In a few days, my husband and I will celebrate our 38th anniversary. This is a good time to reflect on why we are still together after all these years of marriage. It is also a time to stand back and appreciate him for the wonderful man he is and for all he does. This article is dedicated to him.
I love my husband because:
- He gives service to all he meets.
- He put up with me through five pregnancies.
- He changed diapers.
- Before we bought a clothes dryer, he got up before sunrise and hung diapers on the clothesline (stepping on snails in the process) so they would be dry by the time I needed them.
- He was good at cleaning up puke after the kids (and me).
- When I had a miscarriage, even though he was devastated, he somehow managed to collect our baby from bathroom floor before taking the kids next door so he could take me to the hospital.
- He’s always made sure that we had the material things that we needed. We aren’t wealthy, but neither of us ever aspired to that. We just wanted to be able to pay our bills and be comfortable, and he has succeeded in doing that.
- He worked two (sometimes three) jobs to support us for the first 17 years so I could stay home with my children.
- He never complained when the house was dirty or the laundry overflowed the hamper.
- When I went back to work full-time, he took over a lot of household responsibilities; shopping, cooking, running errands, chauffeuring kids, etc.
- When I was in need of gall bladder surgery and the doctor wasn’t doing what he should have been doing, my usually Teddy Bear of a husband became my advocate. I don’t know exactly what he said to the doctor in the hallway, but immediately the head of the department was my very attentive physician.
- His bark is bigger than his bite (unless advocating for me with my doctors).
- He makes me laugh daily.
- For years he worked as a highway landscape worker, and he made a habit of bringing home road-find treasures for me and the kids.
- He is gentle and kind.
- He loves our children and grandchildren.
- He can’t see a baby at a ball game, the grocery store, or at church without playing peek-a-boo, or some other game to entertain.
- Life is never dull when he is around.
- He is a good listener.
- Loyalty is his specialty.
- He believed in me when seemingly nobody else did.
- He stands beside me in all things; we are a team.
- Every single morning he seems to wake up with the attitude to try harder.
- His heart is soft, and he cries while watching a good movie, or when a friend is quite ill.
- He’s always been proud of his kids—even when I could have killed them with my bare hands.
- He always made sure that each of our children had special one-on-one time with him.
- He is on a first-name basis with his florist.
My husband is a very good man. I’m not an easy person to live with sometimes. I have a hot temper; although as I’ve aged, I have learned to keep it under control most of the time. He puts up with me, but he doesn’t let me walk all over him. That’s important to me. I never wanted a marshmallow for a husband.
We are getting older. He is 12 years older than me. That is probably going to present some challenges for me in the future. I’m up to the challenge. Maybe I’ll be able to finally repay him for all the kind service he has given me and our children through the years.
Reflecting on our marriage, we have had our ups and downs, as all marriages do. Not every day is a picnic. I think the best thing about our marriage is that we are committed. We know we are in this together for the long haul. There isn’t a problem that can’t be worked out if we try hard enough. We know that with God’s help, we can do anything.
I watched him today as he was sitting in his recliner checking up on the score of a baseball game on television. He looked totally content. It struck me that the look of quiet peace on his face was the same thing that I was feeling. I suppose some would call that being comfortable with each other. I’ve heard people talk about how old people don’t really love each other; they are just comfortable together. Apparently, these people have never been old and in love. Yes, we are comfortable, but it is so much more than that.
What I feel for my husband is love, respect, trust, loyalty, devotion, tenderness, affection, warmth, and fondness. These are feelings that have been developed over the last 38 years by hard work—on his part, and on mine.
We need to stop thinking of love as a mysterious power that has control over us. We need to think of love as a way to treat other people, rather than as something that happens to us; then we will begin to have power over our loving.
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Real love is basically the same in all human relationships, whether between a grandfather and a grandmother, a newly married couple, or a mother and her child. It involves caring, respecting, responding, empathizing, having concern, giving, receiving, sharing, forgiving. Notice that these words we are using are verbs, and verbs denote action. Loving requires action (Ensign (March 1972), Clark Swain, “The Meaning of Love”).
Love is a verb. It is also an art that takes years of practice to perfect. I’m thankful for my husband and for our marriage. We are truly blessed.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.