Thursday, June 9, 2016

What I Learned About My Wife in Fifteen Years of Marriage

One of the things that well meaning people tell young people considering marriage is some variation on this:

“Just wait until you get married. Then you will really get to know all of the annoying things about your spouse.”

Some of the “christian perspective” ones are even more dour, explaining that you really won’t discover just how bad a sinner your spouse is until you have to live with them day in and day out.

Now I do get it. Marriage isn’t all wine and roses, and none of us are at our best all the time. I myself am a lot harder to live with after weeks on end of getting up several times a night to feed a baby. I understand the desire to prevent naive youngsters from thinking infatuation lasts exactly how it starts. I get that they don’t want young married folk to think that it is abnormal to have disagreements or to feel unhappy.

I do want to offer a different perspective.

My wife and I celebrate 15 years of marriage today.

We’ve had five kids together, been through the ups and downs. We’ve had a lot of nights up with the kids, had our days and weeks of frustration and stress.

But one thing I can say is this:

What I have learned about my wife over the last 15 years are not her faults. I have learned so much about her strengths.

I have learned that my wife has incredible stamina - more than me. She can go on less sleep, do more physically and mentally, and still keep her wits and good sense about her.

I have learned that my wife can carry me when I need it. I am an emotional guy, I have my insecurities and fears, and I don’t always handle change or uncertainty well. My wife has been my rock in these moments. She has a strength that amazes me.

I have learned that my wife loves me even when I am most difficult to be around.

I have learned that my wife loves the me that I am, not the me that she planned to make me. I have never been a “project” in her eyes.

I have learned that my wife isn’t afraid of anyone, which is more than I can say for most people I know. She will stand up to bullies and isn’t afraid to have her name on it.

I have learned that my wife can fabricate pretty much anything. Portcullis from duct tape? Costume dress from a photograph? Correct errors in a knitting pattern? Gluten free cream puffs so a friend can eat them? She does it all and more.

I have learned that my wife actually does like to snuggle, even if it took a bit of time for her to realize it herself.

I have learned that she thrives on respect, and have learned to give it to her.

I have learned that every self help book that purports to know “what women are like” is dead wrong about my wife.

I have learned that - unlike me - she can down a large coffee and go to sleep an hour later.

I have learned that I will never regret asking for her advice and counsel. Every time I have listened to her, I have been glad I did.

I have learned that she has excellent judgment and a level head.

I have learned that together we can accomplish pretty nearly anything.

I learned that if the world needed saving, she would be the one I’d want in charge, and would gladly be her goofy sidekick.

I have learned that she is the very best sort of best friend anyone could have.

I learned that I have had a shot at love that most people will never have.

In short, what I have learned about my wife in 15 years of marriage is that she is much more, much better, and much more loveable than I realized when I married her.

Had I known what she was really like, rather than hesitate before marriage, I would have been that much more eager to walk down that aisle. Because I have discovered that she is more than I could ever have expected. 

The lovely Amanda earlier this year.

***

One of the songs that became “ours” in the last couple of years:

So I'll say 'why don't you and I get together and take on the world
and be together forever
Heads we will and tails we'll try again'
So I say 'why don't you and I hold each other and fly to the moon
and straight on to heaven
Cause without you they're never going to let me in’

***

If you want to read more mushy posts, here is the list:

11 comments:

  1. What a wonderful and inspiring tribute. I know Amanda a little and all of your post smacks true. I remember her sewing bridesmaid dresses whilst having a toddler and a baby, and holding down a job, wow! Plus her kind and intelligent persona. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. If I recall for that wedding, she had an infant, a 2 year old, and was a couple months pregnant with our third kids. She is definitely amazing.

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  2. Spot on. Blessings to you both. We're honored to have seats in the orchestra section to your true love affair. You both love one another well. And, yes, gluten free cream puffs. She is amazing.

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  3. Happy anniversary! What a beautiful tribute to your wife and the life you and she have built together!

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  4. Happy anniversary! That's a beautiful tribute.

    Frankly I think all the churchy warnings to young couples are kind of a CYA because of how many courtshipped-kids enter marriage with barely any idea of how to relate to each other. And also to help bolster the patriarchy mindset of "if you're miserable, it's because the two of you aren't fulfilling your biblical roles."

    One group we were in started to do a study from some marriage book...Sacred Marriage, I think? I quit reading after the line about "what if God used marriage to make you holy, not make you happy?" as though those two things were mutually exclusive.

    Here's to marriages that do both, and those of us lucky enough to have them. :) Hope for many more years for you two.

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    1. Yeah, the minister friend who married us told us before we married that if we were getting married for any reason other than so that God could use the other to make us more holy, we were getting married for the wrong reasons. (I didn't start a fight about it...) I don't understand why there should be shame in marrying because you are friends, attracted to each other, and want to have a life together.

      Also, in case it isn't obvious, our marriage thrived once we tossed the partriarchal rules out completely.

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    2. I was never looking for a nice man to take care of me. I was prepared to be single forever rather than marry the wrong man. I knew that if I married, I wanted it to be to a best friend I also found sexually appealing. Nailed it.

      Warmest congratulations, Tim, and heartiest wishes for many, many more anniversaries.

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  5. Joy to you both on your 15th year!

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  6. Also thought I'd say: When other men make jokes about "the ball and chain" to my husband, his response is always, "It set me free." :-D

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