Something Different

“Who can find a wife of noble character? She is far more precious than jewels.”

What do you do when you get an all-expenses-paid stay in your master bedroom with your eleven-year-old son for a week? You watch a lot of movies, for starters. The original Jurassic Park trilogy, The Santa Claus trilogy, and the first five hours of the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy so far. You work some as well. And you think. For me, I tend not to think in pictures or ideas. I think in words. And with tomorrow’s being a rather special day…for which I am in quarantine…I’ve done a fair bit of thinking in that direction. Here are a few thoughts that have come from it.

First and foremost: I married up. There’s just no other way to put it. And I did that seventeen years ago tomorrow. It’s hard to believe it has been that long. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. Other than perhaps dealing with some mild cold symptoms a week after having begun my first Covid journey, I don’t feel seventeen years older than when I stood at the makeshift altar and pledged my life to what was easily the most beautiful woman I’d ever laid eyes on. Yet here we are. And what a journey it has been.

That’s something I’ve been reminded of rather powerfully this week in particular. My bride has done it all this week. For starters, she’s working 10-hour days at the school in this season, so there’s that. On either side of that, she has gotten up early each morning to not only get herself ready for work, but to prepare food for my son and me that my oldest son can easily and safely deliver at breakfast and lunch while she is gone. Then, after an extraordinarily long day at work, she’s walked home straight into preparing dinner and picking up all the chores that need to be done before putting the other two to bed, making sure the two of us have all we need, getting things ready for the next day, and finally falling into bed herself. And she’s done at all, now facing the same basic pattern (instead of working at school, she’ll work on church stuff at home all day) on our anniversary, with nary a complaint and even with a smile on her face.

And in one of the many times we have expressed our profound gratitude to her, her response was that this is what families do. And she’s right. It is. But it’s also not natural. But it is divine. And covenantal. While I’ve been dead weight for a week, she has lived up to her covenantal promise in ways that have communicated a depth of love that you really can’t understand through any lens except that of a marriage in the most Scripturally-sound definition you can imagine. She has shown God’s own sacrificial and patient love to us as she has offered yet another example of her being the perfect helpmate. Not that only, but my perfect helpmate.

My bride is kind. She thinks through a lens of kindness in a way most people simply don’t understand. She is constantly on the lookout for how she can do for others to make their situation easier than it was before. She is considerate that way. For her, being so considerate of others comes as naturally as breathing. She doesn’t even have to try to do it the way others do. And she is compassionate. Her heart breaks for the hurting. She will go to any lengths she can bear to help ease the suffering of another if it is within her power to do so. And if it is not, she will hurt for them. She will default to putting others first so naturally that she has to be reminded to make time for herself. And you’re stuck just having to hear about her. I get to be married to her.

My gratitude for the gift she is to me is profound beyond adequate words. And I’m mediocre at best expressing it beyond words. That’s a skill I have not developed nearly as well as I should have along the way. And here I am limited to nothing but words.

So, words I will use. In seventeen years, I have only started learning what a treasure I have in my bride. She is indeed far more precious than jewels. I am spectacularly undeserving of her love and care. Her companionship is sweeter than honey, her friendship like a breath of fresh air on a hot day. It restores strength and hope like few other things—and none of them of this world—do. She makes a hard day better, a heavy load lighter, a dark cloud brighter. And I get to call her my own.

To say I love her doesn’t begin to cover it. It can’t. I’m certain I don’t show it nearly as strongly as the feeling runs deep. Yet love that is not shown is love that is not received, so I endeavor onward. I endeavor onward in hopes of making sure she knows it. At seventeen years in, we are nearly to the point of having spent more of our lives together than apart. My only twinge of regret is that I had to spend the years without her that I did. More time would only be blessing. May I—may we—learn to enjoy and appreciate evermore the gift that we have. And may we enjoy together many more years in pursuit of God’s glory in this gift He has given us.

I love you, Lisa. Happy anniversary.

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