Tuesday, August 27, 2013


It was thirty-one years ago today that He knelt with me and promised to love me, honor me, and keep me above all others. He made these promises to last forever. That has meant that He has had to overcome selfishness, work to resolve differences, and forgive my shortcomings (of course I have had to do the same-but I am talking about Him here). Knowing that you are bound together for eternity requires patience, hope and charity toward one another. If He expects to collect on His promise later (when we find each other in heaven), then He knows He has to work on our marriage now. Otherwise there is no promise.

Marriage is designed to be magnificent and sublime. It has the potential to help us grow and develop into better individuals. It creates a singular place for learning about love, not just the physiological sensation of being in love, but learning how to love. It is the place to learn about forgiveness, humility, sacrifice, and charity. It is a shelter where we can build a refuge from the world, find acceptance, and give and receive unconditional kindness. It is a place that we can learn about ourselves, a place where we can grow and evolve into someone better that we started out as. And it is the place where we can find happiness.

Marriage is a partnership of equal effort, although often not exerted at the same time. There have been times when I carried most of it on my shoulders, and there were other times when He did. And there have been some times when we have carried our marriage in unison with the same amount of strength and determination. Blissful is a strong word, but I would call these times as close to it as is possible. How did I "luck" out and find someone who has been willing to go the distance with me? How could I possibly know what kind of a man would emerge from the 17 year old boy i once met? I don't think the most important determining factors in choosing Him as my partner for this journey are seen on the surface. That has been the purpose of deconstructing why I love Him, to illuminate those things previously unrecognized as having the greatest effect on how I came to love Him, and how that love continues to grow deeper year after year. As I have reflected on His ordinary acts of everyday life, I now see that those often seemingly routine and un-distinctive traits, habits and actions that make up day-to-day living are really quite profound when given this frame of reference. Although each and every day we spend together may seem unremarkable individually, collectively they become extraordinary. Marriage is anything but common, it is uniquely our own. Together we make it what we want it to be, and so it has to be treated exceptionally. Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in we have to keep an eternal perspective in order to advance each day together, one day at a time.

Love is meant to grow, and so this list does not end just because this gift does. There will always be one more reason I love Him. I love Him because of the ordinary acts of every day through which He manifests His commitment to me. I love Him because of the ordinary daily expressions of love He has given me. I love Him because He has not been discouraged by living an ordinary life with an ordinary girl. I love Him because He works along side me to build something extraordinary...in our own beautiful ordinary way.

He is mine for eternity...

...one more reason I love Him.

Monday, August 19, 2013


He told me that He still can't believe that I agreed to go out with Him the very first time. He said this at an elevation of 11,749 feet. It was our 30th anniversary and we had decided to hike to the summit of the mountain that dominates our view every day. We live at the base of an impressive mountain range. Although we had talked about it forever, and we have lived in the same general area our whole married life we had never climbed it.

The trail head is well marked and since it is a popular destination we knew we could find our way fairly easily. We are both active and physically fit and so we were not worried about the strenuous hike. I think like many who live in mountainous regions, we feel comfortable exploring, and often go in fairly lightly packed. We knew exactly where we were and felt both safe and comfortable with the task. The trail was clearly marked by a well worn path. However there were a few places where we either couldn't see the marker or followed the wrong one and we had to turn around and get back on the right path. We took what we thought was enough water, but soon found that we had run out. He was certain that we would find fresh springs along the way, and we did. It was hotter than we expected and the icy water flowing from inside the mountain was pure bliss. We stopped along the  way periodically, but we kept going. For years we had seen pictures of beautiful wildflowers along the trail. We were disappointed when we reached the meadow and found that the flowers had come and gone. It was about this point where fatigue set in. We could see the saddle ahead, but the trail before us looked rocky and desolate. Luckily, together we were determined to reach the summit. We finally reached the saddle and the views were fantastic. He joked that this was good enough and maybe we should turn around. From the saddle we could see the summit and it didn't seem very far away. We had come so far why would we turn around now?

Continuing we momentarily lost sight of the summit and as we rounded a bend we could not find the trail. Instead we were faced with a craggy and rocky roadblock. Luckily some descending hikers appeared between the rocks and marked the way. This was a rough patch. There were spots where He had to boost me up to the next foot hold. Finally the summit was in view. All we had to do was traverse the cliff face composed of a treacherously steep and narrow zig-zaged path up the face of the mountain. This was the most difficult leg of the hike. The temperature was dropping as we got closer, and the wind was whipping so hard I felt as if it would just pick me up and carry me away. We rarely looked up and clung to the rocks as we slowly climbed higher. Reaching the summit we found a narrow peak about 6' wide by 10' long. We were alone. It was cold. The wind was howling around us. The view was breathtaking. As we clung to each other on the precipice He said " I still cant' believe you went out with me".

He made the climb...

...one more reason I love Him.

Monday, August 12, 2013


He has always been true to His marriage vows. I know that some may think me gullible in this declaration, but, I trust Him. This too may sound naive, however, I believe trust is half the fight in marriage. And yes, I think marriage is a battle. When we get married we actually declare war. We fight for our family, honor, unity, security, peace, and happiness. We fight against selfishness, culture, society, media, statistics, and averages. However, it must be apparent by now that I do not think He is average. While statistics suggest trends they do not take into account the variability of individuals; and we can't let them negate our reality. We are not on paper, we are in a home. He is not just a man of a certain age, socioeconomic class, and upbringing; He has actual, experiences, hopes, and dreams.

I do not think He is alone as honorable men go either. My father was true to his marriage, as well as His father. I think this is significant, because I believe fidelity is a legacy. Men who respect their marriage vows set an example of honorable behavior. They create a standard to follow. I think they show a path for their sons to follow without even realizing that they are doing so. I also believe that they teach their daughters of the respect that they deserve, and that they should require from their husbands.

I think His behavior is the manifestation of His goal of a successful marriage, and it helps Him to continue to climb toward His goal. I do not know if His behavior is conscientious or not, but it is consistent. He does not flirt, He does not talk about intimate subject matters with other women, He does not talk about personal issues or His home life with other women, He removes Himself from situations where He might be alone for an extended period of time with another woman, He does not have close women friends, and He does not participate in social media friendship sites (and neither do I). While some may think these things socially unsophisticated and harmless, they are anything but. These are the seemingly simple things that start a path of no return. He travels a different path. He travels a tougher path. According to statistics it may be one that is less traveled, but it is the one He chooses every day, day after day.

He is true...

...one more reason I love Him.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Mary Janes

In the movie The Family Man, Nicholas Cage's character, who is a single, high wheeling and high living investment banker, wakes one morning to find himself married, a father, and working in a boring job in the suburbs. He likes this movie. In His favorite scene the family goes to the mall to shop for the necessities that never end while raising growing kids. Cage spots a high end men's clothing store like the ones he shopped at during his pre-responsibility life. A melt down (husband), a call to reality (wife), and an argument ensues. The gist of the husband's frustration is centered on the fact that there is a need for his child's new shoes and it outweighs his wants. The husband voices his devastation about his lost life with the line "where are my mary janes?"

He has never cared what He wore, or what He drives, or really even where He lives, as long as they have been adequate for His needs. It seems like life is a never ending series of family needs. I know there are things He dreams about; places He'd like to travel, toys He'd like to indulge in, T-times He wishes he could make, and even the ability to make seemingly insignificant frivolous purchases, but He doesn't do it. I know the argument that when you choose to have a family and children you willingly give up the freedom of being selfish. That's a perfectly sound argument and I'm not suggesting anything different. However, if I am being honest, I have had self-indulgent thoughts. I may not voice them, and if I am thinking straight I would never trade my family for the actuality. But, those feelings still creep in every once in a while, and I know He feels the same way.

You think that as your children get older they will become less and less costly. This is a fable, one that keeps us going. While some financial burdens are lessened with time they are counterbalanced by new ones we never imagined. Its as if we are making a symbolic trip to the mall on a never ending monthly rotation, and it ends with Him never getting His mary janes. He knows its His choice. But He must feel like His mary janes are just always out of reach. What I appreciate is that He could choose otherwise. I have seen other families lives devastated through selfish purchases. Day after day He accepts the financial choices He made when He started a family, and the obligations that go with them.

He is selfless...

...one more reason I love Him.

Monday, July 29, 2013


I am afraid that the last few posts are making His life sound heavy, and this one won't be any different. But thats life, burdensome, drudgery, and unhappiness. However, in between all these difficult and troubling times are moments, days and sometimes even weeks filled with pleasure, sweetness, and joy. I think sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the good while dealing with the bad. He has had many times over the last few years when He has had to cling to the silver lining.

After His sister came to live with us during her illness, His brother was killed in a tragic car accident. Shortly (and I mean shortly), His mother had a massive stroke. It happened the day after Thanksgiving, and at the time it seemed to Him that He was being singled out for the catastrophe bus. Of course there were many family members that were all reeling from this particular series of tragic events, but He was the one who everyone turned to for help and guidance. He was the one who had to make decisions about His mother's health care, maintain His families sanity, and sort through all the mounds of to-do lists that come with such things. He was hoping that rehabilitation would be effective in His mother's care, but after a few months realized that her health was declining. He brought her home with hospice care, hoping to make her comfortable for as long as He could.  She was bedridden and she could not speak. It was clear her mind was still there and you could see the frustration in her eyes with her inability to communicate. This was a difficult situation in its own right, but the tragicness, and resulting weariness were intensified as all the incidences were piled on top of each other.

As I watched Him care for His mother I was moved by His gentleness, kindness, and compassion for her. There were times when hospice could not be there to help her with personal matters, and during those times He took care of her needs. It must have been extremely difficult for her to have Him be her caretaker. However, He worked hard to help her keep her dignity. He often became frustrated at the demands placed on Him, as well as just feeling helpless, but He never let her see it. He believes He will see His mother again, and she will probably have a lot to say to Him about what went down. I think she will embrace Him and thank Him for being such a good son who loves His mother. Through some very dark days He was her silver lining.

He spoke without words...

...one more reason I love Him

Monday, July 22, 2013


My father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about ten years ago. They decided that they needed to move from their rather large three story home to one that would be more manageable as his disease progressed. A building lot down the street from us came on the market and they decided to buy it and build a home. The reason they chose to build there was because of Him. First, they knew that we had no intention of ever moving and they also knew they needed to live by one of their children. Second, moving one town away from their old home let them stay close to their friends. And third, He would be close by.

My parents have relied on Him for a long time. They have not always need the level of help they require now, but He has always been their go to guy when things broke and my dad couldn't fix them. My father is the tall thin academic type who works hard, but lets say that he is limited physically. Recognizing this, He stepped in early to volunteer His brawn. Since then they have continued to accept His help over the years. Often when they would discuss some home project they were planing on hiring out with us, He would enlist Himself to do it.

My extended family is big and they all help out with my parents. However, He is still their go to guy. In between His responsibilities at home, His jobs, our kids, and other family duties, He heeds the call to help them. He has been a part of my family for many years, still, I am not sure if He sees Himself as their son, or a son-in-law. If the first, He may be helping because it is a familial obligation. If the second, He may feel that He needs to please them for their acceptance. As i look at it, it doesn't matter. The first shows that He accepts His place in my family and feels the same obligation as if His own. The second shows that He cares for me enough to fulfill whatever family obligations I have. Either way, by caring for my parents, He is caring for me.

He is dutiful...

...one more reason I love Him.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Our oldest daughter was recently married. She had always wanted the reception to be in our garden. Our yard is not exceptionally large, but it is a fully landscaped perennial garden with multiple flower beds including ones in the front and on the sides of the house. It is a lot of work to keep it watered,  weeded, green and bug free. We also have a large patio area where we have about 21 pots we plant every year with annuals. He loves to work in the garden, but it can be overwhelming. It can be maintained by weekly gardening, but it requires a lot more attention to get ready for a wedding. During this same time our family was dealing with multiple time consuming issues and financial strains. We knew that we could not hire any help to get our yard ready for the wedding, so we plugged along preparing for a late spring reception.

Months ( I mean months), earlier He had started battling what He believed to be unavoidable exhaustion from all His responsibilities. I convinced Him to finally go to the doctor who ran every test he could think of, and concurred His suspicion that He was indeed overwhelmingly exhausted. The doctor ordered Him to take time off from work and find some time to rest. The idiom "no rest for the weary" seemed so very applicable. He knew that under the circumstances that He could not "rest", so He carried on. He really did't even slow down. I watched helplessly as the stress started to make His face look haggard. He suffered from a chronic high temperature hovering around 102. He started to walk slower, and even hunch a little. People would tell Him He didn't look well. The wedding came and went, and He was pleased that it lived up to what His daughter (and I), had dreamed of. After the wedding some of His other stressors also resolved themselves (although they also created new ones).

A few months after the wedding He decided that He better go back to the doctor. That in itself meant something was serious. Finally, and oddly, a diagnosis was found. He had been under the influence of mononucleosis (for over 6 months by now, complicated by bacterial infections). I look back at the wedding pictures and I can see how sick He was. He smiles in all the pictures, but you can see that He was not well. When I think of Him out in the garden for weeks, kneeling and sweating, trying to get the yard pristine for our daughter it makes me want to cry. He worked tirelessly, gave everything He had, and wasn't about to let anyone down.

He persevered...

...one more reason I love Him.