Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Reason #15: He put up the Christmas lights!

I had just spent hours untangling over fourteen strands of Christmas lights, and checking all the fuses and lightbulbs. I don't really know why, but it was my goal to light up the outside of our house with every available lighted decoration. I figured, we had stored the lights in "the hole" (our underground storage) for a whole year, we might as well use them. Actually it was more like a year and a half, since we took them down so late the year before last, I didn't have the heart to make DH turn around and put them back up in a month or two!

So, when my Dear Hubby arrived home from a business trip, my "Honey-Do-List" had just one item for him to fulfill. I told him I wanted him to help me put the Christmas Lights up. I even applied the old manipulation-by-guilt trick, interspersing a few words of whining and pleading, with the words, "It would really mean a lot to me."

Dutifully, after a few reminders and strong suggestions from me, DH went out behind the shed to fetch the extension ladder. I realized this was a much-disliked chore for him, and rather unpleasant in the -15 degree weather, with a wind chill of -24 degrees! After all, we do live in Alaska! In fact, I had experienced the bone-chilling cold myself, while putting up a few decorations around the front door. It's not fun at all to be up on a ladder reaching out to place a plastic clip on the ledge of the roof when the clip snaps into two pieces from the extreme cold temperature!

We managed to sort out the plugs after a few false attempts; had a few crisis moments when the clips became sparse (after breaking too many of them); then had a big scare when DH got his jeans stuck in the ladder rope, and fell from the fourth rung to the ground.

Finally, the lights were hung. The moment of truth had arrived. We plugged the lights into the extension and looked up to survey our well-lit roof in awe. Alas! The very last strand we had hung was not lit up! After all my careful checking, there was a short in the wires. And DH had already put the ladder away!

Notwithstanding a bit of grumbling, I soon managed to convince DH to switch the strands of light. He dragged out the ladder--again! Just as he was about to prop the ladder up to the roof, lo and behold, the lights started working!

The Christmas lights were up and we lived happily ever after.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Reason #14: He pulled off a Surprise Party!

On my birthday, DH informed me that we were going out to dinner that evening. He casually mentioned that it would be a "progressive dinner" first at "The Castle" and then for dessert at "Pike's". I totally accepted that information with nonchalance, because I knew he had gift certificates for both of those restaurants, and the one for Pike's had only $8.00 left on it--just enough for a dessert to share!

When we got to the first restaurant, a couple from our church came in to eat without a reservation, and we invited them to eat with us. We had a nice dinner and conversation, and then we left for "Pike's". I almost told DH to forget the dessert; we had ice cream at home, but I knew my daughter would have to be picked up in an hour or so anyway, and she was at a birthday party in the same restaurant. I do remember saying, I hoped we didn't run into anyone else from church that we knew.

Well, only the whole staff showed up to surprise me! DH dropped me off, and I was just about to go inside, when I stopped at a mirror to fix my hair, and I saw a staff member in the mirror reflection! Just then, DH ushered me in the door, and the staff all greeted me with "Surprise!" and hugs! Then, to add more color to my already-blushing cheeks, the whole side of the restaurant erupted with applause as my daughter left her friend's party table to present me with a big candy bouquet.

It was a lovely evening and it was very sweet of my DH to arrange it all, even though he let it slip that he had only just thought of doing it a day or two before. And it was very sweet of all the staff to show up and sacrifice their Sat. night off, even though they were more or less under duress to do it. After all, how do you say "no" to the boss when he invites you to dessert, for a surprise party for the boss's wife?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Reason #13: He Has Good Intentions.

Tonight would be a great night for putting up the lights on the house. I must have spent over two hours yesterday untangling the cords of about ten "icicle" lights. Then I spent another hour trying to change fuses and light bulbs to get them all working. Doesn't seem like it was worth my time, considering a box of lights is on sale for $3.97! (It's even cheaper with my employee discount!) Oh well, I can't get up on a ladder without DH's assistance. And, tonight is our church's Christmas musical presentation. 'Tis the season.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

My poor husband can't win. He played a cruel joke on me, completely unintentionally. He asked me how to spell the name of the "Vallatta" Restaurant, as he was looking up the phone number in the directory. I spelled it for him, giving him a mini-lesson on etymology, as I assumed it was from the Italian word for "village." Meanwhile, I was wondering why he messed around and made the reservation right in front of me, instead of just surprising me tomorrow night. Thinking it was better to be direct with my communication, I asked, "Oh, are you taking me there? It was only a year ago at this time that you took me to that restaurant." Now, unfortunately, only one of us had remembered the connection between the restaurant and my birthday, and apparently it wasn't him! Inserting dear hubby's huge foot into his own mouth, he replied, "Well, no ... money doesn't grow on trees, you know."

About the same time that it dawned upon me that I had made an embarrassing assumption it also dawned on hubby that he was in trouble. Just then, the phone call went through, and my husband went ahead with his original plan (one-track mind of a man!) to arrange to pay for a church couple's dinner by credit card, because he heard they were celebrating their anniversary tonight at that restaurant.


It's hard to be mad at someone when they have such good intentions! In fact, it should be hard to get mad about something so silly as a dinner reservation. But it's too easy to get my feelings hurt when it's MY birthday!

Lord, forgive me. Help me to realize that he has good intentions.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Reason #12: He Was Young and Vigorous...

One of my DH's favorite movies is "The Mask of Zorro." He often uses the analogy of Zorro in his sermons to illustrate how we sometimes place truth before love on our agendas. It is easy to justify using the Sword of truth (God's Word, otherwise known as the Bible) to cut someone all to shreds (figuratively, of course) and then try to show God's love to the "bloody pulp" that is left.

I don't know why my DH liked "Zorro" so much, but I did enjoy the movie. My favorite phrase in the movie is when Antonio Banderas had just left Catherine Zeta-Jones after a memorable sword scene. Flushed and flustered, Elena (Zeta-Jones) tried to explain what had transpired to her "father," who was chasing Zorro (Banderas). In describing her encounter with Zorro, Elena (Zeta-Jones) sputtered, "He was young and vigorous, Father... he was very vigorous!".

Like, Zorro, my husband was once young and vigorous... very vigorous! (I wrote about his physical stature in several previous posts.) He is starting to show the middle-age bulge, and complains about aches and pains in his back that were never there before. As I see him sprouting more gray hairs, and getting more bald, it occurs to me that he is getting old.

I don't know why that comes as such a shock to me. I certainly have been aware of my own gray hairs and saggy body parts, and the general all-over body aches of a pre-menopausal woman. I was hoping, of course, that he didn't notice!

One of the joys of an intimate marriage is the freedom to be "naked and unashamed" in front of each other, just as Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, before they fell in disobedience. Through their sin, we have inherited the effects of the curse: pain, sickness, and death, just to name a few evils.

Growing old is a necessary stage in the cycle of life and death. Physical maturity wasn't designed by the Creator to be ugly and painful. We can only see rare glimpses of the beauty that God intended, like the lacy, transparent skin of a grandma's hands, or the softness of her weather-worn cheeks; or the silver sparkles in her snowy hair. We might notice the tender gruffness of a grandpa's whiskers, or the wisened lines of his forehead, or the curve of his bent shoulders, from carrying the weight of the world far too long.

We are not taught to revere our elders, and respect old age. Mostly, we just fear being naked, and experience the shame of growing old.

I'm thankful that we can both grow old gracefully together. Lord, help me not to take for granted the intimacy we share--it took years to grow. He may have been young and vigorous once, but I will love him even when he is old and weak.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Reason #11: He is very generous.

One day, I saw a car pull into our driveway, shortly after my husband arrived home. I heard the door open, as he went out to greet the couple from our church, so I kept on with my housework. After a while, I heard the door open and close, as my husband came in and went out again. Curious to know the reason for their visit, I looked out the window, just in time to see my husband carrying our microwave oven out to their car! He loaded the appliance into the back of their car and sent them off with a cheery wave.

I met my DH at the door, with a look of consternation on my face. He explained that he ran into the couple at Home Depot, and they were shopping for a new microwave oven. Upon hearing of their need, my darling DH insisted that they follow him home, and take our extra microwave oven. Yes, it was an extra one... yes, it had been given to us... but, still...! That was back in the days when microwave ovens cost over $200, not $59.99!

My DH is generous to a fault. He lives the scripture that if someone asks for your tunic, you should give him your cloak also. He operates under the principle of "Reciprocation": "Give and it shall be given to you". He has blessed so many people with cars, with computers, with gadgets-and he has been blessed in return.

The fault with my husband's huge generosity lies in his failure to communicate with me and to wait for my agreement. He has learned, over the years, that I don't appreciate not being able to find my favorite frying pan because he took it to the church for a men's breakfast. He has also learned that he will spend a few nights "in the doghouse" if he forgets to tell me that he invited someone to stay at our home for a "free Bed & Breakfast" and they show up unannounced.

My DH has a few pet phrases on the subject of possessions. If he senses any greediness or covetousness, he remonstrates, "Hold on to your possessions loosely," and "It's all gonna burn!" That is all true, but it can be very irritating to hear.

He once got into serious trouble with my mother when he "blew up" a hard-boiled egg in her microwave oven, and in a defensive mode, he argued, "It's okay, you can just go out and buy another one!" Again, that was back in the day when it was considered a major purchase.

I do love my DH's very giving spirit. It is so Christ-like to bless others, even sacrificially. And I have learned, over the years, not to hold too tightly to my possessions. After all, "It's all gonna burn." Like the saying goes: "I've never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer."

Lord, help me to follow my DH's example and give generously to others with a willing heart!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Reason #Ten: He Provides Domestic Support!

Because my DH is a pastor, we have had numerous occasions to provide teaching and counseling on relationships. We dove right in to team-teaching a marriage class on the Song of Solomon, almost as soon as we got back from our honeymoon. Talk about a blushing bride! Only the ignorance of youth could have set us up for such awkward class material; but we bravely addressed issues of marriage, sex, parenting, money-management, and more, with couples that had been married longer than we'd been alive!

Through the years, we learned along with those we taught, life-lessons on relationships from a vast array of resources. One of our favorite authors is Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr.. He has a huge web site called MarriageBuilders.Com that offers over thirty years of books, articles, and other resources he has written. Harley has put together a questionnaire of the ten most important emotional needs of spouses. As in any family relationship, there is a need for the provision of domestic support.

Domestic Support is not exactly up there in my list of most important emotional needs. It is much more important to my DH that the bed is made and the dishes done, etc.. He is the kind of guy that makes the bed in his hotel room, just so he can enjoy an orderly environment. When he comes home after a long day of work and starts to straighten and clean the house, I often feel guilty and resentful. (I must confess I usually have a guilty conscience, because I don't get very much accomplished on my "To Do" list!) I have learned that DH feels resentful when he has to come home and clean the house, because he thinks (or knows) I have been home all day doing nothing. He has a strong emotional need for a clean, orderly, clutter-free environment. It just helps him to feel more relaxed... less stressed. I guess maybe there is something to that "Feng Shui" after all!

Things changed dramatically around here a month or so ago, when I went back to work. I had to find employment, due to financial hardship. Life in Alaska can get quite expensive! I was only able to find a part-time job, but the hours are pretty easy to handle. I work only Monday through Friday, (even though it's a retail position!), and start at 9:00am, which is ideal for me. I usually work until 3:00pm, and some days until 5:00pm, and that is fine for the kids and for me as well. (My kids are older, and can handle getting home before me; they get themselves a snack and start on their homework.)

Let me tell you, DH has really stepped up to the plate, to support me through this time of adjustment. My job requires standing on my feet all day, reaching up and bending down, and pushing a cart around (I pretend I'm shopping, so it doesn't even seem like work!). It took my feet a solid week to stop hurting. When I got home from work, exhausted and sore, DH was already home, playing "Mr. Mom" for several days.

What a blessing it was to come home to a clean kitchen, and kids who finished their homework, and a husband who provided domestic support for me. (Even if he was doing it mostly for himself!) Lord, let me not take the little things for granted. I do appreciate him very much.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Reason #Nine: He's Hefty, Not Wimpy!

Years ago, there was a television commercial about garbage bags. The advertisement was about bags that would not break or tear; bags that could withstand overstuffing and rough handling. The slogan encouraged buyers to purchase "Hefty" bags, by comparing scenes with "hefty, hefty, hefty" bags versus "wimpy, wimpy, wimpy" bags. My DH is definitely hefty.
  • brawny: (of a person) possessing physical strength and weight; rugged and powerful; "a hefty athlete"; "a muscular boxer"; "powerful arms"
  • of considerable weight and size; "a hefty dictionary"
  • goodly: large in amount or extent or degree; "a hefty bonus"; "a sizable fortune"
I've already alluded to DH's physical strength in his showdown with the Power Team. He is a big, strong man. He played football, lifted weights, and tossed hay bales all through high school. His big-boned, broad-shouldered body has always carried his weight well, even when it once rose above 315 pounds for a short time. He's the kind of guy that always wins a prize at the fair, when they try to guess his weight. (I'm not going to share his weight, but I will say that people are always surprised when he tells them how much he weighs.)

There's something just so comforting about walking along a dark country road or a busy city sidewalk with a big "hefty" man! There's nothing better than a big, cuddly hug from a hairy, hefty "Teddy Bear". It's the sweetest thing to see a baby or a puppy in the hands of a brawny man. And it's always handy to have a big guy around on moving day, or when a piano needs moved.

I love the fact that my DH is a 2X! The feelings of security and protection that come with his size offset the costs of little mishaps that have occurred because of his size. Yes, he is dangerous in stores with fragile, breakable items. Yes, he has stepped on the puppy a time or two. Yes, he has had back trouble and some physical ailments related to his weight. (He needs to stay physically active to be healthy, and that can be tough in our climate, with his desk job.) But, I like the fact that he can command respect in a crowd of strangers, and even have an intimidating presence among smaller men.

DH often uses the word "glorious" in his sermons, to describe an attribute of God. He tells the congregation that in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “glory” (kavod) comes from the word for “heavy” (kaved). The word was first used to describe things that were heavy in the literal, physical sense. So, for example, the Bible describes Eli as “heavy,” which is a polite way of saying that he was fat (1 Sam. 4:18). So, DH alludes to himself as "glorious" whenever he tells the definition of glory.

Besides being gloriously hefty, DH is absolutely not wimpy! [The definition of "wimpy" is wimpish: weak and ineffectual]. He can go on for days with a fever and a sinus headache before I even find out he is sick! He is strong in character as well as in body. He commands respect as a strong, effectual leader. People are either drawn to him, and look up to him as a mentor, or they feel insecure and intimidated by him, but they can't really put a finger on why he threatens them, because he is so nice!

The reason I wrote this post is to say that I not only respect the way DH acts, but even after 20 years, I still like the way DH physically looks. Sure, he's a little more flabby, a lot more bald and gray, and he's growing a big inner tube around the middle: but my DH is one handsome stud! I'm proud to introduce him to people (though almost everybody knows him) as my dear husband!

Lord, help me to tell my DH the things that I like and respect about him; not just to tell the whole worldwide web about him. May I learn more and more how to show my love for my husband, in ways that mean the most to him.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Reason #Eight: He's A Loving Father!

From the moment he changed our daughter's first diaper to helping our son on the computer last night with his homework, DH has proven his love for his children in myriads of ways. I don't always accept and admit this, though.

For whatever reason, this area of our relationship has been the hardest for me to praise him, or at least to give him the credit due to him. Rather, with much chagrin, I confess that over the years I have reinforced his feelings of inadequacy by pointing out his failures; painting the picture of an absent, elusive, emotionally withdrawn father.

The "cards were stacked" in his life circumstances to pour my DH into a concrete mold that personified a distant father. His father, the oldest of eleven, was abused severely by an alcoholic monster. DH grew up in a matriarchal home, with his father gone for days as a truck driver. DH was adopted; a sure formula for attachment-disorders, and rejection issues. He fits the pattern of the typical work-driven, Type-A personality. All of these ingredients are almost guaranteed to produce a textbook version of the "deadbeat dad".

But, Father God, the Creator of my DH, broke the mold, canceled the curse, and released the chains of sin, when He redeemed him (bought him back from the devil)! Sure, DH is quite prone to forgetting his children at church and driving home without them. Yes, he has had his share of meetings and appointments that took precedence over ball games and plays. But, overall, DH really has shown a consistent, faithful, loving presence to our children.

Sometimes he takes me by such surprise that I fall speechless and can't find the words to express my appreciation to him. Such was the case when he gently lifted our newborn baby girl from the hospital bassinet, hours after she left my womb, and proceeded to change her first diaper, without prompting from me or anyone else.

In a similar display of practical attention, shortly after our arrival home from the hospital with our newborn son, DH came home with several bags of baby and toddler clothes from Wal-Mart, with matching sets of tops and bottoms so that he could help with dressing them.

Sometimes I think it messes with my role as primary nurturer and caregiver, "Super-Mom", and causes me to feel insecure or jealous on a subconscious level or something. But, Dad is nurturing and caring in a different way: providing for the practical needs of the household, showing a manly, strong support for the children's emotional needs. He balances out the soft, over-protecting "smother-love" that I am prone to dish out.

That's why I need to recognize and praise his deeds of love, to reinforce his behavior in a positive way, just like a pet-trainer would! I am thankful for the power of change through belief in a God Who transforms. Lord, help me to work with him and not against him in his efforts to be available, both physically and emotionally, to our children.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Reason #Seven: He Has His Faults...

And So Do I!

Throughout the last couple of posts that I've written, I kept having this nagging feeling that maybe I was painting the picture too "rosy" and putting my DH up on a huge pedestal. That's why I added in those parenthetical comments, Mistake #1,2, and 3. Then it was confirmed when a commenter said, "You really do love him, don't you?" as if to say, well, of course, who wouldn't love their husband if he was as wonderful as yours?

Let me clearly say, "I really do love my husband ... I just don't always LIKE him!"

The standard joke we like to tell in marital counseling sessions, is that a man gets married hoping the woman will never change, but a woman marries her man hoping to change everything about him. The trouble with relationships is that we want everyone to be just like us! I love the song in "My Fair Lady" that simply asks, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?"

The whole purpose of this blog is to focus on the positive qualities of my husband and to list all the things that make me love him; things that I appreciate about him; things that are special and unique about him; etc.. One of the biggest things I love about him, is that he's not perfect--he's selfish, he's impatient, he's spoiled rotten--but he's real, as in the Velveteen Rabbit.

What I didn't share in my last post, is that while DH was stewing with worry and frustration all day over the issues with the Power team, he took his anger out on me that afternoon, and left me in tears when he went back to the church. I happened to have a meeting that night at church, so I cried a while, then composed myself and went to the meeting. I couldn't even be there to see the whole show, with DH breaking bricks and all!

When it was all over, he came home and apologized to me, but I still acted "put out" until he started telling me the whole story. He looked so cute when he pouted over me not seeing him break the bricks, I had to soften up a bit. By the time he finished telling me all he had been through, my heart was filled with love and pride.

Like I shared in REASON #4: sometimes I want to kiss him, sometimes I want to slap him!

I told DH the other day, we both have our faults; it's just a shame that our faults aren't more compatible. But they are reconcilable differences. He may wish I was more like him, and vice-versa, but we are different. We can learn to celebrate our differences through compromise and self-sacrifice. That's what relationships are all about!

It's probably a very good thing that he's not like me, and I'm not like him in some areas, so that we can balance each other's faults.

Lord, help me to accept him, faults and all, with unconditional love, the way You love us all.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Reason #Six: He's my Hero!

My DH (Dear Hubby) took on the whole POWER TEAM in a face-to-face confrontation and he won! Let me tell you, that took some guts!!!

Allow me to explain:

A couple of months ago, DH received an e-mail stating that "The Power Team" would be in some churches and schools in the area. [Mistake #1: not doing his homework, taking the time to call for recommendations]

The Power Team arrived on schedule, with John preaching in the morning services, and the team performing Sunday through Wed. night, 7pm. All went well, for at least the first day, with the exception of a rumor that John might be heading off to go hunting after the first service, which proved untrue. [Mistake #2: leaving the details to staff, communicating primarily through them]

The team performed so well on Sunday night that a very generous offering came in. When our secretary approached John with the envelopes, he dismissed her arrogantly with a wave of his hand and said, "Just put them over there." (No "thank you's", no manners, not even a bit nice!) This was just one example of the progressive revelation of "true colors" as the days passed.

To their credit, the Power Team packed out the church each night, and masses of people responded to the altar calls. They took the message of salvation into the schools, and faithfully put on their show for anyone who would watch--even appearing on a local television station. From an observer's point of view, it was a great success.

Staff meetings provided a whole different point of view, however. Team members were reported to have been downright rude, not to mention ungrateful, to volunteers who provided food after the services. They were seen at Denny's after one meal by several members of the congregation. So, they didn't like our food--oh well!

Meanwhile, DH sat through each successive night, his angst growing at an alarming rate. The offering pitch was his biggest contention, for it seemed to grow longer and more manipulative each night. I asked DH point-blank if it was the money that upset him. Was he at all envious or disturbed at the church-going, tithe-paying people giving so generously to this "cause"? To be honest, I know it did anger him, that weekly offerings have been so meager, and church finances were down quite a bit, and in one day these people "milked" $20,000 from the same crowd.

DH finally approached John on Tuesday night, the third "performance" of the Power team, before the service began. He responded to John's query about the flow of the service, by asking him to "tone" down the offering pitch and shorten it by half. Well, that night John pulled out all stops on the offering time and it was longer and more heart-wrenching than ever. The ultimate "straw" was when John made the plea for $10,000 more to cover expenses, saying they'd already brought in $2,000! (No, I didn't forget the extra zero, but he did!) DH came home fuming, and stewed over that all the next day.

The showdown occurred on the last night. John appeared five minutes before the service began, as was his pattern. He went to great lengths to avoid DH, even hurriedly taking one of his team members aside and praying for him, as he saw DH walking toward him. Not to be daunted, DH waited until John was seated on the front row in the sanctuary, and made his move.

After a few lines of small-talk, DH stated firmly, "I'm taking the offering tonight." "Okay, you take yours and I'll take mine," John retorted. "No, you don't get it--I'm going to take the offering tonight, not you," said DH. "No!" said John. "Yes!" "No..." "Yes!" Suddenly, angry and red-faced, John rose up out of his chair, stormed up to the platform, and shouted to his team members, "You won't believe what this preacher is trying to do!"

At this point DH didn't know whether John would grab some bricks and start heaving them at him or whether he would just flatten him with one blow. What if he did get punched, would he be tempted to hit him back and get into a fist-fight right in front of the whole sanctuary? What if the crowd thought it was a staged act, and started to cheer them on? The one thing DH did know was that this situation could get out of hand very quickly, and he was afraid, very afraid.

He wasn't going to let a big bully intimidate him, though, so he followed John right on up the stairs of the platform, turning his back on the audience, and proceeded with a very heated confrontation with John and his side-kicks in front of the whole church for about fifteen minutes!

DH clearly specified his reason for not allowing John to take an offering, saying that he had been using false doctrine and deception to manipulate his people into giving money. He cited specific phrases and quotes John used the night before that were just plain wrong. All the while, John was not backing down one inch, instead rallying his Power team members around him.

Some of the comments made were outlandish, some were humorous, and some were just sad.

John: "We won't get near the amount of money, if I don't take the offering."
DH: "Yeah, but you'll sleep better tonight."

John: "I learned all of my offering techniques from other pastors."
DH: "Well, that doesn't make it right!"

John: "You can't steal money from me; you have to let me take this offering!"
DH: "You have a choice, you can let me take the offering, or I can make an announcement and send all these people home, and be assured that I will tell them why."

The classic line, and the clincher to win the confrontation was this statement by DH: "John, you are out of control. This is my church and these are my people. I'm going to take the offering tonight, and if I have to, I'll call the police and have them haul you out of here!"

After that, the show went on without a hitch, culminating with a grand finale--the preacher, my DH himself, broke a big pile of bricks on stage. He smashed through six bricks, but he told me later his adrenalin was so pumped he could have broken more. When the show was over, he had three kids come up and ask him for his autograph!

He wasn't done with John, yet, though. Amazingly, John had calmed down and was purring like a kitten in DH's office. John was singing a different tune, about how sorry he was, and how DH had made him reconsider his actions and motives. Then he told DH, "No minister has ever talked to me that way before. You've got a lot of {guts}! (Actually, he used a different part of the anatomy.)

In retrospect:
DH told me that was the hardest confrontation he had ever had in his life. I am convinced that there was a lot more going on than a Power Team on a power trip. Though it had all the makings of a playground encounter with a bully, this wasn't just about egos and brute strength. DH, the shepherd of his flock, was in an all-out spiritual battle, defending the church against a demonic spirit of intimidation. [Mistake #3: not being "wary of wolves in sheep's clothing"]

My DH won the fight; and he is my hero!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Reason #Five: He's great in bed!

Might as well get this one over with and out of the way right here. He will be happy to know it made the "top five" on my list anyway. Without going into unnecessary details, I will just share that my husband and I have a healthy, active, intimate physical relationship. This is a good thing, as the need for sex is usually pretty important in a man's life.

The thing is that my libido crashed and burned a long time ago. On a scale of 0 - 100, with 100 being "hot and horny" I've been at -50 or so! (I know there are medicines to help with that, for women as well as for men.) But that has never stopped me from being a willing partner in bed. I may not "feel like it" but I choose to meet a very important need in my hubby's life. Having said that, I'm not looking for any accolades about how giving and self-sacrificing I am. In fact, my lack of libido has been a hurdle for DH to overcome, because he wants me to like having sex with him, and not just tolerate it.

What makes my husband so special is that instead of only making an effort to meet his own needs in this area, he has worked very hard to improve his techniques, and he has everlasting patience with me. (Remember, he has to work hard to bring me up from -50 to 100. Just developing my sexual desire up to a zero is a minor miracle.)

Lord, let me never take for granted his gifts of tenderness and patience.

(No comments on this matter, please. If you simply must, you can e-mail me at Who knows, maybe I can become the next Dr. Ruth or Dear Abby!)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Reason #Four: Because He's Such a Little Boy!

Honestly, he acts just like a ten-year-old boy sometimes!

If you are at all familiar with the qualities of a ten-year-old, you know that words like "brat" come to mind immediately. On one hand, there is still a sweet boyishness, with their tousled hair, freckled faces, and sweet baby cheeks. On the other hand, their eyes are usually gleaming with orneriness, and an impish grin resides permanantly between those baby cheeks. Oh, the language that erupts from those innocent little mouths during the prepubescent years! Everything from insults to swear words comes flying out at least once, and then ever so carefully the limits are tested. How much back-talk will mom, dad, or teacher put up with before the boundaries are slammed down with gale force? It's like the secret pact of every ten-year-old to annoy and frustrate their siblings to tears, to antagonize and goad their parents to the point of explosion, and to just flat-out wear everybody out with their annoying antics!

My son is now twelve years old. Some of the best father-son bonding times have occurred between "Ben" (nickname) and his dad in the last two years. There have been the usual sports, fishing, and hunting activities. But the most fun they ever had together was watching "stupid videos" on TV or the web, and laughing together. Why is it that noises that are made by bodily emissions and jokes pertaining to body parts can be so hilariously funny to a boy and his dad? They tell each other the same old jokes that he heard when he was a kid, concerning the girth of "yo momma" and they roar with laughter every time!

I could go on and on about how similar men and boys are, except for the price of their toys, but you already know. Men are just big boys!

I see a tender boyishness in my darling husband at some of the oddest moments. I have a personal window into his vulnerability that no other person on earth has. He can make me want to kiss his sweet cheeks one moment and slap them hard the very next!

It must be a gift that comes with motherhood, that nurturing instinct, that fierce protectiveness. He may be a real pest, a royal brat--but he is mine, and I love him!

It is a special privilege to see the inner child so plainly in someone dear to me. Lord, help me to deal with him tenderly, and not be so tempted to slap the snot out of him at times!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Reason #Three: He really is a great pastor!

My husband wears many hats, but he has one mantle (figuratively speaking). Since the tender young age of twelve, he has had the calling of God upon his life to be a "Shepherd of the Flock." I knew that when I met him, because we were at students at the same Bible College. I also had a calling into the ministry since I was young, and told people who inquired what I wanted to be when I grew up that I wanted to be a missionary's wife, an evangelist's wife, or a pastor's wife. So, off I went to Bridal--er, I mean BIBLE--College to "get me a man to marry!" Some might argue that I was just following in the footsteps of my parents, who met at Bible College; that I was just trying to please my dad and carry on the "family business" since he was a pastor and I was the first-born. But I believe there is a special calling for a pastor's wife, and I was even voted "Most Likely to Be the Perfect Pastor's Wife" in college. I still have the paper plate award! (It's framed and hanging on my wall; no, not really!)

There are good pastors, and there are great pastors, and there are pastors who never should have gotten behind a pulpit. My dad was one of the latter; he really struggled to be successful in the ministry and he mostly failed, although he was a caring, loving counselor to the sick and the elderly. But DH (Dear Hubby) is a great pastor! Everybody likes him, from little old ladies to brawny sports players. He is authentic, genuine, real; a man of integrity and humility; sincerely compassionate and incredibly generous. He is just what a grown-up Boy Scout should be: a nice guy!

Being a great pastor takes more than just being a nice guy. He really is a great preacher, too. I'm being very honest when I say that last Sunday morning's sermon (second service) was the best sermon on sex I've ever heard in my life. Get the tape! (Better yet, wait until it is uploaded to the church website.) I have never heard the message against sexual immorality so clearly and strongly presented, right out of the Book of Revelation (using the text to the Church of Pergamum, Rev. 2:11). I told him that, and so did at least 15 people on Monday morning!

Now all that was introductory material for my little sermonette: The third reason I love my husband is that he really is a great pastor. I love him because he loves God so deeply and fully that he has given his entire life to serve Him in full-time ministry. I love him because he loves His people with such fervor that he literally "counts his sheep" when he lays in bed at night, asking me, "Have you seen the Jones' family at church lately?" I love him because he loves the church so much it makes me jealous of all the time and attention he puts into it. Actually, I don't love that part so much, because he is a workaholic and I don't think he has to love his work THAT MUCH! I love the fact that I don't inwardly shudder with mortal embarassment when he stands behind the pulpit (unless he is saying something about me!) or stifle a thousand yawns every time he preaches a sermon. Believe me, I've sat through thousands of sermons, and every time my DH preaches it is different, even when it is the same sermon for both morning services. You can ask the staff if you don't believe me.

Lest you think I am exaggerating or being at all facetious, I will say that it's not easy being married to a pastor. It means that he is not only my husband, he is my pastor. I don't particularly like everything that he has done as my husband, or as my pastor. In fact, during one very difficult season in our lives, if I could have, I would have left my church and gone to another one! [Everybody else blames it on the pastor when they want to leave the church, right? He is either too worldly--"He just doesn't preach THE WORD!" or he is too spiritual--"He preaches over our heads!"; or he's too lazy or too busy; too unfriendly or too friendly!]

I love my husband because he is very good at what he does: As the Senior Pastor (CEO), he is a proficient administrator, very knowledgeable with computers and finances. As a Counselor, he listens with empathy and highly trained skills. (He is always continuing his education: a good teacher is never unteachable.) As a Chaplain, he is available at all hours of the night for emergencies and crises, and has been known to spend all day in the waiting rooms of hospitals to be with family members. As a District Leader, he has taken his pastoring to a higher level, and is now pastor to other pastors.

It's a tremendous blessing to be married to a man I can respect and admire, a man who holds the respect of his congregation, his staff, his colleagues, and his family.

Lord, help me to show him my love and respect; especially when he is plagued by self-doubt and satanic accusations and lies. The last thing he needs is a wife who belittles and barrages him around every corner.

It is better to dwell in a corner of the rooftop, than with a brawling (contentious) woman in a wide house. Proverbs 21:9

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Reason # Two: Because He Loves Me!

I know--it looks like I'm off to a pretty lame start, if that's the only reason I could come up with. Nothing real earth-shattering about that, huh? It reads like a syrup-y sweet children's song made famous by a purple dinosaur: "I love you, you love me; we're a happy family. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you; won't you say you love me, too?"

Knowing that I am loved makes all the difference in the world to me. It's a foundation to build the security of the relationship, an anchor of stability through life's storms. Life is hard and relationships are hard work: why bother at all, if there isn't love?

How do I know he loves me? Well, that would be another blog, but suffice it to say, he declares his love to me in a myriad of ways. It's not like the old farmer's wife joke. Reminiscent of the dialogue in "Fiddler on the Roof" the wife asks her husband one day if he loves her. The old farmer bellows, "Woman, I told you once on the day we got married, and if it ever changes I'll let you know!" But, like the Fiddler, I sometimes take for granted the way he expresses his love for me, through good deeds or provision of material needs, because I want him to say it in other ways. He gets irked like the Fiddler's wife, and says, "Do I love you? For twenty-five years, I've blah, blah, blahhed, and you ask me if I love you!"?

Those two illustrations prove the point that it is quite possible to live most of your life with someone and not know how to express love in a way that meets his/her need to be loved!

Now it's time for my confession. I've read the Five Love Languages, I've taught on the Ten Most Important Emotional Needs, I know that "Men are from another planet" and speak a whole different language when it comes to sex and romance. But, after all these years, I really don't know how to LOVE my husband.

Yes, I promised before God and man to love, honor, comfort, and cherish him. Yes, I committed myself to choosing to love him, knowing that my feelings would often ebb and flow like a full moon tide. Yes, I know how to meet his BASIC needs: Like Dr. Laura's "Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands," I know he can be fairly satisfied with a good meal and good sex. But in all my selfish introspection over the years about how MY needs weren't being met, I recall very few times of thinking, journaling, and praying about his needs and how to meet them.

So, enough about me, let's talk about what he thinks about me. (Joke, a bit of egotistic humor thrown in to lighten it up a bit!) Though this blog is all about me, and why I love my husband, it has to be about him, too, and how he shows me love. I intend to examine more carefully the language he chooses to love me with, for that is the biggest hint that he wishes to be loved in the same ways.

The beautiful bouquet of flowers on my kitchen table proves his love for me by saying that he was thinking of me, even while he was gone for a week. Now, I know flowers don't mean much to a guy, but how many times did I express my love for him, and say that I missed him while he was gone. Or, did my lack of expression cause him to wonder if I wished he never even came back at all?

I am so blessed to have a husband who loves me.
Lord, help me to show him how much I love him!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Reason Number One: I CHOOSE to Love Him!

The "commitment" word is almost as important as the word "choice." One of the things that made me so sad, reading that other blog, was that the decision to get a divorce was pre-determined. Hence, the pre-nuptual agreement was well-planned.

Love is really a commitment to choose to love!

I remember a simple illustration of a train, that I learned as a teenager in Sunday School. There were three box-shaped "train cars" hooked together. The first box, ACTION, connected to a middle box, THOUGHT, followed by a third box, EMOTION. The point of the illustration is to see how closely our feelings, thoughts, and actions are connected.

The world teaches us to live by our feelings. That's the Train Engine. Just look around at all the train wrecks to see that letting our lives be guided by our feelings is not a good idea! We "fall in love" (when actually we are experiencing a strong feeling of infatuation) so we think we need to have this person or we'll die. Then our thoughts become obsessed with that person to the point that we take action, perhaps getting physically intimate, perhaps displaying jealous or possessive behavior, perhaps even getting married!

Feelings come, and feelings go. Just listen to the country tunes a while to learn that relationships don't always stay the same. Why do people bother to get married anyway? Why even start a relationship if it's doomed from the beginning?

We have emotional needs. We can't just ignore our feelings until they go away. But feelings should not rule our lives the way they energize and motivate a toddler. Feelings are supposed to be the Caboose!

I'm no expert on Behavioral Therapy, but I think the idea is to change a behavior by instituting a different habit (ACTION), with enough consistency that it affects a negative perception of self, allowing for more positive thinking (THOUGHT), thereby creating better self-esteem (FEELING).

That's how the train is supposed to run with relationships! Make the commitment first to the relationship. NEVER think, dream, or breathe the "D" word! Understand that feelings fluctuate like hormones, and never, never trust them! Determine in your mind and heart that you will act loving, whether or not you feel loving. Then, sit back and enjoy the scenery, knowing that this is one train (relationship) that will not de-rail!

Make the commitment (ACTION) to choose (THOUGHT) to love (FEELING).


Monday, August 15, 2005

To Love, Honor, and Cherish

And do you promise to love, honor, and cherish your partner ...

'till you get a divorce?

The Inspiration Behind "100 Reasons..."

I have to admit, I was taken aback by the title of a blog I saw. It can be found by searching for "...I Hate My Husband" on Google. What a sad story! Yet, just this morning I found myself thinking more negatively than positively about my own relationship with my husband. I decided, then and there, to put into action a thought I had about focusing on the good things. It's all about perspective. "Garbage in=garbage out!"
When I choose to dwell on "whatsoever things are lovely, pure, and of good report..." it affects my whole outlook. So, it's time for some serious reflections on the man I married... and why I CHOOSE to LOVE him!