and sent him a text, “Landed! Can’t wait to see you.”

The response was almost immediate, but it wasn’t what I expected: “Hey, babe. Can’t make it. Jenny needed a ride after her gym session. Sorry. Will make it up to you.”

My heart sank. I stared at the message, feeling a rush of anger and disbelief. Jenny. Again. This wasn’t the first time David had prioritized her over me, but this was the last straw. I wasn’t about to drag my tired self home via Uber just because David couldn’t say no to a favor.

I quickly dialed Mark’s number. He picked up on the second ring. “Mark, it’s Sarah. I just landed. Can you come get me?”

“Of course, Sarah. I’m on my way,” he replied without hesitation. Mark was always reliable.

While I waited, I fumed. I couldn’t believe David had done this to me. As the minutes ticked by, my frustration only grew. By the time Mark pulled up to the curb, I was ready to explode.

Mark helped me with my bags and we climbed into his car. “Everything okay?” he asked, noticing my clenched fists.

“No, Mark. It’s not,” I said, my voice trembling with anger. “David ditched me for Jenny. Again. This has to stop.”

Mark nodded sympathetically. “He needs to understand how that feels, Sarah. Want to talk about it?”

I let out a deep breath, my anger simmering down to a focused determination. “Yes. But let’s also teach him a lesson.”

On the way home, I vented to Mark about all the times David had let me down for the sake of others, especially Jenny. Mark listened, his occasional nods and hums encouraging me to continue. By the time we reached my house, I had a plan.

As the hours passed, we sat together, holding hands and talking about everything but the impending birth. It felt good, being connected, being together. When the news finally came that Jenny had delivered a healthy baby, David and I both let out a collective sigh of relief.

Later that night, as we lay in bed, I turned to David. “You really kept your promise,” I said, feeling a swell of love for him.

David smiled, brushing a strand of hair from my face. “I meant it, Sarah. You’re my priority.”

In the months that followed, our relationship only grew stronger. David continued to balance helping others with being present for me. I saw a change in him, a newfound awareness of what it meant to be a partner, to be there when it mattered.